The Info List - Hejazi Arabic

--- Advertisement ---

Hejazi Arabic
or Hijazi Arabic
(Arabic: حجازي‎ ḥijāzī), also known as West Arabian Arabic, is a variety of Arabic
spoken in the Hejaz
region in Saudi Arabia. Strictly speaking, there are two main groups of dialects spoken in the Hejaz
region,[3] one by the urban population originally spoken in the major cities of Jeddah, Mecca
and Medina, and another by the bedouin or rural populations. However, the term most often applies to the urban variety. In antiquity, the Hejaz
was home to the Old Higazi
Old Higazi
dialect of Arabic. Old Higazi
Old Higazi
is distinct from modern Hejazi Arabic, and represents an older linguistic layer wiped out by centuries of migration, but curiously shares with the modern dialect the imperative prefix vowel /a-/.


1 Classification

1.1 Features

1.1.1 Innovative features 1.1.2 Conservative features

2 History 3 Phonology

3.1 Consonants 3.2 Vowels

3.2.1 Monophthongization

4 Vocabulary

4.1 Portmanteau 4.2 Numerals

5 Grammar

5.1 Subject pronouns 5.2 Verbs

5.2.1 Regular verbs

5.3 Object pronouns

6 Writing system 7 Rural dialects

7.1 Al-`Ula 7.2 Badr

8 References 9 Bibliography 10 External links

Classification[edit] Hejazi Arabic
belongs to the western Peninsular Arabic
Peninsular Arabic
branch of the Arabic
language, which itself is a Semitic language. It includes features of both urban and bedouin dialects giving its history between the ancient urban cities of Medina
and Mecca
and the bedouin tribes that lived on the outskirts of these cities. Features[edit] Also referred to as the sedentary Hejazi dialect, this is the form most commonly associated with the term "Hejazi Arabic", and is spoken in the urban centers of the region, such as Jeddah, Mecca, and Medina. With respect to the axis of bedouin versus sedentary dialects of the Arabic
language, this dialect group exhibits features of both. Like other sedentary dialects, the urban Hejazi dialect is less conservative than the bedouin varieties in some aspects and has therefore shed some Classical forms and features that are still present in bedouin dialects, These include gender-number disagreement, and the feminine marker -n (see Varieties of Arabic). But in contrast to bedouin dialects, the distinction between the emphatic sounds /dˤ/ ض
and /zˤ/ ظ
is generally preserved in a number of words. Innovative features[edit]

The present progressive tense is marked by the prefix بـ /bi/ or قاع د
/gaːʕid/ as in بيدر س
/bijidrus/ or قاع د
يدرس /gaːʕid jidrus/ ("he is studying"). the internal passive form, which in Hejazi, is replaced by the pattern (أنفع ل /anfaʕal/, ينفع ل /jinfaʕil/). The final -n in present tense plural verb forms is no longer employed (e.g. يركبو ا
/jirkabu/ instead of يركبو ن /jarkəbuːn/). The dominant case ending before the 3rd person masculine singular pronoun is -u, rather than the -a that is prevalent in bedouin dialects. For example, بيته /beːtu/ ("his house"), عنده /ʕindu/ ("he has"), أعرفه /aʕrifu/ ("I know him").

Conservative features[edit]

Hejazi Arabic
does not employ double negation, nor does it append the negation particles -sh to negate verbs: Hejazi م ا
اعر ف /maː aʕrif/ ("I don't know"), as opposed to Egyptian معرفش /maʕrafʃ/ and Palestinian بعرف ش
/baʕrafiʃ/. The prohibitive mood of Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
is preserved in the imperative: ل ا
ترو ح /laː tiruːħ/ ("don't go"). The possessive suffixes are generally preserved in their Classical forms. For example, بيتك م /beːtakum/ "your (pl) house".

The plural first person pronoun is نحن ا
/niħna/ or إحنا /iħna/, as opposed to the bedouin حنّ ا
/ħənna/ or إنّا /ənna/. When used to indicate location, the preposition ف ي /fi/ is preferred to بـ /b/. In bedouin dialects, the preference differs by region. Less restriction on the distribution of /i/ and /u/. The glottal stop can be added to final syllables ending in a vowel as a way of emphasising. Compared to neighboring dialects, urban Hejazi retains most of the short vowels of Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
with no vowel reduction, for example:

سمكة /samaka/ ("fish"), as opposed to bedouin [sməka]. نُطْ ق
/nutˤg/ ("pronunciation"), as opposed to bedouin [nətˤg]. ضربَته /dˤarabatu/ ("she hit him"), as opposed to bedouin [ðˤrabətah]. وَلَدُه /waladu/ ("his son"), as opposed to bedouin [wlədah]. عندَكُ م /ʕindakum/ ("in your possession" pl.), as opposed to bedouin [ʕəndəkum], Egyptian [ʕanduku], and Levantine [ʕandkun].


