What are the different Arabic dialects in the world?

An introduction to Arabic dialects

The percentage of individuals interested in finding to talk and comprehend Arabic has risen considerably in the latest years. Several other factors are of concern to this development. There are even more individuals who prefer doing business partnership in the Middle East and Mediterranean countries. The interest in learning and traveling in the region has risen significantly. Immigration has already made private interactions with people from this country more prevalent, and many non-Arabic speakers demonstrate an interest in studying different countries’ languages and cultures.

The kind of Arabic vernacular that you will be choosing basically relies on a variety of aspects that contribute to how you intend to use the dialect. Therefore, if you are studying Arabic for company purposes, you have to choose the area’s dialect because that’s where you will be spending more time in. If you’re going to travel extensively across the Mid-east, it might be a fantastic idea to focus on Modern Standard Arabic, with a few knowledge of any of the other dialects you can get a wider range to interact with other countries.

The word “Arabic” includes a wide variety of accents used in nations that are deemed Arab-speaking. In certain instances, a dialect will be using a term comparable to that used in certain other dialects. In other occurrences though, the distinctions are important, and any person who is well acquainted with one local dialect may or may not be able to comprehend another speaker of another dialect.


There are several Arabic dialect varieties that currently exist. A Semitic mother tongue that belongs to the Afroasiatic family which rooted on the Arabian Peninsula, Arabic is labeled as a macrolanguage that consists of 30 modernistic kinds of dialect which include the regular form. It is also described in a broad spectrum of forms, yet, on the basis of certain contexts, Arabic speakers are often able to manipulate the way they speak. There’s often a multitude of motivations to change one’s speech: the technicality of a scenario, the necessity to interact with individuals who have distinct accents, to obtain social permission, to distinguish oneself from the crowd when quoting a written material, to identify the professional, personal, or general matters, to stress an argument, and to switch to a fresh subject.


Being the dominant language in almost 24 diversified states, you might be wondering how many varying dialects or types does the Arabic language has. Just like any other countries, each nation has its own preferred language flavor with some local lingo and even specific verb conjugations.

So, how many Arabic dialects are we to expect in this case? There are actually 20 Arabic dialects on record, but only less than that are deemed famous and worth learning.

  • The Arabic Language Dialects
    • Egyptian Arabic
    • Moroccan Arabic
    • Gulf Arabic
    • Mesopotamian Arabic
    • Tunisian Arabic
    • Algerian Arabic
    • Sudanese Arabic
    • Najdi Arabic
    • Hassaniya Arabic
    • Yemeni Arabic
    • Bahrani Arabic
    • Chadian Arabic
    • Libyan Arabic
    • Cypriot Maronite Arabic
    • Northwest Arabian Arabic
    • Mashriqi Arabic
    • Juba Arabic
    • Arabic, North Levantine Spoken Language
    • Khorasani Arabic
    • Arabic, South Levantine Spoken Language


As Arabic-speaking individuals relocated to different areas, elements of the native language ultimately became subsumed into patterns of Arabic speech. New words have been added to the language and the pronunciation of words has shifted over the years. Needless to say, even though there are now a big number of variations in the Arabic language, most individuals who talk Arabic have a common dialect.

  • The Egyptian Arabic has more than 55 million speakers and is usually spoken in, of course, Egypt. This could be the most used type of Arabic dialect that many have been aware of because they’ve heard in TV, social media, and films and this is also evident since Egyptian media sector has had an enormous effect on the Arab film globally. For that reason, the Egyptian accent and dialect became one of the most prevalently comprehended in Arab society. It also was amongst the most chosen area of study which makes Egypt an amazing place for students who wanted to broaden their knowledge about the Arabic language.

Presently, it also includes linguistic influences from English, French, Greek, Turkish, Italian, and French.

  • Another major dialect that is widely known in Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and Kuwait is also regarded as the most comparable to Modern Standard Arabic. Gulf Arabic is not generally its own dialect but is more like a set of accents that are so similar that they can all be interpreted by the same communities. Within Gulf Arabic, there may be huge variations in grammar, vocabulary, and particularly tone. However, with the geographical differences, there can also be a significant change in the dialects.
  • The Hassaniya Arabic dialect has been the mother tongue of over 3 million individuals all throughout the Arab world. It is widely spoken in Libya, Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal, Mali, Western Sahara, and Niger. When spoken, the dialect of Hassaniya can be called both extremely advanced and culturally conservative.

