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Map of Arabic dialects 16, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Middle East, Random.
Tags: , , , ,

Here’s a fascinating map of the various Arabic dialects found throughout the Middle East. Being far from an expert or even someone overly proficient at Arabic I’ll just make two quick comments.

1) It must not be forgotten that this map does not at all account for the differences in Arabic. Whilst, for example, Iraqi and Gulf Arabic might not be that dissimilar, Gulf and Moroccan Arabic are, I believe, hugely and almost incomprehensibly different.

2) This map also significantly underestimates the importance, spread and general dissemination of Egyptian Arabic. Whilst the map shows that this dialect is spoken only along the Nile and in its delta, Egyptian Arabic is, so to speak, the lingua franca/arabica of the Arabic speaking world and will be understood essentially everywhere. This is due to the profusion and ubiquity of Egyptian media (notably films and music) throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Though to some degree this is changing today, with Lebanese film and music coming to the fore, Egyptian Arabic is still entrenched and widely understood.

Hat tip: Simon Kerr

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