Approximate distribution of Arabic language
Arabic language
around the 1st century in Hejaz
and Najd

The Arabic
of today is derived principally from the old dialects of Central and North Arabia which were divided by the classical Arab grammarians into three groups: Hejaz, Najd, and the language of the tribes in adjoining areas. Though the modern Hejazi dialects has developed markedly since the development of Classical Arabic, and Modern Standard Arabic
Modern Standard Arabic
is quite distinct from the modern dialect of Hejaz. Standard Arabic
now differs considerably from modern Hejazi Arabic
in terms of its phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon,[4] such diglossia in Arabic
began to emerge at the latest in the sixth century CE when oral poets recited their poetry in a proto-Classical Arabic
based on archaic dialects which differed greatly from their own.[5] Phonology[edit] Main article: Hejazi Arabic
phonology In general Hejazi phonemic inventory consists of 26 to 28 consonant phonemes depending on the speaker's background and formality, while it has an eight-vowel system, consisting of three short and five long vowels /a, u, i, aː, uː, oː, iː, eː/, in addition to two diphthongs /aw, aj/ (in contrast to Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
6 vowels).[6][7] Consonant
length and Vowel
length are both distinctive in Hejazi. The main phonological features that differentiate Urban Hejazi from the neighboring Urban Najdi ِdialect and other Bedouin
dialects in the Arabian peninsula
Arabian peninsula
is the absence of vowel reduction, for example قل ت /gult/ 'I said' is pronounced [gʊlt] in Hejazi but pronounced with the reduced vowel ([ə]) as [gəlt] in Najdi, it also retains the standard pronunciation of the letter ⟨ض⟩ and the distinction between it and ⟨ظ⟩, but it alternates between the pronunciations of the letters ⟨ث⟩, ⟨ذ⟩, and ⟨ظ⟩. Consonants[edit]

phonemes of Urban Hejazi Arabic

Labial Dental Denti-alveolar Palatal Velar Pharyngeal Glottal

 plain  emphatic

Nasal m


Occlusive voiceless

t tˤ



voiced b

d dˤ d͡ʒ ɡ

Fricative voiceless f θ s sˤ ʃ x ħ h


ð z zˤ

ɣ ʕ




l (ɫ) j w

Phonetic notes:

the classicized [q] is an allophone of /ɡ/ ⟨ق⟩ in few words and proper names as in القرآ ن /algurˈʔaːn/→[alqʊrˈʔaːn] ('Quran') and القاهرة /alˈgaːhira/→[alˈqaːhɪra] ('Cairo'). the marginal phoneme /ɫ/ only occurs in the word الله /aɫːaːh/ ('god') and words derived from it, it contrasts with /l/ in والله /waɫːa/ ('i swear') vs. ولَّ ا
/walːa/ ('or'). the phonemes /θ/ ⟨ث⟩ and /ð/ ⟨ذ⟩ are completely distinct, or they partially or completely merge with other phonemes, depending on the speaker's accent. the phonemes /d͡ʒ/ ⟨ج⟩ and the trill /r/ ⟨ر⟩ are realised as a [ʒ] and a tap [ɾ] respectively by a number of speakers. the classicized [ðˤ] is an optional allophone for ⟨ظ⟩, but it is always used when pronouncing the letter's name which is [ˈðˤaːʔ]. In general, urban Hejazi speakers pronounce it as /zˤ/ or merge it with /dˤ/ depending on the word.


phonemes of Hejazi Arabic

Short Long

Front Back Front Back

Close i u iː uː

Mid eː oː

Open a aː

Phonetic notes:

/oː/ and /eː/ are pronounced as true mid vowels [o̞ː] and [e̞ː] respectively. /u/ is pronounced allophonically as [ʊ] or [o̞] in word initial or medial syllables and strictly as [u] at the end of words or before [w] or when isolate. /i/ is pronounced allophonically as [ɪ] or [e̞] in word initial or medial syllables and strictly as [i] at the end of words or before [j] or when isolate.

Monophthongization[edit] Most of the occurrences of the two diphthongs /aj/ and /aw/ in the Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
period underwent monophthongization in Hejazi, and are realized as the long vowels /eː/ and /oː/ respectively, but they are still preserved as diphthongs in a number of words which created a contrast with the long vowels /uː/, /oː/, /iː/ and /eː/.

