While many languages have numerous dialects that differ in phonology, the contemporary spoken Arabic language is more properly described as a continuum of varieties. This article deals primarily with Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), which is the standard variety shared by educated speakers throughout Arabic-speaking regions. MSA is used in writing in formal print media and orally in newscasts, speeches and formal declarations of numerous types.
Modern Standard Arabic has 28 consonant phonemes and 6 vowel phonemes (8 vowels in most modern dialects). All phonemes contrast between "emphatic" (uvularized) consonants and non-emphatic ones. Some of these phonemes have coalesced in the various modern dialects, while new phonemes have been introduced through borrowing or phonemic splits. A "phonemic quality of length" applies to consonants as well as vowels.
Modern Standard Arabic has six vowel phonemes forming three pairs of corresponding short and long vowels (/a, aː, i, iː, u, uː/). Many spoken varieties also include /oː/ and /eː/. Modern Standard Arabic has two diphthongs (formed by a combination of short /a/ with the semivowels /j/ and /w/) in Classical Arabic with no allophones. Allophony in different dialects of Arabic can occur, and is partially conditioned by neighboring consonants within the same word. As a general rule, for example, /a/ and /aː/ are:
|i||عِدْ /ʕid/||"promise!"||عِيد /ʕiːd/||"holiday"|
|u||عُدّ /ʕudd/||"count (command)"||عُود /ʕuːd/||"lute"|
|a||َعَدّ /ʕadd/||"counted"||عَاد /ʕaːd/||"came back"|
However, the actual rules governing vowel-retraction are a good deal more complex, and have relatively little in the way of an agreed-upon standard, as there are often competing notions of what constitutes a "prestige" form. Often, even highly proficient speakers will import the vowel-retraction rules from their native dialects. Thus, for example, in the Arabic of someone from Cairo emphatic consonants will affect every vowel between word boundaries, whereas certain Saudi speakers exhibit emphasis only on the vowels adjacent to an emphatic consonant. Certain speakers (most notably Levantine speakers) exhibit a degree of asymmetry in leftward vs. rightward spread of vowel-retraction.
However, the pronunciation of loanwords is highly dependent on the speaker's native variety.
The long mid vowels /oː/ and /eː/ appear in to be phonemic in most varieties of Arabic, and they can be used in Modern Standard Arabic in some stable loanwords or foreign names, e.g. كوكاكولا /ko(ː)kaˈkoːla/ ('Coca-Cola'), شوكولاتة /ʃo(ː)ko(ː)ˈlaːta/ ('chocolate'), دكتور /dukˈtoːr/ or /dokˈtoːr/ ('doctor'), جون /(d)ʒoːn/ ('John'), توم /to(ː)m/ ('Tom'), بلجيكا /belˈ(d)ʒiːka/ ('Belgium'), سكرتير /sekreˈteːr/ or /sekerˈteːr/ ('secretary'), etc. Foreign words often have a liberal sprinkling of long vowels, as their word shapes do not conform to standardized prescriptive pronunciations written by letters for short vowels. When in need the letters ي or و are always used to render the long vowels /eː/ and /oː/.
Even in the most formal of conventions, pronunciation depends upon a speaker's background. Nevertheless, the number and phonetic character of most of the 28 consonants has a broad degree of regularity among Arabic-speaking regions. Note that Arabic is particularly rich in uvular, pharyngeal, and pharyngealized ("emphatic") sounds. The emphatic coronals (/sˤ/, /dˤ/, /tˤ/, and /ðˤ/) cause assimilation of emphasis to adjacent non-emphatic coronal consonants. The phonemes /p/ ⟨پ⟩ and /v/ ⟨ڤ⟩ (not used by all speakers) are not considered to be part of the phonemic inventory, as they exist only in foreign words and they can be pronounced as /b/ ⟨ب⟩ and /f/ ⟨ف⟩ respectively depending on the speaker.. The standard pronunciation of ⟨ج⟩ /d͡ʒ/ varies regionally, most prominently [d͡ʒ] in the Arabian Peninsula, parts of the Levant, Iraq, northern Algeria and Sudan, it is also considered as the predominant pronunciation of Literary Arabic outside the Arab world, [ʒ] in most of Northwest Africa and the Levant, and [g] only in Egypt.
|Fricative||voiceless||f||θ[g]||s||sˤ||ʃ||x ~ χ[h]||ħ[i]||h|
|voiced||(v)[b]||ð[g]||z||ðˤ||ɣ ~ ʁ[h]||ʕ[i]|
Long (geminate or double) consonants are pronounced exactly like short consonants, but last longer. In Arabic, they are called mushaddadah ("strengthened", marked with a shaddah), but they are not actually pronounced any "stronger". Between a long consonant and a pause, an epenthetic [ə] occurs, but this is only common across regions in West Asia.
