Kuwaiti Arabic

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Kuwaiti
كويتي
Pronunciation [kwe:ti]
Native to Grane, nowadays State of Kuwait
Native speakers
1.3 million (L1 only, approx.) (2016)[1]
L2 negligible
Arabic, with addition of 3 or 4 letters.[2]
Kuwaiti Sign Language
(لغة الاشارة الكويتية)
Official status
Official language in
Not official in any country
Regulated by Not recognised as a language
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-3
Glottolog kuwa1251[3]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Kuwaiti (in Kuwaiti كويتي, /kwe:ti/) is a Gulf Arabic dialect spoken in Kuwait. Kuwaiti Arabic shares many phonetic features unique to Gulf dialects. Due to Kuwait's soap opera industry, Kuwaiti Arabic spread throughout the Arabic-speaking world and became familiar even to people in countries such as Tunisia and Jordan.[4][5]

History and Development[edit]

Since Kuwait was a nation of immigrants with no native population, Kuwait has a different sociolinguists structure. Three groups make up the Kuwaiti population: The first being the descendant of Arab tribes, while the second are people originally from Al-Hasa, Bahrain and Iraq, and the third are people originally from Persia (modern-day Iran), known in Kuwait by the name Ayam[1]. Some people believe the third to be of a lower status due to their origins.[6]

Kuwaiti Arabic is rapidly changing due to many factors.[7]

Phonology[8][edit]

Emphatics[edit]

/b/, /f/, /l/, /m/, /n/ and /r/ become the emphatics ḅ, f, ḷ, ṃ, ṇ, and ṛ only when they are in the contiguity of an emphatic, a back vowel, or if they precede /a:/.

Varieties[edit]

Kuwaiti is divided into two varieties: Urban (Sedentary) and Nomadic or Bedouin.[9] The first is believed to have developed due to exposure to the outside world, as well as Kuwait being a country of multi-regional immigrants during its infantry. The Urban dialect is seen as more prestigious than the Bedouin one.[10]

The Urban dialect is divided into four sub-dialects, while the Bedouin is divided into two.[11] The four sedent dialects are:

While the two Bedouin varieties are:

Historians and researchers usually demonstrate differences between the dialects using the Kuwaiti word for Sugar, which has three different pronunciation. It is pronounced Shikar (/ʃɪkɐr/) in Sharg dialect, Shakar (/ʃɐkɐr/) in Fintaas dialect, and Shakir (/ʃɐkɪr/) in Jibla dialect.[14][15][16]

Status[edit]

Dashti identifies four varieties of Arabic in Kuwait. Classical Arabic (CA), the language of the Quran, the liturgical language of Islam, the religion of the vast majority of Kuwaitis, and old Arabic literature, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), which is the medium of formal communication and school education. This variety is considered the second language of Kuwaitis as they are only introduced to when they start school. Kuwaiti Arabic (KA), the language of everyday's life and the symbol of the Kuwaiti identity. It is a symbol of prestige in the Kuwaiti society. The last variety is Educated Standard Arabic (ESA), in which the speaker mixes between MSA and KA. This language is used in Radio, TV, and academics' informal discussions. Kuwait is diglossic, like the rest of the Arab world, with the Arabic language being seen us the high variety, while Kuwaiti is seen more like a patois or a low-variety colloquial dialect of Arabic.[17][18]

Kuwaiti is the "normal" way of speaking in everyday's life and is acquired naturally at home and not taught at schools (as it is considered a mere dialect of the Arabic language by the public).

After conducting several interviews with speakers of Kuwaiti, Akbar states that for many, speaking Kuwaiti is the most important criterion of being considered Kuwaiti.[19]

Features and Characteristics[edit]

Kuwaiti Arabic is a variant of Gulf Arabic, sharing similarities with the dialects of neighboring coastal areas in Eastern Arabia.[20] Due to immigration during its early history as well as trade, Kuwaiti was influenced by many languages such as Persian, English, Italian, Urdu, Turkish, and others.[21]

A unique characteristic in Kuwait is the use of words and phrases by women exclusively, for example "يَا حَافِظ", roughly translated to "Oh Saver [God]", is rarely or never used by men.[22] It's also different than a lot of Arabic variants in the way that phonological assimilation occurs to a multitude of words, but not to all of them. The only case of full assimilation is /dˤ/ changing to /ðˤ/ in all words.

