Peninsular Arabic, or Khaliji Arabic, is the set of Arabic dialects spoken throughout the Arabian Peninsula. This includes Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, as well as small parts of Iraq, Syria and Jordan.
As this area is the homeland of the Arabic language, it is common to expect the language spoken there to be closer to Classical or Qur'an Arabic. This is not the case. Although these dialect may have retained archaic features such as the conservation of nunation for indeterminate nouns, they are as (or sometimes even more) divergent from Classical Arabic as other dialects may be.
The following varieties are usually noted:
- Najdi Arabic, spoken in the center of the peninsula. It is characterized by a shift of /q/ to [dʒ] and /k/ to [tʃ].
- Gulf Arabic, spoken on the coast of the Arabo-Persian Gulf, which adds to Najdi feature a further evolution of /ɡʲ/ into [j].
- Yemeni Arabic, displays a past conjugation with ultra-archaic -k suffix, as in southern Semitic languages. It has to be noted that the particular dialect of Aden has /ɡʲ/ > [ɡ] as in Cairo.
- Hijazi Arabic, spoken along the coast of the Red Sea, and especially in the cities of Makka and Jiddah. It shows sufficient similarities with the dialects spoken in Sudan and upper Egypt to suggest that these latter African areas could have been Arabicized without populations crossing the isthmus of Suez.
- The dialect of the Syrian desert nomads, with the characteristic feature of /q/ > [dz] and /k/ > [ts].