Arabic syllable structure can be summarized as follows, in which parentheses enclose optional components:
Arabic syllable structure consists of an optional syllable onset, consisting of one or two consonants; an obligatory syllable nucleus, consisting of a vowel optionally preceded by and/or followed by a semivowel; and an optional syllable coda, consisting of one or two consonants. The following restrictions apply:
The placement of word stress in Arabic varies considerably from one dialect to another, and has been the focus of extensive research and debate.
In determining stress, Arabic distinguishes three types of syllables:
The word stress of Classical Arabic has been the subject of debate. However, there is consensus as to the general rule, even though there are some exceptions. A simple rule of thumb is that word-stress falls on the penultimate syllable of a word if that syllable is closed, and otherwise on the antepenultimate.
A more precise description is J. C. E. Watson's. Here the stressed syllable follows the marker ' and variant rules are in brackets:
Modern Arabic dialects all maintain rules (1) and (2). But if there is neither a final superheavy syllable nor a heavy penultimate syllable, their behaviour varies. Thus in Palestinian, rule (3) is instead 'otherwise stress the first syllable (up to the antepenult): [ˈkatab] ‘he wrote’, [ˈzalama] ‘man’', whereas the basic rules of Cairene (to which there are exceptions) are:
Spoken varieties differ from Classical Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic not only in grammar but also in pronunciation. Outside of the Arabian peninsula, a major linguistic division is between sedentary varieties, largely urban varieties. Inside the Arabian peninsula and in Iraq, the two types are less distinct; but the language of the urbanized Hijaz, at least, strongly looks like a conservative sedentary variety.
Some examples of variation:
|/g/||ڭ / گ||ڨ / ڧـ ـڧـ ـٯ / ق||ق||ج[a]||غ / ج[b]||چ / ج[b]||گ / ك||ق / گ|
|/p/[c]||پ / ب|
|/v/[c]||ڥ / ڢ / ف||ڤ / ف|
|/t͡ʃ/||ڜ||تش||چ / ك|
In Modern Standard Arabic /g/ is used as a marginal phoneme to pronounce some dialectal and loan words. On the other hand it is considered a native phoneme or allophone in most modern Arabic dialects, mostly as a variant of ق /q/ (as in Arabian Peninsula and Northwest African dialects) or as a variant of /d͡ʒ/ ج (as in Egyptian and a number of Yemeni and Omani dialects). It is also considered a separate foreign phoneme that appears only in loanwords, as in most urban Levantine dialects where ق is /ʔ/ and ج is /d͡ʒ~ʒ/.
The phoneme represented by the Arabic letter ǧīm (ج) has many standard pronunciations: [d͡ʒ] in most of the Arabian Peninsula and as the predominant pronunciation of Literary Arabic outside the Arab world, [ɡ] in most of Egypt and some regions in southern Yemen and southwestern Oman. This is also a characteristic of colloquial Egyptian and southern Yemeni dialects. In Morocco and western Algeria, it is pronounced as [ɡ] in some words, especially colloquially. In most north Africa and most of the Levant, the standard is pronounced [ʒ], and in certain regions of the Persian Gulf colloquially with [j]. In some Sudanese and Yemeni dialects, it may be either [ɡʲ] or [ɟ] as it used to be in Classical Arabic.
/p/ and /v/ are not necessarily pronounced by all Arabic speakers, but are often pronounced in names and loanwords. Foreign sounds /p/, /v/ are usually transcribed as ب /b/ and ف /f/, respectively. In some words, they are pronounced as in the original language (/p/ and /v/), e.g. باكستان or پاکستان /pa(ː)kistaːn, ba(ː)kistaːn/ "Pakistan", فيروس or ڤيروس /vi(ː)ru(ː)s, vajru(ː)s/ "virus", etc. Sometimes the Persian letter (with 3 dots) ﭖ /p/ and a modified ﭪ /v/ letter are used for this purpose. As these letters are not present on standard keyboards, they are simply written with ب /b/ and ف /f/, e.g. both نوفمبر and نوڤمبر /nu(ː)fambar/, /novambar, -ber/ or /nofember/ "November", both كاپريس and كابريس /ka(ː)pri(ː)s, ka(ː)bri(ː)s/ "caprice" can be used. The use of both sounds may be considered marginal and Arabs may pronounce the words interchangeably; besides, many loanwords have become Arabized.
