Linguistic variation in the middle east
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Linguistic Variation in the Middle East. Kevin Flowers and Jason Gabriel. Algeria Bahrain Djibouti Egypt Gaza/West Bank Iran Iraq Israel Jordan Kuwait Lebanon. Libya Morocco Oman Qatar Saudi Arabia Sudan Syria Tunisia Turkey United Arab Emirates Yemen.

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Linguistic Variation in the Middle East

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Linguistic Variation in the Middle East

Kevin Flowers and Jason Gabriel


Algeria

Bahrain

Djibouti

Egypt

Gaza/West Bank

Iran

Iraq

Israel

Jordan

Kuwait

Lebanon

Libya

Morocco

Oman

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

Sudan

Syria

Tunisia

Turkey

United Arab Emirates

Yemen

Countries that compose the Middle East


  • “Middle East” as a cultural term rather than a geographical term, North Africa

  • Morocco, Sudan

  • Linguistic diversity and dialect differences relative to individual regions

  • MSA as a fundamental communication medium – literary Arabic and diglossia, never a native tongue, 220 million speakers


Algeria – Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects

Bahrain – Arabic, English is widely spoken, Farsi, Urdu

Djibouti - French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar

Egypt – Arabic, English, French

Gaza/West Bank (Palestine) – Arabic, English is widely spoken, and Hebrew in East Jerusalem

Iran - Farsi and Persian dialects, Turkic and Turkic dialects, Kurdish, Luri, Balochi, Arabic, Turkish

Iraq - Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, Armenian

Israel - Hebrew (official), Arabic used officially for Arab minority, English most commonly used foreign language

Jordan – Arabic, English

Kuwait – Arabic, English

Lebanon - Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian widely understood

Libya - Arabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in the major cities

Morocco – Arabic, Berber, and French

Oman - Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects

Qatar - Arabic; English is widely used

Saudi Arabia – Arabic, English

Sudan - Arabic (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages

Syria - Arabic (official); Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely understood; French, English somewhat understood

Tunisia - Arabic (official and one of the languages of commerce), French (commerce)

Turkey - Turkish (official), Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, Greek

United Arab Emirates - Arabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu

Yemen - Arabic

Major languages spoken in Middle Eastern countries


The Evolution of Middle Eastern Languages


While it is universally written, read, and understood in its standard (MSA) form, spoken Arabic has undergone regional and dialectical variations. Colloquial Arabic is diverse from region to region. For instance, the diversity within the family of dialects spoken in the Levantine (Syria, Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon) resembles the diversity between British and American English. The same can be said of the family of dialects spoken in Iraq and the Gulf countries.


ARABIC, ALGERIAN SAHARAN SPOKENARABIC, ALGERIAN SPOKENARABIC, BABALIA CREOLEARABIC, BAHARNA SPOKENARABIC, CHADIAN SPOKENARABIC, CYPRIOT SPOKENARABIC, DHOFARI SPOKENARABIC, EASTERN EGYPTIAN BEDAWI SPOKENARABIC, EGYPTIAN SPOKENARABIC, GULF SPOKENARABIC, HADRAMI SPOKENARABIC, HASANYAARABIC, HASSANIYYAARABIC, HIJAZI SPOKENARABIC, JUDEO-IRAQIARABIC, JUDEO-MOROCCANARABIC, JUDEO-TRIPOLITANIANARABIC, JUDEO-TUNISIANARABIC, JUDEO-YEMENIARABIC, LEVANTINE BEDAWI SPOKEN

ARABIC, LIBYAN SPOKENARABIC, MESOPOTAMIAN SPOKENARABIC, MOROCCAN SPOKENARABIC, NAJDI SPOKENARABIC, NORTH LEVANTINE SPOKENARABIC, NORTH MESOPOTAMIAN SPOKENARABIC, OMANI SPOKENARABIC, SA<IDI SPOKENARABIC, SANAANI SPOKENARABIC, SHIHHI SPOKENARABIC, SHUWAARABIC, SOUTH LEVANTINE SPOKENARABIC, STANDARDARABIC, SUDANESE CREOLEARABIC, SUDANESE SPOKENARABIC, TA'IZZI-ADENIARABIC, TA'IZZI-ADENI SPOKENARABIC, TAJIKI SPOKENARABIC, TUNISIAN SPOKENARABIC, UZBEKI SPOKENARABIC, WESTERN EGYPTIAN

Spoken dialects of Arabic


Classical Arabic – the language of the Qur’an

  • MSA and its function in different countries: standard language of the media across national boundaries

  • History of Arabic – spread of Islam 7th, 8th centuries, Arabic was standardized in the 9th century

  • Language of the Qur’an strictly preserved as Islam spread, gave rise to MSA


The role of Arabic in the modern world

  • Adaptability and neologisms, ease due to the grammatical structure and consonantal root system

  • No change in alphabet, spellings, or the majority of the vocabulary for over 4000 years

  • MSA’s role in unification


The fact that Islam and the Arabic language are so closely tied together means that citizens of the Middle East feel strongly about the preservation of both. This duality has allowed for the creation of distinct and diverse dialects throughout the region.


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