Idle Words has a very interesting post arguing in favor of Arabic as a choice of language of study, from the perspective of a connoisseur of linguistic oddities.
I would like to stand up for the language nerds and give some reasons for studying Arabic that have nothing to do with politics. The language of the National Designated Other is bound to switch to Chinese in a couple of years, but until colleges start teaching Martian, Arabic is going to remain the strangest, most interesting language you can study in an undergrad classroom.
And don’t fall for the bait and switch with Chinese or Japanese! They might tempt you with an exotic writing system, but after a few months you find out that the underlying language is pretty vanilla, and meanwhile there is a stack of three thousand flash cards standing in between you and the ability to skim a newspaper.
Arabic, on the other hand, twists healthy minds in twelve ways.
The language nerd author asserts that you can learn the writing system in two weeks. Sounds like a dare to me.
Read the whole thing.
Hat tip to Matt MacLean.