DUBAI, 13th December 2016 (WAM) – Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, accompanied by Crown Prince of Dubai H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, attended a session themed ‘The Ancient Languages of Arabs’ presented by Loay Al Shareef on the first day of the Arab Social Media Influencers Summit (ASMIS) taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The session was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Lieutenant General H.H. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports and President of the Bahrain Olympic Committee Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa; Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi; Minister of State Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber; and Chairperson of the Organising Committee of the Arab Social Media Influencers Summit (ASMIS) Mona Ghanem Al Marri, apart from a number of leading Arab intellectuals and social media influencers.

Al Shareef said that the Arabic language is a very old language. The Arabian peninsula was home to more than 12 languages that are all extinct today or in the process of becoming extinct, he explained. He pointed out that the discovery of old languages unveils new historical facts and sometimes leads to a revision of history.

Al Shareef shared the story of the invitation Sulaiman Al Dibb, an Arab specialist in ancient languages, received from the US to examine the writings found in an ancient archaeological site in Nevada. Al Dibb found that the writings there were in the Thamudic language, an ancient language spoken in the Arabian peninsula. The surprising discovery implied that Arabs could possibly have discovered America before Christopher Columbus.

Al Shareef spoke about the various ancient civilizations that flourished in the Arabian Peninsula. He explained the impact the language of each civilization had on the language of the succeeding civilization. He also said that the ancient languages of the region had a clear impact on modern Arabic language, adding that it’s key to learn these languages in order to understand the origins of our language.