Arabic languages

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North Africa, Middle East, Malta
Linguistic classification: Afro-Asiatic
Glottolog: arab1394[1]

The Arabic language family consists of all of the descendants of Proto-Arabic, including:

  • Old Arabic, the language of northwestern Arabia in the pre-Islamic period and its varieties:
    • Northern Old Arabic (including Safaitic and Hismaic)
    • Old Higazi
  • Middle Arabic, medieval attestations of Arabic that cannot be considered Classical Arabic,
  • Neo-Arabic, the descendants of spoken Old Arabic, including:
    • Eastern Arabic
    • Western Arabic
    • Maltese
  • Classical Arabic, the liturgical language of Islam which emerged in the 7th century AD,
  • Modern Standard Arabic, the standardized variety of Arabic used since the 19th century
  • Colloquial dialects of Arabic spoken in everyday communications


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Arabian". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 


  • Cantineau, Jean (1955). "La dialectologie arabe", Orbis 4:149–169.
  • Fischer, Wolfdietrich, & Otto Jastrow (ed) (1980). Handbuch der arabischen Dialekte, Wiesbaden: Harrasowitz.
  • Kaye, Alan S., & Judith Rosenhouse (1997). "Arabic Dialects and Maltese", The Semitic Languages. Ed. Robert Hetzron. New York: Routledge. Pages 263–311.
  • Lozachmeur, H., (ed.), (1995). Presence arabe dans le croissant fertile avant l'Hegire (Actes de la table ronde internationale Paris, 13 Novembre 1993) Paris: Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations. ISBN 2-86538-254-0
  • Macdonald, M.C.A., (2000). "Reflections on the linguistic map of pre-Islamic Arabia" Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy 11(1), 28–79
  • Scagliarini, F., (1999). "The Dedanitic inscriptions from Jabal 'Ikma in north-western Hejaz" Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 29, 143–150 ISBN 2-503-50829-4
  • Sobelman, H., (ed.) (1962). Arabic Dialect Studies, Washington, D.C.: Center for Applied Linguistics and the Middle East Institute.
  • Winnett, F.V. & Reed, W.L. (1970). Ancient Records from North Arabia, Toronto: University of Toronto

See also[edit]