Levantine Arabic
شامي, šāmi
Native toSyria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Turkey
RegionLevant / Greater Syria[1][2]
Primarily Arabs
Native speakers
38 million (2021)[4]
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
apc – North Levantine
ajp – South Levantine
Linguasphere12-AAC-eh "Syro-Palestinian"
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
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Levantine Arabic, also called Shami (autonym: شامي šāmi, or Arabic: اللَّهْجَةُ الشَّامِيَّة, il-lahje š-šāmiyye),[5] or simply Levantine, is a subgroup of mutually intelligible vernacular Arabic varieties spoken in the Levant, in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, and Turkey (historically in Adana, Mersin and Hatay provinces only).[3] With numerous dialects and over 38 million speakers worldwide,[4] Levantine is one of the two prestige varieties of spoken Arabic,[6] comprehensible all over the Arab world.[a]

Levantine is not officially recognized in any state or territory.[7] It is the majority language in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria, but it is predominantly used as a spoken vernacular in daily communication, whereas most written and official documents and media in these countries use the official Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), a form of literary Arabic that is only acquired through formal education and does not function as a native language.[8] In Israel and Turkey, Levantine is a minority language.[8]

Sharing about 50% similarity in lexicon,[9] the Palestinian dialect of Levantine is the closest vernacular variety to MSA.[10][11][12] Nevertheless, Levantine and MSA are not mutually intelligible.[13][2][14] Levantine speakers therefore often call their language Amiya, which means "slang", "dialect", or "colloquial" in MSA (العامية, al-ʿāmmiyya).[15][16] However, with the emergence of social media, attitudes toward Levantine have improved and the amount of written Levantine has significantly increased,[5] especially online where Levantine is written using Latin, Arabic, or Hebrew characters.

The lack of written sources in Levantine makes it impossible to determine its history before the modern period.[17] Aramaic was the dominant language in the Levant starting in the first millennium BCE. Aramaic coexisted with many other languages,[18] including a great variety of Arabic dialects spoken by various Arabic tribes. With the Muslim conquest of the Levant, new Arabic speakers from the Arabian Peninsula settled in the region and a lengthy language shift from Aramaic to vernacular Arabic occurred.[19] Levantine does not descend from Classical Arabic,[b][20] and they both descend from an unattested common ancestor conventionally called Proto-Arabic.[21]

Levantine pronunciation varies greatly along social and geographical lines. Its grammar is similar to that shared by most vernacular varieties of Arabic. Its lexicon is overwhelmingly Arabic, with an important Aramaic influence.


Map of Greater Syria/the Levant
Map of Greater Syria/the Levant

Scholars use the term "Levantine Arabic" to describe the continuum of mutually intelligible dialects spoken across the Levant.[22][3] Other terms include "Syro-Palestinian",[23] "Eastern Arabic",[c][24] "Syro-Lebanese" (as a broad term covering Jordan and Palestine as well),[25] "Greater Syrian",[26] or simply "Syrian Arabic" (in a broad meaning, referring to all the dialects of Greater Syria, which corresponds to the Levant).[1][2] Most authors include only the sedentary dialects, excluding Bedouin dialects of the Syrian Desert and the Negev, which belong to the dialects of the Arabian peninsula. Mesopotamian dialects from northeast Syria are also excluded.[25] Linguists Kristen Brustad and Emilie Zuniga note that the term "Levantine Arabic" is not indigenous and that "it is likely that many speakers would resist the grouping on the basis that the rich phonological, morphological and lexical variation within the Levant carries important social meanings and distinctions."[27]

Indeed, Levantine speakers often call their language Amiya, which means "slang", "dialect", or "colloquial" in MSA (‏العامية‎, al-ʿāmmiyya) to compare their vernacular to Classical Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic (‏الفصحى‎, al-fuṣḥā, meaning "the eloquent").[b][15][16] They also simply call their spoken language "Arabic" (‏عربي‎, ʿarabiyy).[28] Alternatively, they identify their language by the name of their country, for instance, Jordanian (‏أردني‎, Urduni),[4] Syrian (‏شامي‎, Shami[d]),[4] or Lebanese (‏لبناني‎). Lebanese literary figure Said Akl also led a movement to recognize the "Lebanese language" as a distinct prestigious language and oppose it to MSA, which he considered a "dead language".[29]


Further information: Classification of Arabic languages

Levantine is a variety of Arabic, a Semitic language. Semitic languages belong to Afroasiatic languages. There is no consensus regarding the genealogical position of Arabic within Semitic languages.[30]

The position of Levantine and other Arabic vernaculars in the Arabic macrolanguage family has also been contested. According to the Arabic linguistic and intellectual tradition, Classical Arabic was the spoken language of the pre- and Early Islamic period and remained stable to today's Modern Standard Arabic.[b] In this view, Classical Arabic is the ancestor of all other Arabic vernaculars, including Levantine, which were corrupted by contacts with other languages.[20][31][21] However, many Arabic varieties preserve features lost in Classical Arabic and are closer to other Semitic languages, which proves that these varieties cannot have developed from Classical Arabic. That's why most Western scholars now consider that Arabic vernaculars represent a different type of Arabic, rather than just a modified version of the Classical language,[32] and that Classical Arabic is a sister language to other varieties of Arabic rather than their direct ancestor.[21] Classical Arabic and all vernacular varieties developed from an unattested common ancestor conventionally called Proto-Arabic or Early Arabic.[21] Versteegh calls it Ancient North Arabian.[33]

