different arabic dialects

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What is you most favorite dialect?

MSA/Classic
14
33%
Egypt
8
19%
Syria/Lebanon
9
21%
gulf
2
5%
Tunisian
1
2%
algerian
4
9%
Bedawi
1
2%
Iraqi
1
2%
Yemen
1
2%
Sudanese
2
5%
 
Total votes: 43

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Meera
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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby Meera » 2013-06-21, 1:44

mōdgethanc wrote:
Meera wrote:Also mōdgethanc, I think the LDI classifies them as diffirent languages, on the GLOSS website they have diffirent sections for each Arabic. For example this is how they word it : "Arabic-MSA, Arabic-Egyptian, Arabic-Levantine, Arabic- Iraqi".
I just looked at it and it just says "Egyptian", "Levantine" and "Sudanese". But that doesn't necessarily mean they're classified as different languages because there are also different pages for "Korean" and "North Korean" (wtf?).

Anyway, as I said this isn't really about whether varieties of Arabic are dialects or languages. That's a really pointless discussion to get into anyway since there is no objective way to tell either way. The point I was trying to make to my friend was that they're about as different as the Romance languages are and just learning MSA (which is what he wanted me to do) wouldn't mean I could talk to any Arab in their native tongue. He said Arabic isn't any different from another language in terms of how much variety it has, which I disagree with since I've never come across an English accent I couldn't understand without a little work, except for English-based creoles (which are not really like English at all) and to some extent Scots.


I think its weird that they classify North Korean and Korean diffirently. And I think with a little work all native Arabic speakers could undertsand each other. If an Egyptian studied Morrocan Arabic, I'm sure he would catch on to it faster than we as non-natives would. I think as non-native speakers its hard for us to judge on this because we don't really know what it's like. Also your Sudanese friend is probably exposed to media from all over the Arab world. If he gets Arabic channels, he probably hears Egyptian, Lebanese and maybe even gulf Arabic, so he might be able to understand another dialect speaker than say a person living in a village in Yemen, just because he hears it all the time.
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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby shprakh » 2013-06-21, 2:56

Meera wrote:I think with a little work all native Arabic speakers could undertsand each other. If an Egyptian studied Morrocan Arabic, I'm sure he would catch on to it faster than we as non-natives would.


Just like I was able to learn Portuguese faster because it's very close to my native Spanish? It's still a different language.

But yeah, I get it...Spanish and Portuguese don't share a prestige or standard language, it's not the same, etc...

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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-06-21, 4:59

linguoboy wrote:And it sounds to me like he's saying he's never come across an Arabic accent he couldn't understand with a little work.
He didn't say that, but I could ask. Even if he didn't understand them all, though, he could still strongly feel that Arabic is a single language for other reasons. I've heard enough times that Chinese is even though I highly doubt Mandarin speakers could understand Cantonese or Gan without having been heavily exposed to them beforehand.
The crucial difference with the Romance languages is the there's no common high register comparable to MSA or Standard English which has influenced them all and which all educated speakers will have some command of. Perhaps French played something of that role two centuries ago, but it didn't last.
Before that, there was Latin.
Obviously not all languages show the same degree of variation because the definition of "language" itself is so arbitrary. But in fact there are other dialect continua with an internal diversity comparable to Arabic which are nevertheless widely considered one language and not a family of languages. I read his point as being that Arabic isn't as much of a special case you make it out to be (in anything, I think it's English which is somewhat unusual in the relative weakness of its traditional dialects) and I agree with that.
I'm not so sure about that. I don't think French, Spanish, Russian and Japanese have nearly as much internal diversity as Arabic does. Chinese does, but as I already said I don't believe all Chinese varieties are readily intelligible and it's likely for nationalistic reasons that it's considered a single language.
[*] It's also likely that he's not aware of how much accommodation other speakers are making when they talk to them, which is understandable. I made the same mistake with Swiss-German. I remember once talking to a Swiss and thinking, "Wow, I can finally understand Schwyzerdütsch!", an illusion which was dashed the moment she turned and spoke to one of her companions. It wasn't "real" dialect she'd been speaking to me but dialect-coloured Standarddeutsch.
That would seem to support my belief that he's mistaken about the unity of the Arabic language, although I would have to ask further to be sure.
Meera wrote:I think its weird that they classify North Korean and Korean diffirently. And I think with a little work all native Arabic speakers could undertsand each other. If an Egyptian studied Morrocan Arabic, I'm sure he would catch on to it faster than we as non-natives would. I think as non-native speakers its hard for us to judge on this because we don't really know what it's like. Also your Sudanese friend is probably exposed to media from all over the Arab world. If he gets Arabic channels, he probably hears Egyptian, Lebanese and maybe even gulf Arabic, so he might be able to understand another dialect speaker than say a person living in a village in Yemen, just because he hears it all the time.
Well, I would catch onto Dutch or Norwegian pretty quickly if I tried to learn, but I still don't understand them. I don't think he was exposed to all that much Arabic media since he grew up in South Sudan which is one of the poorest parts of the world and left when he was young. It's possible he doesn't even realize how different other varieties of Arabic are or knows much about them.

