Talk:Varieties of Arabic

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

"Varieties" vs "Dialects"[edit]

No, no, no - the whole point of calling it "Varieties of Arabic" was to avoid the language/dialect controversy. Otherwise we'll have instant edit wars between Lebanese who say their speech is a separate language and Lebanese who say it's not. - Mustafaa 22:28, 21 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Oh, I'm sorry. I'll move back. Isomorphic 22:29, 21 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I don't understand though - if it's controversial, why does the article use the word "dialect" throughout? Isomorphic 22:32, 21 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Good point - I've fixed that... My own sympathies are solidly with the "dialect" camp (hence my original word choice), but I've seen enough supporters of the opposite side to anticipate edit wars (rapidly degenerating to rehashes of the Lebanese civil war, or of Israeli propaganda about Arab illiteracy) once they find it. Mustafaa 22:42, 21 Apr 2004 (UTC)
OK, makes sense now. Interesting article, by the way. Isomorphic 22:45, 21 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I think it's more appropriate to call them dialects than languages, in the Arab world we use the word "Lahjat" (لهجات). For example Lebanese is divided from Arabic just like every other Arab dialect. radiant guy 08:52, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

"Appropriateness" is in the eye of the beholder, and with respect to language / dialect as much a political as an objective decision. Certainly by benchmarks such as "European" languages that are called languages, the spoken varieties of Arabic are more different. The article opted for varieties to avoid getting into dialect-language. A good choice. Arabic usage with respect to Arabic itself, is, I would add, usually full of rather unscientific misconceptions, etc. and is not a good benchmark for what an objective encyclopedia should apply. (collounsbury 13:05, 4 April 2007 (UTC))

I don't see American or British English called varieties neither Welsh, African-American and Texan English, it's dialects not varieties, most of Arab can easily understand each other, although there is some dialects that completely different like Maghrebi Arabic, most of them are very close to each either. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zayani (talkcontribs)

My understanding is that "variety" is a term neutral to whether they're dialects, accents, registers, etc. Apparantly, some believe that the limited mutual intelligibility could qualify a few of the dialects as languages. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 19:56, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Because some of the varieties are not mutually intelligible with other varieties and because the definition of "mutual intelligibility" differs from Arabic speaker to Arabic speaker and because what is sometimes perceived as mutual intelligibility is actually multi-dialectalism or multi-lingualism, "variety" is, indeed, the best term to use. It's neutral as to the whole issue of mutual intelligibility and the "dialect-language" debate. (Taivo (talk) 20:06, 28 December 2009 (UTC))
Taivo, you are wrong. The geographic taxonomy of languages goes like this:
Language family - multiple regions
Language (standard) - regional
Dialect group (non-standard) - sub-regional
Dialect - local
Dialectal variety - communal (ref: "Language and situation: language varieties and their social contexts" by Michael Gregory, Susanne Carroll, 1976, p.6)
diglossia, bilingualism and jargon - subculture styles, genders and deixis of the socio-economic strata
Because of the unreferenced and erroneous Language and Culture section in the Language article you are misled into thinking that variety is applied to the local demographic, i.e. Cairo, that in fact has several Dialectal varieties based on community, religion, socio-economic status, gender, etc. Koakhtzvigad (talk) 07:31, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't know where you got that taxonomy from, but linguists don't use it below the "dialect" level. "Variety" is a neutral term that covers a variety of things. I'm not misled, you are trying to apply some single-source usage into linguistics as a whole. --Taivo (talk) 00:36, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
Are you a linguist?
I provided the wikilinks from Wikipedia articles, namely Language!
The reference to dialectical variety/variation is the oldest I could find in Googlebooks for your benefit. It is assumed that someone versed in Linguistics understands that "variety" refers to dialectal variety and not the dialect.
It was still called that in the 1980s when I did Linguistics, such as in Hugo Baetens Beardsmore, Bilingualism: basic principles: Volume 1986, Part 2, p.38, who says

As one moves through different dialect varieties of a language one moves along a scale of differentiation which may lead to the point of mutually unintelligible dialects. Once mutual unintelligibility has been reached one is faced with the same conditions as pertain to bilingualism. In many nations a situation exists where speakers of a dialect which differs considerably from the national standard are obliged to learn this national standard for purposes of education and wider communication beyond the region.