Sedentary vernaculars (also called dialects) are then traditionally classified into 5 groups according to shared features:

In the pre-Islamic period, all Arabs were able to communicate easily. Today, it is extremely difficult for Moroccans and Iraqis, each speaking their own variety, to understand each other. The linguistic distance between Arabic vernaculars (including Levantine) is as large as that between the Germanic languages and the Romance languages (including Romanian), if not larger.[36] However, in practice, research by Trentman & Shiri indicates that native speakers of Arabic languages are able, thanks to previous exposure to their non-native dialects through media or personal contacts and through various strategies (contextual clues, predicting phonological differences, using knowledge of the root system to guess meaning, and recognizing affixes), to reach a high degree of mutual intelligibility in interactional situations.[37]

Geographical distribution and varieties

Map of Arabic varieties.
Map of Arabic varieties.

Levantine is spoken in the fertile strip on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. It is bordered by other Arabic varieties: Mesopotamian Arabic and North Mesopotamian Arabic to the north and the north-east of Syria; Najdi Arabic to the east and the south-east of Jordan and Syria; and Northwest Arabian Arabic to the south and the south west of Jordan, Israel, and Palestine.[38][39]

The degree of similarity among Levantine dialects is not necessarily determined by geographical location or political boundaries. The urban dialects of the main cities (such as Damascus, Beirut, and Jerusalem) have much more in common with each other than they do with the rural dialects of their respective countries. The sociolects of two different social or religious groups within the same country may also show more points of dissimilarity with each other than when compared with their counterparts in another country.[1]

The process of linguistic homogenization within each country of the Levant makes a classification of dialects by country possible today.[40][35] The ISO 639-3 standard divides Levantine into two groups: North Levantine (ISO 639-3 code: apc) and South Levantine (ISO 639-3 code: ajp).[4] Kees Versteegh classifies Levantine (which he calls "Syro-Lebanese") into three groups: Lebanese/Central Syrian (inc. Beirut, Damascus, Druze Arabic, Cypriot Maronite), North Syrian (inc. Aleppo), and Palestinian/Jordanian.[41] However, according to Versteegh, the distinctions between the groups are unclear and the exact boundary cannot be determined with certainty using isoglosses.[42]

Cypriot Arabic is considered either as a Levantine dialect,[43] or as a hybrid between Levantine and North Mesopotamian Arabic (qeltu).[44] It has its own ISO 639-3 code (acy).[45]

North Levantine

An interview with Lebanese singer Maya Diab; she speaks in Lebanese.
An interview with Lebanese singer Maya Diab; she speaks in Lebanese.

Main article: North Levantine Arabic

North Levantine extends from Turkey in the North (in the coastal provinces of Adana, Hatay, and Mersin),[46] to Lebanon,[47] passing through the Mediterranean coastal regions of Syria (the Latakia and Tartus governorates) as well as the areas surrounding Aleppo and Damascus.[4] In the North, the limit between Mesopotamian Arabic starts from the Turkish border near el-Rāʿi, and Sabkhat al-Jabbul is the north-eastern limit of Levantine, which includes further south al-Qaryatayn, Damascus, and the Hauran.[38]

Dialects of North Levantine include:[4]

South Levantine

Main article: South Levantine Arabic

South Levantine is spoken in Palestine, in the western area of Jordan,[38] and in the HaTsafon district of Israel.[4]

Bedouin varieties are spoken in the Negev and Sinai Peninsula, areas of transition to Egyptian Arabic.[54][55] The dialect of Arish, Egypt, is classified by Linguasphere as Levantine.[23] The major characteristics distinguishing this dialect from its surrounding Bedouin dialects are those that more generally distinguish sedentary dialects from Bedouin dialects.[56]

Dialects of South Levantine include:[4]

Ethnicity and religion

The Levant is characterized by ethnic diversity and religious pluralism[62] and Levantine dialects vary along sectarian lines.[27]

Religious groups include Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, Alawites,[e] Christians, Druze, and Jews.[63][64] Differences between Muslim and Christian dialects are minimal, mainly involving some religious vocabulary.[8] A minority of features are perceived as typically associated with one group. For example, in Beirut, the exponent tēʕ is only used by Muslims and never by Christians (who use tabaʕ).[65] Druze and Alawite dialects are distinguished from others by retention of the phoneme /q/.[27] Sunni dialects are more influenced by MSA. Jewish dialects diverge more from Muslim dialects and often show influences from other towns due to trade networks and contacts with other Jewish communities.[62] For instance, the Jewish dialect of Hatay is very similar to the Aleppo dialect, in particular to the dialect of the Jews of Aleppo, and shows traits otherwise not found in any dialect of Hatay.[62][52] Koineization in cities such as Damascus leads to a homogenization of the language among religious groups.[66]