/t͡ʃ/ is another possible loanword phoneme, as in the word سندوتش (sandawitsh 'sandwich'), though a number of varieties instead break up the [t] and [ʃ] sounds with an epenthetic vowel. Egyptian Arabic treats /t͡ʃ/ as two consonants ([tʃ]) and inserts [e], as [teʃC] or [Cetʃ], when it occurs before or after another consonant. /t͡ʃ/ is found as normal in Iraqi Arabic and Gulf Arabic. Normally the combination تش (tā’-shīn) is used to transliterate the [tʃ]. Otherwise Arabic usually substitutes other letters in the transliteration of names and loanwords like the Persian character چ which is used for writing [tʃ]
Other Variations include:
|Letter||Classical||Modern Standard||Dialectal Main Variations||Less Common Variations|
|ق||/q/||/q/||[q]||[g]||[ʔ]||[ɢ]||[k]||[d͡ʒ]||[d͡z]||[ɣ ~ ʁ]|
The Arabic of Cairo (often called "Egyptian Arabic" or more correctly "Cairene Arabic") is a typical sedentary variety and a de facto standard variety among certain segments of the Arabic-speaking population, due to the dominance of Egyptian media. Watson adds emphatic labials [mˤ] and [bˤ] and emphatic [rˤ] to Cairene Arabic with marginal phonemic status. Cairene has also merged the interdental consonants with the dental plosives (e.g. /θalaːθa/ → [tæˈlæːtæ], 'three') except in loanwords from Classical Arabic where they are nativized as sibilant fricatives (e.g. /θaːnawijja/ → [sænæˈwejja], 'secondary school'). Cairene speakers pronounce /d͡ʒ/ as [ɡ] and debuccalized /q/ to [ʔ] (again, loanwords from Classical Arabic have reintroduced the earlier sound or approximated to [k] with the front vowel around it [æ] changed to the back vowel [ɑ]). Classical Arabic diphthongs /aj/ and /aw/ became realized as [eː] and [oː] respectively. Still, Egyptian Arabic sometimes has minimal pairs like [ˈʃæjlæ] ('carrying' f.s.) vs [ˈʃeːlæ] ('burden'). [ɡeːb] 'pocket' + [næ] 'our' → collapsing with [ˈɡebnæ] which means ('cheese' or 'our pocket'), because Cairene phonology can't have long vowels before two consonants. Cairene also has [ʒ] as a marginal phoneme from loanwords from languages other than Classical Arabic.
Varieties such as that of Sanaa, Yemen, are more conservative and retain most phonemic contrasts of Classical Arabic. Sanaani possesses [ɡ] as a reflex of Classical /q/ (which still functions as an emphatic consonant). In unstressed syllables, Sanaani short vowels may be reduced to [ə]. /tˤ/ is voiced to [dˤ] in initial and intervocalic positions.
Of all the mainstream varieties of Arabic, Moroccan Arabic is likely the one that has diverged the most from Classical Arabic, similarly to the position of French in the Romance languages and English among the Germanic languages. As described above, Moroccan has heavily innovated in its vowel phonology, under heavy Berber influence. Short vowels /a/ and /i/ merged into /ə/. More recently, most instances of short /u/ have also merged into /ə/; the few that remain are mostly in the vicinity of velars and uvulars, which suggests an alternative analysis with phonemically rounded consonants (e.g. labiovelars) and only one short vowel /ə/. This schwa, in turn, is phonemically deleted in all contexts except directly followed by a single word-final consonant or in some three-consonant words of the shape CəCC. This inevitably results in some very long, complex consonant clusters, which (unlike most other Arabic varieties) Moroccan Arabic is remarkably tolerant of, only tending to insert epenthetic schwas to break up the clusters at a slow rate of speech. Unlike in other varieties, doubled consonants are never reduced, but are pronounced clearly whether occurring at the beginning of a word, end of a word, between vowels or before or after a consonant. With the collapse of short vowels, speakers no longer perceive a long vs. short distinction in vowels, which has been replaced with a "full" vs. "reduced/unstable" distinction. "Full" vowels (actually pronounced half-long) substitute for both the long and short vowels of Classical Arabic in borrowings; as a result, these borrowings can be immediately identified by their phonology.
