The question of which dialect that we teach is actually the most frequently asked question being emailed to our inbox. This article aims to clarify the answer to this question as well as explain some of the Arabic dialects and the differences between them.
Our podcasts are generally in what we call “Universal Arabic” and “Modern Standard Arabic” (MSA). We also have some podcasts specific to certain dialects to cater for those who are interested in them. If you are just interested in learning Arabic to understand what is said, or written, in the media then classical Arabic would suffice, but if you are also interested in conversing with people, then we advise you to also listen to our other podcasts which are universally colloquial. Further on, if you are interested in a specific dialect, then you can explore podcasts teaching those as well.
3aami - عامي
Universal Arabic is basically colloquial or “street language” that people throughout the Arab world would understand. In these podcasts, we teach widely used words not specific to a location or a certain dialect. For example, instead of using 3aayez - عايز for “want”, we would use Ab3’aa - أبغى instead, because عايز is predominately used in Egypt only, whereas أبغى is used in several countries and is widely recognized throughout the Arab world. It’s important to note, that classical Arabic is also used in the street mixed with colloquial Arabic. One cannot avoid classical Arabic completely!
Fo97aa - فصحى
We tend to use the word Classical to describe MSA, but some people attribute classical Arabic to the language of the Quran only. Classical, or MSA, is Arabic that has core historic roots in the Arabic language unaffected by cultural change. Classical, is used all the time in media, publications (books, magazines & newspapers etc), official documents and in public speeches. As mentioned above, many classical words are also used in colloquial, for example 3’adaa2 - غداء is lunch, and there is no colloquial alternative. In fact, one could argue that the majority of the words used in colloquial are actually Classical, but with minor differences in the way they are pronounced (Short vowels are often in ignored in colloquial).
Whenever we publish a podcast on a specific dialect, we usually mention the dialect in the title. For example, we put ‘Levantine: ’ in front of the title of podcasts teaching the Levantine or Shaami dialect. Below are some our dialect podcasts that you can explore:
Shaami – شامي
Levantine Arabic is spoken in the Levant region which is composed of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan.
7’aleeji – خليجي
Spoken in countries surrounding the Persian gulf sea which are the shore of the Persian Gulf, in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Iran.
Ma9ri - مصري
Spoken in Egypt but has become popular due to Egypt’s massive contribution to the movie and music industries