Levantine is primarily spoken by Arabs. It is also spoken as a first or second language by some other ethnic minorities in the region.[3] In particular, it is spoken natively by Samaritans[67] and by most Circassians in Jordan,[3][68] Armenians in Jordan[69] and Israel,[70] Assyrians in Israel,[70] Turkmen in Syria[71] and Lebanon,[72] Kurds in Lebanon,[73][74] and Dom people in Jerusalem.[75][76] Most Lebanese in Israel speak Lebanese Arabic and do not consider themselves Arabs, claiming to be Phoenicians.[77][78] Syrian Jews,[64][79] Lebanese Jews,[80] and Turkish Jews from Çukurova are native Levantine speakers, however, most of them moved to Israel after 1948.[52] Levantine also used to be spoken natively by most Jews in Jerusalem but the community experienced a shift to Modern Hebrew after the establishment of Israel.[81][82]

Moreover, Levantine is used as a second language by Dom people across the Levant,[83][4] Circassians in Israel,[4] Armenians in Lebanon,[3] Chechens in Jordan,[68][69] Assyrians in Syria[4] and Lebanon,[84] and most Kurds in Syria.[4][85]

Speakers by country

In addition to the Levant, where it is indigenous, Levantine is spoken among diaspora communities from the region, especially among the Palestinian,[60] Lebanese, and Syrian diasporas.[86] In some countries, ethnic Arabs from the Levant have ceased to use the language. For instance, there is evidence of gradual disuse among the 7 million Lebanese Brazilians.[87]

Because of the Syrian Civil War, there are 1.3 million Syrian refugees in Jordan[88] and 3.7 million in Turkey.[89]

Levantine speakers, Ethnologue (24th ed., 2021)[4][f]
Country Total population North Levantine speakers (apc) South Levantine speakers (ajp) Total Levantine speakers (apc+ajp) % Levantine speakers among the population
 Syria 17,070,000 14,700,000 36,000 14,736,000 86.3%
 Lebanon 6,825,000 6,570,000 N/A 6,570,000 96.3%
 Jordan 10,102,000 N/A 5,560,000 5,560,000 55.0%
 Palestine 4,981,000 14,800 4,000,000 4,014,800 80.6%
 Israel 8,675,000 93,700 1,430,000 1,523,700 17.6%
 Turkey 83,430,000 1,250,000 N/A 1,250,000 1.5%
 Qatar 2,832,000 561,000 380,000 941,000 33.3%
 Saudi Arabia 34,269,000 500,000 415,000 915,000 2.8%
 Germany 83,149,000 712,000 15,300 727,300 0.9%
 United Arab Emirates 9,890,000 127,000 499,000 626,000 6.3%
 Kuwait 4,421,000 214,000 65,000 279,000 6.3%
 Sweden 10,099,000 220,000 11,000 231,000 2.3%
 Egypt 100,388,000 173,000 N/A 173,000 0.2%


Pre-Islamic antiquity

Starting in the first millennium BCE, Aramaic was both the dominant spoken language and the language of writing and administration in the Levant.[90][91] Greek became the language of administration with the Seleucid Empire and was maintained by the Roman, then Byzantine empires.[92][93]

The lack of written sources in Levantine makes it impossible to determine its history before the modern period.[17] Old Arabic was a dialect continuum stretching from the southern Levant (where Northern Old Arabic was spoken) to the northern Hijaz, in the Arabian Peninsula, where Old Hijazi was spoken.[21] In the early first century CE, a great variety of Arabic dialects were already spoken by various nomadic or semi-nomadic Arabic tribes,[94][93][48] such as the Nabataeans[95]—who used Aramaic for official purposes[96]—, the Tanukhids,[g][95] and the Ghassanids.[68] Their colloquial language was related to later Classical Arabic.[95] These Arab communities stretched from the southern extremities of the Syrian Desert to central Syria, the Anti-Lebanon Mountains and the Beqaa Valley.[97][98]

The main representatives of Northern Old Arabic were Safaitic, Hismaic, and Nabataean Arabic.[99] Tens of thousands of graffiti in the Safaitic and Hismaic scripts cover the Syrian Desert. The Safaitic inscriptions sometimes exhibit the article ʾ(l), a shared areal isogloss with the Arabic substrate of the Nabataean inscriptions. Many Safaitic inscriptions exhibit all of the features typical of Arabic. The Hismaic script was used to compose two long texts in an archaic stage of Arabic before the language acquired the definite article.[96]

In the Arabian Peninsula there was a continuum of Central Semitic languages and Central Arabia was home to languages quite distinct from Arabic.[99]

Muslim conquest of the Levant

With the Muslim conquest of the Levant, some Arabic speakers from the Arabian Peninsula settled in the Levant.[8] Different Peninsular Arabic dialects competed for prestige, including the Hijazi vernacular of the Umayyad elites. In the Levant, these Peninsular dialects mixed with ancient forms of Arabic, such as the northern Old Arabic dialect.[21] For instance, by the mid-sixth century CE in the dialect of Petra, the onset of the article and its vowel seem to have weakened. There, the article is sometimes written as /el-/ or simply /l-/. A similar, but not identical, situation is found in the texts from the Islamic period. Unlike the pre-Islamic attestations, the code of the article in the conquest Arabic assimilates to a following coronal consonant. The Arabic transcribed in the Petra papyri represents a different strand of the Arabic language, likely related to Old Hijazi,[100]. According to Pr. Simon Hopkins this papyri shows there is "a very impressive continuity in colloquial Arabic usage, and the roots of the modern vernaculars are thus seen to lie very deep".[101]

