Lebanon Table of Contents
Armenian is an Indo-European language, distantly related to English, although a large part of its vocabulary is derived from Arabic and Turkish. When the Armenians were converted to Christianity in the fifth century, they acquired an alphabet based on Greek and developed a classical literature, which differed considerably from modern Armenian. Modern Armenian literature flourishes today in Soviet Armenia and to a lesser degree in Lebanon, where a printing and publishing industry is active. Armenians are strongly attached to their language, which is important as a means of maintaining their identity.
Assyrian, a Semitic language, is a modern spoken form of ancient Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic. The Assyrians increasingly use Arabic as their spoken language, but Syriac continues to be used for religious purposes.
French and English are the most widely used Western languages. Although French is not an official language, almost all government publications appear in French as well as in Arabic. Since World War II United States influence, and consequently the importance of English, has increased. Some Lebanese authors choose to write in French or English, and fluency in these languages generally marks the educated man and woman. The Lebanese dialect, particularly in Beirut, has acquired some French words. Arabic literary style, especially in poetry, has also been influenced by the style of Western languages.
Data as of December 1987