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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby Meera » 2013-06-21, 15:34

mōdgethanc wrote:Well, I would catch onto Dutch or Norwegian pretty quickly if I tried to learn, but I still don't understand them. I don't think he was exposed to all that much Arabic media since he grew up in South Sudan which is one of the poorest parts of the world and left when he was young. It's possible he doesn't even realize how different other varieties of Arabic are or knows much about them.


I mean in Canada, his parents or him probably get ART and other Arabic channels. I've also heard that Sudanese is a little similair to Egyptian depending on which part he is from. Does he speak MSA well?
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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-06-21, 15:55

Meera wrote:I mean in Canada, his parents or him probably get ART and other Arabic channels. I've also heard that Sudanese is a little similair to Egyptian depending on which part he is from. Does he speak MSA well?
I don't know. He says that he used to know it but he's forgotten most of it which is why he wants me to learn it with him. He acknowledged that MSA (or rather, he said Classical Arabic) is not the same as colloquial Arabic but when I said Arabic dialects are all different, he just dismissed it and said "every language has dialects". Well, that's true, but not every language is spoken over as large an area and in as many different countries as Arabic.

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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby Meera » 2013-06-22, 6:32

Yeah that's true. I think Arabs though like to think of it as one language for cultural reasons or say they understand other dialects because they want to feel more Arab. Almost every native speaker I have talked to though always says the dialects aren't that diffirent. I remember asking a Saudi guy about it and he was like "it's british and american english, the only one thats diffirent is Morrocan". But then also native speakers always tell you to learn MSA over the dialects too which I always thought was weird.
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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-06-22, 6:47

Meera wrote:Yeah that's true. I think Arabs though like to think of it as one language for cultural reasons or say they understand other dialects because they want to feel more Arab. Almost every native speaker I have talked to though always says the dialects aren't that diffirent. I remember asking a Saudi guy about it and he was like "it's british and american english, the only one thats diffirent is Morrocan". But then also native speakers always tell you to learn MSA over the dialects too which I always thought was weird.
That sounds ridiculous to me when they don't even have the same verb conjugations and pronouns.

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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby languagepotato » 2013-06-22, 8:43

the problem with arabic is that it's a huge dialect continuum. moroccan is the same language as algerian, algerian is the same language as tunisian and so on, but egyptian is definitely not the same language as moroccan.
native: (ar-MA) (nl)
very comfortable: (en-US)
somewhat comfortable: (de) (es) (af)
forgetting: (fr) (ar-arb)
touristy level: (ro) (sv)(ber)(pl)
someday hopefully: (ja) (sq) (cs) (tr) and many others

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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby Meera » 2013-06-22, 16:33

mōdgethanc wrote:
Meera wrote:Yeah that's true. I think Arabs though like to think of it as one language for cultural reasons or say they understand other dialects because they want to feel more Arab. Almost every native speaker I have talked to though always says the dialects aren't that diffirent. I remember asking a Saudi guy about it and he was like "it's british and american english, the only one thats diffirent is Morrocan". But then also native speakers always tell you to learn MSA over the dialects too which I always thought was weird.
That sounds ridiculous to me when they don't even have the same verb conjugations and pronouns.


It sounds riddiculous to me too, because they are obvously diffirent. But Arabic speakers will argue to death over it.
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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby linguoboy » 2013-06-24, 15:43

"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby Meera » 2013-06-24, 22:47

The article was saying what I was trying to say, that Arabs consider it the same language but non natives can't understand the diffirence. Maybe it's because I studied it but Egyptian to me doesn't look extreamly diffirent from MSA.
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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-06-25, 1:49


I literally just finished reading that and came here to post about it. Damn you.

