Baghdadi Arabic

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Baghdadi Arabic
اللهجة البغدادية
Native toIraq
RegionBaghdad, From shores of Persian Gulf near Al-Faw to Hamrin Mountains.
Native speakers
About 40 million speakers (2021)[1]
Arabic alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3
acm – Mesopotamian Arabic
Arabic dialects SyriaIraq.png
red - Baghdadi Arabic
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Baghdadi Arabic is the Arabic dialect spoken in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. During the last century, Baghdadi Arabic has become the lingua franca of Iraq, and the language of commerce and education. It is considered a subset of Iraqi Arabic.[2]



The vowel phoneme /eː/ (from standard Arabic /aj/) is usually realised as an opening diphthong, for most speakers only slightly diphthongised [ɪe̯], but for others a more noticeable [iɛ̯], such that, for instance, lēš [why] will sound like leeyesh. There's a vowel phoneme that evolved from the diphthong (/aw/) to resemble more of a long (/o:/) sound, as in words such as kaun [universe] shifting to kōn.

The Vowel Phonemes of Baghdadi Arabic
Short Long
Front Back Front Back
Close /ɪ/ /u/ /iː/ /uː/
Mid /eː/ /oː/
Open /æ/ /aː/


Even in the most formal of conventions, pronunciation depends upon a speaker's background.[3] Nevertheless, the number and phonetic character of most of the 28 consonants has a broad degree of regularity among Arabic-speaking regions. Note that Arabic is particularly rich in uvular, pharyngeal, and pharyngealized ("emphatic") sounds. The emphatic coronals (/sˤ/, /tˤ/, and /ðˤ/) cause assimilation of emphasis to adjacent non-emphatic coronal consonants.[citation needed] The phonemes /p/پ⟩ and /v/ڤ⟩ (not used by all speakers) are not considered to be part of the phonemic inventory, as they exist only in foreign words and they can be pronounced as /b/ب⟩ and /f/ف⟩ respectively depending on the speaker.[4][5]

Baghdadi Arabic consonant phonemes
Labial Dental Coronal Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal Glottal
plain emphatic
Nasal m n
Stop/Affricate voiceless (p) t t͡ʃ k ʔ
voiced b d ʤ g
Fricative voiceless f θ s ~ ɕ ʃ x ~ χ ħ ~ ʜ h
voiced (v) ð z ~ ʑ ðˤ ɣ ~ ʁ ʕ ~ ʢ
Tap r
Approximant l ɫ j w

Phonetic notes:

  • /p/ and /v/ occur mostly in borrowings from Persian, and may be assimilated to /b/ or /f/ in some speakers.
  • /ɡ/ is pronunciation of /q/ in Baghdad Arabic and the rest of southern Mesopotamian dialects.
  • The gemination of the flap /ɾ/ results in a trill /r/.

See also[edit]


  • Kees Versteegh, et al. Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, BRILL, 2006.
  • Abū-Haidar, Farīda (1991). Christian Arabic of Baghdad. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 9783447032094.
  1. ^ "Arabic, Mesopotamian Spoken - Ethnologue". Ethnologue. Simons, Gary F. and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). 2017. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Twentieth edition. Retrieved 21 March 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Hann, Geoff, 1937- author. (7 August 2015). Iraq : the ancient sites & Iraqi Kurdistan : the Bradt travel guide. ISBN 9781841624884. OCLC 880400955.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Holes (2004:58)
  4. ^ Teach Yourself Arabic, by Jack Smart (Author), Frances Altorfer (Author)
  5. ^ Hans Wehr, Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic (transl. of Arabisches Wörterbuch für die Schriftsprache der Gegenwart, 1952)