A situation that to my knowledge does not exist among any Arabic dialect speakers, but does exist for some dialectal varieties (i.e. Arabic pidgin or creole speakers)

Other more recent examples discipline literature sources include:
Natsuko Tsujimura, An introduction to Japanese linguistics, 2007, p.422
Janina Böttcher, Modern Scots: Reflections on a Variety, 2009, p.9
Ho-abdullah Imran, Variety and Variability:A Corpus-based Cognitive Lexical-semantics Analysis of Prepositional Usage in British, New Zealand and Malaysian English, 2010, p.29
As you can see this is clearly the internationally accepted terminological use in current Linguistic studies. I tried to avoid using the technical term Isogloss because it seemed to me unnecessary in the context of the article, and given the lack of familiarity a general Wikipedia reader would have with it, but if you insist...Koakhtzvigad (talk) 12:06, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
And of course the map in the article is an example of the isopleth mapping (or quantified isogloss mapping)Koakhtzvigad (talk) 12:19, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
The use of "variety" for sub-dialectal issues is not standard and using the word "variety" as an ambiguous term between "language" and "dialect" is certainly acceptable here. What else are you going to call the "versions" of Arabic? They are not properly dialects since there is a large degree of non-intelligibility amongst them. They are not properly languages since there is not complete non-intelligibility. The choice of calling them languages or dialects in sources is often not based on linguistic factors, but on sociological or religious factors. --Taivo (talk) 14:13, 30 April 2011 (UTC)


Picky little point: It's a little jarring that the article title is not given in bold anywhere in the first paragraph, as is standard Wikipedia convention. I don't trust that I could do this without introducing inaccuracies, as I don't know anything about the subject. - dcljr (talk) 08:01, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

Great expansion - nice work, Benwing! My only quibble is with "The dominant order is subject-verb rather than verb-subject": I'm not sure that's entirely true. In Algerian Arabic, I think verb-subject is the commonest order for intransitive verbs (though SVO is the order for transitives.) However, I'm not 100% sure; reclassicization is hard to filter out sometimes. - Mustafaa 23:57, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

More detail needed[edit]

There needs to be more detail in the classification, especially with Iraqi Arabic. I am not sure if every Arabic dialect of Iraq forms a genetic unit. Also having, the country based Arabic is confusing. Azalea pomp 16:54, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Modern standard Arabic[edit]

Which place closest reflects Modern standard Arabic, Saudi Arabia? What is the set Modern standard Arabic pronunication? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:19, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Okay not including dialects. What is the proper way to say things in Modern standard Arabic? Is it the same as classical? I want to learn Modern Standard Arabic not local Arabic dialects, so what is the correct pronuciation in Modern Standard Arabic?... -- (talk) 21:19, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Somali Arabic[edit]

The Arabs who live along the coast of Brava and Marka as well as Northern Somalia speak mainly a Yemeni dialect but have their own dialect now, I would like to be represented please. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:48, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

The Map[edit]

Re: "User Arab League's Dialects / Varieties Map": While impressive as a map, this seems, as several of his prior maps, somewhat problematic, in terms of sourcing (none, thus original research) and actual factual content. Notably, the map shows Arabic varities in vast swathes of territory where Arabic is not in fact spoken, or if spoken, as a 2nd or 3rd language - e.g. in Morocco and Saharan Algeria, areas of primary Berber language including those where Arabic is weak, are coloured without any reference to primary. I would also question the sourcing on the expansive shading in the Sudan and in Somalia. These are fine efforts, but of dubious factual accuracy. (collounsbury (talk) 00:31, 21 August 2008 (UTC))

