A page from a transcription of ibn al-Kattani
's Treatment of Dangerous Diseases Appearing Superficially on the Body
(early 11th century)
Origin and history
The Muslim forces that conquered Iberia
in 711, about a century after the death of Muhammad
, were composed of a small group of Arabic speakers and a majority of Amazigh
people, of whom many spoke little or no Arabic.
According to Consuelo López-Morillas
, "this population sowed the seeds of what was to grow into an indigenous Andalusi Arabic."
Unlike the Visigothic
conquest of Iberia, through which Latin
remained the dominant language, the Islamic conquest brought a language that was a "vehicle for a higher culture, a literate and literary civilization."
Arabic became the dominant medium of literary
and intellectual expression in the peninsula from the 8th century to the 13th century.
Andalusian Arabic appears to have spread rapidly and been in general oral use in most parts of Al-Andalus between the 9th and 15th centuries.
The number of speakers is estimated
to have peaked at around 5–7 million speakers around the 11th and 12th centuries before dwindling as a consequence of the Reconquista
, the gradual but relentless takeover by the Christians. The colloquial Arabic of al-Andalus was prominent among the varieties of Arabic
of its time in its use for literary purposes, especially in zajal
poetry and proverbs and aphorisms.
In 1502, the Muslims of Granada were forced to choose between conversion and exile; those who converted became known as the Moriscos
. In 1526, this requirement was extended to Muslims in the rest of Spain, the Mudéjars
. In 1567, Philip II of Spain
issued a royal decree in Spain forbidding Moriscos from the use of Arabic on all occasions
, formal and informal, speaking and writing. Using Arabic henceforth would be regarded as a crime. Arabic speakers were given three years to learn a "Christian" language, after which they would have to get rid of all Arabic written material. This triggered one of the largest revolts, the Rebellion of the Alpujarras (1568–71)
. Still, Andalusian Arabic remained in use in certain areas of Spain (particularly the inner regions of the Kingdom of Valencia
until the final expulsion of the Moriscos
at the beginning of the 17th century.
As in every other Arabic-speaking land, native speakers of Andalusian Arabic were diglossic
, that is, they spoke their local dialect in all low-register situations, but only Classical Arabic was resorted to when a high register was required and for written purposes as well. Andalusian Arabic belongs to the pre-Hilalian dialects
of the Maghrebi Arabic
family, with its closest relative being Moroccan Arabic. Like other Maghrebi Arabic dialects, Andalusian does not differentiate between sedentary and Bedouin
varieties. By contrast, Andalusian does not show any detectable difference between religious communities, such as Muslim Muladis
, and Jews
, unlike in North Africa where Judeo-Arabic dialects
The oldest evidence of Andalusian Arabic utterances can be dated from the 10th and 11th century, in isolated quotes, both in prose
Classical Andalusi poems (muwashahat
), and then, from the 11th century on, in stanzaic dialectal poems (zajal
) and dialectal proverb collections, while its last documents are a few business records and one letter written at the beginning of the 17th century in Valencia
Andalusian Arabic is still used in Andalusian classical music
and has significantly influenced the dialects of such towns as Sfax
in Tunisia, Tétouan
in Morocco, Nedroma
, and Cherchell
in Algeria, and Alexandria
Andalusian Arabic also influenced Mozarabic
, Classical Arabic
Features of Andalusian Arabic
Many features of Andalusian Arabic have been reconstructed by Arabists using Hispano-Arabic texts (such as the azjāl
of ibn Quzman
and others) composed in Arabic with varying degrees of deviation from classical norms, augmented by further information from the manner in which the Arabic script was used to transliterate Romance words. The first complete linguistic description of Andalusi Arabic was given by the Spanish Arabist Federico Corriente
, who drew on the Appendix Probi
poetry, proverbs and aphorisms, the work of the 16th century lexicographer Pedro de Alcalá [es; ar]
, and Andalusi letters found in the Cairo Geniza
Andalusi Arabic consonant phonemes
- ^ [p] was at the very least, a marginal phoneme, but a phoneme nonetheless. /p/ "behaved most of the time as an “emphaticised” phoneme, resistant to imālah or palatalisation" thus possibly being pronounced as [pˤ].
- ^ [t͡ʃ] was a marginal phoneme used mainly in Romance loanwords. In the Granadan dialect, /t͡ʃ/ represented the evolution of the cluster /st/. In lower registers, [t͡ʃ] was occasionally an allophone of /d͡ʒ/ in word-final position by speakers of Hispanic origin.
- ^ The standard pronunciation of ق was most likely [q]. Though it merged with [k] in at least some words.
- ^ [ʔ] only survived in word-initial position, while turning into [j] or [w] intravocalically, or sometimes in other positions. Rarely, [ʔ] would turn into [ʕ]. In most other instances, [ʔ] would cause an adjacent vowel to be stressed or would disappear altogether, leaving no trace.
- ^ ج was variously realized as [d͡ʒ] or [ʒ]
- ^ ق had an alternate and substandard pronunciation of [g] amongst speakers of Hispanic origin, especially bilingual Romance speakers. ج was also alternatively pronounced as [g] by some speakers, although this was marginal.
- ^ Under Berber and Romance influence, [b] would sometimes turn into a bilabial spirant (fricative) [β], especially intravocalically. This fricative could turn into [f] via devoicing, thus presumably being realized as [v] before devoicing took place. Sometimes, it further evolved into [w]. Either way, a voiced bilabial or labiodental fricative was "substandard and repressed".