With the conquest, Arabic also replaced Greek as the language of administration[102] and became the language of trade and public life in the cities, whereas Aramaic continued to be spoken at home and in the countryside.[98] The language shift from Aramaic to vernacular Arabic was a long process over several generations, with an extended period of bilingualism, especially among non-Muslims.[103][98] Some communities, such as the Samaritans, retained Aramaic well into the Muslim period. Eventually Aramaic nearly disappeared, with the exception of a few Aramaic-speaking villages, but it has left substrate influences on Levantine.[103]

Medieval Levantine Arabic

The Damascus Psalm Fragment, dated to the 9th century but possibly earlier, shed light on the Damascus Arabic of that period. Because its Arabic text is written in Greek characters it reveals the pronunciation of the time.[104] For instance, it features many examples of imāla.[105] It also features a pre-grammarian standard of Arabic and the dialect from which it sprung, likely Old Hijazi.[106]

Scholars do not agree on the dates of phonological changes. The shift of interdental spirants to dental stops dates to the 9th to 10th centuries, or even earlier.[107] The shift from /q/ to a glottal stop is dated between the 11th and 15th century.[108] Imāla (the fronting and raising of /a/ toward /i/) seems already important in pre-Islamic times.[105]

The Crusades brought into contact Old French–spoken in the Crusader states—and Medieval Levantine for the first time, from 1099 until the fall of Acre in 1291. And yet Old French had almost no influence on Medieval Levantine.[109]

Swedish orientalist Carlo Landberg writes about the vulgarisms encountered in Damascene poet Usama ibn Munqidh's Memoirs: "All of them are found in today's spoken language of Syria and it is very interesting to note that that language is, on the whole, not very different from the language of ˀUsāma's days [the twelfth century]."[101]

Early modern Levantine Arabic

The Compendio of Lucas Caballero (1709) contains a description of spoken Damascene Arabic in the early 1700s. In some respects, the data given in this manuscript correspond to modern Damascene Arabic. For example, the allomorphic variation between -a/-e in the feminine suffix is essentially identical. In other respects, especially when it comes to insertion and deletion of vowels, it differs from the modern dialect. The presence of short vowels in /zibībih/ and /sifīnih/ point to an earlier stage of linguistic development, before elision led to the modern zbībe and sfīne, though the orthography of the manuscript is in this respect unclear.[110]

From 1516 to 1918, the Ottoman Empire dominated the Levant. Many Western words entered Arabic through Ottoman Turkish as Turkish was the main language for transmitting Western ideas into the Arab world.[111][112] The dissolution of the Ottoman Empire resulted in a rapid and drastic decrease in Turkish words due to the Arabization of the language and the negative perception of the Ottoman era among Arabs.[113]

20th century

With the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon (1920-1946),[109] the British protectorate over Jordan (1921–1946) and the British Mandate for Palestine (1923-1948), French and English words gradually entered Levantine Arabic.[3][114] Similarly, Modern Hebrew has significantly influenced the Palestinian dialect of Arab Israelis since the establishment of Israel in 1948.[115]

In 1928 Atatürk announced the Turkish alphabet reform: the vernacular Turkish language replaced the literary Ottoman Turkish as the official language, a Latin-script alphabet replaced the Arabic alphabet, and Arabic borrowings were removed from the language. In Malta, the government promoted a a Latin-script alphabet to write the Maltese language (a variety of Arabic). These events inspired Lebanese literary figure Said Akl in the 1930s to design a new Latin alphabet for Lebanese Arabic and promote the official use of vernacular Arabic instead of MSA. Although Said Akl and a handful of writers used this new alphabet to write in Lebanese during the second half of the 20th century, this movement wasn't successful.[116]

21st century

Although Levantine dialects have remained notably stable over the past two centuries, in cities such as Damascus and Amman, a rapid standardization of the spoken language occurs through variant reduction (koineization) and linguistic homogenization among the various religious groups and neighborhoods. Rapid urbanization and the increasing proportion of youth[h] constitute the common causes of dialect change.[66][58][35] The prestige dialects of the capitals are also rapidly replacing the rural varieties.[41]

With the emergence of social media, the amount of written Levantine has significantly increased online,[5] where it is written using Latin, Arabic, or Hebrew characters.[118]

Status and usage


Levantine is not recognized in any state or territory.[7] MSA is the official language in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. It has a "special status" in Israel under the Basic Law. French is also recognized in Lebanon. In Turkey, the only official language is Turkish. Any variation from MSA is considered a "dialect" of Arabic.[7][119] As in the rest of the Arab world, this linguistic situation has been described as diglossia: MSA is nobody's first acquired language. It is not transmitted naturally from parent to child but is learned later through formal instruction.[8] This situation has been compared to the functioning of Latin as the sole written, official, and literary language in Europe during the medieval period, while Romance languages were the spoken vernaculars.[120][121] Levantine and MSA are drastically different—on phonology, morphology, lexicon, and syntax levels— and mutually unintelligible.[13][2][14]

