Arabic, the native language of the indigenous population, is a Semitic language related to Hebrew and Aramaic. Local variations in pronunciation do not prevent oral communication between people from opposite sections of the Arabian Peninsula. The language is written in a cursive script from right to left. The 28 letters of the alphabet have initial, medial, and terminal forms; short vowels are seldom indicated. Most business people and merchants in oil-producing areas and commercial centers understand English. Government correspondence must be written in Arabic.