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LEVANTINE ARABIC ( Arabic
Arabic
: اللهجة الشامية‎‎, ʾal-lahǧatu š-šāmiyyah, Levantine Arabic: il-lahže š-šāmiyye) is a broad dialect of Arabic
Arabic
spoken in the 100 to 200 kilometre-wide Eastern Mediterranean
Eastern Mediterranean
coastal strip. It is considered one of the five major varieties of Arabic. In the frame of the general diglossia status of the Arab world, Levantine Arabic
Arabic
is used for daily spoken use, while most of the written and official documents and media use Modern Standard Arabic
Arabic
.

CONTENTS

* 1 Classification * 2 Geographical distribution * 3 History * 4 Phonology * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 Bibliography * 8 External links

CLASSIFICATION

Levantine Arabic
Arabic
is most closely related to North Mesopotamian Arabic , Anatolian Arabic, and Cypriot Arabic
Arabic
. These four varieties are descended from a common variety of northern Old Arabic
Arabic
.

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION

Levantine Arabic
Arabic
is spoken in the fertile strip on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. To the East, in the desert, one finds North Arabian Bedouin varieties. The transition to Egyptian Arabic
Arabic
in the South via the Negev and Sinai desert where Bedouin varieties are spoken and then the Egyptian Sharqiyya dialect, was described by de Jong in 1999,. In this direction, the Egyptian city of El Arish is the last one to display proper Levantine features. In a similar manner, the region of el-Karak announces Hijazi Arabic. In the North, the limit between Mesopotamian Gilit dialects starts from the Turkish border near el-Rāʿi, and the lake Jabbul is the north-eastern limit of Levantine Arabic, which includes further south el-Qaryatayn Damascus
Damascus
and the Hauran mountains.

HISTORY

Certain areal features of Central Semitic, like the definite article and the at > ah sound change, radiated out from the central Levant. Their occurrence in Arabic
Arabic
suggests that the language in its earliest stages was geographically contiguous with the Northwest Semitic languages in which these areal features also occur. Arabic
Arabic
would have thus entered the Arabian Peninsula afterwards in a series of pre-Islamic migrations.

The identification of isoglosses that appear in the ancient evidence and the modern Levantine dialects suggests continuity in the Arabic
Arabic
of the Levant
Levant
from ancient times to the present. Nevertheless, contact between indigenous northern and later southern varieties of Arabic
Arabic
was integral to the development of modern Levantine Arabic.

As an illustrative example of this contact situation, Cypriot Arabic and the 9th century Damascus
Damascus
Psalm Fragment (Psalm 78) both attest to the existence of an ancient Levantine process of pre-tonic /a/ raising: *sallámtu > sillámt. Cypriot Arabic
Arabic
stems in large part from the Arabic
Arabic
spoken by Levantine Maronites during the 12th and 13th centuries and represents a variety of Levantine Arabic
Arabic
that has come under considerably less influence from the imperial idiom and interaction with non-Levantine dialects. Likewise, the Damascus
Damascus
Psalm Fragment was produced, for the most part, before the mass influx of Peninsular Arabic
Arabic
following the advent of Islam and outside the tradition of writing in Classical Arabic. This allophonic a-raising is today restricted to a few rural varieties of Levantine Arabic. Instead, analogically leveled forms appeared to have moved from the east into cities and then radiated outwards, affecting nearby rural dialects later. The urban and oasis dialects of the Levant
Levant
and Mesopotamia (al-Nabek , Soukhne , Palmyra
Palmyra
, Damascus
Damascus
, Aleppo
Aleppo
, Baghdad
Baghdad
) have come under the most contact with forms of Arabic originating in the Najd
Najd
and thus reflect centuries of leveling and development. The urban core of modern Levantine Arabic
Arabic
was borne out of this contact situation.

PHONOLOGY

Main article: Levantine Arabic
Arabic
phonology

Consonant phonemes of Urban Levantine Arabic
Arabic
(Beirut, Damascus, Jerusalem)

LABIAL DENTI-ALVEOLAR PALATAL VELAR PHARYNGEAL GLOTTAL

PLAIN EMPHATIC

NASAL m – م n – ن

OCCLUSIVE VOICELESS

t – ت ث tˤ – ط

k – ك

ʔ – ء ق

VOICED b – ب d – د ذ dˤ – ظ ض

FRICATIVE VOICELESS f – ف s – س ث sˤ – ص ʃ – ش x – خ ħ – ح h – ه

VOICED

z – ز ذ (zˤ – ظ) ʒ – ج ɣ – غ ʕ – ع

TRILL / TAP

r – ر

APPROXIMANT

l – ل (ɫ ) j – ي w – و

SEE ALSO

* Lebanese Arabic
Arabic
* Jordanian Arabic
Arabic
* Palestinian Arabic
Arabic
* Syrian Arabic
Arabic
* North Syrian Arabic
Arabic

REFERENCES

* ^ North Levantine at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) South Levantine at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) Cypriot Arabic
Arabic
at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) * ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Levantine Arabic". Glottolog 2.7 . Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. * ^ Versteegh, Kees , The Arabic
Arabic
language, Edinburgh University Press, 2001, p.170 * ^ Bassiouney, Reem, Arabic
Arabic
sociolinguistics, Edinburgh University Press, 2009, p.20 * ^ Rudolf de Jong, Characteristics of Bedouin dialects in southern Sinai: preliminary observations, in, Manfred Woidich, Martine Haak, Rudolf Erik de Jong,, eds., Approaches to Arabic
Arabic
dialects: a collection of articles presented to Manfred Woidich on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday, BRILL, 2004, pp.151-176 * ^ Heikki Palva, Sedentary and Bedouin Dialects in Contact: Remarks On Karaki and Salti Dialects in Jordan, Journal of Arabic
Arabic
and Islamic Studies vol 9 (2008) * ^ Peter Behnstedt, Sprachatlas von Syrien I, Kartenband & Beiheft, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1997, 1037 & 242 pages * ^ Al-Jallad, Ahmad. Ancient Levantine Arabic: A Reconstruction Based on the Earliest Sources and the Modern Dialects. ProQuest LLC. ISBN 9781267445070 .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

* A. Barthelemy, Dictionnaire Arabe-Français. Dialectes de Syrie: Alep, Damas, Liban, Jérusalem (Paris, 1935)

EXTERNAL LINKS

LEVANTINE ARABIC TEST of North Levantine Arabic