I think, languages (or if you like to call them dialects) related to Modern Standard Arabic, aren't only spoken in the so called Arab-league members. The map misses a lot of information. --Mahmudmasri (talk) 21:47, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
You're right. The image is problematic. In the image description it says "I created this work entirely by myself." Are there any sources that guided its creation? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 23:46, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

there is a big mistake in the map the Dialect of the north of morocco (tetouan-tanger-chaouen)is different than the dialect of Casa/Rabat and the dialect of the oujda and regions is also different than the casa/rabat/North ................. so please someone change this MAP! because 'THE MOROCCAN ARABIC' is something that doesn't EXIST There is more than 10 dialect in Morocco and not 1 dialect (the same thing in ALGERIA and others countries)

Anonymous above is right! The map is in many part just pure fantasy, without any relation to reality. I shoud be removed! Metron (talk) 11:36, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

File:Arabic Dialects.svg|300px|thumbnail|center|map
this map is incorrect saudis speak bedouin (badawi) 90% of the population were bedouins and the people of jorden and west iraq speak bedouin also najdi is bedouin (badawi) it'is the same.
residents of the cities in syria, lebanon, the west bank and gaza speak the al-shamiya/shami (levantine) dialect — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:22, 11 January 2015 (UTC)


Maltese is mentioned throughout in the specific examples given for various 'dialects': either these should be removed, or the initial explanation of Maltese as a distinct language should be retained. To this effect, I shall restore the removed section. the roof of this court is too high to be yours (talk) 20:40, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. One cannot simply include it without detailing why exactly it is no longer a "dialect". Mingeyqla (talk) 13:41, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Michigan Arabic[edit]

Does anyone know if Metro Detroit's large Arabic speaking population has formed its own dialect community or are they still by and large speakers of the dialects they brought? (asking this on Arabic Language talk as well.) --Leodmacleod (talk) 16:22, 15 December 2009 (UTC)


In the end of the article you are pointing to the difference between the variates and the modern standard Arabic, referring to those differences as "lost". there is no evidence that it was there in theses variates so it could be "lost" in the first place. So this is a wrong term to use. It is like saying that Spanish "lost" this rule from Latin over years, where in fact Spain never had spoken Latin to lose this or that from Latin. The same with Egyptian Arabic for example where Egyptians never spoke classical Arabic to lose these things. I hope you are aware of this fact. -- (talk) 23:30, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

I have to say that is a rather pedantic criticism. To say that Egyptian Arabic "lost" some feature of Classical Arabic is just a shorthand for the mere conclusion that the development from Classical Arabic to Egyptian Arabic led to some feature disappearing, regardless of whether the loss happened in Egypt or somewhere else along the way. It might well be that the feature was already gone in the variety of Arabic imported into Egypt from Arabia or the Levant, but that is immaterial.
That said, your suggestion that Classical Latin (I assume that is what you mean by Latin) was never spoken as an everyday language in (what is now) Spain is rather questionable, given that parts of the area were already under Roman dominion by 200 BC, at the time of Plautus, who still wrote in Old Latin, not even Classical Latin yet, while the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula was completed under Augustus. See Roman conquest of Hispania. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:07, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Sedentary vs. Nomadic nonsense[edit]

I dont have a word to explaine the chaose that is written in this section; please if you dont know about what are you writing please dont write it. Army camps grow into cities, bediuen and cities. this is complete non sense. the main reason bediuens have different varaity is because they are mainly arabs from arabian pensuilla whither this in egypt iraq or anyware else where is desert. this is some thing and "army camps grow into citites" is far another thing, cant understand the guy who wrote this; so in other world the army made thhe population of the city?? cant get your thinking; please for the last time if you dont know about something dont contribute in defining it to people through wikipedia. MasriDefend (talk) 03:34, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

Ancient south arabian[edit]