Example (without diacritics) Meaning Hejazi Arabic Modern Standard Arabic

دوري league /dawri/ /dawri/

my turn /doːri/

turn around! /duːri/ /duːri/

Not all instances of mid vowels are a result of monophthongization, some are from grammatical processes قالو ا
/gaːlu/ 'they said' → قالو ا
له ا
/gaːloːlaha/ 'they said to her' (opposed to Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
قالو ا
له ا
/qaːluː lahaː/), and some occur in modern Portmanteau
words e.g. لي ش
/leːʃ/ 'why?' (from Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
لأ ي /liʔaj/ 'for what' and شيء /ʃajʔ/ 'thing'). Vocabulary[edit] Hejazi vocabulary derives primarily from Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
Semitic roots. The urban Hejazi vocabulary differs in some respect from that of other dialects in the Arabian Peninsula. For example, there are fewer specialized terms related to desert life, and more terms related to seafaring and fishing. Loanwords are mainly of Persian, Turkish, Latin (French and Italian) and English origins, and due to the diverse origins of the inhabitants of Hejazi cities, some loanwords are only used by some families. Many loanwords are fading due to the influence of Modern Standard Arabic
Modern Standard Arabic
and their association with lower social class and education.[8] Most of the loanwords are nouns (with a change of meaning sometimes) as in : جزمة /d͡ʒazma/ "shoe" from Turkish çizme /t͡ʃizme/ originally meaning "boot" or كُبري /kubri/ "overpass" from köprü /køpry/ originally meaning "bridge". General Hejazi Expressions include بالتوفي ق
/bitːawfiːg/ "good luck", ل و
سمح ت /law samaħt/ "please/excuse me" to a male, إيوه /ʔiːwa/ "yes", لأ /laʔ/ "no", لسة /lisːa/ "not yet", ق د
/ɡid/ or قي د
/ɡiːd/ "already", دحي ن /daħiːn/ or /daħeːn/ "now". Portmanteau[edit] A common feature in Hejazi vocabulary is Portmanteau
words (also called a blend in linguistics); in which parts of multiple words or their phones (sounds) are combined into a new word, it is especially innovative in making Interrogative words, examples include:

إيوه (/ʔiːwa/, "yes") : from إ ي (/ʔiː/, "yes") and و (/wa/, "and") and الله (/aɫːaːh/, "god"). معلي ش
(/maʕleːʃ/, is it ok?/sorry) : from م ا
(/maː/, nothing) and عليه (/ʕalajh/, on him) and شيء (/ʃajʔ/, thing). إي ش
(/ʔeːʃ/, "what?") : from أ ي (/aj/, "which") and شيء (/ʃajʔ/, "thing"). لي ش
(/leːʃ/, "why?") : from لأ ي (/liʔaj/, for what) and شيء (/ʃajʔ/, "thing"). في ن (/feːn/, where?) : from ف ي (/fiː/, in) and أين (/ʔajn/, where). إلي ن (/ʔileːn/, "until") : from إلى (/ʔilaː/, "to") and أ ن (/an/, "that"). دحي ن (/daħiːn/ or /daħeːn/, "now") or ذحي ن (/ðaħiːn/ or /ðaħeːn/, "now") : from ذ ا
(/ðaː/, "this") and الحين (/alħiːn/, part of time). بعدي ن (/baʕdeːn/, later) : from بع د
(baʕd, after) and أَيْ ن (ʔayn, part of time). علشا ن or عشا ن (/ʕalaʃaːn/ or /ʕaʃaːn/, "because") : from على (/ʕalaː/, "on") and شأ ن (/ʃaʔn/, "matter"). كما ن (/kamaːn/, "also") : from كم ا
(/kamaː/, "like") and أ ن (/ʔan/, "that"). يلّ ا
(/jaɫːa/, come on) : from ي ا
(/jaː/, "o!") and الله (/aɫːaːh/, "god").

Numerals[edit] The Cardinal number system in Hejazi is much more simplified than the Classical Arabic[9]

numbers 1-10 IPA 11-20 IPA 10s IPA 100s IPA

1 واحد /waːħid/ 11 احدعش /iħdaʕaʃ/ 10 عشرة /ʕaʃara/ 100 مية /mijːa/

2 اثنين /itneːn/ or /iθneːn/ 12 اثنعش /itˤnaʕaʃ/ or /iθnaʕaʃ/ 20 عشرين /ʕiʃriːn/ 200 ميتين /mijteːn/ or /mijːateːn/

3 ثلاثة /talaːta/ or /θalaːθa/ 13 ثلثطعش /talattˤaʕaʃ/ or /θalaθtˤaʕaʃ/ 30 ثلاثين /talaːtiːn/ or /θalaːθiːn/ 300 ثلثميَّة /tultumijːa/ or /θulθumijːa/

4 أربعة /arbaʕa/ 14 أربعطعش /arbaʕtˤaʕaʃ/ 40 أربعين /arbiʕiːn/ 400 أربعميَّة /urbuʕmijːa/

5 خمسة /xamsa/ 15 خمسطعش /xamistˤaʕaʃ/ 50 خمسين /xamsiːn/ 500 خمسميَّة /xumsumijːa/

6 ستة /sitːa/ 16 ستطعش /sittˤaʕaʃ/ 60 ستين /sitːiːn/ 600 ستميَّة /sutːumijːa/

7 سبعة /sabʕa/ 17 سبعطعش /sabaʕtˤaʕaʃ/ 70 سبعين /sabʕiːn/ 700 سبعميَّة /subʕumijːa/

8 ثمنية /tamanja/ or /θamanja/ 18 ثمنطعش /tamantˤaʕaʃ/ or /θamantˤaʕaʃ/ 80 ثمانين /tamaːniːn/ or /θamaːniːn/ 800 ثمنميَّة /tumnumijːa/ or /θumnumijːa/