MSA is the language of literature, official documents, and formal written media in general (newspapers, instruction leaflets, school books, etc.). In spoken form, MSA is mostly used when reading from a scripted text (e.g., news bulletins). MSA is also used for prayer and sermons in the mosque or church.[8] In Israel, Hebrew is the language used in the public sphere, except in religious and Arabic education settings and internally among the Arab communities and on social media.[122][123]

Attitudes toward MSA are largely positive in the Arab world, even among those not proficient in the language. MSA is associated with "the language of the Quran" and therefore revered by Muslims who form the majority of the population, including non-Arabs such as Kurds. MSA is also associated with the "Arab heritage and civilization", eloquent expression, and a pan-Arab identity. It is respected and admired by Arabs in general regardless of their religious affiliation.[124][7] Because the French and the British emphasized spoken vernaculars when they colonized the Arab world, Arabs also saw MSA as an asset against colonialism and imperialism.[125][126]

On the other hand, Levantine is the mother tongue of Arabic speakers in the region. It is the usual medium of communication in all domains except those described above, which require MSA.[8] Traditionally in the Arab world, colloquial varieties, such as Levantine, have been regarded as corrupt forms of MSA, less eloquent and not fit for literature, and thus looked upon with disdain.[124][127] Writing in the vernacular has been a controversial issue for two reasons. First, Pan-Arab nationalists consider that this might divide the Arab people into different nations. Second, because Classical Arabic[b] is the language of the Quran, it is believed to be pure and everlasting, and Islamic religious ideology considers vernaculars to be inferior.[124][127] Therefore, until recently, the use of Levantine in formal settings or written form was often ideologically motivated, for instance, in opposition to Pan-Arabism.[127][124]

However, language attitudes are progressively shifting, and using Levantine has become de-ideologized for most people.[127] Levantine is now regarded in a more positive light, and its use is acknowledged in certain modes of writing, thanks to its recent widespread use online, in both written and spoken forms.[119][124]


Code-switching between Levantine, MSA, English, French (in Lebanon and among Arab Christians in Syria[48]), and Hebrew (in Israel[127][77]) is frequent among Levantine speakers, in both informal and formal settings (such as on television).[129] Gordon cites two Lebanese examples: "Bonjour, ya habibti, how are you?" ("Hello, my love, how are you?") and "Oui, but leish?" ("Yes, but why?").[130]

Politics and government

In Lebanon, not all politicians master MSA, so they have to rely on Lebanese. Many public and formal speeches and most political talk shows are in Lebanese instead of MSA.[51]

In Israel, Arabic and Hebrew are allowed to be spoken in the Knesset, but Arabic is rarely used.[131] MK Ahmad Tibi often adds Palestinian Arabic sentences to his Hebrew speech, but does not give full speeches in Arabic.[132]


In the Levant, MSA is the only variety taught in schools as "Arabic," Levantine is not taught.[8] For example in Syria teachers are obliged to speak only MSA with their pupils. In practice, they only do so partly[48] and lessons are often taught in a mix of MSA and Levantine with, for instance, the lesson read out in MSA and explained in Levantine.[3] In Lebanon, about 50% of school students study in French.[133] In Arab universities, MSA is the medium of instruction in social sciences and humanities, whereas in most universities, English or French are used in the applied and medical sciences (except in Syria where only MSA is used).[8][3][68]

In Israel, MSA is the only language of instruction in Arab schools. The local Palestinian dialect is excluded from schools. Hebrew is studied as a second language by all Palestinian students from the second grade on and English from the third grade on. Some schools start teaching Arabic, Hebrew and English in the first grade.[134][123] In Jewish schools, in 2012, 23,000 pupils were studying spoken Arabic in 800 elementary schools. Palestinian Arabic is a compulsory subject in Jewish elementary schools in the Northern District. Otherwise, Jewish schools teach MSA.[135] Arabic was studied by about 100,000 pupils in Jewish junior high schools and over 18,000 in Jewish high schools. At all stages in 2012, 141,000 Jewish students were learning Arabic. In 2014, 2,487 Jewish students took the expanded Bagrut exam in Arabic, representing 2-3 percent of all students.[136]

In Turkey, article 42.9 of the Constitution prohibits languages other than Turkish being taught as a mother tongue. Therefore, almost all Arabic speakers are illiterate in Arabic unless they have learned MSA for religious purposes.[63]

Social media

Research found that users in the Arab world communicate with their dialect language (such as Levantine) more than MSA on social media (such as Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments of online newspapers). According to this paper, depending on the platform, between 12% and 23% of all dialectal Arabic content online was written in Levantine.[137]

Music and oral poetry

Levantine is commonly used in zajal and other forms of oral poetry.[138][48] Zajal written in vernacular was published in Lebanese newspapers such as al-Mašriq ("The Levant", from 1898) and ad-Dabbūr ("The Hornet", from 1925). In the 1940s, five reviews in Beirut were dedicated exclusively to poetry in Lebanese.[139]