- ^ By the time of the Cordoban Caliphate, [dˤ] and [ðˤ] had merged. Thus, ض and ظ would have been pronounced the same.
- ^ Velarized in at least the word Allah, as in most Arabic dialects.
- ^ ر was realized as either a trill or a tap.
- ^ Contrasting pairs of words differing only by a plain or an emphatic pronunciation of their respective <r> are found.
represented by the letter ق in texts is a point of contention. The letter, which in Classical Arabic represented either a voiceless pharyngealized velar stop
or a voiceless uvular stop
, most likely represented some kind of post-alveolar affricate or velar plosive
in Andalusian Arabic. Federico Corriente presents the case that ق most often represented /q/, sometimes /k/, and marginally /g/ based on a plethora of surviving Andalusi writings and Romance transcriptions of Andalusi Arabic words.
The vowel system was subject to a heavy amount of fronting and raising, a phenomenon known as imāla
, causing /a(ː)/ to be raised, probably to [ɛ
] or [e
] and, particularly with short vowels, [ɪ
] in certain circumstances, particularly when i-mutation was possible.
led to the disappearance of certain diphthongs
such as /aw/ and /aj/ which were leveled to /oː
/ and /eː
/, respectively, though Colin hypothesizes that these diphthongs remained in the more mesolectal
registers influenced by the Classical language. Alternatively in higher registers, [e
] and [o
] were only allophones of /i
/ and /u
/ respectively, while diphthongs were mostly resistant to monophthongization.
/ could turn into [e
] or [i
] via imāla
In the presence of velar or pharyngeal contour, /a
/ was backed into [ɑ
] and sometimes even rounded into [o
] or [u
], or even [ɒ
]. This is evidenced by occasional Romance or even local Arabic transcription of /a
/ as [o
] or [u
There was a fair amount of compensatory lengthening involved where a loss of consonantal gemination lengthened the preceding vowel, whence the transformation of عشّ /ʕuʃ(ʃ)/ ("nest") into عوش /ʕuːʃ/.
New phonemes introduced into Andalusi Arabic, such as /p/ and /t͡ʃ/ were often written as geminated بّ
respectively. This would later be carried over into Aljamiado
, in which /p/ and /t͡ʃ/ in Romance languages would be transcribed with the above letters, each containing a shadda
Syntax and morphology
which, in Classical Arabic, marked a noun as indefinite accusative case
), became an indeclinable conjunctive
particle, as in ibn Quzmān's expression rajul-an 'ashīq
The unconjugated prepositive negative particle lis developed out of the classical verb lays-a.
The derivational morphology
of the verbal system was substantially altered. Whence the initial n-
on verbs in the first person singular
, a feature shared by many Maghrebi varieties. Likewise the form V pattern of tafaʻʻal-a
) was altered by epenthesis
Andalusi Arabic developed a contingent/subjunctive tense (after a protasis
with the conditional particle law)
consisting of the imperfect (prefix) form of a verb, preceded by either kān
(depending on the register of the speech in question), of which the final -n
was normally assimilated by preformatives y-
. An example drawn from Ibn Quzmān will illustrate this:
The conditional "law" (لَو) is the source of the modern Spanish Ojalá, (law sha Allah; لَوْ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ).
- ^ a b Abstract: As an L2 learner/speaker of Andalusi Arabic (concretely the Valencian or Sharqi dialect) myself, and at least by the moment [sic], the only one as far as I know, I upload this Andalusi Arabic-English Dictionary book by the famous Spanish linguist Federico Corriente (see https://www.rae.es/academicos/federico-corriente-cordoba in Spanish), in order to make it more available to anyone (specially other ethnic Spaniards who have embraced Islam just like me) interested in such important [sic], and at least by now dead, language.  - Mahomat Abrahim Bosch Ramon () - Re-edited on 19 December 2020
- ^ a b c d e f Menocal, María Rosa; Scheindlin, Raymond P.; Sells, Micheal (2012). The literature of Al-Andalus. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-139-17787-0. OCLC 819159086.
- ^ a b Kees Versteegh, et al.: Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, Brill Publishers, 2006.
- ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-14. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
- ^ Corriente (2013:1–9)
- ^ Corriente (2013:7)
- ^ Corriente (2013:9–36)
- ^ Corriente (2013:12–14)
- ^ Corriente (2013:28–29)
- ^ a b Corriente (2013:30–31)
- ^ Corriente (2013:34–36)
- ^ Corriente (2013:23)
- ^ Corriente (2013:27–28, 30)
- ^ Corriente (2013:10–11)
- ^ Corriente (2013:23–24)
- ^ Corriente (2013:21)
- ^ Corriente (2013:19)
- ^ Corriente (2013:20)
- ^ Corriente (2013:5–6, 7–9)
- ^ Corriente (2013:2)
- ^ Corriente (2013:4–5)
- Corriente, Frederico (1997), A Dictionary of Andalusi Arabic, New York: Brill
- Singer, Hans-Rudolf (1981), "Zum arabischen Dialekt von Valencia", Oriens, Brill, 27, pp. 317–323, doi:10.2307/1580571, JSTOR 1580571
- Corriente, Frederico (1978), "Los fonemas /p/ /č/ y /g/ en árabe hispánico", Vox Romanica, 37, pp. 214–18
Last edited on 26 April 2021, at 16:38
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0
unless otherwise noted.