I removed the links to the ancient south arabian languages, as well as to nabatean. None of them are arabic languages, (as contrasted to arabian, which means from the geographical region arabia in these cases), and they cannot be said to be "pre-islamic varieties" of arabic. There is a lot of confusion going on regarding the ASA, let's not add to that. See Talk:Old_South_Arabian for further discussion. --Amilah (talk) 18:58, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

North mesopotamian dialects[edit]

I am a native speaker of of one the major noth mesopotamian dilects (dilect of Mosul).
I would like to point out that the the distribution you showed in the map coveres the Kurdish region of Iraq and Syria
Unfortunatly North meopotamian dilect is distributed in a pocket like manor throughout certain cities and towns in Iraaq, Syria and Turkey, and the number of Kurdish and south mesopotamian dilect speakers outnumber the speakers of north mesopotamian dilects in north mesopotamia
I suggest represnting the distribution of the dilect as dots that cover these cities and towns (Mosul, Tikrit, Haditha (in Iraq), Dair Alzour (syria), And Mardin and Mardin's country side (Turkey)
there is no such a thing as Judo Arabics. Arabic speaking jews speak modefied local dilects. Iraqi jew speak a north mesopotamian dilect that only simply differs from my dilect

^ I agree with the above assessment ^ Dawud Beale (talk) 11:26, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

too much information?[edit]

I'm just noticing that this article has gotten rather long and technical. (WP:SIZE) Certainly the technicalities at the end are useful, but maybe for non-linguists an overview section would be helpful, or else the article should be split up. For instance, the entire table on renderings of qaaf is nicely detailed but it might also be helpful just to summarize (see Qaaf): "Pronunciation of the letter qaaf ق varies widely among dialects; notably, it is generally rendered as /g/ in North Africa (Maghreb) and as hamza ( ' or /ʔ/) in Egyptian and Levantine dialects."
Opinions? etothei (talk) 20:00, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

Sharqi Arabic[edit]

Sharqi Arabic currently redirects here. Therefore it should at least be explained in the article. --BjKa (talk) 15:17, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

The term refers to the dialects spoken east of Egypt, in the Mashriq. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 04:48, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

This map is completely wrong and needs editing[edit]

Hi everyone.

This map has some serious issues with it, and I want to make some major edits, but want to make some discussion first to see if the other view has any basis or if there are any objections.

My objections are as follows:

1 Nubi is a completely separate language and should be removed from the list

2 Somali is a completely separate language and should be removed from the list

3 You have shown North Messopotamium as being a northern iraqi dialect. This dialect practically no longer exists and that region is a kurdish region and kurdish is the main language there. Kurdish is not a dialect or variety of arabic and so should also be removed.

4 You have Cypriot Arabic there, despite the fact that its a dying language of a very small minority of cypriots

5 Another name for Hassania is Sahrawi and so both terms should be put there, to ensure they are not confused as separate dialects.

6 We need to decide whether minority languages and dialects should be included. The Yemeni dialect is found in Sheffield and Birmingham in the United Kingdom for example, and also in Singapore. So if we are including where Arabic is a minority, we need to include everywhere that has notable quantities of Arabic speakers. Otherwise this map should only include places where the said dialect is the majority language.

7 I am also not convinced that south sudan speak a dialect of arabic as their dominant language and would like to see a reference for this.

8 the maghreb region (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya) are generally considered one variety with multiple dialects. So should only be one colour. If you are splitting them up over small differences then Palestinian, syria, jordanian and lebanese should all be listed as separate varieties. If they are all grouped together as levantine/shami then so should maghreb variety. I am in favour of keeping this map simple since its highly likely someone looking to learn arabic will look here for an overview of the dialects, and all these non arabic languages, moribund varieties and minority dialects and regional dialects etc will confuse the hell out of them. but we at least need some consistency in methodology and preferably multiple pages if we want them to serve different purposes

I will wait and see who replies or objects/agrees. If no response within a month I will go ahead and edit. This map is seriously misleading and confusing to anyone looking to get an overview of the various Arabic varieties.

Dawud Beale (talk) 11:20, 6 August 2017 (UTC)