Most songs are in colloquial Arabic.[15] It is estimated that 40% of all music production in the Arab world is in Lebanese.[140]

Films, series, and TV shows

Most movies are in vernacular Arabic.[15]

Egypt was the most influential center of Arab media productions (films, drama, TV series, etc.) during the 20th century,[140] but Levantine is now competing with Egyptian.[141] Lebanese television is the oldest running Arab television and is today the largest private Arab broadcast industry.[142] The majority of big-budget pan-Arab entertainment shows are filmed in the Lebanese dialect in the studios of Beirut. Moreover, the Syrian dialect dominates in Syrian TV series (such as Bab Al-Hara) and in the dubbing of Turkish television dramas (such as Noor), popular across the Arab world.[140][143] Dubbing Turkish TV dramas has made the Syrian dialect understandable all over the Arab world.[27]

Most Arabic satellite television networks use colloquial varieties for their programs. MSA is limited to news bulletins. This shift to vernacular started in Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War and expanded to the rest of the Arab world. Despite this trend, Al Jazeera still uses MSA only, while Al Arabiya and Al-Manar use MSA or a hybrid between MSA and colloquial for talkshows.[129]


Newspapers usually use MSA and reserve Levantine for sarcastic commentaries and caricatures.[144] However, Levantine titles are common. The letter to the editor section often includes entire paragraphs in Levantine, written by readers. Many newspapers also regularly publish personal columns in Levantine, such as خرم إبرة (xurm ʾibra, lit.'[through the] needle's eye') in the weekend edition of Al-Ayyam.[145]

In a 2013 study, Abuhakema investigated 270 written commercial ads in two Jordanian (Al Ghad and Ad-Dustour) and two Palestinian (Al-Quds and Al-Ayyam) daily newspapers. The study concluded that MSA is still the most used variety in ads, but both MSA and Levantine are acceptable, and Levantine is increasingly used in the language of ads.[146][147]

From 1983 to 1990, Said Akl's newspaper Lebnaan was published in Lebanese written in the Latin alphabet.[29]


Levantine is seldom written, except for some novels, plays, and humorous writings. Prose written in Lebanese goes back to at least 1892 when Ṭannūs al-Ḥurr published Riwāyat aš-šābb as-sikkīr ʾay Qiṣṣat Naṣṣūr as-Sikrī ("The tale of the drunken youth, or The story of Naṣṣūr the Drunkard'"). In the 1960s, Said Akl led a movement in Lebanon to replace MSA as the national and literary language, and a handful of writers wrote in Lebanese. They also translated foreign works, such as La Fontaine's Fables, in Lebanese using Akl's alphabet.[148][29][139]

In general, most comedies are written in Levantine.[149] In Syria, plays became more common and popular in the 1980s by using Levantine instead of Classical Arabic. Saadallah Wannous, the most renowned Syrian playwright, used Syrian Arabic in his later plays.[150]

In novels and short stories, most authors, such as Israeli-Arabs Riyad Baydas, Odeh Bisharat [ar], and Mohammad Naffa', write the dialogues in their Levantine dialect, while the rest of the text is in MSA.[151][152][145][153]

Lebanese authors Elias Khoury (especially in his recent works) and Kahlil Gibran wrote in Levantine, not only in the dialogues but also in the main narrative.[154][155]

The Little Prince was translated in Lebanese written in Arabic script by Maurice ʿAwwād.[139] It was later translated in Palestinian Arabic and published in two biscriptal editions: one written in Arabic script and Hebrew script, and another one in Arabic and Latin script.[156][157][158][159]

Comic books, such as the Syrian comic strip Kūktīl, are often written in Levantine instead of MSA.[160]

Some collections of short stories and anthologies of Palestinian folktales (turāṯ or heritage literature) display full texts in dialect. On the other hand, Palestinian children's literature is almost exclusively written in MSA.[145][15]

The Gospel of Mark was published in the Palestinian dialect in 1940,[161] with the Gospel of Matthew and the Letter of James published in 1946.[162][163] The four Gospels were translated in Lebanese using Akl's alphabet in 1996 by Gilbert Khalifé. Muris (Maurice) 'Awwad published the four Gospels in 2001 in Lebanese in Arabic script.[29]


Main article: Levantine Arabic phonology


Consonant phonemes of Urban Levantine Arabic (Beirut,[49] Damascus,[64][164] Jerusalem,[81] Amman[165])
Labial Dental Denti-alveolar Post-alv./
Velar Uvular Pharyngeal Glottal
plain emphatic
Nasal m n
voiceless (p)[i] t k q[j] ʔ
voiced b d d͡ʒ (g)[k]
Fricative voiceless f θ s ʃ x ~ χ ħ h
voiced (v)[i] ð z ðˤ ~ ɣ ~ ʁ ʕ
Approximant l (ɫ) j w
Trill r


Vowel length is phonemic in Levantine. Vowels often show dialectal and/or allophonic variations, that are socially, geographically, and phonologically conditioned. Diphthongs /aj/ and /aw/ are found in some Lebanese dialects, they respectively correspond to long vowels /eː/ and /oː/ in other dialects.[166]