9 تسعة /tisʕa/ 19 تسعطعش /tisaʕtˤaʕaʃ/ 90 تسعين /tisʕiːn/ 900 تسعميَّة /tusʕumijːa/

10 عشرة /ʕaʃara/ 20 عشرين /ʕiʃriːn/ 100 ميَّة /mijːa/ 1000 ألف /alf/

A system similar to the German numbers system is used for other numbers between 20 and above : 21 is واح د
عشرين /waːħid u ʕiʃriːn/ which literally mean ('one and twenty') and 485 is أربعمية و
خمسة و
ثماني ن /urbuʕmijːa u xamsa u tamaːniːn/ which literally mean ('four hundred and five and eighty'). Unlike Classical Arabic,the only number that is gender specified in Hejazi is "one" which has two forms واح د
and وحدة as in كتا ب
واح د
/kitaːb waːħid/ ('one book') or سيارة وحدة /sajːaːra waħda/ ('one car').

for 2 as in 'two cars' 'two years' 'two houses' etc. the dual form is used instead of the number with the suffix ēn /eːn/ or tēn /teːn/ (if the noun ends with a feminine /a/) as in كتابين /kitaːbeːn/ ('two books') or سيّارتي ن /sajːarateːn/ ('two cars'). for numbers 3 to 10 the noun following the number is in plural form as in اربعة كت ب
/arbaʕa kutub/ ('4 books') or عشرة سيّارا ت /ʕaʃara sajːaːraːt/ ('10 cars'). for numbers 11 and above the noun following the number is in singular form as in :-

from 11 to 19 an ـ ر [ar] is added to the end of the numbers as in اربعطعش ر كتا ب
/arbaʕtˤaʕʃar kitaːb/ ('14 books') or احدعش ر سيّارة /iħdaʕʃar sajːaːra/ ('11 cars'). for 100s a [t] is added to the end of the numbers before the counted nouns as in ثلثميّة سيّارة /tultumijːat sajːaːra/ ('300 cars'). other numbers are simply added to the singular form of the noun واح د
عشري ن كتا ب
/waːħid u ʕiʃriːn kitaːb/ ('21 books').

Grammar[edit] Subject pronouns[edit] In Hejazi Arabic, personal pronouns have eight forms. In singular, the 2nd and 3rd persons differentiate gender, while the 1st person and plural do not.

Subject pronouns

Person Singular Plural

1st ana انا iħna احنا

2nd masculine inta َانت intu انتو

feminine inti ِانتي/انت

3rd masculine huwwa هو humma همَّ

feminine hiyya هي

Negative subject pronouns

Person Singular Plural

1st mani مني maħna محنا

2nd masculine manta َمنت mantu منتو

feminine manti ِمنتي/منت

3rd masculine mahu مهو mahum مهم

feminine mahi مهي

Verbs[edit] Hejazi Arabic
verbs, as with the verbs in other Semitic languages, and the entire vocabulary in those languages, are based on a set of three, four also five consonants (but mainly three consonants) called a root (triliteral or quadriliteral according to the number of consonants). The root communicates the basic meaning of the verb, e.g. k-t-b 'to write', ʼ-k-l 'to eat'. Changes to the vowels in between the consonants, along with prefixes or suffixes, specify grammatical functions such as :

Two tenses (past, present; present progressive is indicated by the prefix (b-), future is indicated by the prefix (ħ-)) Two voices (active, passive) Two genders (masculine, feminine) Three persons (first, second, third) Two numbers (singular, plural) Two moods (indicative, imperative).

Hejazi Has a single indicative present verb mood instead of the three Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
present verb moods (indicative رفع, subjunctive نصب, jussive جزم), it also includes present progressive tense which was not part of the Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
grammar, and has a two grammatical number in verbs (Singular and Plural) instead of the Classical (Singular, Dual and Plural). Regular verbs[edit] the most common verbs in Hejazi have a given vowel pattern for past (a and i) to present (a or u or i). Combinations of each exist:

patterns Example

Past Present

a a raħam رح م he forgave – yirħam يرح م he forgives

a u ḍarab ضر ب
he hit – yiḍrub يضر ب
he hits

a i ġasal غس ل he washed – yiġsil يغس ل he washes

i a fihim فه م he understood – yifham يفه م he understands

i i ʕirif عر ف he knew – yiʕrif يعر ف he knows

According to Arab grammarians, verbs are divided into three categories; Past ماضي, Present مضار ع and Imperative أمر. An example from the root k-t-b the verb katabt/ʼaktub 'i wrote/i write' (which is a regular sound verb):

Tense/Mood Past "wrote" Present (Indicative) "write" Imperative "write!"

Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural

1st كتب ت (katab)-t كتبن ا
(katab)-na أكت ب
ʼa-(ktub) نكت ب

2nd masculine كتب ت (katab)-t كتبتو ا
(katab)-tu تكت ب
ti-(ktub) تكتبو ا
ti-(ktub)-u أكت ب
[a]-(ktub) أكتبو ا

feminine كتبت ي (katab)-ti تكتب ي ti-(ktub)-i أكتب ي [a]-(ktub)-i

3rd masculine كت ب
(katab) كتبو ا
(katab)-u يكت ب
yi-(ktub) يكتبو ا

feminine كتب ت (katab)-at تكت ب

While present progressive and future are indicated by adding the prefix (b-) and (ħ-) respectively to the present (indicative) :

Tense/Mood Present Progressive "writing" Future "will write"

Person Singular Plural Singular Plural

1st بكت ب
or بأكت ب
ba-a-(ktub) بنكت ب
bi-ni-(ktub) حكت ب
or حأكت ب
ħa-a-(ktub) حنكت ب

2nd masculine بتكت ب
bi-ti-(ktub) بتكتبو ا
bi-ti-(ktub)-u حتكت ب
ħa-ti-(ktub) حتكتبو ا

feminine بتكتب ي bi-ti-(ktub)-i حتكتب ي ħa-ti-(ktub)-i

3rd masculine بيكت ب
bi-yi-(ktub) بيكتبو ا
bi-yi-(ktub)-u حيكت ب
ħa-yi-(ktub) حيكتبو ا

feminine بتكت ب
bi-ti-(ktub) حتكت ب

The Active Participles قاع د
/gaːʕid/, قاعدة /gaːʕda/ and قاعدي ن /gaːʕdiːn/ can be used instead of the prefix بـ [b-] as in قاع د
اكت ب
/gaːʕid aktub/ ('i'm writing') instead of بأكتب/ بكت ب
/baktub/ / /baʔaktub/ ('i'm writing') without any change in the meaning. when an indirect object pronoun (ل ي ,له ا
,لهم...etc) is added to a present verb or a masculine singular imperative verb that has a long vowel in the last syllable as in أعي د
/ʔaʕiːd/ ('I repeat') or قو ل /guːl/ ('say!'); the vowel is shortened before the suffixes as in أعِ د
ل ك /ʔaʕidlak/ ('I repeat for you') and قُ ل له ا
/gulːaha/ ('tell her!') with the verbs resembling the Jussive mood conjugation in Classical Arabic the 3rd person past plural suffix -/u/ turns into -/oː/ (long o) before pronouns. as in كتبو ا
/katabu/ ('they wrote') → كتبو ا
ل ي /kataboːli/ ('they wrote to me'), and عرفوا /ʕirfu/ ('they knew') → عرفون ي /ʕirfoːni/ ('they knew me') the verbs highlighted in silver sometimes come in irregular forms e.g. (ħabbē)-t "i loved", (ħabbē)-na "we loved" but (ħabb) "he loved" and (ħabb)-u "they loved".

Example: katabt/aktub "write": non-finite forms

Number/Gender اس م الفاع ل Active Participle اس م المفعو ل Passive Participle مصد ر Verbal Noun

Masc. Sg. kātib كاتب maktūb مكتوب kitāba كتابة

Fem. Sg. kātb-a كاتبة maktūb-a مكتوبة

Pl. kātb-īn كاتبين maktūb-īn مكتوبين

Active participles act as adjectives, and so they must agree with their subject. An active participle can be used in several ways:

to describe a state of being (understanding; knowing). to describe what someone is doing right now (going, leaving) as in some verbs like رح ت ("i went") the active participle راي ح ("i'm going") is used instead of present continuous form to give the same meaning of an ongoing action. to indicate that someone/something is in a state of having done something (having put something somewhere, having lived somewhere for a period of time).

Object pronouns[edit] Enclitic forms of object pronouns are suffixes that are affixed to various parts of speech, with varying meanings:

To the construct state of nouns, where they have the meaning of possessive demonstratives, e.g. "my, your, his". To verbs, where they have the meaning of direct object pronouns, e.g. "me, you, him". To verbs, where they have the meaning of indirect object pronouns, e.g. "(to/for) me,(to/for) you, (to/for) him". To prepositions.

Unlike Egyptian Arabic, in Hejazi no more than one pronoun can be suffixed to a word.

Possessive Pronouns (nominal)[10]

Person Singular Plural

1st -i/(-ya/-yya)2 my ـي -na our ـنا

2nd masculine m. -ak/(-k) your ـك -kum your ـكم

feminine f. -ik/(-ki) your ـكي)/ـك)

3rd masculine m. -uʰ/( -[ː]ʰ 1) his ـه -hum their ـهم

feminine f. -ha her ـها

Direct Object Pronouns (verbal)

Person Singular Plural

1st -ni me ـني -na us ـنا

2nd masculine m. -ak/(-k) you ـك -kum you ـكم

feminine f. -ik(-ki) you ـكي)/ـك)

3rd masculine m. -uʰ/( -[ː]ʰ 1) him ـه -hum them ـهم

feminine f. -ha her ـها

Indirect Object Pronouns (verbal)

