There are many varieties of
Arabic (dialects or otherwise) in
Arabic is a Semitic language within the Afroasiatic family
that originated on the Arabian Peninsula. It is classified as a
macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties, including its standard
form . The largest divisions occur between the spoken languages of
different regions. Some varieties of
Arabic in North Africa, for
example, are incomprehensible to an
Arabic speaker from the
the Persian Gulf. Within these broad regions further and considerable
geographic distinctions exist, within countries, across country
borders, even between cities and villages.
Another major distinction is to be made between the widely diverging
colloquial spoken varieties, used for nearly all everyday speaking
situations, and the formal standardized language, found mostly in
writing or in prepared speech. The regionally prevalent variety is
learned as the speaker's first language while the formal language is
subsequently learned in school. The formal language itself varies
between its modern iteration, Modern Standard
Arabic (often called MSA
in English) and the Classical
Arabic that serves as its basis, though
Arabic speakers typically do not make this distinction.
The largest differences between the classical/standard and the
Arabic are the loss of grammatical case; a different and
strict word order; the loss of the previous system of grammatical
mood, along with the evolution of a new system; the loss of the
inflected passive voice, except in a few relic varieties; restriction
in the use of the dual number and (for most varieties) the loss of the
feminine plural. Many
Arabic dialects, Maghrebi
Arabic in particular,
also have significant vowel shifts and unusual consonant clusters.
Unlike other dialect groups, in the Maghrebi
Arabic group, first
person singular verbs begin with a n- (ن).
Further substantial differences exist between
Bedouin and sedentary
speech, the countryside and major cities, ethnicities, religious
groups, social classes, men and women, and the young and the old.
These differences are to some degree bridgeable. Often, Arabic
speakers can adjust their speech in a variety of ways according to the
context and to their intentions—for example, to speak with people
from different regions, to demonstrate their level of education or to
draw on the authority of the spoken language.
1 Language mixing and change
2 Regional varieties
2.1 Examples of major regional differences
2.2 Other regional differences
3 Formal and vernacular differences
4 Sociolinguistic variables
4.4 Education and social class
4.5 Age and gender
5 Sedentary and nomadic differences
6.1 Writing system
6.2 Morphology and syntax
6.3.1 Emphasis spreading
7.1 Pre-Islamic varieties
7.2 Modern varieties
7.2.1 Northern varieties
7.2.2 Central varieties
7.2.3 Western varieties
7.2.4 Southern varieties
7.2.6 Jewish varieties
7.2.9 Varieties identified with countries
7.2.10 Diglossic variety
8 See also
12 Further reading
Language mixing and change
See also: Code-switching, Koiné language, Pidgin, Creole language,
Communication Accommodation Theory, Prestige (sociolinguistics), and
Arabic is characterized by a wide number of varieties; however, Arabic
speakers are often able to manipulate the way they speak based on the
circumstances. There can be a number of motivations for changing one's
speech: the formality of a situation, the need to communicate with
people with different dialects, to get social approval, to
differentiate oneself from the listener, when citing a written text,
to differentiate between personal and professional or general matters,
to clarify a point, and to shift to a new topic.
An important factor in the mixing or changing of
Arabic is the concept
of a prestige dialect. This refers to the level of respect accorded to
a language or dialect within a speech community. The formal Arabic
language carries a considerable prestige in most Arabic-speaking
communities, depending on the context. This is not the only source of
prestige, though. Many studies have shown that for most speakers,
there is a prestige variety of vernacular Arabic. In Egypt, for
non-Cairenes, the prestige dialect is
Cairo Arabic. For Jordanian
Bedouin or rural background, it may be the urban dialects
of the big cities, especially including the capital Amman.
Moreover, in certain contexts, a dialect relatively different from
Arabic may carry more prestige than a dialect closer to the
formal language—this is the case in Bahrain, for example.
Language mixes and changes in different ways.
Arabic speakers often
use more than one variety of
Arabic within a conversation or even a
sentence. This process is referred to as code-switching. For example,
a woman on a TV program could appeal to the authority of the formal
language by using elements of it in her speech in order to prevent
other speakers from cutting her off. Another process at work is
"leveling", the "elimination of very localised dialectical features in
favour of more regionally general ones." This can affect all
linguistic levels—semantic, syntactic, phonological, etc. The
change can be temporary, as when a group of speakers with
substantially different Arabics communicate, or it can be permanent,
as often happens when people from the countryside move to the city and
adopt the more prestigious urban dialect, possibly over a couple of
This process of accommodation sometimes appeals to the formal
language, but often does not. For example, villagers in central
Palestine may try to use the dialect of
Jerusalem rather than their
own when speaking with people with substantially different dialects,
particularly since they may have a very weak grasp of the formal
language. In another example, groups of educated speakers from
different regions will often use dialectical forms that represent a
middle ground between their dialects rather than trying to use the
formal language, to make communication easier and more comprehensible.
For example, to express the existential "there is" (as in, "there is a
Arabic speakers have access to many different words:
Kuwait & Iraq: /aku/
Egypt, the Levant, and most of the Arabian peninsula /fiː/
Morocco and Algeria: /kajn/
Modern Standard Arabic: /hunaːk/
In this case, /fiː/ is most likely to be used as it is not associated
with a particular region and is the closest to a dialectical middle
ground for this group of speakers. Moreover, given the prevalence of
movies and TV shows in Egyptian Arabic, the speakers are all likely to
be familiar with it. Iraqi aku, Levantine fīh and North African
kayn all evolve from Classical
Arabic forms (yakūn, fīhi, kā'in
respectively), but now sound very different.
Sometimes a certain dialect may be associated with backwardness and
does not carry mainstream prestige—yet it will continue to be used
as it carries a kind of covert prestige and serves to differentiate
one group from another when necessary.
The greatest variations between kinds of
Arabic are those between
regional language groups. These can be divided many ways, but the
following typology is usually used:
Arabic (الدارجة - Darija)
Arabic (تونسي - Tūnsī)
Arabic ( ليبي - Liːbi)
Arabic (مصرى - Maṣri)
Arabian Peninsula group
Arabic (خليجي - Khalījī)
North Syrian Arabic
Cypriot Maronite Arabic
This group includes various dialects throughout the Iberian peninsula
(extinct in Iberia, surviving among Andalusi communities in North
These large regional groups do not correspond to borders of modern
states. In the western parts of the Arab world, varieties are referred
to as الدارجة ad-dārija, and in the eastern parts, as
العامية al-ʿāmmiyya. Nearby varieties of
Arabic are mostly
mutually intelligible, but faraway varieties tend not to be. Varieties
Egypt are particularly disparate, with Egyptian Arabic
speakers claiming difficulty in understanding North African Arabic
speakers, while North African
Arabic speakers' ability to understand
Arabic speakers is mostly due to the widespread popularity of
Egyptian Standard and to a lesser extent, the Lebanese popular media
(this phenomenon is called asymmetric intelligibility). One factor in
the differentiation of the varieties is the influence from other
languages previously spoken or still presently spoken in the regions,
such as Coptic in Egypt, French, Ottoman Turkish, Italian, Spanish,
Berber, Punic or Phoenician in North Africa, Himyaritic, Modern South
Old South Arabian
Old South Arabian in
Aramaic in the Levant.
