Najdi Arabic

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Najdi Arabic
Native toSaudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria
Native speakers
4.05 million (2011-2015)[1]
Arabic alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3ars

Najdi Arabic (Arabic: اللهجة النجدية‎) is a variety of Arabic spoken in the Najd region of Saudi Arabia.

There are three major dialects of Najdi Arabic.

  1. Northern Najdi, spoken in Ha'il Region and Al-Qassim Region in the Najd.
  2. Central Najdi (Urban Najdi), spoken in the city of Riyadh and surrounding towns and farming communities.
  3. Southern Najdi, spoken in the city of Al-Kharj and surrounding towns, and in the Rub' al-Khali.



Here is a table of the consonant sounds of Najdi Arabic. 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 can be pronounced as /b/ and /f/ respectively depending on the speaker.[3]

Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Pharyngeal Glottal
 plain  emphatic  plain  emphatic
Nasal m n
Occlusive voiceless t tˤ~tʼ k ʔ
voiced b d d͡ʒ ɡ
Fricative voiceless f θ s sˤ~sʼ ʃ x ħ h
voiced ð ðˁ~ðʼ z ɣ ʕ
Trill r
Approximant l (ɫ) j w

Phonetic notes:

  • The classicized [q] is an allophone for /ɡ/ ⟨ق⟩ in few words and proper names as in القرآن [alqurˈʔaːn] ('Quran') and قانون [qaːnuːn] ('Law').[4]
  • The distinction between the Classical Arabic lateral fricative /ɮˤ/ ⟨ض⟩ and /ðˤ/ ⟨ظ⟩ was completely lost in Najdi Arabic, and both are realised as /ðˤ/.
  • the marginal phoneme /ɫ/ only occurs in the word الله /aɫːaːh/ ('god') and words derived from it,[5][incomplete citation] it contrasts with /l/ in والله /waɫːa/ ('i swear') vs. ولَّا /walːa/ ('or'), but it occurs as an allophone of /l/ in many other contexts, especially when neighboring the phonemes /ɡ, x, , / e.g. قَلَم "pencil" /ɡalam/→[ɡaɫam].
  • The phonemes /ɣ/ ⟨غ⟩ and /x/ ⟨خ⟩ can be realised as uvular fricatives [ʁ] and [χ] respectively.
  • In the consonantal system of Najdi Arabic, there is an occurrence of the alveolar affricates [t͡s] and [d͡z] as allophonic variants of the velar stops /k/ and /ɡ/, respectively.[6]


Najdi Arabic sentence structure can have the word order VSO and SVO, however, VSO usually occurs more often.[7] NA morphology is distinguished by three categories which are: nouns ism, verb fial, and particle harf. Ism means name in Arabic and it corresponds to nouns and adjectives in English. Fial means action in Arabic and it corresponds to verbs. Harf means letter and corresponds to pronouns, demonstratives, prepositions, conjunctions and articles.

Verbs are inflected for number, gender, person, tense, aspect and transitives. Nouns shows number(singular and plural) and gender(masculine and feminine). [8]

Complementizers in NA have three different classes which are: relative particle, declarative particle, and interrogative particles. The three different complementizers that are used in Najdi Arabic are: illi, in, itha.[9]


Two particles are used in negation, which are: ma and la. These particles come before the verb in verbal sentences.[7] ma is used with all verbal sentences but la is used with imperative verb forms indicating present and future tense.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Arabic, Najdi Spoken". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2018-08-08.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Najdi Arabic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Al Motairi (2015:5)
  4. ^ Al Motairi (2015:6)
  5. ^ Watson (2002:16)
  6. ^ Al Motairi (2015)
  7. ^ a b Bruce., Ingham, (1994). Najdi Arabic : central Arabian. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins Pub. Co. pp. 37–44. ISBN 9789027283122. OCLC 607094254.
  8. ^ a b Alothman, Ebtesam (2012). "Digital Vernaculars: An Investigation of Najdi Arabic in Multilingual Synchronous Computer-Mediated Communication" (PDF). University of Manchester: 96–121.
  9. ^ Lewis Jr., Robert (2013). "Complementizer Agreement in Najdi Arabic" (PDF). University of Kansas: 22.