In French borrowings, nasal vowels /ã/, /õ/, /ɛ̃/ and /ũ/ occur: ʾasãsēr ("lift"), selülēr "mobile phone".[64]

The difference between the short vowel pairs /e/ and /i/ as well as /o/ and /u/ is not always phonemic.[81] The vowel quality is usually /i/ and /u/ in stressed syllables.[64]

In North Levantine:

Vowels in word final position are shortened. As a result, more short vowels are distinguished.[64]

Vowel system in Levantine[166]
Short Long
Front Central Back Front Back
Close/High /i/ N/A /u/ // //
Mid /e/ /ə/ /o/ // //
Open/Low /a/ [i ~ ɛ ~ æ ~ a ~ ɑ] // [ɛː ~ æː ~ ~ ɑː]
Diphthongs /aw/, /aj/

Helping vowels

Speakers often add a short vowel, called helping vowel or epenthetic vowel, sounding like a short schwa right before a word-initial consonant cluster to break it, as in ktiːr ǝmniːħ "very good/well". They are not considered part of the word as such and are never stressed. This process of anaptyxis is subject to social and regional variation.[167][168][169]

A helping vowel is inserted:


In Damascus Arabic, word stress falls on the last superheavy syllable (CVːC or CVCC). In the absence of a superheavy syllable:


There are many socio-phonetic variations, based on socio-cultural classifications (urban, rural and Bedouin), gender, or religion (Muslim, Christian, Druze). For instance, in urban varieties, interdentals /θ/, /ð/, and /ðʕ/ tend to merge to stops or fricatives [t] ~ [s]; [d] ~ [z]; and [dʕ] ~ [zʕ] respectively.[172][164]

Socio-phonetic variations in Levantine[172]
Arabic letter Modern Standard Arabic Levantine (female/urban)[164] Levantine (male/rural)
ث /θ/ (th) /t/ (t) or /s/ (s) /θ/ (th)
ج /d͡ʒ/ (j) /ʒ/ (j) /d͡ʒ/ (j)
ذ /ð/ (dh) /d/ (d) or /z/ (z) /ð/ (dh)
ض // (ḍ) // (ḍ) /ðˤ/ (ẓ)
ظ /ðˤ/ (ẓ) // (ḍ) or // /ðˤ/ (ẓ)
ق /q/ (q) /ʔ/ (ʾ) /g/ (g)

Regarding vowels, one of the most distinctive features of Levantine is word-final imāla, a process by which the vowel corresponding to ة (taa marbuuta) is raised from [a] to [æ], [ε], [e] or even [i] in some dialects.[62][173]


Writing systems

See also: Arabic alphabet and Romanization of Arabic

Tabloid newspaper Lebnaan in Lebanese using the Latin alphabet proposed by Said Akl.
Tabloid newspaper Lebnaan in Lebanese using the Latin alphabet proposed by Said Akl.

Levantine is mainly used for daily spoken use, while most written and official documents and media use MSA.[15] Until recently, Levantine was rarely written. Brustad and Zuniga report that in 1988, they did not find anything published in Levantine in Syria. However, it is now possible to see written Levantine in many public venues and on the internet,[174] especially on social media.[5]

There is no standard orthography for Levantine.[5] There have been failed attempts to Latinize Levantine, especially Lebanese. For instance, the Lebanese writer Said Akl promoted a modified Latin alphabet. Akl used this alphabet to write books and to publish a newspaper, Lebnaan.[175][176][29] The Computational Approaches to Modeling Language (CAMeL) Lab, a research lab at New York University Abu Dhabi, has been developing CODA, a conventional orthography for dialectal Arabic, since 2012. CODA uses the Arabic script and is a unified framework for writing all vernacular varieties of Arabic, including Levantine. CODA is designed primarily to develop computational models of Arabic dialects.[177][178] A Palestinian CODA was also released.[179]

Today, written communication takes place using a variety of orthographies and writing systems, including Arabic (right-to-left script), Hebrew (right-to-left, used in Israel, especially online among Bedouin, Arab Christians, and Druze[77][180][145][181][182]), Latin (Arabizi, left-to-right), and a mixture of the three. Arabizi is a non-standard romanization often used by Levantine speakers in social media and discussion forums, SMS messaging and online chat.[118] Arabizi was initially developed because the Arabic script was not available or not easy to use on most computers and smartphones. Its usage persisted even after Arabic software became widespread.[127] A 2012 study found that on the Jordanian forum Mahjoob about one-third of messages were written in Levantine in the Arabic script, one-third in Arabizi, and one-third in English.[183]

A 2012 study found that on Facebook, the Arabic script was dominant in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Oman, and Libya while the Latin script dominates in former French colonies: Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Lebanon. In Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, and Gulf countries, both Arabic and Latin scripts are used. Israeli Druze and Bedouins preferred Hebrew characters. According to the study, several factors affect script choice: formality (the Arabic script is more formal), religion (Muslims use the Arabic script more), age (young use Latin more), education (educated people write more in Latin), script congruence (the tendency to reply to a post in the same script).[180]

According to a 2020 survey done in and around Nazareth, Arabizi "emerged" as a "'bottom-up' orthography" and there is now "a high degree of normativization or standardisation in Arabizi orthography." Among consonants, only five (ج ,ذ ,ض ,ظ ,ق) revealed variability in their representation in Arabizi.[184]

The Arabic alphabet is always cursive and letters vary in shape depending on their position within a word. Letters exhibit up to four distinct forms corresponding to an initial, medial (middle), final, or isolated position (IMFI).[185] Only the isolated form is shown in the tables below.


