Languages of the Region

Languages of North & Northeast Africa; West, Central & South Asia offered at The Ohio State University

  • Distinguish yourself with some of today’s most highly-demanded language skills, offered through Near Eastern Languages and Cultures.  
  • Get in contact with Near Eastern Languages and Cultures with questions about OSU's Middle Eastern language courses and degrees, and how you can learn more about: North & Northeast Africa; West, Central & South Asia, while fulfilling GEC requirements.
  • FAQ

The Middle Eastern languages offered at OSU are Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish. In addition, languages close to the cultural sphere of the Middle East and Islamic World are Uzbek (a Turkic language), Urdu, and Somali. The Near Eastern Languages and Cultures Department (NELC) houses all of those languages, except for Somali which is offered through the African American and African Studies Department. In addition, NELC offers Hindi, another important South Asian language in addition to Urdu. The Middle East Studies Center (MESC) supports them in a number of ways, including funding, Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships, and proficiency testing. However, MESC is not the enrolling unit. Several of these languages offer GEC-fulfilling courses.

Languages of the Middle East are offered through Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. The list below will get you acquainted with where these languages are spoken in the world. Please also check out our e-book, Keys to Understanding the Middle East. For information on Less Commonly Taught Languages offered nation-wide, check the searchable database offered by the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition at the University of Minnesota. 

Languages and Countries of West Asia (Middle East) and North Africa

This list is organized linguistically, according to Arabic-, Hebrew-, Persian- or Turkish(ic)-speaking communities. Note that each of the following countries is diverse, with multiple cultural commmunities who bring a variety of the languages listed (and others) to the broader society. The Middle East is home to other less commonly taught languages, such as Amazigh, Kurdish and Aramaic/Syriac. 


  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Oman
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Syria
  • Tunisia
  • Yemen 


  • Israel 


  • Afghanistan
  • Iran
  • Tajikistan 


  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan

Turkish (and Turkic languages like Azeri, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Turkmen, Uyghur, Uzbek)

  • Afghanistan
  • Azerbaijan
  • China
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Turkey
  • Uzbekistan