San'ani Arabic is a Arabic dialect.
The Sanaani dialect is distinguished among Yemeni dialects by its use of the [ɡ] sound in the place of the classical Arabic /q/ (ق qāf ), as well as its preservation of the classical Arabic palatal pronunciation of /ɟ/ (ج ǧim ).
|Second||Singular||ant (m.); Anti (f.)||ant, anti; -ak (m.); -eʃ (f.)|
|Third||Singular||Huː (m.), Hiː (f.)||Ho/-uː (m.), Hiː/ -iː (f.)|
|Plural||Hom/Om(m.) ; Hen/en(f.)||Hom/Om (m.) ; Hen/en (f.)|
Along with these phonological similarities to other dialects, San'ani Arabic also has several unique features. It uses the classical mā in the meaning of "what", as well as in negations. Unlike the classical usage, this mā is used without distinction in verbal and nominal sentences alike. San'ani Arabic represents the future aspect with a complex array of prefixes, depending on the person of the verb. For first-person verbs the prefix (ša-) or (‘ad) is used. The derivation of (ša-) is apparently related to the classical (sa-), and (‘ad) is likely an abbreviation of (ba‘d), meaning "after". For all other persons in San'a proper the simple prefix (‘a-) is used, although many of the villages around San'a extend the use of (ša-) for all persons.
San'ani syntax differs from other Arabic dialects in a number of ways. It is one of few remaining Arabic dialects to retain the mā af‘al exclamatory sentence type with the meaning "how (adjective)". For instance, mā ajmal, is used to mean "how beautiful", from the adjective jamīl, meaning "beautiful"; a construction it shares with Libyan Arabic and Levantine Arabic.
The San'ani vocabulary is also very distinct and conservative. The classical verb sāra, yasīr is retained with the meaning of "to go" (similar to Moroccan). Shalla, yashill is used to mean "to take/get".
As an example of its distinctiveness, during an appearance of the would-be parliament speaker of Yemen, Abdullah Alahmar, on Al-Jazeera TV some years ago, viewers and the TV host needed a translation of his Yemeni dialect into Standard Arabic in order to understand what he said.
|Ṣanʿānī Arabic||Translation||Etymology||Modern Standard Arabic equivalent|
|demmeh||domestic cat||Amharic: ድመት? dəmät id.||قطة qiṭṭah|
|bardag; galaṣ||glass (cup)||Turkish: bardak; English||كأس kaʾs|
|edarapp||to drop||English||قطرة qutra|
|eskeh||Allow me (informal)||እስኪ əskī "please"||اسمح لي ismaḥ lī|
|nahi||OK||Arabic: نهى "done"||حسناً ḥasanan|
|dēmeh||Kitchen||ديمة "cottage"||مطبخ maṭbax|
|saykal||Bicycle||Hindi: साइकिल sāikil||دراجة darrājah|
- Börjars, Kersti; Burridge, Kate (2010). Introducing English grammar (2nd ed.). London: Hodder Education. ISBN 978-1444109870.
- Janet C. E. Watson, Sbahtu! A Course in San'ani Arabic. Semitica Viva: Series Didactica, 3. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1996. xxvii, 324 pp., glossary, index ISBN 3-447-03755-5
- Piamenta, Moshe (1990). A Dictionary of Post Classical Yemeni Arabic, Volume 1: A - Š. Leiden [u.a.]: Brill. p. 163. ISBN 978-9004092617.