Speakers of mutually unintelligible varieties are often able to
communicate by switching to Modern Standard Arabic.
Modern languages have also typically provided a significant number of
new words, and have sometimes also influenced pronunciation or word
order. Examples are Turkish and English in Egypt, French in North
Africa and Syria, English and French in Lebanon, and English and
Hebrew in Israel. However, a much more
significant[weasel words] factor for all five dialect groups is,
as Latin among Romance languages, retention (or change of meaning) of
the form of Classical
Arabic used in the Quran.
Examples of major regional differences
The following example illustrates similarities and differences between
the literary, standardized varieties, and major urban dialects of
Arabic. Maltese, a distantly related Siculo-
Arabic language descended
Arabic is also provided.
True pronunciations differ; transliterations used approach an
approximate demonstration. Also, the pronunciation of Modern Standard
Arabic differs significantly from region to region .
I love reading a lot.
When I went to the library,
I only found this old book.
I wanted to read a book about the history of women in France.
Modern Standard Arabic
ب القراءة كثيرًا
ʾanā ʾuḥibbu l-qirāʾata kaṯīran
عندما ذهبت إلى المكتبة
ʿindamā ḏahabtu ʾila l-maktabati
لم أجد سوى هذا الكتا
lam ʾaǧid siwā hāḏā l-kitābi l-qadīm
كنت أريد أن أقرء كتابًا عن تاريخ
المرأة في فرنسا
kuntu ʾurīdu an ʾaqraʾa kitāban ʿan tārīḫi l-marʾah
nħəbb năqṛa baṛʃa
wăqtəlli mʃit l-əl-măktba
ma-lqīt kān ha-l-ktēb lə-qdīm
kənt nħəbb năqṛa ktēb ʕla tērīx lə-mṛa fi fṛānsa
āna nħəbb nəqṛa yāser
məlli raħt l-əl-măktaba
ma-lqīt ɣīr hād lə-ktāb lə-qdīm
kŭnt nbɣīt nəqṛa ktāb ʕla tārīx lə-mṛa fi fṛānsa
ka nbɣi nəqṛa bezzaf
məlli mʃit lmăktaba
ma-lqīt-ʃ mən-ɣīr hād lə-ktāb lə-qdīm
kŭnt bāɣi nəqṛa ktāb ʕla tārīx lə-mṛa fə-fṛansa
ana baħebb el-ʔerāya awi
amma roħt el-maktaba
ma-lʔet-ʃ ella l-ketāb el-ʔadīm da
ana kont ʕāyez aʔra ketāb ʕan tarīx es-settāt fe faransa
āna ktīr bħebb il-ʔirēye
lamma reħit ʕal-mektebe
ma lʔēt illa hal-i-ktēb li-ʔdīm
kēn bedde ʔra ktēb ʕan tērīx l-mara b-frēnse
āni kulliš aħebb lu-qrāya
min reħit lil-maktaba
ma ligēt ɣīr hāða el-ketab el-ʕatīg
redet aqra ketāb ʕan tārīx l-imrayyāt eb-fransa
ʔāna wāyed aħibb agrā
lamman ruħt el-maktaba
ma ligēt illa hal ketāb al-qadīm
kunt abī agra kitāb ʕan tarīx al-ħarīm fi-fransa
ana marra aħubb al-girāya
lamma ruħt al-maktaba
ma ligīt ɣēr hāda al-kitāb al-gadīm
kunt abɣa aɡra kitāb ʕan tārīx al-ħarīm fi faransa
ˈʔana bajn aˈħibb el-geˈrāje ˈgawi
ˈħīn ˈsert saˈlā el-ˈmaktabe
ma leˈgēt-ʃ ˈðajje al-keˈtāb el-gaˈdīm
kont ˈaʃti ˈʔagra keˈtāb ʕan taˈrīx al-ˈmare wastˤ
jien inħobb naqra ħafna
meta mort il-librerija
Sibt biss hu dan il-ktieb il-qadim
Ridt naqra ktieb dwar l-istorja tan-nisa fi Franza.
For the sake of comparison, consider the same sentence in German and
German: Ich lese sehr gerne. Als ich zur Bibliothek ging, fand ich nur
dieses alte Buch, obwohl ich ein Buch über die Geschichte der Frauen
in Frankreich lesen wollte.
Dutch: Ik lees zeer graag. Toen ik naar de bibliotheek ging, vond ik
slechts dit oude boek, hoewel ik een boek over de geschiedenis van de
vrouwen in Frankrijk had willen lezen.
Or in Spanish and Portuguese:
Spanish: Me gusta mucho leer. Cuando fui a la biblioteca, encontré
solamente este viejo libro. Quería leer un libro sobre la historia de
las mujeres en Francia.
Portuguese: Gosto muito de ler. Quando fui à biblioteca, encontrei
somente este livro velho. Queria ler um livro sobre a história das
mulheres na França.
Some linguists do argue that the varieties of
Arabic are different
enough to qualify as separate languages in the way that Spanish and
Portuguese or German and Dutch do. However, as Reem Bassiouney points
out, perhaps the difference between 'language' and 'dialect' is to
some degree political rather than linguistic.
Other regional differences
"Peripheral" varieties of
Arabic – that is, varieties spoken in
Arabic is not a dominant language and a lingua franca
(e.g., Turkey, Iran, Cyprus, Chad, and Nigeria) – are particularly
divergent in some respects, especially in their vocabularies, since
they are less influenced by classical Arabic. However, historically
they fall within the same dialect classifications as the varieties
that are spoken in countries where
Arabic is the dominant language.
Because most of these peripheral dialects are located in Muslim
majority countries, they are now influenced by Classical
Modern Standard Arabic, the
Arabic varieties of the
Qur'an and their
Arabic-speaking neighbours, respectively.
Probably the most divergent non-creole
Arabic variety is Cypriot
Maronite Arabic, a nearly extinct variety that has been heavily
influenced by Greek, and written in Greek and Latin alphabets.
Maltese is descended from Siculo-Arabic. Its vocabulary has acquired a
large number of loanwords from Sicilian, Italian and recently English,
and it uses only a Latin-based alphabet. It is the only Semitic
language among the official languages of the European Union.
Arabic-based pidgins (which have a limited vocabulary consisting
Arabic words, but lack most
Arabic morphological features)
are in widespread use along the southern edge of the Sahara, and have
been for a long time. In the eleventh century, the medieval geographer
al-Bakri records a text in an Arabic-based pidgin, probably one that
was spoken in the region corresponding to modern Mauritania. In some
regions, particularly around the southern Sudan, the pidgins have
creolized (see the list below).
Even within countries where the official language is Arabic, different
Arabic are spoken. For example, within Syria, the Arabic
spoken in Homs is recognized as different from the
Arabic spoken in
Damascus, but both are considered to be varieties of "Levantine"
Arabic. And within Morocco, the
Arabic of the city of
considered different from the
Arabic spoken elsewhere in the country.