Most trained Hassaniya Arabic speakers also exercise code-switching, demonstrating their linguistic skill. This can happen between Hassaniya Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), French, and Spanish.

  • Levantine Arabic has more than 21 million speakers and is still used within the 100-200 kilometer-wide Eastern Mediterranean coastal area. This dialect is mainly used only as a spoken accent, while many native speakers stay true to MSA (Modern Standard Arabic) when writing. This implies that Levantine Arabic is an extremely exciting dialect that can be a reflection of the effect of ancient languages with how people live and communicate at this present generation.
  • With more than 70 million speakers, the Maghrebi Arabic dialect is widespread all over Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, and Libya. It has loads of variations from MSA in its spoken variety. In reality, it has so many similarities that Maghrebi Arabic speakers have their own name for their language. In reality, it has so many similarities that Maghrebi Arabic speakers have their own name for their language. Maghrebi Arabic continues to grow and progress through its speakers, who are slowly developing and incorporating fresh ideas into the language. This is most noticeable when integrating French and English words into technical areas and replacing ancient French or Italian words with (MSA) words. Through this development, Maghrebi Arabic speakers are continually increasing and progressing.
  • Also known as Iraqi Arabic, Mesopotamian Arabic has more than 15 million speakers. It consists of a continuum of Arabic varieties indigenous to the Mesopotamian basin. This involves parts of Syria, Iraq, south-eastern Turkey, and Iran. The dialect has emerged from the change from Aramaic to Arabic, just like Levantine Arabic. It follows Arabic’s 28 consonants fairly tightly, but the emphatic sounds used can vary widely.
  • Sudan has nearly 20 million Arabic speakers, and it has created its own dialect. The dialects used by distinct tribes in Sudan can differ significantly from one another, although Sudanese Arabic retains some distinctive features that distinguish it from other dialects. Sudanese Arabic is spoken all over Sudan and has more than 17 million native speakers. Due to the geographical proximity of the two nations, this dialect is comparable to Egyptian Arabic but has unique features that justify its own dialect.
  • Another excellent illustration of the Arabic dialect is the Yemeni Arabic which has preserved many classical techniques and tones. More than 15 million individuals in Yemen, Southwest Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Djibouti speak Yemeni Arabic.

The Yemeni Arabic continues to be an only spoken language, while there are many in the region that utilize the dialect are used to using MSA purposely for writing. Oratorically, Yemeni Arabic is significantly prompted by Himyaritic, Old South Arabic, and MSA dialects.

  • Also known as Hejazi Arabic, Hijazi Arabic is more frequently recognized as West Arabian Arabic. This dialect is also uttered in more than 14 million citizens in Saudi Arabia’s Hejaz area. It is also grouped along the lines of the town and homeland lines, with both a rural and urban variant. The metropolitan version is most commonly spoken in the towns of Mecca, Medina, and Jeddah. This dialect was formed in the 7th century from the joining of many distinct tribes and cultures and continues today.
  • Maltese is a fascinating dialect because it’s distinctly unique from MSA. It is even categorized individually from Arabic because it has so many marked distinctions. Maltese has a range of distinct vocabulary from many distinct linguistic backgrounds. Approximately 30 percent of the language is composed around the initial Semitic foundation, while about 50 percent is sourced from Italian or Sicilian.

Unlike literary Arabic, it is penned in Latin script and has been for as long as historians can uncover its roots. Maltese’s oldest surviving instance is from the early sixteenth century. This makes Malta the only remaining Semitic language is written in Latin script.

The most significant factor in shaping these individual dialects was the language that was initially spoken in the country. As Arabic-speaking individuals relocated to different areas, elements of the native language ultimately became integrated into patterns of Arabic speech.


