Structures of Arabic
There is a group of core characteristics to the Arabic language. The principal is evident, and well known: a different alphabet. The Arabic alphabet has 28 letters, but in some Arab countries, additional letters have been introduced, depending on important sounds in each of these countries. These letters are common to European languages, and are missing in the standard Arab alphabet. The more common ones include: g, p, and v. However, the manner of writing these letters are not standardized.
Arabic is written with an alphabet, but letters are joined together, reminding you of Western handwriting. More on writing in lessons 5-9. There are clear rules for pronunciation for each of the letters (even if these may differ slightly from country to country). Even better, for Arabic you can find the correct pronunciation from the spelling alone. This is one of the areas where learning Arabic is easier than it is for other major languages.
The other important characteristic is that the Arabic that you'll learn in this beginner's course, is called Modern Standard Arabic, and is based on the linguistic traditions of which the Koran is one of the main representatives for. This language is often very different from the language that people use in everyday speech, but is used in writing and in official contexts.