Arabic Dialects 101

Arabic is a Semitic language with speakers from dozens of countries. With such a vast group of people using the language, there are over 30 different major dialects of spoken Arabic. These include:

  • Egyptian: perhaps the most widely understood dialect of Arabic with over 50 million speakers. This is largely because of the popularity of Egyptian-produced films and TV shows over the last century.
  • Algerian: spoken by over 22 million people in Algeria.
  • Moroccan: spoken in Morocco by over 20 million people.
  • Sudanese: spoken in Sudan by over 20 million people.
  • Levantine: spoken by over 15 million people in Lebanon and Syria.
  • Gulf: spoken across the Gulf region

Amazingly, these dialects all use Modern Standard Arabic for written and formal communications. To better appreciate the vastness of the dialects, check out this list of countries and their respective Arabic dialects. Remember, they all use MSA as well:

Country Varieties of Arabic spoken
Afghanistan Tajiki
Algeria Algerian Saharan
Bahrain Baharna, Gulf
Chad Chadian
Cyprus Cypriot
Djibouti Ta’izzi-Adeni/South Yemeni
Egypt Egyptian, Saidi, Libyan, Eastern Egyptian Bedawi
Eritrea Hijazi
Iran Mesopotamian, Gulf
Iraq Mesopotamian, Najdi, North Mesopotamian, Gulf, Judeo-Iraqi
Israel Judeo-Tripolitanian, Judeo-Moroccan, Judeo-Iraqi, Judeo-Yemeni, Judeo-Tunisian
Jordan Najdi, South Levantine, Eastern Egyptian Bedawi
Kenya Omani
Kuwait Gulf
Lebannon North Levantine
Libya Libyan
Mali Hassaniyya
Mauritania Hassaniyya
Morocco Moroccan/Maghrebi, Hassaniyya, Judeo-Moroccan
Niger Libyan, Hassaniyya
Oman Gulf, Omani, Dhofari, Shihhi
Palestinian West Bank & Gaza South Levantine, Eastern Egyptian Bedawi
Qatar Gulf
Saudi Arabia Najdi, Hijazi, Gulf
Sudan Sudanese
Syria North Levantine, Mesopotamian, Najdi, North Mesopotamian, Eastern Egyptian Bedawi
Tajikistan Tajiki
Tanzania Omani
Tunisia Tunisian, Judeo-Tunisian
Turkey North Mesopotamian
UAE Gulf, Shihhi
Uzbekistan Uzbeki
Yemen Sanaani/North Yemeni, Ta’izzi-Adeni/South Yemeni, Hadrami, Judeo-Yemeni

One thought on “Arabic Dialects 101

  • 04/23/2017 at

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