Person Singular Plural

1st -li (for/to) me لي -lana us لنا

2nd masculine m. -lak you لَك -lakum you لكم

feminine f. -lik you لِك

3rd masculine m. -luʰ him له -lahum them لهم

feminine f. -laha her لها


When a noun ends in a feminine /a/ vowel as in مدرسة /madrasa/ ('school') : a /t/ is added before the suffixes as in → مدرست ي /madrasati/ ('my school'), مدرسته /madrasatu/ ('his school'), مدرسته ا
/madrasatha/ ('her school') and so on. After a word ends in a vowel (other than the /-a/ of the feminine nouns), the vowel is lengthened, and the pronouns in (Parentheses) are used instead of their original counterparts :-

the possessive pronouns as in كرس ي /kursi/ ('chair') → كرسيه /kursiː/ ('his chair'), كرسين ا
/kursiːna/ ('our chair'), كرسيك ي /kursiːki/ ('your chair' f.) the direct object pronouns لاحقن ا
/laːħagna/ ('we followed') → لاحقناه /laːħagnaː/ ('we followed him'), لاحقناك ي /laːħagnaːki/ ('we followed you' feminine). the indirect object pronouns رحن ا
/ruħna/ ('we went') → رحن ا
له /ruħnaːlu/ ('we went to him').

After a word that ends in two consonants, or which has a long vowel in the last syllable, /-a-/ is inserted before the 5 suffixes which begin with a consonant /-ni/, /-na/, /-ha/, /-hom/, /-kom/.

the possessive pronouns كتا ب
/kitaːb/ ('book') → كتابها /kitaːbaha/ ('her book'), كتابه م /kitaːbahum/ ('their book'), كتابك م /kitaːbakum/ ('your book' plural), كتابنا /kitaːbana/ ('our book'). the direct object pronouns عرف ت /ʕirift/ ('you knew') → عرفتن ي /ʕiriftani/ ('you knew me'), عرفتن ا
/ʕiriftana/ ('you knew us'), عرفته ا
/ʕiriftaha/ ('you knew her'), عرفته م /ʕiriftahum/ ('you knew them').

only with indirect object pronouns when a verb ends in two consonants as in katabt كتب ت /katabt/ ('i wrote') : an /-al-/ is added before the Indirect object pronoun suffixes → katabtallu كتبت له /katabtalːu/ ('i wrote to him'), katabtallahum كتب ت لهم /katabtalːahum/ ('i wrote to them'). only with indirect object pronouns when a verb has a long vowel in the last syllable as in أرو ح /aruːħ/ ('I go') : the vowel is shortened before the suffixes → أرُ ح له ا
/aruħlaha/ ('I go to her') with the verbs resembling the Jussive mood conjugation in written Classical Arabic. ^1 the colon between the (Parentheses) indicate that only the vowel is lengthened, since the word-final ـه [h] is silent in this position. ^2 if a noun ends with a vowel (other than the /-a/ of the feminine nouns) that is /u/ or /a/ then the suffix (-ya) is used as in أبو /abu/ ('father') becomes َابو ي /abuːja/ ('my father') but if it ends with an /i/ then the suffix (-yya) is added as in َّكرسي /kursijːa/ ('my chair'). it is uncommon for Hejazi nouns to end in a vowel other than the /-a/ of the feminine nouns.

Writing system[edit]

An Early Qur'anic manuscript written in Hijazi script
Hijazi script
(8th century AD)

Hejazi is written using the Arabic
alphabet; like other varieties of Arabic, Hejazi does not have a standard form of writing and mostly follows the Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
form of writing.[11] In general people alternate between writing the words according to their etymology or the phoneme used while pronouncing them, which mainly has an effect with the three letters ⟨ث⟩ ⟨ذ⟩ and ⟨ظ⟩, although this alternation is not considered acceptable by all Hejazi speakers, Another alternation which is more acceptable and likely to appear happens when writing some words that end in a short vowel /a, u, i/, whether to add a vowel letter ⟨و⟩ ⟨ا⟩ or ⟨ي⟩ at the end of the word as in انت ي /inti/ ('you' singular feminine) to differentiate it from ان ت /inta/ ('you' singular masculine), since most word-final short vowels from the Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
period have been omitted and most word-final unstressed long vowel letters have been shortened in Hejazi, another form of writing is to write its Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
form ان ت which can also be pronounced /inta/ or /inti/ since in Arabic
handwriting of everyday use, in general publications, and on street signs, short vowels are typically not written, and when needed to be written they are written in a form of diacritics; ـَ above the letter for /a/, ـُ above the letter for /u/, ـِ under the letter for /i/. The table below shows the Arabic alphabet
Arabic alphabet
letters and their corresponding phonemes in urban Hejazi :-

letter corresponding phonemes / allophones example pronunciation

ا /ʔ/ (see ⟨ء⟩ Hamza). سأ ل "he asked" /saʔal/

/aː/ با ب
"door" /baːb/

/a/ only when word-final and unstressed (when word-final and stressed it's an /aː/) شُفن ا
"we saw", (ذ ا
m. "this") /ˈʃufna/, (/ˈdaː/ or /ˈðaː/)

additional ∅ silent word-final only in plural verbs and after nunation قالو ا
"they said", شكرً ا
"thanks" /gaːlu/, /ʃukran/