A number of other unique or unusual developments have taken place. Stress is, for the most part, not detectable at all; to the extent stressed syllables can be identified, there is often no consistent pattern governing which syllable is stressed. Original /q/ has split into two phonemes /q/ and /ɡ/, reflecting the origin of Moroccan Arabic as a mixture of a sedentary and Bedouin dialect. Original diphthongs /aj/, /aw/ have merged into full vowels /i/, /u/ rather than generating new vowel qualities; but "long diphthongs" /aj/, /aw/ also exist, best analyzed as a combination of full vowel /a/ and semivowel. Unlike most other varieties, emphasis not only triggers front/back allophones in /a/, but also high/low allophones in /i/ and /u/, and /ə/ varies between non-emphatic [ɪ̆], emphatic [ə̆], and pharyngeal-environment [ʌ̆]. On the other hand, emphasis spreads only as far as the first full vowel in either direction, unlike in most sedentary varieties where emphasis can spread much more widely, sometimes throughout the entire word. For the purposes of emphasis, /r/ splits completely into non-emphatic /r/ and emphatic /rˤ/, distinguishable mostly by their effects on adjacent vowels; with very few exceptions, the choice of one or another is consistent across all words derived from a given root. Most emphatic/nonemphatic pairs behave similarly, but /t/ is affricated [tˢ] while /tˤ/ is non-affricated [t], so it is always possible to distinguish the two without recourse to their effects on surrounding vowels.
The most frequent consonant phoneme is /r/, the rarest is /ðˤ/. The frequency distribution of the 28 consonant phonemes, based on the 2,967 triliteral roots listed by Wehr is (with the percentage of roots in which each phoneme occurs):
This distribution does not necessarily reflect the actual frequency of occurrence of the phonemes in speech, since pronouns, prepositions and suffixes are not taken into account, and the roots themselves will occur with varying frequency. In particular, /t/ occurs in several extremely common affixes (occurring in the marker for second-person or feminine third-person as a prefix, the marker for first-person or feminine third-person as a suffix, and as the second element of Forms VIII and X as an infix) despite being fifth from last on Wehr's list. The list does give, however, an idea of which phonemes are more marginal than others. Note that the five least frequent letters are among the six letters added to those inherited from the Phoenician alphabet, namely, ḍād, ṯāʾ, ḫāʾ, ẓāʾ, ḏāl and ġayn.
The Literary Arabic sample text is a reading of The North Wind and the Sun by a speaker who was born in Safed, lived and was educated in Beirut from age 8 to 15, subsequently studied and taught in Damascus, studied phonetics in Scotland and since then has resided in Scotland and Kuwait.
كانت ريح الشمال والشمس تتجادلان؛ أي منهما أقوى؟، وإذ بمسافر يطلع متلفعا بعباءة سميكة. فاتفقتا على اعتبار السابق في إجبار المسافر على خلع عباءته الأقوى. عصفت ريح الشمال بأقصى ما استطاعت من قوة. ولكن كلما ازداد العصف ازداد المسافر تدثرا بعباءته، إلى أن أسقط في يد الريح فتخلت عن محاولتها. بعدئذ سطعت الشمس بدفئها، فما كان من المسافر إلا أن خلع عباءته على التو. وهكذا اضطرت ريح الشمال إلى الاعتراف بأن الشمس كانت هي الأقوى.
