Gulf Arabic can be defined as a set of closely related and more or less mutually intelligible varieties that form a dialect continuum
, with the level of mutual intelligibility between any two varieties largely depending on the distance between them. Similarly to other Arabic varieties
, Gulf Arabic varieties are not completely mutually intelligible with other Arabic varieties
spoken outside the Gulf.
The specific dialects differ in vocabulary
, grammar and accent
. There are considerable differences between, for instance, Kuwaiti Arabic
and the dialects of Qatar and the UAE—especially in accent, that may hinder mutual intelligibility.
Gulf varieties' closest related relatives are other dialects native to the Arabian Peninsula
, i.e. Najdi Arabic
and Bahrani Arabic
Although spoken over much of Saudi Arabia's area, Gulf Arabic is not the native tongue of most Saudis, as the majority of them do not live in Eastern Arabia
There are some 200,000 Gulf Arabic speakers in the country, out of a population of over 30 million, mostly in the aforementioned Eastern Province.
The dialect's full name el-lahja el-Khalijiyya
local pronunciation: [elˈlɑhdʒɐ lχɐˈliːdʒɪj.jɐ]
) can be translated as 'the dialect of the gulf'. However, it is most commonly referred to as Khaliji (خليجي
), in which the noun خليج
) has been suffixed with the Nisba
, literally meaning 'of the bay' or 'of the gulf'.
- The non-native Arabic letter /p/ ⟨پ⟩, or its native counterpart /b/ ⟨ب⟩, is used to denote that sound which occurs only in loanwords, e.g.: piyāḷah (پيالة or بيالة [pijɑːɫɑh], 'small glass'), from Hindi.
- */ɮˤ/ ⟨ض⟩ has merged to /ðˤ/ ⟨ظ⟩.
- The difference between /l/ and /ɫ/ is not orthographically shown.
- The classicized [q] is an allophone for /g/ ⟨ق⟩ , used in Literary Arabic loanwords, and also an allophone for /ɣ/ ⟨غ⟩.
- The stops /b/, /d/, and /g/ are described as fully voiced despite their position within the word.
The differences in the phonology of the Arabic dialect group of the Persian Gulf, compared to Modern Standard Arabic
, are following:
Following vowel chart applies to the Gulf Arabic dialect continuum:
has a low back quality in the environment of pharyngealized consonants and frequently before or after /q/. This sound is similar to the a
sound in father
but shorter and farther back. (...) Before or after the pharyngeals 9
[= ʿAyin] and H
[= ḥ], or any other plain consonant, a
is farther front than the a
; its quality ranges between the e
and the a
He further explains that these qualities also apply to /aː/, so that [ɑ(ː)]⁓[ä(ː)]⁓[æ(ː)] can therefore be assumed.
Elsewhere in the article, the open central vowels are written without the diacritic for the sake of simplicity.
Gulf Arabic has 10 personal pronouns
The conservative dialect has preserved the gender differentiation of the 2nd and 3rd person in the plural forms, whereas dual forms have not survived. The following table bears the generally most common pronouns:
- ^1 Many speakers do not distinguish between masculine and feminine forms in the second person plural, replacing intum and intin with intu (إنْتُ).
- ^2 Speakers that do not distinguish between masculine and feminine forms in the third person plural will also use hum (هُمْ) for both genders in the third person plural, respectively.
Some pronouns, however, have other (less frequent, resp. local) forms:
- ānā (آنَا):
) (especially Baḥrānī
- inta (إِنْتَ):
- huwa (هُوَ):
) (especially Qaṭarī
- hiya (هِيَ):
) (especially Qaṭarī
- niḥin (نِحِنْ):
- intum (إِنْتُمْ):
- hum (هُمْ):
) (especially Qatar
- ^ Gulf Arabic at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
- ^ Arabic, Gulf Spoken – A Language of IraqEthnologue
- ^ Languages of Iran Ethnologue
- ^ a b Languages of Saudi Arabia Ethnologue
- ^ Almuhannadi, Muneera (2006). A Guide to the Idioms of Qatari Arabic with Reference to English Idioms. Qatar. ISBN 99921-70-47-6.
- Awde, Nicholas; Smith, Kevin (2003), Arabic dictionary, London: Bennett & Bloom, ISBN 1-898948-20-8
- Frawley, William (2003), International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, 1, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195139771
- Holes, Clive (2001), Dialect, Culture, and Society in Eastern Arabia: Glossary, Brill, ISBN 9004107630
- Qafisheh, Hamdi A. (1977), A short reference grammar of Gulf Arabic, Tucson, Az.: University of Arizona Press, ISBN 0-8165-0570-5
Last edited on 7 May 2021, at 06:40
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0
unless otherwise noted.