Arabic (العربيةal-ʻarabīyah or عربي/عربىʻarabī ) ( [alʕaraˈbijja] (help·info) or [ˈʕarabiː] (help·info)) is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD. This includes both the literary language and varieties of Arabic spoken in a wide arc of territory stretching across the Middle East and North Africa.
The literary language is called Modern Standard Arabic or Literary Arabic. It is currently the only official form of Arabic, used in most written documents as well as in formal spoken occasions, such as lectures and news broadcasts. However, this varies from one country to the other. In 1912, Moroccan Arabic was official in Morocco for some time, before Morocco joined the Arab League.
Arabic languages are Central Semitic languages, most closely related to Hebrew, Aramaic, Ugaritic and Phoenician. The standardized written Arabic is distinct from and more conservative than all of the spoken varieties, and the two exist in a state known as diglossia, used side-by-side for different societal functions.