كَانَتْ رِيحُ الشَّمَالِ وَالشَّمْسُ تَتَجَادَلان؛ أَيٌٍّ مِنْهُمَا أَقْوَى؟، وَإِذْ بِمُسَافِرٍ يَطْلُعُ مُتَلَفِّعًا بِعَبَاءَةٍ سَمِيكَةٍ. فَاتَّفَقَتَا عَلَى اعْتِبارِ السَّابِقِ فِي إِجْبارِ المُسَافِرِ عَلَى خَلْعِ عَباءَتِهِ الأَقْوىٰ. عَصَفَتْ رِيحُ الشَّمالِ بِأَقْصَى مَا اسْتَطَاعَتْ مِن قُوَّةٍ. وَلٰكِنْ كُلَّمَا ازْدَادَ العَصْفُ ازْدَادَ المُسَافِرُ تَدَثُّرًا بِعَبَاءَتِهِ، إِلَى أَنْ أُسْقِطَ فِي يَدِ الرِّيحِ فَتَخَلَّتْ عَنْ مُحَاوَلَتِهَا. بَعْدَئِذٍ سَطَعَتِ الشَّمْسُ بِدِفْئِهَا، فَمَا كَانَ مِنَ المُسَافِرِ إلَّا أَنْ خَلَعَ عَبَاءَتَهُ عَلَى التَّوِّ. وَهٰكَذَا اضْطُرَّتْ رِيحُ الشَّمَالِ إِلَى الاِعْتِرَافِ بِأَنَّ الشَّمْسَ كَانَتْ هِيَ الأَقْوَى.
/kaːnat rijħu ʃːamaːli tatad͡ʒaːdalu wa ʃːamsa fij ʔajːin minhumaː kaːnat ʔaqwaː min alʔuxraː | wa ʔið bi musaːfirin jatˤluʕu mutalafːiʕan bi ʕabaːʔatin samijka || fa tːafaqataː ʕalaː ʕtibaːri sːaːbiqi fij ʔid͡ʒbaːri lmusaːfiri ʕalaː xalʕi ʕabaːʔatihi lʔaqwaː || ʕasˤafat rijħu ʃːamaːli bi ʔaqsˤaː maː statˤaːʕat min quwːa || wa laːkin kulːamaː zdaːda lʕasˤf izdaːda lmusaːfiru tadaθːuran biʕabaːʔatih | ʔilaː ʔan ʔusqitˤa fij jadi rːijħ fa taxalːat ʕan muħaːwalatihaː || baʕdaʔiðin satˤaʕati ʃːamsu bidifʔihaː | fa maːkaːna mina lmusaːfiri ʔilːaː ʔan xalaʕa ʕabaːʔatahu ʕalaː tːawː || wa haːkaðaː dˤtˤurat rijħu ʃːamaːli ʔilaː lʔiʕtiraːfi biʔanːa ʃːamsa kaːnat hija lʔaqwaː/
/kaːnat riːħ aʃ ʃamaːl tatadʒaːdal waʃ ʃamsɪ fiː ʔajjɪn minhumaː kaːnat ʔaqwaː min al ʔuxraː | wa ʔið bi musaːfir jatˤlaʕ mutalaffiʕan bi ʕabaːʔa samiːka || fat tafaqataː ʕala ʕtibaːr is saːbiq fiː ʔidʒbaːr al musaːfir ʕalaː xalʕɪ ʕabaːʔatih al ʔaqwaː || ʕasˤafat riːħ aʃ ʃamaːl bi ʔaqsˤaː ma statˤaːʕat min quwwa || wa laːkin kullama zdaːd al ʕasˤf izdaːd al musaːfir tadaθθuran bi ʕabaːʔatih | ʔilaː ʔan ʔusqitˤ fiː jad ar riːħ fa taxallat ʕan muħaːwalatihaː || baʕdaʔiðin satˤaʕat aʃ ʃamsɪ bi difʔihaː | fa maː kaːn min al musaːfir ʔillaː ʔan xalaʕa ʕabaːʔatah ʕala ttaww || wa haːkaða dˤtˤurrat riːħ aʃ ʃamaːl ʔila lʔiʕtiraːf biʔann aʃ ʃamsɪ kaːnat hija lʔaqwaː/
[ˈkæːnæt ɾiːħ æʃ ʃæˈmæːl tætæˈɡæːdæl wæʃ ˈʃæm.se fiː ˈʔæj.jin menˈhomæ ˈkæːnæt ˈʔɑqwɑ mɪn æl ˈʔʊxɾɑ | wæ ʔɪð bi mʊˈsæːfeɾ ˈjɑtˤlɑʕ mʊtæˈlæf.feʕ bi ʕæˈbæːʔæ sæˈmiːkæ || fæt tæfɑqɑˈtæː ˈʕælæ ʕ.teˈbɑːɾ ɪs ˈsɑːbeq fiː ʔeɡbɑːɾ æl mʊˈsæːfeɾ ˈʕælæ ˈxælʕe ʕæbæːˈʔæt(i)hi lˈʔɑqwɑː || ˈʕɑsˤɑfɑt ɾiːħ æʃ ʃæˈmæːl bi ˈʔɑqsˤɑ mæ stæˈtˤɑːʕɑt mɪn ˈqow.wɑ || wæ ˈlæːkɪn kʊlˈlæmæ zˈdæːd æl ʕɑsˤf ɪzˈdæːd æl mʊˈsæːfeɾ tædæθˈθʊɾæn bi ʕæbæːˈʔætih | ˈʔilæ ʔæn ˈʔosqetˤ fiː jæd æɾˈɾiːħ fæ tæˈxæl.læt ʕæn mʊħæːwæˈlæt(i)hæ || bæʕdæˈʔiðin ˈsɑtˤɑʕɑt æʃ ˈʃæm.se bi dɪfˈʔihæ | fæ mæː kæːn mɪn æl mʊˈsæːfeɾ ˈʔil.læ ʔæn ˈxælæʕ ʕæbæːˈʔætæh ʕælætˈtæw || wæ hæːˈkæðæ tˈtˤoɾ.ɾɑt ɾiːħ æʃ ʃæˈmæːl ˈʔilæ lʔeʕteˈɾɑːf biˈʔænn æʃ ˈʃæm.se ˈkæːnæt ˈhɪ.jæ lˈʔɑqwɑ]