Formal and vernacular differences
Another way that varieties of
Arabic differ is that some are formal
and others are colloquial (that is, vernacular). There are two formal
varieties, or اللغة الفصحى al-lugha(t) al-fuṣḥā, One
of these, known in English as Modern Standard
Arabic (MSA), is used in
contexts such as writing, broadcasting, interviewing, and
speechmaking. The other, Classical Arabic, is the language of the
Qur'an. It is rarely used except in reciting the
Qur'an or quoting
older classical texts. (
Arabic speakers typically do not make an
explicit distinction between MSA and Classical Arabic.) Modern
Arabic was deliberately developed in the early part of the
19th century as a modernized version of Classical Arabic.
People often use a mixture of both colloquial and formal Arabic. For
example, interviewers or speechmakers generally use MSA in asking
prepared questions or making prepared remarks, then switch to a
colloquial variety to add a spontaneous comment or respond to a
question. The ratio of MSA to colloquial varieties depends on the
speaker, the topic, and the situation—amongst other factors. Today
even the least educated citizens are exposed to MSA through public
education and exposure to mass media, and so tend to use elements of
it in speaking to others. This is an example of what linguistics
researchers call diglossia.
Egyptian linguist Al-Said Badawi proposed the following distinctions
between the different "levels of speech" involved when speakers of
Arabic switch between vernacular and formal
فصحى التراث fuṣḥā at-turāṯ, 'heritage classical':
Arabic of Arab literary heritage and the Qur'an. This is
primarily a written language, but it is heard in spoken form at the
mosque or in religious programmes on television, but with a modernized
فصحى العصر fuṣḥā al-ʿaṣr, 'contemporary classical' or
'modernized classical': This is what Western linguists call Modern
Arabic (MSA). It is a modification and simplification of
Arabic that was deliberately created for the modern age.
Consequently, it includes many newly coined words, either adapted from
Arabic (much as European scholars during the Renaissance
coined new English words by adapting words from Latin), or borrowed
from foreign, chiefly European, languages. Although it is principally
a written language, it is spoken when people read aloud from prepared
texts. Highly skilled speakers can also produce it spontaneously,
though this typically occurs only in the context of media broadcasts
– particularly in talk and debate programs on pan-Arab television
networks such as
Al Jazeera and
Al Arabiya – where the speakers want
to be simultaneously understood by
Arabic speakers in all the various
countries where these networks' target audiences live. If highly
skilled speakers use it spontaneously, it is spoken when Arabic
speakers of different dialects communicate each other.Commonly used as
a written language, it is found in most books, newspapers, magazines,
official documents, and reading primers for small children; it is also
used as another version of literary form of the
Qur'an and in
modernized revisions of writings from Arab literary heritage.
عامية المثقفين ʿāmmiyyat al-muṯaqqafīn, 'colloquial
of the cultured': This is a vernacular dialect that has been heavily
influenced by MSA, i.e. borrowed words from MSA (this is similar to
the literary Romance languages, wherein scores of words were borrowed
directly from Classical Latin); loanwords from MSA replace or are
sometimes used alongside native words evolved from Classical
colloquial dialects. It tends to be used in serious discussions by
well-educated people, but is generally not used in writing except
informally. It includes a large number of foreign loanwords, chiefly
relating to the technical and theoretical subjects it is used to
discuss, sometimes used in non-intellectual topics. Because it can
generally be understood by listeners who speak varieties of Arabic
different from those of the speaker's country of origin, it is often
used on television, and it is also becoming the language of
instruction at universities.
عامية المتنورين ʿāmmiyyat al-mutanawwarīn 'colloquial
of the basically educated': This is the everyday language that people
use in informal contexts, and that is heard on television when
non-intellectual topics are being discussed. It is characterized,
according to Badawi, by high levels of borrowing. Educated speakers
usually code-switch between ʿāmmiyyat al-muṯaqqafīn and
عامية الأميين ʿāmmiyyat al-ʾummiyyīn, 'colloquial of
the illiterates': This is very colloquial speech characterized by the
absence of any influence from MSA and by relatively little foreign
borrowing. These varieties are the almost entirely naturally evolved
direct descendants of Classical Arabic.
Almost everyone in
Egypt is able to use more than one of these levels
of speech, and people often switch between them, sometimes within the
same sentence. This is generally true in other Arabic-speaking
countries as well.
The spoken dialects of
Arabic have occasionally been written, usually
Arabic alphabet. Vernacular
Arabic was first recognized as a
written language distinct from Classical
Arabic in 17th century
Ottoman Egypt, when the
Cairo elite began to trend towards colloquial
writing. A record of the
Cairo vernacular of the time is found in the
dictionary compiled by Yusuf al-Maghribi. More recently, many plays
and poems, as well as a few other works (even translations of
Plato)[verification needed] exist in Lebanese
Arabic and Egyptian
Arabic; books of poetry, at least, exist for most varieties. In
Algeria, colloquial Maghrebi
Arabic was taught as a separate subject
under French colonization, and some textbooks exist. Mizrahi Jews
Arab world who spoke Judeo-
Arabic dialects rendered
newspapers, letters, accounts, stories, and translations of some parts
of their liturgy in the
Hebrew alphabet, adding diacritics and other
conventions for letters that exist in Judeo-
Arabic but not Hebrew. The
Latin alphabet was advocated for Lebanese
Arabic by Said Aql, whose
supporters published several books in his transcription. In 1944,
Abdelaziz Pasha Fahmi, a member of the Academy of the
Egypt proposed the replacement of the
Arabic alphabet with the
Latin alphabet. His proposal was discussed in two sessions in the
communion but was rejected, and faced strong opposition in cultural
Latin alphabet is used by
Arabic speakers over the
Internet or for sending messages via cellular phones when the Arabic
alphabet is unavailable or difficult to use for technical reasons;
this is also used in Modern Standard
Arabic speakers of
different dialects communicate each other.
Sociolinguistics is the study of how language usage is affected by
societal factors, e.g., cultural norms and contexts (see also
pragmatics). The following sections examine some of the ways that
modern Arab societies influence how
Arabic is spoken.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April
The religion of
Arabic speakers is sometimes involved in shaping how
they speak Arabic. Of course, as is the case with other variables,
religion cannot be seen in isolation. It is generally connected with
the political systems in the different countries. Unlike that which is
often the case in the West, religion in the
Arab world is not usually
seen as an individual choice. Rather, it is matter of group
affiliation: one is born a
Muslim (and even either
Sunni or Shiite
Christian or Jew, and this becomes a bit like one's
ethnicity. Religion as a sociolinguistic variable should be understood
in this context.
Bahrain provides an excellent illustration. A major distinction can be
made between the
Shiite Bahraini, who are the oldest population of
Bahrain, and the
Sunni population that began to immigrate to Bahrain
in the eighteenth century. The
Sunni form a minority of the
population. The ruling family of
Bahrain is Sunni. The colloquial
language represented on TV is almost invariably that of the Sunni
population. Therefore, power, prestige and financial control are
associated with the
Sunni Arabs. This is having a major effect on the
direction of language change in Bahrain.
