Jijel Arabic

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Jijeli
Native to Algeria
Region Jijel Province
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Linguist list
arq-jij
Glottolog None

Jijeli, or Jijel Arabic, is a variety of Arabic spoken specifically in the Jijel Province in northeastern Algeria, but traces of it reach parts of the neighboring Skikda and Mila Provinces. It is quite different from all the other Arabic dialects spoken in eastern Algeria and has probably survived into present times because of the geographic enclavement of that mountainous area and the difficulty of terrestrial connections with the rest of the country for centuries.

Jijel is a relic of the Pre-Hilalian Arabic dialects (resulting from the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb in the 7th and 8th centuries) once spoken over all of Constantine, Algeria but later mixed with Bedouin Hilalian dialects brought by the invasion of the Banu Hilal in the 11th century.

Pre-Hilalian Arabic dialects remained intact only in a small area around Jijel while they were heavily mixed with bedouin dialects in the areas of Constantine, Mila, Collo and El Milia. Pre-Hilalian dialects also remain in the urban areas of Fez, Rabat, Tlemcen, Constantine and Tunis. Tlemcen Arabic and Jijel Arabic remain very close.[1] Jijel Arabic is also amongst the most Berber-influenced Arabic dialects of Algeria.

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