Kānat rīḥ al-shamāl tatajādalu wa-al-shams fī ayyin minhumā kānat aqwá min al-ukhrá, wa-idh bi-musāfir yaṭlaʻu mutalaffiʻ bi-ʻabāʼah samīkah. Fa-ittafaqatā ʻalá iʻtibār al-sābiq fī ijbār al-musāfir ʻalá khalʻ ʻabāʼatihi al-aqwá. ʻAṣafat rīḥ al-shamāl bi-aqṣá mā istaṭāʻat min qūwah. Wa-lākin kullamā izdāda al-ʻaṣf izdāda al-musāfir tadaththuran bi-ʻabāʼatih, ilá an usqiṭ fī yad al-rīḥ fa-takhallat ʻan muḥāwalatihā. Baʻdaʼidhin saṭaʻat al-shams bi-difʼihā, fa-mā kāna min al-musāfir illā an khalaʻa ʻabāʼatahu ʻalá al-taww. Wa-hākadhā iḍṭurrat rīḥ al-shamāl ilá al-iʻtirāf bi-an al-shams kānat hiya al-aqwá.
kānat rīḥu š-šamāli tatajādalu wa-š-šamsa fī ʾayyin minhumā kānat ʾaqwā mina l-ʾuḵrā, wa-ʾiḏ bi-musāfirin yaṭluʿu mutalaffiʿan bi-ʿabāʾatin samīkatin. fa-t-tafaqatā ʿalā ʿtibāri s-sābiqi fī ʾijbāri l-musāfiri ʿalā ḵalʿi ʿabāʾatihi l-ʾaqwā. ʿaṣafat rīḥu š-šamāli bi-ʾaqṣā mā staṭāʿat min quwwatin. walākin kullamā zdāda l-ʿaṣfu zdāda l-musāfiru tadaṯṯuran bi-ʿabāʾatihi, ʾilā ʾan ʾusqiṭa fī yadi r-rīḥi fataḵallat ʿan muḥāwalatihā. baʿdaʾiḏin saṭaʿati š-šamsu bi-difʾihā, famā kāna mina l-musāfiri ʾillā ʾan ḵalaʿa ʿabāʾatahu ʿalā t-tawwi. wa-hakaḏā ḍṭurrat rīḥu š-šamāli ʾilā l-ʾiʿtirāfi biʾanna š-šamsa kānat hiya l-ʾaqwā.
An alfil (or elephant) is a xiangqi piece and fairy chess piece that jumps two squares diagonally. In many chess variants, but not in xiangqi, it can leap over intermediate pieces.Arabic exonyms
This list of Arabic exonyms includes names which are significantly different from the names of the same places in other languages, as well as names of Arabic origin in countries (especially Spain) where Arabic is no longer spoken. Some of these exonyms are no longer in use.
Places not mentioned are generally referred to in Arabic by their respective names in their native languages, adapted to Arabic phonology as necessary.Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic is the form of the Arabic language used in Umayyad and Abbasid literary texts from the 7th century AD to the 9th century AD.