The case of
Iraq also illustrates how there can be significant
differences in how
Arabic is spoken on the basis of religion. (Note
that the study referred to here was conducted before the
Iraq War.) In
Baghdad, there are significant linguistic differences between Arabic
Muslim inhabitants of the city. The Christians of
Baghdad are a well-established community, and their dialect has
evolved from the sedentary vernacular of urban medieval Iraq. The
Muslim dialect of
Baghdad is a more recent arrival in the city
and comes from
Bedouin speech instead. In Baghdad, as elsewhere in the
Arab world, the various communities share MSA as a prestige dialect,
Muslim colloquial dialect is associated with power and money,
given that that community is the more dominant. Therefore, the
Christian population of the city learns to use the
Muslim dialect in
more formal situations, for example, when a
Christian school teacher
is trying to call students in the class to order.
Education and social class
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April
Age and gender
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April
Sedentary and nomadic differences
A basic distinction that cuts across the entire geography of the
Arabic-speaking world is between sedentary and nomadic varieties
(often misleadingly called Bedouin). The distinction stems from the
settlement patterns in the wake of the Arab conquests. As regions were
conquered, army camps were set up that eventually grew into cities,
and settlement of the rural areas by nomadic Arabs gradually followed
thereafter. In some areas, sedentary dialects are divided further into
urban and rural variants.
The most obvious phonetic difference between the two groups is the
pronunciation of the letter
ق qaf, which is pronounced as a voiced
/ɡ/ in the Urban varieties of the
Arabian Peninsula (like the Hejazi
dialect in the ancient urban cities of
Mecca and Medina) as well as in
Bedouin dialects across all Arabic-Speaking Countries, but is
voiceless mainly in the post-Arabized Urban centers as either /q/
(with [g] being an allophone in few words mostly in North African
cities) or /ʔ/ (merging ⟨ق⟩ with ⟨ء⟩) in the urban centers
Egypt and the Levant, all of which were mostly Arabized after the
The other major phonetic difference is that the rural varieties
preserve the Classical
Arabic (CA) interdentals /θ/ ث and /ð/
ذ, and merge the CA emphatic sounds /dˤ/ ض and
/ðˤ/ ظ into /ðˤ/ rather than sedentary /dˤ/.
The most significant differences between rural
Arabic and non-rural
Arabic are in syntax. The sedentary varieties in particular share a
number of common innovations from CA.[specify] This has led to the
suggestion, first articulated by Charles Ferguson, that a simplified
koiné language developed in the army staging camps in Iraq, from
whence the remaining parts of the modern
Arab world were
In general the rural varieties are more conservative than the
sedentary varieties and the rural varieties within the Arabian
peninsula are even more conservative than those elsewhere. Within the
sedentary varieties, the western varieties (particularly, Moroccan
Arabic) are less conservative than the eastern varieties.[citation
A number of cities in the
Arabic world speak a "Bedouin" variety,
which acquires prestige in that context.
Different representations for some phonemes that did not exist in
ڭ / گ
ڨ / ڧـ ـڧـ ـٯ / ق
چ / ج[b]
گ / ك
ق / گ
پ / ب
ڥ / ڢ / ف
ڤ / ف
^ In Egypt, when there is a need to transcribe /ʒ/ or /d͡ʒ/, both
are approximated to [ʒ] using چ.
^ /g/is not part of the phonemic inventory of urban Palestinian
^ a b unlike /g/ and /t͡ʃ/, /p/ and /v/ never appear natively in
Arabic dialects, and they are always restricted to loanwords, with
their usage depending on the speaker.
Morphology and syntax
All varieties, sedentary and nomadic, differ in the following ways
The order subject–verb–object may be more common than
Verbal agreement between subject and object is always complete.
In CA, there was no number agreement between subject and verb when the
subject was third-person and the subject followed the verb.
Loss of case distinctions (ʾIʿrab).
Loss of original mood distinctions other than the indicative and
imperative (i.e., subjunctive, jussive, energetic I, energetic II).
The dialects differ in how exactly the new indicative was developed
from the old forms. The sedentary dialects adopted the old subjunctive
forms (feminine /iː/, masculine plural /uː/), while many of the
Bedouin dialects adopted the old indicative forms (feminine /iːna/,
masculine plural /uːna/).
The sedentary dialects subsequently developed new mood distinctions;
Loss of dual marking everywhere except on nouns.
A frozen dual persists as the regular plural marking of a small number
of words that normally come in pairs (e.g., eyes, hands, parents).
In addition, a productive dual marking on nouns exists in most
dialects (Tunisian and Moroccan
Arabic are exceptions). This dual
marking differs syntactically from the frozen dual in that it cannot
take possessive suffixes. In addition, it differs morphologically from
the frozen dual in various dialects, such as Levantine Arabic.
The productive dual differs from CA in that its use is optional,
whereas the use of the CA dual was mandatory even in cases of
implicitly dual reference.
The CA dual was marked not only on nouns, but also on verbs,
adjectives, pronouns and demonstratives.
Development of an analytic genitive construction to rival the
Compare the similar development of shel in Modern Hebrew.
Bedouin dialects make the least use of the analytic genitive.
Arabic makes the most use of it, to the extent that the
constructed genitive is no longer productive, and used only in certain
relatively frozen constructions.
The relative pronoun is no longer inflected.
In CA, it took gender, number and case endings.
Pronominal clitics ending in a short vowel moved the vowel before the
Hence, second singular /-ak/ and /-ik/ rather than /-ka/ and /-ki/;
third singular masculine /-uh/ rather than /-hu/.
Similarly, the feminine plural verbal marker /-na/ became /-an/.
Because of the absolute prohibition in all
Arabic dialects against
having two vowels in hiatus, the above changes occurred only when a
consonant preceded the ending. When a vowel preceded, the forms either
remained as-is or lost the final vowel, becoming /-k/, /-ki/, /-h/ and
/-n/, respectively. Combined with other phonetic changes, this
resulted in multiple forms for each clitic (up to three), depending on
the phonetic environment.
The verbal markers /-tu/ (first singular) and /-ta/ (second singular
masculine) both became /-t/, while second singular feminine /-ti/
remained. Mesopotamian dialects in southeastern
Turkey are an
exception for they retain the ending /-tu/ for first person singular.
In the dialect of southern
Nejd (including Riyadh), the second
singular masculine /-ta/ has been retained, but takes the form of a
long vowel rather than a short one as in CA.
The forms given here were the original forms, and have often suffered
various changes in the modern dialects.
All of these changes were triggered by the loss of final short vowels
Various simplifications have occurred in the range of variation in
Third-weak verbs with radical /w/ and radical /j/ (traditionally
transliterated y) have merged in the form I perfect tense. They had
already merged in CA, except in form I.
Form I perfect faʕula verbs have disappeared, often merging with
Doubled verbs now have the same endings as third-weak verbs.
Some endings of third-weak verbs have been replaced by those of the
strong verbs (or vice versa, in some dialects).
All dialects except some
Bedouin dialects of the Arabian peninsula
share the following innovations from CA
Loss of the inflected passive (i.e., marked through internal vowel
change) in finite verb forms.