Differences between Arabic and Kuwaiti[edit]

Standard Arabic is a dead language; meaning it is not spoken natively by people anymore. Each variety of Arabic has evolved and developed over time. Some of the differences between the formal Arabic and Kuwaiti are:

  • Kuwaiti uses SVO almost always (unless the subject is omitted because of the verb's conjugation), while Arabic uses VSO most of the time.
  • Copulas are used in Kuwaiti, unlike Arabic. Below is a table of copulas used in Kuwaitis:

Note: Copulas are used before verbs only, not adjectives. For example: I am drinking, not I am drunk.

Verb In Kuwaiti Transliteration
am, is قَعَ/قَامْ/قَاعِدْ/قَاعْ/قَعْدْ /gɐʕ/, /gam/, /gaʕɪd/, /gaʕ/, /gɐʕd/
are قَعَ/قَامْ/قَاعْدِينْ/قَاعْ/قَعْدْ /gɐʕ/, /gam/, /gaʕdin/, /gaʕ/, /gɐʕd/

The past tenses are formed by adding كَانْ /kaan/ before each copula.

  • Almost all of Arabic declensions are omitted in Kuwaiti.
  • Dual grammatical person is not used, though dual nouns are still used.
  • Feminine forms in plural second and third person are not used.
  • The definite article, al- (/al/), became el- (/ɪl-) in Kuwaiti.

Lexicon[edit]

Kuwaiti borrowed a lot of words from different languages due to immigration and trade. Below are few examples with the corresponding Arabic words. As noticed, a lot of words come from Persian. This is due to the fact that the only original inhabitants of Kuwait who were not Arabs were Persians.

Note: A green box indicates that the MSA word is used in Kuwaiti (most of the times interchangeably), while a red box means it's not.

Word Pronunciation Meaning Origin In Original Language In Modern Standard Arabic
دِقْمَة /dɪg.mɐ/ button (A physical button, like in a device, or a digital button, like in a computer program) Persian or Turkish دکمه or düğme زِر
زرَار /zrar/ button (in clothes) Arabic زِر
شِقَرْدِي /ʃɪgɐrdɪ/ good or kind-hearted person Persian شگردي طَيِّب
بَخْت /bɐxt/ luck or fortune Persian بخت حَظ
وَايِر /wajɪr/ wire English --- سِلْك
دَبَل /dɐbɐl/ double English --- مزدوج or ثنائي
أَصَنْصير /ɐsˤɐn.sˤe:r/ lift (elevator) French ascenseur مِصْعَد
تِيلَة /tiːlɐ/ marble (toy) Persian تیله Does not exist
كَتِر /kɐtɪr/ (physical) place or quarter, as in a place in a house English quarter مكان or زاوية
جيكَر /dʒeːkɐr/ ugly (used humorously a lot of times) English joker, from the playing card قبيح (lacks humorous meaning)
رزنامة /rɪznamɐ/ calendar Persian روزنامه تقويم
شورْبَة /ʃo:rbɐ/ soup Turkish çorba حَسَاء
صَالون /sˤalo:n/ lounge French salon ردهة
طرْشِي /tˤʊrʃi/ pickle Persian ترشي مُخَلَّل
ڤِلَّه /vɪl.lɐ/ villa French villa Does not exist. However the same word is used sometimes.
نَمْرَة or نِمْرَة /nɪmrɐ/ or /nɐmrɐ/ (phone) number Romance رقم
بنگ /bɐng/ bank English bank مَصْرِف
يَواشْ يَواش /jɐwaʃ jɐwaʃ/ slow down/be careful Persian يواش تَمَهَّل
طوز /tˤo:z/ sandstorm Turkish toz عاصفة غبارية/عاصفة ترابية
قز /gɐz/ nougat Persian گز نوغة
هم /hɐm/ also Persian هم أيضًا
يا /ja:/ or Persian يا أو
قَز (Homonym of the above word) /gɐz/ meander (verb) English gaze[23]

Old-fashioned or obsolete words[edit]

some words were replaced by native Arabic words over time. A few examples of such words include:[24]

  • رنق (ring), A Persian word that means colour.
  • بنسل (binsil), from English Pencil.
  • كنديشن (candeshin), from English Conditioner (as in Air conditioner).
  • فنگر (finger), from English.[25]
  • كرفاية (karfaya), from Hindi.