  • There are regional sub-dialects within the primary dialect groups. As in other areas of the globe, there are variations between the language of the town and the local dialects.
  • The disparities between Middle East dialects (Iraq, the Gulf, Egypt, and the Levant) are minimal enough to allow the Arabs of various nationalities to comprehend each other fairly well.
  • The television network station channels have made it possible for other dialects to reach mass audiences. Mainstream showbiz programs often have hosts from Lebanon. This gave the Lebanese dialect something of fashion identity.
  • North African accents are more distinctive in composition and vocabulary and can be a true challenge to comprehend, even for the Middle East Arabs.
  • Egyptian and Levantine Arabic is the most commonly understood dialects. Classically, the Egyptian media industry has played a pivotal role in the Arab world. An enormous amount of cinema productions, television dramas and comedies have long acquainted Arab viewers with the Egyptian regional accent.


The Arabic language can be a tough language. There are two significant sub-categories of Arabic:

  • Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)
  • Colloquial Arabic

Modern Standard Arabic is used primarily for written communication or talking in official and formal environments such as speeches, conferences, classrooms, etc. MSA is standard across nations in the Middle East, Africa and Asia where Arabic is the main language.

Those fresh to the Arabic language are urged to know MSA because it is commonly spoken and grasped and is not particular to any country or nation. It is also suggested that learners explore the dialect of Arabic specific to the nation or region they intend to visit or to collaborate in when studying Arabic. This is called the Colloquial category.

Seeking to write, read and converse in Modern Standard Arabic, and soon understanding the elements of a dialect, is the ideal way to sound well-versed to the dialect.

If you think your interest is not restricted to one nation, you should better go with Modern Standard Arabic. Once you have a fundamental understanding of Modern Standard Arabic, learning other dialects becomes a simple job.

The selection of language usually relies on the quality of education of the individual you are emphasizing. Unless you are going to spend a brief period in an Arab country, you should attempt to understand the basics of the primary dialect of that nation. It would also assist you to handle the essential daily routines, even though it would not help you comprehend the writing technique.

It should be observed that many Arabs have behaviors toward certain dialects. For instance, while kept in high esteem in Egypt, non-Egyptian Arabs often look at the Cairo dialect with entertainment.

Most educated Arabs that belongs to the middle and upper classes prefer to communicate in MSA. Since this type of Arabic dialect serves as a dominant language of communication all throughout the Arabic-speaking world, it becomes highly simple to converse with a Mauritanian or an Omani.

In addition, if you know Algerian Arabic or Moroccan, you likely won’t use it in the Middle East (east of Libya), simply because no one would understand what you’re saying.

Most individuals in Arabic-speaking countries do NOT communicate in Modern Standard Arabic. They express their thoughts through their dialect ONLY.


Though learning the Arabic language is extremely challenging for natural-English speaking individuals, there are ways to study the dialect the easy way.

  • There are a lot of Arabic dialects; not just one.
  • Stick to a dialect first, the rest can be learned after.
  • Do not set aside the Modern Standard Arabic or MSA.
  • Create your own language formula to understand the words better.
  • Take note of the words; expect that you will encounter them again.
  • Keep it basic and uncomplicated; be straightforward.
  • Always remember your goal why you are studying the Arabic dialect.
  • Memorize, memorize, memorize; especially phrases.
  • Utilize technology to your advantage.
  • Practice speaking the language/ dialect until you feel confident and comfortable about it.


The moment you have picked a dialect, you can already start your bilingual journey by being good in it. People who have already learned the language and dialect of Arabia will totally concur that choosing a dialect to study is the best start before you find out the rest of the language. You should attempt to indulge yourself in the dialect whenever it is appropriate, regardless whether at first; it will be hard to comprehend what someone else is saying. It is highly suggested that using the language as much as possible from the very start, without taking into account how bad your grammar or pronunciation is. Keep talking and speaking until everything falls into place. You will truly learn by making grammatical and verbal errors, and exposure is the best way to be confident in a fresh language. Even a few phrases are likely to gain you credit and motivation to maintain chugging into the next seven years — or even longer. Never mind the length of time studying the language for as long as you are determined to learn and you know that you will reap the benefits of it in the long run. See, this is also your best chance to bridge the gap between nations and break the language barrier. You may not be able to learn every single language in the world, but starting with an arduous one is your first step to appreciate the different languages of the entire universe.

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