The orthography of the Qurʾān was not developed for the standardized form of Classical Arabic.
Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is its direct descendant used today throughout the Arab world in writing and in formal speaking, for example, prepared speeches, some radio broadcasts, and non-entertainment content; it is also used in modernized versions of the Quran and revised editions of poetries and novels from Umayyad and Abbasid times (7th to 9th centuries). While the lexis and stylistics of Modern Standard Arabic are different from Classical Arabic, the morphology and syntax have remained basically unchanged (though MSA uses a subset of the syntactic structures available in CA). In the Arab world, little distinction is made between CA and MSA, and both are normally called al-fuṣḥá (الفصحى) in Arabic, meaning 'the most eloquent'.DIN 31635
DIN 31635 is a Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) standard for the transliteration of the Arabic alphabet adopted in 1982. It is based on the rules of the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft (DMG) as modified by the International Orientalist Congress 1935 in Rome. The most important differences from English-based systems were doing away with j, because it stood for /dʒ/ in the English-speaking world and for /j/ in the German-speaking world and the entire absence of digraphs like th, dh, kh, gh, sh. Its acceptance relies less on its official status than on its elegance (one sign for each Arabic letter) and the Geschichte der arabischen Literatur manuscript catalogue of Carl Brockelmann and the dictionary of Hans Wehr. Today it is used in most German-language publications of Arabic and Islamic studies.Dental, alveolar and postalveolar lateral approximants
The alveolar lateral approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar lateral approximants is ⟨l⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is l.
As a sonorant, lateral approximants are nearly always voiced. Voiceless lateral approximants, /l̥/ are common in Sino-Tibetan languages, but uncommon elsewhere. In such cases, voicing typically starts about halfway through the hold of the consonant. No language is known to contrast such a sound with a voiceless alveolar lateral fricative [ɬ].
In a number of languages, including most varieties of English, the phoneme /l/ becomes velarized ("dark l") in certain contexts. By contrast, the non-velarized form is the "clear l" (also known as: "light l"), which occurs before and between vowels in certain English standards. Some languages have only clear l. Others may not have a clear l at all, or only before front vowels (especially [i]).Egyptian Arabic phonology
This article is about the phonology of Egyptian Arabic, also known as Cairene Arabic or Masri. It deals with the phonology and phonetics of Egyptian Arabic as well as the phonological development of child native speakers of the dialect. To varying degrees, it affects the pronunciation of Literary Arabic by native Egyptian Arabic speakers, as is the case for speakers of all other varieties of Arabic.Hejazi Arabic phonology
The phonological system of the Hejazi Arabic consists of approximately 26 to 28 native consonant phonemes, and 8 vowel phonemes /a, u, i, aː, uː, oː, iː, eː/, in addition to 2 diphthongs /aw, aj/. Consonant length and Vowel length are both distinctive in Hejazi.
Strictly speaking, there are two main groups of dialects spoken in the Hejaz region, one by the urban population حَضَرْ originally spoken in the major cities of Jeddah, Medina, Mecca and Ta'if who constitute the majority, and another by the bedouin or rural populations. However, the term most often applies to the urban variety which is discussed in this article.
phonemes will be (written inside slashes / /) and allophones (written inside brackets [ ]).Judeo-Tunisian Arabic
Judeo-Tunisian Arabic, also known as Djerbian Arabic, is a variety of Tunisian Arabic mainly spoken by Jews living or formerly living in Tunisia. Speakers are older adults, and the younger generation has only a passive knowledge of the language.The vast majority of Tunisian Jews have relocated to Israel and have shifted to Hebrew as their home language. Those in France typically use French as their primary language, while the few still left in Tunisia tend to use either French or Tunisian Arabic in their everyday lives.Judeo-Tunisian Arabic is one of the Judeo-Arabic languages, a collection of Arabic dialects spoken by Jews living or formerly living in the Arab world.Levantine Arabic phonology
This article is about the phonology of Levantine Arabic also known as Shāmi Arabic, and its sub-dialects.Tunisian Arabic phonology
There are several differences in pronunciation between Standard and Tunisian Arabic. Nunation does not exist in Tunisian Arabic, and short vowels are frequently omitted, especially if they would occur as the final element of an open syllable, which was probably encouraged by the Berber substratum.However, there are some more specific characteristics related to Tunisian Arabic like the phenomenon of metathesis.Voiced epiglottal trill
The voiced epiglottal or pharyngeal trill, also analyzed as a fricative, is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʢ⟩.