Dr. Ya'goob al-Ghaneem points at the increasing numbers of Arab expatriate and exposure to media in different Arabics as the reasons behind this change. Fatima Mahasin hypothesises that the words being replaced are not of English, French or Italian origins, and tend originate from "less-prestigious" languages.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.paci.gov.kw/stat. Retrieved 24 August 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Qafisheh, Hamdi A. 1999. NTC's Gulf Arabic-English Dictionary. (USA: McGraw-Hill Contemporary), p. XV
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kuwaiti Hadari Arabic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ Mansfield, Peter (1990). Kuwait: vanguard of the Gulf. Hutchinson. p. 113. Some Kuwaiti soap operas have become extremely popular and, although they are usually performed in the Kuwaiti dialect, they have been shown with success as far away as Tunisia. 
  5. ^ Pluricentric Languages: Differing Norms in Different Nations. 
  6. ^ Akbar, Rahima (April 2007). "1.2 People of Kuwait". Students' and Teachers' attitudes towards Kuwaiti/English code-switching (PDF) (Ph.D.). Cardiff University. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  7. ^ AlBader, Yousef (April 2015). "1.1 Purpose". Semantic Innovation and Change in Kuwaiti Arabic: A Study of the Polysemy of Verbs (PDF) (Ph.D.). Cardiff University. Retrieved 24 August 2016. 
  8. ^ AlBader, Yousef (April 2015). "TRANSCRIPTION AND SYMBOLS". Semantic Innovation and Change in Kuwaiti Arabic: A Study of the Polysemy of Verbs (PDF) (Ph.D.). Cardiff University. Retrieved 24 August 2016.  line feed character in |title= at position 50 (help)
  9. ^ Mahsain, Fatima (April 2007). "1.2.4.1 Language". Motivations Behind Code-switching Among Kuwaiti Bilingual Schools‟ Students (PDF) (Ph.D.). University of Manchester. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  10. ^ Dashti, Abdulmuhsin (1997). Language choice in the state of Kuwait : a sociolinguistic investigation (Ph.D.). p. 41. 
  11. ^ "خالد الرشيد: "اللهجة الكويتية" "مظلومة" في مدارسنا.. لأن أغلب معلمينا وافدون". 2015-01-20. Archived from the original on 2015-01-20. Retrieved 2016-10-01. 
  12. ^ Taqi, Hanan (2010). Two ethnicities, three generations: Phonological variation and change in Kuwait (PDF) (PhD). Newcastle University.  p. 14
  13. ^ http://alwatan.kuwait.tt/articledetails.aspx?id=218774&yearquarter=20123
  14. ^ "خالد الرشيد: "اللهجة الكويتية" "مظلومة" في مدارسنا.. لأن أغلب معلمينا وافدون". 2015-01-20. Archived from the original on 2015-01-20. Retrieved 2016-10-01. 
  15. ^ http://www.kuwaitmag.com/index.jsp?inc=5&id=1031&pid=219&version=9
  16. ^ ":: Lahjah :: لـهجـة  ::". www.lahjah.com. Retrieved 2016-10-01. 
  17. ^ Akbar, Rahima (April 2007). "1.3 The Sociolinguistic Situation in Kuwait". Students' and Teachers' attitudes towards Kuwaiti/English code-switching (PDF) (Ph.D.). Cardiff University. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  18. ^ Mahsain, Fatima (April 2007). "1.2.4.2 Literacy". Motivations Behind Code-switching Among Kuwaiti Bilingual Schools‟ Students (PDF) (Ph.D.). University of Manchester. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  19. ^ Akbar, Rahima (April 2007). "2.2.2 Language as a Symbol of Group Identity". Students' and Teachers' attitudes towards Kuwaiti/English code-switching (PDF) (Ph.D.). Cardiff University. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  20. ^ "خالد الرشيد: "اللهجة الكويتية" "مظلومة" في مدارسنا.. لأن أغلب معلمينا وافدون". 2015-01-20. Archived from the original on 2015-01-20. Retrieved 2016-10-01. 
  21. ^ Mahsain, Fatima (April 2007). "1.2.4.1 Language". Motivations Behind Code-switching Among Kuwaiti Bilingual Schools‟ Students (PDF) (Ph.D.). University of Manchester. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  22. ^ Lahjah Kuwaiti-Arabic dictionary
  23. ^ "يوسف البدر يستعرض كلمات كويتية اصولها الاولى بريطانية في جامعة شيفيلد بالمملكة المتحدة". الوطـــن الإلكترونية. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  24. ^ al-Ghaneem, Ya'goob. ألفاظ اللهجة الكويتية في كتاب – لسان العرب – لإبن منظور. 
  25. ^ Dashti, Abdulmuhsin (2015). "The Role and Status of the English Language in Kuwait". English Today. pp. 28-33. doi:10.1017/S026607841500022X
  26. ^ Mahsain, Fatima (April 2007). "1.2.4.1 Language". Motivations Behind Code-switching Among Kuwaiti Bilingual Schools‟ Students (PDF) (Ph.D.). University of Manchester. Retrieved 7 July 2016.