Bahrani Arabic

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Bahrani Arabic
العربية البحرانية
Native to Bahrain, Oman
Native speakers
600,000 in Bahrain  (2011)[1]
Arabic alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3 abv

Baharna Arabic (also known as Bahrani and Bahrani Arabic) is a variety of Arabic spoken by the indigenous Bahranis of Bahrain, and is also in Oman.[2] In Bahrain, the dialect is spoken in all Bahraini villages and many parts of Manama. The Bahrani Arabic dialect has been significantly influenced by the ancient Aramaic, Syriac and Akkadian languages.[3][4]

An interesting sociolinguistic feature of Bahrain is the existence of three distinct dialects: Bahrani, Sunni Arab (spoken by Sunni Bahrainis) and Ajami Arabic.[5] Sunni Bahrainis do not speak Bahrani Arabic, all Sunni Bahrainis speak a dialect which is most similar to urban dialect spoken in Qatar. The Arabic dialect of Sunni Bahrainis is considered the most prestigious dialect in Bahrain.

The Persian language has the most foreign linguistic influence on all the Bahraini dialects.[6] The differences between Bahrani Arabic and other Bahraini dialects suggest differing historical origins. The main differences between Bahrani and non-Bahrani dialects are evident in certain grammatical forms and pronunciation. Most of the vocabulary, however, is shared between dialects, or is distinctly Bahraini, arising from a shared modern history. Many Bahrani words have also been borrowed from Hindi or English.

Examples of words borrowed from other languages[edit]

Bahrani dialect has borrowed some vocabulary from Persian, Hindi and more recently from English.


Bahrani Arabic (called Baħrāni by its speakers) has the main features of Gulf Arabic dialects (e.g. Kuwait, UAE, Qatar) in addition to its own unique features. General features include the Standard Arabic q becoming g (qamar vs gamar 'moon'), k becoming ch in some positions (kalb vs chalb 'dog'). J becoming y in some villages (jiħħe vs yiħħe 'watermelon'). Final Standard Arabic -ah becomes -e in some positions. Unique features include changing "th" and "dh" into "f" and "d". Many younger speakers avoid such pronunciations, however.


  1. ^ John Jones, 2011. Introduction to the Baharna, p. 40
  2. ^ "Arabic, Baharna Spoken". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  3. ^ "Non-Arabic Semitic elements in the Arabic dialects of eastern Arabia". Clive Holes. 2002. p. 270-279. 
  4. ^ "Dialect, Culture, and Society in Eastern Arabia: Glossary". Clive Holes. 2001. pp. XXIX–XXX. 
  5. ^ Bassiouney, Reem (2009). "5". Arabic Sociolinguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 105–107. 
  6. ^ Dialect, Culture, and Society in Eastern Arabia: Glossary. Clive Holes. 2001. Page XXX. ISBN 90-04-10763-0

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]