New passives have often been developed by co-opting the original
reflexive formations in CA, particularly verb forms V, VI and VII (In
CA these were derivational, not inflectional, as neither their
existence nor exact meaning could be depended upon; however, they have
often been incorporated into the inflectional system, especially in
more innovative sedentary dialects).
Arabic contains a newly developed inflected passive that
looks somewhat like the old CA passive.
Arabic has retained the inflected passive up to the modern era,
though this feature is on its way to extinction as a result of the
influence of other dialects.
Loss of the indefinite /n/ suffix (tanwiin) on nouns.
When this marker still appears, it is variously /an/, /in/, or /en/.
Bedouin dialects it still marks indefiniteness on any noun,
although this is optional and often used only in oral poetry.
In other dialects it marks indefiniteness on post-modified nouns (by
adjectives or relative clauses).
Arabic dialects preserve a form of the CA adverbial accusative
/an/ suffix, which was originally a tanwiin marker.
Loss of verb form IV, the causative.
Verb form II sometimes gives causatives, but is not productive.
Uniform use of /i/ in imperfect verbal prefixes.
CA had /u/ before form II, III and IV active, and before all passives,
and /a/ elsewhere.
Bedouin dialects in the Arabian peninsula have uniform /a/.
Arabic has /a/ when the following vowel is /i/, and /i/ when the
following vowel is /a/.
All sedentary dialects share the following additional innovations
Loss of a separately distinguished feminine plural in verbs, pronouns
and demonstratives. This is usually lost in adjectives as well.
Development of a new indicative-subjunctive distinction.
The indicative is marked by a prefix, while the subjunctive lacks
The prefix is /b/ or /bi/ in Egyptian
Arabic and Levantine Arabic, but
/ka/ or /ta/ in Moroccan Arabic. It is not infrequent to encounter
/ħa/ as an indicative prefix in some
Persian Gulf states; and, in
Arabic (viz. Yemen), /ʕa/ is used in the north around
the San'aa region, and /ʃa/ is used in the southwest region of Ta'iz.
Arabic (except some rural dialects which use the prefix
/ta/), and therefore does not have this distinction, along with
Maltese and at least some varieties of Algerian and Libyan
Loss of /h/ in the third-person masculine enclitic pronoun, when
attached to a word ending in a consonant.
The form is usually /u/ or /o/ in sedentary dialects, but /ah/ or /ih/
After a vowel, the bare form /h/ is used, but in many sedentary
dialects the /h/ is lost here as well. In Egyptian Arabic, for
example, this pronoun is marked in this case only by lengthening of
the final vowel and concomitant stress shift onto it, but the "h"
reappears when followed by another suffix.
ramā "he threw it"
maramahūʃ "he didn't throw it"
The following innovations are characteristic of many or most sedentary
Agreement (verbal, adjectival) with inanimate plurals is plural,
rather than feminine singular, as in CA.
Development of a circumfix negative marker on the verb, involving a
prefix /ma-/ and a suffix /-ʃ/.
In combination with the fusion of the indirect object and the
development of new mood markers, this results in morpheme-rich verbal
complexes that can approach polysynthetic languages in their
An example from Egyptian Arabic:
"You (plural) aren't bringing her (them) to us."
(NOTE: Versteegh glosses /bi/ as continuous.)
In Egyptian, Tunisian and Moroccan Arabic, the distinction between
active and passive participles has disappeared except in form I and in
some Classical borrowings.
These dialects tend to use form V and VI active participles as the
passive participles of forms II and III.
The following innovations are characteristic of Maghrebi
North Africa, west of Egypt)
In the imperfect, Maghrebi
Arabic has replaced first person singular
/ʔ-/ with /n-/, and the first person plural, originally marked by
/n-/ alone, is also marked by the /-u/ suffix of the other plural
Arabic has greatly rearranged the system of verbal
derivation, so that the traditional system of forms I through X is not
applicable without some stretching. It would be more accurate to
describe its verbal system as consisting of two major types,
triliteral and quadriliteral, each with a mediopassive variant marked
by a prefixal /t-/ or /tt-/.
The triliteral type encompasses traditional form I verbs (strong:
/ktəb/ "write"; geminate: /ʃəmm/ "smell"; hollow: /biʕ/ "sell",
/qul/ "say", /xaf/ "fear"; weak /ʃri/ "buy", /ħbu/ "crawl", /bda/
"begin"; irregular: /kul/-/kla/ "eat", /ddi/ "take away", /ʒi/
The quadriliteral type encompasses strong [CA form II, quadriliteral
form I]: /sˤrˤfəq/ "slap", /hrrəs/ "break", /hrnən/ "speak
nasally"; hollow-2 [CA form III, non-CA]: /ʕajən/ "wait", /ɡufəl/
"inflate", /mixəl/ "eat" (slang); hollow-3 [CA form VIII, IX]:
/xtˤarˤ/ "choose", /ħmarˤ/ "redden"; weak [CA form II weak,
quadriliteral form I weak]: /wrri/ "show", /sˤqsˤi/ "inquire";
hollow-2-weak [CA form III weak, non-CA weak]: /sali/ "end", /ruli/
"roll", /tiri/ "shoot"; irregular: /sˤifətˤ/-/sˤafətˤ/ "send".
There are also a certain number of quinquiliteral or longer verbs, of
various sorts, e.g. weak: /pidˤali/ "pedal", /blˤani/ "scheme,
plan", /fanti/ "dodge, fake"; remnant CA form X: /stəʕməl/ "use",
/stahəl/ "deserve"; diminutive: /t-birˤʒəz/ "act bourgeois",
/t-biznəs/ "deal in drugs".
Note that those types corresponding to CA forms VIII and X are rare
and completely unproductive, while some of the non-CA types are
productive. At one point, form IX significantly increased in
productivity over CA, and there are perhaps 50–100 of these verbs
currently, mostly stative but not necessarily referring to colors or
bodily defects. However, this type is no longer very productive.
Due to the merging of short /a/ and /i/, most of these types show no
stem difference between perfect and imperfect, which is probably why
the languages has incorporated new types so easily.
The following innovations are characteristic of Egyptian Arabic
Egyptian Arabic, probably under the influence of Coptic, puts the
demonstrative pronoun after the noun (/al-X da/ "this X" instead of CA
/haːðaː l-X/) and leaves interrogative pronouns in situ rather than
fronting them, as in other dialects.
When it comes to phonetics the
Arabic dialects differ in the
pronunciation of the short vowels (/a/, /u/ and /i/) and a number of
selected consonants, mainly ⟨ق⟩ /q/, ⟨ج⟩ /d͡ʒ/ and the
interdental consonants ⟨ث⟩ /θ/, ⟨ذ⟩ /ð/ and ⟨ظ⟩
/ðˤ/, in addition to the dental ⟨ض⟩ /dˤ/.