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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby M_Adam » 2013-06-25, 11:43

First i am sorry for not adding all the dialect :)
IF you want one isn't listed tell me


second i see the topic has turned into a discussion :)
Sadly i didn't read all the comments

But as an Egyptian we speak arabic no one will tell you we speak Egyptian dialect :)
just one reason to think of arabic as a one language not so many is that
no one is writing with a dialect all the books, newspaper ... etc are written in MSA or classic arabic.
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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby shprakh » 2013-06-25, 16:16

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyldgH6pzmc

She advises her students to go for MSA because the differences between the dialects are very large. She even says sometimes it feels like some of them are different languages. Another of her reasons is that without Standard Arabic you're basically illiterate, which is true.

I wonder though if she really speaks MSA when she meets another native speaker (who is not an Arabic language teacher) from a country other than Palestine.

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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-06-25, 18:07

I think it would make the most sense to classify them as follows: Gulf, Yemeni, Iraqi, Levantine, Egyptian, Maghrebi and Bedouin. I'm not sure if Arabian (as in Saudi Arabia) should be lumped together with Gulf, or if Sudanese should be separate from Egyptian, or if Moroccan should be separate from Algerian, but it's a start.

There's Judeo-Arabic too, but a) that's not a single dialect and b) it's nearly dead. Same with Arabic-based pidgins and creoles.
M_Adam wrote:just one reason to think of arabic as a one language not so many is that
no one is writing with a dialect all the books, newspaper ... etc are written in MSA or classic arabic.
And if all Arabs wrote in their own dialects, then what?
shprakh wrote:I wonder though if she really speaks MSA when she meets another native speaker (who is not an Arabic language teacher) from a country other than Palestine.
Most likely they'd speak a mixture of their own dialects, MSA and Egyptian, I would think.

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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby Meera » 2013-06-25, 18:39

Most Palestinians I meet tend to be so passionate about it. the very first Arabic teacher I had was Palestinian and she discouraged dialects so much. She told us at home she made her kids speak to her in MSA and would correct them if they said something in dialect. When I asked her about the dialects, she used get into a huge speech that MSA is the best and the real Arabic. The Egyptian teacher I had was the complete opposite, she used to get so happy if I answeared in Egyptian instead of MSA.
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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-06-25, 22:08

Meera wrote:Most Palestinians I meet tend to be so passionate about it. the very first Arabic teacher I had was Palestinian and she discouraged dialects so much. She told us at home she made her kids speak to her in MSA and would correct them if they said something in dialect. When I asked her about the dialects, she used get into a huge speech that MSA is the best and the real Arabic. The Egyptian teacher I had was the complete opposite, she used to get so happy if I answeared in Egyptian instead of MSA.
Really? I'd think Palestinians would be more into their own dialect since it's one of the key things distinguishing them from other Arabs and they get attacked all the time and told they don't have their own identity and there was no such thing as "Palestinians" before 1947 and blah blah blah. Besides that, my Palestinian friend (well, living in Lebanon but still Palestinian) told me he's been made fun of for using MSA features in his speech.

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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby Meera » 2013-06-26, 3:35

I mean from Palestinians I have talked to they useully seem to love MSA. I don't know about all of them. Lebanese and Egyptians seem to be the most passionate about their dialects. (Again just from the ones I know, I'm not trying to generalize :P)
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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby M_Adam » 2013-06-26, 14:58

Meera wrote:Most Palestinians I meet tend to be so passionate about it. the very first Arabic teacher I had was Palestinian and she discouraged dialects so much. She told us at home she made her kids speak to her in MSA and would correct them if they said something in dialect. When I asked her about the dialects, she used get into a huge speech that MSA is the best and the real Arabic. The Egyptian teacher I had was the complete opposite, she used to get so happy if I answeared in Egyptian instead of MSA.


Most of the people who would like to speak MSA
studied arabic so much -of course the beauty in arabic is in MSA and classical-
and like to use it

or muslims who put MSA a priority for them because
Islamic script are written in classical arabic
and this arabic need some one to explain it :)

using MSA will help you understand the script better
also using MSA is a way to unite the arabic nation
so some people think of these 2 reasons. :)
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Re: different arabic dialects

Postby Mulan » 2013-08-30, 5:23

An Arab came to an office looking for a job as social worker. He knew they're looking for native speakers. So he said to them, that he speaks 15 languages. ... What? 15 languages? Wow! You have the job! ... The languages he told them were Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi, Kuwaiti, Yemeni, Mauritani, ...

It is said that it happened in Hamburg / Germany.


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