Peninsular Arabic, or Southern Arabic, is the varieties of Arabic spoken throughout the Arabian Peninsula. This includes the countries of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Iraq 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 divergent from Classical Arabic as other dialects may be (or sometimes even more divergent).
The following varieties are usually noted:
- 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.
- Hejazi Arabic, spoken in Saudi Arabia along the coast of the Red Sea, especially in the cities of Makka and Jiddah. It is very closely related to the dialects spoken in Egypt and Sudan to suggest that these latter African areas could have been Arabicized without populations crossing the isthmus of Suez.
- Najdi Arabic, spoken in the center of the peninsula in Saudi Arabia. It is characterized by a shift of /q/ to [dʒ] and /k/ to [tʃ].
- Omani Arabic, Dhofari Arabic and Shihhi Arabic, all of which are dialects native to Oman.
- Gulf Arabic, spoken in the coast of the Persian Gulf.
- The dialect of the Syrian desert nomads, with the characteristic feature of /q/ > [dz] and /k/ > [ts].
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