Arabic (العربية al-ʿarabīyah, ( Arabic pronunciation (help·info)) or عربي ʿarabī) is a Central Semitic language, thus related to and classified alongside other Semitic languages such as Hebrew and the Neo-Aramaic languages. Arabic has more speakers than any other language in the Semitic language family. It is spoken by more than 280 million people as a first language, most of whom live in the Middle East and North Africa. It is the official language of 22 countries and it is the liturgical language of Islam. Arabic has many different, geographically distributed spoken varieties, some of which are mutually unintelligible. Modern Standard Arabic is widely taught in schools, universities, and used in workplaces, government and the media.