Emphasis spreading is a phenomenon where /a/ is backed to [ɑ] in the
vicinity of emphatic consonants. The domain of emphasis spreading is
potentially unbounded; in Egyptian Arabic, the entire word is usually
affected, although in Levantine
Arabic and some other varieties, it is
blocked by /i/ or /j/ (and sometimes /ʃ/). It is associated with a
concomitant decrease in the amount of pharyngealization of emphatic
consonants, so that in some dialects emphasis spreading is the only
way to distinguish emphatic consonants from their plain counterparts.
It also pharyngealizes consonants between the source consonant and
affected vowels, although the effects are much less noticeable than
for vowels. Emphasis spreading does not affect the affrication of
non-emphatic /t/ in Moroccan Arabic, with the result that these two
phonemes are always distinguishable regardless of the nearby presence
of other emphatic phonemes.
Arabic ⟨ق⟩ /q/ varies widely from variety to variety.
Bedouin dialects from
Mauritania to Saudi Arabia, in addition to
the Urban dialects in the
Arabian Peninsula it is pronounced [ɡ], as
in most of Iraq. In the
Egypt (except in Upper
Sa'id), as well as some North African towns such as Tlemcen, it is
pronounced as a glottal stop [ʔ], apart from rural areas in the
Levant where it becomes emphatic [q]. In the Persian Gulf,
it very rarely becomes [d͡ʒ] in rare words in rural dialects
(adjacent to an original /i/), and is [q] or [ɡ] otherwise.
Elsewhere, it is usually realized as uvular [q].
Arabic ⟨ج⟩ /d͡ʒ/ varies widely. In some Arabian
Bedouin dialects, and parts of Sudan, it is still realized as the
medieval Persian linguist
Sibawayh described it, as a palatalized
[ɡʲ]. In Egypt, parts of
Yemen and parts of Oman, it is a plain
[ɡ]. In most of the
Levant and most of North Africa, it is [ʒ]. In
Persian Gulf and southern Iraq, it often becomes [j]. Elsewhere,
including in most of the Arabian peninsula it is usually [d͡ʒ].
Arabic interdental consonants ⟨ث⟩ /θ/ and ⟨ذ⟩
/ð/ become /t, d/ in Egypt, Malta, and some regions in North Africa,
and become /s, z/ in the
Levant (except for some words, in which they
become /t, d/), but remain /θ/ and /ð/ in Iraqi, Yemenite, Tunisian,
rural Palestinian, Eastern Libyan, and some rural Algerian dialects.
In Arabic-speaking towns of Eastern Turkey, (Urfa, Siirt and Mardin)
they respectively become /f, v/.
Reflexes of Classical /q/
"in front of"
Medina, Hejazi Arabic
[q], occ. [g]
[g], occ. [d͡ʒ]
Jewish Baghdadi Arabic
[q], occ. [d͡ʒ]
[q] or [g]
Rural Lower Iraqi Arabic
[g], occ. [d͡ʒ]
Judeo-Iraqi Arabic, Iraqi Kurdistan
Sheep nomads, Mesopotamia, NE Arabian Peninsula
[g], occ. [d͡ʒ]
Camel nomads, Mesopotamia, NE Arabian Peninsula
[g], occ. [d͡z]
[g] or [ʔ]
gaḷib or ʾalib
bagara or baʾ ara
wagǝt or waʾǝt
gaal or ʾaal
gamar or ʾamar
gahwah or ʾahwah
giddaam or ʾiddaam
galib – gaḷub
gahwe – gahweh
[ʔ] or [k]
ʾalb (or kalb)
baʾara (or bakara)
waʾt (or wakt)
ʾaal (or kaal)
ʾamar (or kamar)
ʾahwe (or kahwe)
ʾuddaam (or kuddaam)
Jerusalem (urban Palestinian Arabic)
Bir Zeit, West Bank
Upper Egypt, Sa'idi Arabic
[g], occ. [q]
Benghazi, E. Libya
[q], occ. [g]
El Hamma de Gabes, Tunisia
[g], occ. [q]
[q], occ. [g]
North Taza, Morocco
[q] or [g]
[g] or [q]
Jewish Moroccans (Judeo-Arabic)
[ʔ] (written q)
Cypriot Maronite Arabic
[k] occ. [x]
Arabic (low register)
CA /ʔ/ is lost.
When adjacent to vowels, the following simplifications take place, in
V1ʔV2 → V̄ when V1 = V2
aʔi aʔw → aj aw
iʔV uʔV → ijV uwV
VʔC → V̄C
Elsewhere, /ʔ/ is simply lost.
In CA and Modern Standard
Arabic (MSA), /ʔ/ is still pronounced.
Because this change had already happened in Meccan
Arabic at the time
Qur'an was written, it is reflected in the orthography of written
Arabic, where a diacritic known as hamzah is inserted either above an
ʾalif, wāw or yāʾ, or "on the line" (between characters); or in
certain cases, a diacritic ʾalif maddah (" ʾalif") is inserted over
an ʾalif. (As a result, proper spelling of words involving /ʔ/ is
probably one of the most difficult issues in
Furthermore, actual usage is in many circumstances.[incomprehensible])
Modern dialects have smoothed out the morphophonemic variations,
typically by losing the associated verbs or moving them into another
paradigm (for example, /qaraʔ/ "read" becomes /qara/ or /ʔara/, a
/ʔ/ has reappeared medially in various words due to borrowing from
CA. (In addition, /q/ has become [ʔ] in many dialects, although the
two are marginally distinguishable in Egyptian Arabic, since words
beginning with original /ʔ/ can elide this sound, whereas words
beginning with original /q/ cannot.)
CA /k/ often becomes [t͡ʃ] in the Persian Gulf, Iraq, some Rural
Palestinian dialects and in some
Bedouin dialects when adjacent to an
original /i/, particularly in the second singular feminine enclitic
pronoun, where [t͡ʃ] replaces Classical /ik/ or /ki/). In a very few
Moroccan varieties, it affricates to /k͡ʃ/. Elsewhere, it remains
CA /r/ is pronounced [ʀ] in a few areas: Mosul, for instance, and the
Jewish variety in Algiers. In all of northern Africa, a phonemic
distinction has emerged between plain [r] and emphatic [rˤ], thanks
to the merging of short vowels.
CA /t/ (but not emphatic CA /tˤ/) is affricated to [t͡s] in Moroccan
Arabic; this is still distinguishable from the sequence [ts].
CA /ʕ/) is pronounced in Iraqi
Arabic and Kuwaiti
Arabic with glottal
closure: [ʔˤ]. In some varieties /ʕ/ is devoiced to [ħ] before
/h/, for some speakers of Cairene
Arabic /bitaʕha/ → /bitaħħa/
(or /bitaʕ̞ħa/) "hers". The residue of this rule applies also in
the Maltese language, where neither etymological /h/ nor /ʕ/ are
pronounced as such, but give [ħ] in this context: tagħha [taħħa]
The nature of "emphasis" differs somewhat from variety to variety. It
is usually described as a concomitant pharyngealization, but in most
sedentary varieties is actually velarization, or a combination of the
two. (The phonetic effects of the two are only minimally different
from each other.) Usually there is some associated lip rounding; in
addition, the stop consonants /t/ and /d/ are dental and lightly
aspirated when non-emphatic, but alveolar and completely unaspirated
CA /r/ is also in the process of splitting into emphatic and
non-emphatic varieties, with the former causing emphasis spreading,
just like other emphatic consonants. Originally, non-emphatic [r]
occurred before /i/ or between /i/ and a following consonant, while
emphatic [rˤ] occurred mostly near [ɑ].