ب /b/ بر ق
"lightning" /barg/

ت /t/ تو ت "berry" /tuːt/


in some words /t/; merger with ⟨ت⟩ or always/in some words as /θ/ (distinct phoneme) ثخي ن "thick" /taxiːn/ or /θaxiːn/

in some words /s/; merger with ⟨س⟩ مثا ل "example" /misaːl/ or /miθaːl/

ج /d͡ʒ/ جوَّا ل "mobile phone" /d͡ʒawːaːl/

ح /ħ/ حو ش
"courtyard" /ħoːʃ/

خ /x/ خرقة "rag" /xirga/

د /d/ دولا ب
"closet" /doːˈlaːb/


in some words /d/; merger with ⟨د⟩ or always/in some words as /ð/ (distinct phoneme) ذي ل "tail" /deːl/ or /ðeːl/

in some words /z/; merger with ⟨ز⟩ ذو ق
"taste" /zoːg/ or /ðoːg/

ر /r/ رم ل "sand" /ramil/

ز /z/ زحليقة "slide" /zuħleːga/

س /s/ سمكة "fish" /samaka/

ش /ʃ/ شيو ل "loader" /ʃeːwal/

ص /sˤ/ صُفِّيرة "whistle" /sˁuˈfːeːra/

ض /dˤ/ ضر س
"molar" /dˤirs/

ط /tˤ/ طرقة "corridor" /tˤurga/


in some words /zˤ/ (distinct phoneme) or always/in some words as /ðˤ/ لحظة "moment" /laħzˤa/ or /laħðˤa/

in some words /dˤ/; merger with ⟨ض⟩ ظ ل "shade" /dˤilː/ or /ðˤilː/

ع /ʕ/ عي ن "eye" /ʕeːn/

غ /ɣ/ غرا ب
"crow" /ɣuraːb/

ف /f/ ف م "mouth" /famː/

ق /g/ (pronounced [q] in few words and phrases depending on the speaker) قل ب
"heart" /galb/

ك /k/ كل ب
"dog" /kalb/

ل /l/ (marginal phoneme /ɫ/ only in the word الله and words derived from it). لح م "meat", (الله "god") /laħam/, (/aɫːaːh/)

م /m/ موية "water" /moːja/

ن /n/ نا س
"people" /naːs/

هـ /h/ (∅ silent only word-final in 3rd person masculine singular pronouns and some words) هو ا
"air", (كتابُه "his book", شفناه "we saw him") /hawa/, (/kitaːbu/, /ʃufˈnaː/)

و /w/ وردة "rose" /warda/

/uː/ فو ق
"wake up!" /fuːg/

/oː/ فو ق
"above, up" /foːg/

/u/ only when word-final and unstressed (when word-final and stressed it's either /uː/ or /oː/) رب و
"asthma", (م و
"is not", جو ا
"they came") /ˈrabu/, (/ˈmuː/, /ˈd͡ʒoː/)

ي /j/ ي د
"hand" /jadː/

/iː/ بي ض
"whites pl." /biːdˤ/

/eː/ بي ض
"eggs" /beːdˤ/

/i/ only when word-final and unstressed (when word-final and stressed it's either /iː/ or /eː/) سعود ي "saudi", (ذ ي f. "this") /suˈʕuːdi/, (/ˈdiː/ or /ˈðiː/)

Additional non-native letters

پ /p/ (can be written and pronounced as a ⟨ب⟩) پو ل ~ بو ل "Paul" /poːl/ ~ /boːl/

ڤ /v/ (can be written and pronounced as a ⟨ف⟩) ڤيرو س
~ فيرو س
"virus" /vajruːs/ ~ /fajruːs/


Some words are an exception to these rules such as ضب ط ("it worked") is pronounced /zˤabatˤ/ and not /dˤabatˤ/. The classical [q] is an allophone for /g/ ⟨ق⟩ only in few words and proper nouns e.g. قامو س
"dictionary" /gaːmuːs/→[qaːmuːs]. The classical [ðˤ] is an optional allophone for the letter ⟨ظ⟩, its usage depends on the speaker's preference. Short vowels are written as diacritics :-

ـَ above the letter for /a/. ـُ above the letter for /u/. ـِ under the letter for /i/.