Few languages distinguish between pharyngeal and epiglottal fricatives/trills, and in fact the fricatives in Arabic are routinely described as "pharyngeal". However, according to Peter Ladefoged, the Aghul spoken in the village of Burkikhan, Dagestan has both (as well as an epiglottal stop).Voiced labiodental fricative
The voiced labiodental fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨v⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is v.
Although this is a familiar sound to most European and Middle Eastern listeners, it is cross-linguistically a fairly uncommon sound, being only a quarter as frequent as [w]. The presence of [v] and absence of [w], is a very distinctive areal feature of European languages and those of adjacent areas of Siberia and Central Asia. Speakers of East Asian languages that lack this sound tend to pronounce it as [b] (Korean and Japanese), or [f]/[w] (Cantonese and Mandarin), thus failing to distinguish a number of English minimal pairs.In certain languages, such as Danish, Faroese, Icelandic or Norwegian the voiced labiodental fricative is in a free variation with the labiodental approximant.Voiced uvular stop
The voiced uvular stop or voiced uvular plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɢ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is G\.
[ɢ] is a rare sound, even compared to other uvulars. Vaux (1999) proposes a phonological explanation: uvular consonants normally involve a neutral or a retracted tongue root, whereas voiced stops often involve advanced tongue root: two articulations that cannot physically co-occur. This leads many languages of the world to have a voiced uvular fricative [ʁ] instead as the voiced counterpart of the voiceless uvular stop. Examples are Inuit; several Turkic languages such as Uyghur and Yakut; several Northwest Caucasian languages such as Abkhaz; and several Northeast Caucasian languages such as Ingush.
There is also the voiced pre-uvular stop in some languages, which is articulated slightly more front compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical voiced uvular stop, though not as front as the prototypical voiced velar stop. The International Phonetic Alphabet does not have a separate symbol for that sound, though it can be transcribed as ⟨ɢ̟⟩ (advanced ⟨ɢ⟩), ⟨ɡ̠⟩ or ⟨ɡ˗⟩ (both symbols denote a retracted ⟨ɡ⟩). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are G\_+ and g_-, respectively.Voiceless epiglottal trill
The voiceless epiglottal or pharyngeal trill, also analyzed as a fricative, is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʜ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is H\.Voiceless pharyngeal fricative
The voiceless pharyngeal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is an h-bar, ⟨ħ⟩. In the transcription of Arabic, Berber and other scripts, it is often written ⟨Ḥ⟩, ⟨ḥ⟩.
Typically characterized as a fricative in the upper pharynx, it is often a whispered [h].Ḍād
Ḍād (ﺽ), is one of the six letters the Arabic alphabet added to the twenty-two inherited from the Phoenician alphabet (the others being ṯāʾ, ḫāʾ, ḏāl, ẓāʾ, ġayn). In name and shape, it is a variant of ṣād.
Its numerical value is 800 (see Abjad numerals).
The sound it represented at the time of the introduction of the Arabic alphabet is somewhat uncertain, likely a pharyngealized voiced alveolar lateral fricative [ɮˤ] or a similar affricated sound [d͡ɮˤ] or [dˡˤ].
In contemporary Arabic, it may represent a pharyngealized voiced alveolar stop [dˤ] , pharyngealized voiced dental stop [d̪ˤ] or velarized voiced dental stop [d̪ˠ].Ḏāl
Ḏāl (ذ, also be transcribed as dhāl) is one of the six letters the Arabic alphabet added to the twenty-two inherited from the Phoenician alphabet (the others being ṯāʾ, ḫāʾ, ḍād, ẓāʾ, ġayn). In Modern Standard Arabic it represents /ð/. In name and shape, it is a variant of dāl (د). Its numerical value is 700 (see abjad numerals). The Arabic letter ذ is named ذال ḏāl. It is written is several ways depending in its position in the word:
The South Arabian alphabet retained a symbol for ḏ, .
When representing this sound in transliteration of Arabic into Hebrew, it is written as ד׳.
This sound is found in English, as in the words "those" or "then". In English the sound is normally rendered "dh" when transliterated from foreign languages, but when it occurs in English words it is one of the pronunciations occurring for the letters "th".