To a large extent, Western
Arabic dialects reflect this, while the
situation is rather more complicated in Egyptian Arabic. (The
allophonic distribution still exists to a large extent, although not
in any predictable fashion; nor is one or the other variety used
consistently in different words derived from the same root.
Furthermore, although derivational suffixes (in particular, relational
/-i/ and /-ijja/) affect a preceding /r/ in the expected fashion,
inflectional suffixes do not).
Certain other consonants, depending on the dialect, also cause
pharyngealization of adjacent sounds, although the effect is typically
weaker than full emphasis spreading and usually has no effect on more
The velar fricative /x/ and the uvular consonant /q/ often cause
partial backing of adjacent /a/ (and of /u/ and /i/ in Moroccan
Arabic). For Moroccan Arabic, the effect is sometimes described as
half as powerful as an emphatic consonant, as a vowel with uvular
consonants on both sides is affected similarly to having an emphatic
consonant on one side.
The pharyngeal consonants /ħ/ and /ʕ/ cause no emphasis spreading
and may have little or no effect on adjacent vowels. In Egyptian
Arabic, for example, /a/ adjacent to either sound is a fully front
[æ]. In other dialects, /ʕ/ is more likely to have an effect than
In some Gulf
Arabic dialects, /w/ and/or /l/ causes backing.
In some dialects, words such as الله /aɫɫaː/ Allāh has backed
[ɑ]'s and in some dialects also velarized /l/.
Arabic short vowels /a/, /i/ and /u/ undergo various
Original final short vowels are mostly deleted.
Arabic dialects merge /i/ and /u/ into a phonemic /ə/
except when directly followed by a single consonant; this sound may
appear allophonically as /i/ or /u/ in certain phonetic environments.
Maghreb dialects merge /a/ and /i/ into /ə/, which is deleted when
unstressed. Tunisian maintains this distinction, but deletes these
vowels in non-final open syllables.
Moroccan Arabic, under the strong influence of Berber, goes even
further. Short /u/ is converted to labialization of an adjacent velar,
or is merged with /ə/. This schwa then deletes everywhere except in
certain words ending /-CCəC/.
The result is that there is no distinction between short and long
vowels; borrowings from CA have "long" vowels (now pronounced
half-long) uniformly substituted for original short and long vowels.
This also results in consonant clusters of great length, which are
(more or less) syllabified according to a sonority hierarchy. For some
subdialects, in practice, it is very difficult to tell where, if
anywhere, there are syllabic peaks in long consonant clusters in a
phrase such as /xsˤsˤk tktbi/ "you (fem.) must write". Other
dialects, in the North, make a clear distinction; they say /xəssək
təktəb/ "you want to write", and not */xəssk ətkətb/.
In Moroccan Arabic, short /a/ and /i/ have merged, obscuring the
original distribution. In this dialect, the two varieties have
completely split into separate phonemes, with one or the other used
consistently across all words derived from a particular root except in
a few situations.
In Moroccan Arabic, the allophonic effect of emphatic consonants is
more pronounced than elsewhere.
Full /a/ is affected as above, but /i/ and /u/ are also affected, and
are to [e] and [o], respectively.
In some varieties, such as in Marrakesh, the effects are even more
extreme (and complex), where both high-mid and low-mid allophones
exist ([e] and [ɛ], [o] and [ɔ]), in addition to front-rounded
allophones of original /u/ ([y], [ø], [œ]), all depending on
On the other hand, emphasis spreading in Moroccan
Arabic is less
pronounced than elsewhere; usually it only spreads to the nearest full
vowel on either side, although with some additional complications.
/i~ɪ/ and /u~ʊ/ in CA completely become /e/ and /o/ respectively in
some other particular dialects.
Arabic and Levantine Arabic, short /i/ and /u/ are elided
in various circumstances in unstressed syllables (typically, in open
syllables; for example, in Egyptian Arabic, this occurs only in the
middle vowel of a VCVCV sequence, ignoring word boundaries). In
Levantine, however, clusters of three consonants are almost never
permitted. If such a cluster would occur, it is broken up through the
insertion of /ə/ – between the second and third consonants in
Egyptian Arabic, and between the first and second in Levantine Arabic.
CA long vowels are shortened in some circumstances.
Original final long vowels are shortened in all dialects.
Arabic and Levantine Arabic, unstressed long vowels are
Arabic also cannot tolerate long vowels followed by two
consonants, and shortens them. (Such an occurrence was rare in CA, but
often occurs in modern dialects as a result of elision of a short
In most dialects, particularly sedentary ones, CA /a/ and /aː/ have
two strongly divergent allophones, depending on the phonetic context.
Adjacent to an emphatic consonant and to /q/ (but not usually to other
sounds derived from this, such as /ɡ/ or /ʔ/), a back variant [ɑ]
occurs; elsewhere, a strongly fronted variant [æ]~[ɛ] is used.
The two allophones are in the process of splitting phonemically in
some dialects, as [ɑ] occurs in some words (particularly foreign
borrowings) even in the absence of any emphatic consonants anywhere in
the word. (Some linguists have postulated additional emphatic phonemes
in an attempt to handle these circumstances; in the extreme case, this
requires assuming that every phoneme occurs doubled, in emphatic and
non-emphatic varieties. Some have attempted to make the vowel
allophones autonomous and eliminate the emphatic consonants as
phonemes. Others have asserted that emphasis is actually a property of
syllables or whole words rather than of individual vowels or
consonants. None of these proposals seems particularly tenable,
however, given the variable and unpredictable nature of emphasis
Arabic varieties, Hejazi
Arabic did not develop
allophones of the vowels /a/ and /aː/, and both are pronounced as [a]
CA diphthongs /aj/ and /aw/ have become [eː] or [e̞ː] and [oː] or
[o̞ː] (but merge with original /iː/ and /uː/ in
which is probably a secondary development). The diphthongs are
maintained in the
Maltese language and some urban Tunisian dialects,
particularly that of Sfax, while [eː] and [oː] also occur in some
other Tunisian dialects, such as Monastir.
The placement of the stress accent is extremely variable between
varieties; nowhere is it phonemic.
Most commonly, it falls on the last syllable containing a long vowel,
or a short vowel followed by two consonants; but never farther from
the end than the third-to-last syllable. This maintains the presumed
stress pattern in CA (although there is some disagreement over whether
stress could move farther back than the third-to-last syllable), and
is also used in Modern Standard
In CA and MSA, stress cannot occur on a final long vowel; however,
this does not result in different stress patterns on any words,
because CA final long vowels are shortened in all modern dialects, and
any current final long vowels are secondary developments from words
containing a long vowel followed by a consonant.
In Egyptian Arabic, the rule is similar, but stress falls on the
second-to-last syllable in words of the form ...VCCVCV, as in
In Maghrebi Arabic, stress is final in words of the (original) form
CaCaC, after which the first /a/ is elided. Hence جَبَل ǧabal
"mountain" becomes [ˈʒbəl].
