In the past 10 years the use of Arabic on the Internet grew by an impressive 2500%. Whereas in the year 2000 only 2 million Arabic-speaking users surfed the world wide web, in 2011 there were 65 million of them. And with an estimated 280 million speakers of Arabic as their first language there is still room for growth. In comparison, the second fastest growing language is Russian with 1826% followed by Chinese on third place with 1277%, Spanish with 743% and English with 281%.
Remember, these are growth numbers, not actuals, which means that Arabic has some way to go to get to certain stages. But it is predicted to be one of the world's top 5 languages in 2050:
According to so called engco model of language forecasting the top 5 languages in 2050 are going to be:
The top 3 are the most important. It will be a world dominated not by English, or Spanglish or Chinglish - but Spinglish. Those are going to be the most important ones to learn. And so, that means for the Arabic speakers, they will need a linguafranca. That's unlikely to be French any more for some of the levantine states. English will dominate as it has already done in the Gulf.
One of the drivers for the growth of Arabic has been the implementation of IDNs - allowing other script URLs. But the pace of the Arab Spring has meant many more people have wanted to go online and join the hyperconnected world we live in - prompting growth. With more still to come - and with infrastructure being put in place across the region, Arabic will rise further on the Internet - cementing it as a language for the future.