Rural dialects[edit] The varieties of Arabic
spoken in the smaller towns and by the bedouin tribes in the Hejaz
region are relatively under-studied. However, the speech of some tribes shows much closer affinity to other bedouin dialects, particularly those of neighboring Najd, than to those of the urban Hejazi cities. The dialects of northern Hejazi tribes merge into those of Jordan
and Sinai, while the dialects in the south merge with those of 'Asir
and Najd. Also, not all speakers of these bedouin dialects are figuratively nomadic bedouins; some are simply sedentary sections that live in rural areas, and thus speak dialects similar to those of their bedouin neighbors. Al-`Ula[edit] The dialect of Al-`Ula
governorate in the northern part of the Madinah region. Although understudied, it is considered to be unique among the Hejazi dialects, it is known for its pronunciation of Classical Arabic ⟨ك⟩ /k/ as a ⟨ش⟩ /ʃ/ (e.g. تكذ ب
/takðib/ becomes تشذ ب
/taʃðib/), the dialect also shows a tendency to pronounce long /aː/ as [eː] (e.g. Classical ماء /maːʔ/ becomes ميء [meːʔ]), in some instances the Classical /q/ becomes a /d͡ʒ/ as in قايلة /qaːjla/ becomes جايلة /d͡ʒaːjla/, also the second person singular feminine pronoun /ik/ tends to be pronounced as /iʃ/ (e.g. رجل ك /rid͡ʒlik/ ('your foot') becomes رجلش /rid͡ʒliʃ/.[12] Badr[edit] The dialect of Badr governorate in the western part of the Madinah region is mainly noted for its lengthening of word-final syllables and its alternative pronunciation of some phonemes as in سؤال /suʔaːl/ which is pronounced as سعا ل /suʕaːl/, it also shares some features with the general urban dialect in which modern standard Arabic
ثلاجة /θalːaːd͡ʒa/ is pronounced تلاجة /talːaːd͡ʒa/, another unique feature of the dialect is its similarity to the Arabic
dialects of Bahrain. References[edit]

^ Hejazi Arabic
on Ethnologue
(19th ed., 2016) ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Hejazi Arabic". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ Alzaidi (2014:73) ^ Watson, Janet (2002). The Phonology and Morphology of Arabic. Oxford university press. pp. 8, 9.  ^ Lipinski (1997). Semitic Languages: Outline of a Comparative Grammar. p. 75.  ^ Abdoh (2010:84) ^ Omar (1975:xv) ^ Alahmadi (2015:45) ^ Kheshaifaty (1997) ^ Omar (1975) ^ Holes, Clive (2004). Modern Arabic: Structures, Functions, and Varieties. Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press, Washington D.C. p. 92.  ^ Aljuhani, Sultan (2008). "Spoken Al-'Ula dialect between privacy and fears of extinction. (in Arabic)". 

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
portal Language portal

Kees Versteegh, The Arabic
Language, NITLE Arab World Project, by the permission of Edinburgh University Press, [1] Ingham, Bruce (1971). "Some Characteristics of Meccan Speech". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. School of Oriental and African Studies. 34 (2): 273–97. ISSN 1474-0699. JSTOR 612692 – via JSTOR. (Registration required (help)). 


Abdoh, Eman Mohammed (2010). A Study of the Phonological Structure and Representation of First Words in Arabic
(PDF) (Thesis).  Alzaidi, Muhammad Swaileh A. (2014). Information Structure and Intonation in Hijazi Arabic
(PDF) (Thesis).  Omar, Margaret k. (1975). "Saudi Arabic, Urban Hijazi Dialect" (PDF).  Kheshaifaty, Hamza
M.J. (1997). "Numerals: a comparative study between classical and hijazi arabic" (PDF). Journal of King Saud University, Arts. 9 (1): 19–36.  Watson, Janet C. E. (2002). The Phonology and Morphology of Arabic (PDF). 

External links[edit]

https://www.livelingua.com/course/fsi/Saudi_Arabian_Arabic_Course_(Hijazi_Dialect); Hijazi Arabic
course with audio files.

v t e

Languages of Saudi Arabia

Official language



Baharna Bareqi Bedawi Gulf Hejazi Najdi

Sign languages

Saudi Sign Language

v t e

Varieties of Arabic


Old Arabic

Modern literary

Classical Modern Standard


Egyptian Chadian Sa'idi Sudanese




Omani Shihhi Dhofari Kuwaiti



Bareqi Hejazi

Sedentary Bedouin


Baharna Yemeni

Hadhrami San'ani Ta'izzi-Adeni Tihami Judeo-Yemeni


Northwest Arabian



North Mesopotamian

Cypriot Anatolian Judeo-Iraqi

South Mesopotamian

Baghdad Koiné Khuzestani

Central Asian

Afghani Khorasani Central Asian Arabic


North Levantine

North Syrian Central Levantine

Central Syrian Lebanese

South Levantine

Jordanian Palestinian

Urban Central village

Outer southern







North-Eastern Tunisian

Eastern Village

Sahel Sfaxian Lesser Kabylia

Western Village

Traras-Msirda Mountain

Judeo-Maghrebi Arabic

Judeo-Moroccan Judeo-Tripolitanian Judeo-Tunisian



Libyan koiné

Eastern Hilal

Tunisian koiné

Central Hilal

Algerian koiné Algerian Saharan Eastern Algerian Western Algerian


Western Moroccan Eastern Moroccan Moroccan koiné Hassānīya


Sicilian Arabic
(extinct ancestor of Maltese which is not part of the Arabic






Judeo-Moroccan Judeo-Tripolitanian Judeo-Tunisian Judeo-Yemeni

Creoles and pidgins

Babalia Bimbashi Juba Nubi Maridi Turku

Italics indicate extinct languages.

^ "Documentation for ISO 639 ident