In Moroccan Arabic, phonetic stress is often not recognizable.
Ancient North Arabian
Oasis North Arabian
Dispersed Oasis North Arabian
Northern varieties are influenced by the
North Levantine Arabic
North Syrian Arabic
South Levantine Arabic
Arabic (ISO 639-3:acy)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:avl)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:acm)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:ayp)
Central varieties are influenced by the
Coptic language and spoken in
Arabic (ISO 639-3:arz)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:aec)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:apd)
Western varieties are influenced by the Berber languages, Punic or
Phoenician and by Romance languages.
Arabic (ISO 639-3:ary)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:arq)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:aeb)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:ayl)
Arabic (language extinct, but not family)
Maltese language (ISO 639-3:mlt)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:aao)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:mey)
Arabic (ISO 693-3: xaa), extinct
Southern Varieties are slightly influenced by Persian and other South
Arabic (ISO 639-3:afb)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:abv)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:ars)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:acw)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:ayh)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:ayn)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:acq)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:adf)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:acx)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:ssh)
Central Asian Arabic
Arabic (ISO 639-3:abh)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:auz)
Arabic (Baggara, Shuwa Arabic) (ISO 639-3:shu)
Jewish varieties are influenced by the
Arabic (ISO 639-3:jrb)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:yhd)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:aju)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:yud)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:ajt)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:jye)
Nubi Creole Arabic
Babalia Creole Arabic
Arabic (Juba Arabic)
Varieties identified with countries
Arabic (Mauritanian Arabic)
Arabic (ISO 639-3:arb)
International Association of
Arabic Dialectology (AIDA)
^ "Documentation for ISO 639 identifier: ara".
^ Bassiouney, 2009, p. 29.
^ Abdel-Jawad, 1986, p. 58.
^ Bassiouney, 2009, p. 19.
^ Holes, 1983, p. 448.
^ Holes 1995: 39, p. 118.
^ Blanc, 1960, p. 62.
^ Holes, 1995, p. 294.
^ Bassiouney, 2009, p. 26.
^ Bassiouney, 2009, p. 11.
^ http://www.arabacademy.com/faq/arabic_language Questions from
Prospective Students on the varieties of
Arabic Language – online
^ Badawi, 1973.
^ Al-Sawi, 2004, p. 7
^ Yaghan, M. (2008). "Araby: A Contemporary Style of
Design Issues 24(2): 39-52.
^ Bassiouney, 2009, p.105.
^ Holes, 1984, p.433-457.
^ Abu-Haidar, 1991.
^ Macdonald, M. C. A. (2000). "Reflections on the linguistic map of
pre-Islamic Arabia". Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy. 11. Retrieved
28 July 2014.
^ Macdonald, M. C. A. (2004). "Ancient North Arabian". In Woodard,
Roger D. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Languages.
Cambridge University Press. pp. 488–533.
Abdel-Jawad, H. (1986). 'The emergence of a dialect in Jordanian urban
centres.' International Journal of the Sociology of Language 61.
Abu-Haidar, F. (1991).
Arabic of Baghdad, Weisbaden: Otto
Abu-Melhim, A. R. (1991). '
Code-switching and accommodation in
Arabic.' Perspectives on
Al-Sawi, M. (5..4). 'Writing
Arabic with Roman letters.'
Badawi, S.A. (1973). Mustawayāt al-'Arabīyah al-mu'āṣirah fī
Miṣr: Baḥth fī 'alāqat al-lughah bi-al-ḥaḍārah, Cairo: Dār
Bassiouney, Reem (2006). Functions of code-switching in Egypt:
Evidence from monologues, Leiden: Brill.
Bassiouney, Reem (2009).
Arabic Sociolinguistics, Washington, D.C.:
Georgetown University Press.
Blanc, D. (1960) 'Style variations in Arabic: A sample of
interdialectical conversation.' in C.A. Ferguson (ed.) Contributions
Arabic linguistics, Cambridge, M.A.: Harvard University Press.
Dendane, Z. (1994). 'Sociolinguistic variation in an
community: Tlemcen.' Cahiers de Dialectologie et de Linguistique
El-Hassan, S. (1997). 'Educated Spoken
Egypt and the Levant:
A critical review of diglossia and related concepts.' Archivum
Ferguson, C.A. (1972). 'Diglossia.' Word 15.
Holes, C. (1983). '
Bahrain dialects: Sectarian differences exemplified
through texts.' Zeitschrift fur arabische Linguistik10.
Holes, C. (1995). 'Community, dialect and urbanization in the
Arabic-speaking Middle-East.' Bulletin of the School of Oriental and
African Studies 58(2).
Mitchell, T.F. (1986). 'What is educated spoken Arabic?' International
Journal of the Sociology of Language 61.
Pereira, C. (2007). 'Urbanization and dialect change: The dialect of
Tripoli, Libya.' in C. Miller, E. Al-Wer, D. Caubet and J.C.E. Watson
Arabic in the city: Issues in dialect contact and language
variation, London and New York: Routledge.
Suleiman, Y. (1994).
Arabic sociolinguistics: Issues and perspectives,
Versteegh, K. (2001). The
Arabic language, Edinburgh: Edinburgh
Arabic Varieties: Far and Wide. Proceedings of the 11th International
Conference of AIDA Bucharest 2015
A Bibliography of Association Internationale de Dialectologie Arabe
AIDA – Association Internationale de Dialectologie Arabe
George Grigore L'arabe parlé à Mardin. Monographie d'un parler arabe
Durand, O., (1995), Introduzione ai dialetti arabi, Centro Studi
Durand, O., (2009), Dialettologia araba, Carocci Editore, Rome.
Fischer W. & Jastrow O., (1980) Handbuch der Arabischen Dialekte,
Heath, Jeffrey "Ablaut and Ambiguity: Phonology of a Moroccan Arabic
Dialect" (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987)
Holes, Clive (2004) Modern Arabic: Structures, Functions, and
Varieties Georgetown University Press. ISBN 1-58901-022-1
Versteegh, Dialects of Arabic
Kees Versteegh, The
Arabic Language (New York: Columbia University
Dialect Modeling (CADIM) Group
Hebrew and Modern
Arabic – a Few Differences and Many
Influence on other languages
Ancient North Arabian
Ancient South Arabian script
Ancient North Arabian
Old South Arabian
Modern South Arabian
Ethnic / religious
Babalia Creole Arabic
Sun and moon letters
Arabic script in Unicode
aSociolinguistically not Arabic
Varieties of Arabic
Central Asian Arabic
Arabic (extinct ancestor of Maltese which is not part of the
Creoles and pidgins
Italics indicate extinct languages.
East Semitic languages
West Semitic and Central Semitic languages
Jewish Babylonian Aramaic
Koy Sanjaq Surat
Eastern Egyptian and Peninsular Bedawi
South Semitic languages
Silt'e (Wolane, Ulbareg, Inneqor)
Modern South Arabian
Varieties of world languages
^ "Documentation for ISO 639 ident