Said Akl's alphabet uses non-standard characters and could not be displayed on this page, it can be found in Płonka 2006, pp. 465–466.

Letter(s) Romanization IPA Pronunciation notes
Cowell[186] Al-Masri[187] Aldrich[188] Elihay[189] Liddicoat[190] Assimil[191] Stowasser[192] Arabizi[184][180]
أ إ ؤ ئ ء ʔ ʔ ʔ ʼ ʻ ʼ ʔ 2 or not written [ʔ] glottal stop like in uh-oh
ق q g ʔ

ʼ q
2 or not written
9 or q or k
[ʔ] or [g]
- glottal stop (urban accent) or "hard g" as in get (Jordanian, Bedouin, Gaza[61])
- guttural "k", pronounced further back in the throat (formal MSA words)
ع ε 3 3 c ع c ε 3 [ʕ] voiced throat sound similar to "a" as in father, but with more friction
ب b [b] as in English
د d [d] as in English
ض D ɖ d d or D [] emphatic "d" (constricted throat, surrounded vowels become dark)
ف f [f] as in English
غ ġ gh ɣ ġ gh gh ġ 3' or 8 or gh [ɣ] like Spanish "g" between vowels, similar to French "r"
ه h [h] as in English
ح H ɧ h 7 or h [ħ] "whispered h", has more friction in the throat than "h"
خ x x x ꜧ̄ kh kh x 7' or 5 or kh [x] "ch" as in Scottish loch, like German "ch" or Spanish "j"
ج ž j ž j or g [] or [ʒ] "j" as in jump or "s" as in pleasure
ك k [k] as in English
ل l [l]
- light "l" as in English love
- dark "l" as call, used in Allah and derived words
م m [m] as in English
ن n [n] as in English
ر r []
- "rolled r" as in Spanish or Italian, usually emphatic
- not emphatic before vowel "e" or "i" or after long vowel "i"
س s [s] as in English
ث θ  th s s
th t s
t or s or not written [s]
- "s" as in English (urban)
- voiceless "th" as in think (rural, formal MSA words)
ص S ʂ s s [] emphatic "s" (constricted throat, surrounded vowels become dark)
ش š sh š š sh ch š sh or ch or $ [ʃ] "sh" as in sheep
ت t [t] as in English but with the tongue touching the back of the upper teeth
ط T ƭ t t or T or 6 [] emphatic "t" (constricted throat, surrounded vowels become dark)
و w [w] as in English
ي y [y] as in English
ذ 𝛿 dh z z
d d or z z
d or z or th [z]
- "z" as in English (urban)
- voiced "th" as in this (rural, formal MSA words)
ز z [z] as in English
ظ DH ʐ z
th or z or d [] emphatic "z" (constricted throat, surrounded vowels become dark)

Usage in loanwords

Some sounds in loanwords do not exist in Levantine. They are represented as follows:

Letter(s) Romanization IPA Pronunciation notes
ج غ ك
g [g] "hard g" as in get
p [p] "p" as in pen
v [v] "v" as in vat

Doubled consonants

A shadda.
A shadda.

Main article: Shadda

A consonant can be doubled in length. In the Arabic script, the symbol shadda is written above the consonant. In Latin alphabet, the consonant is written twice. Unlike the other diacritic marks, the shadda is often written in a normal Arabic text to avoid ambiguity. If a consonant carries both a shadda and a kasrah, the kasrah is written under the shadda (which is above the consonant), instead of being under the consonant.[190]

Example of words with shadda[190]
Levantine (Arabic) Levantine (Latin) English
مدرِّسة mudarrise a female teacher
مدرسة madrase a school


Short vowels

In the Arabic script, short vowels are not represented by letters but by diacritics above or below the letters. When Levantine is written with the Arabic script, the short vowels are usually not indicated, unless a word is ambiguous.[188][190]

Letter(s) Aldrich[188] Elihay[189] Liddicoat[190] Assimil[191] Arabizi[184] Environment IPA Pronunciation notes
ـَ ɑ α a a a near emphatic consonant [ɑ] as in got (American pronunciation)
a elsewhere [a~æ] as in cat
ـِ i e / i e / i / é i / é e before/after ح (ḥ) or ع (ʕ) [ɛ] as in get
elsewhere [e] or [ɪ] as in kit
ـُ u o / u o / u o / ou u any [o] or [ʊ] as in full

Long vowels

Letter(s) Aldrich[188] Elihay[189] Liddicoat[190] Assimil[191] Arabizi[184] Environment IPA Pronunciation notes
ـَا ɑ̄ aa ā a near emphatic consonant [ɑː] as in father
ā elsewhere [~æː] as in can
ē ē Imāla in North Levantine [ɛː~] as in face, but plain vowel
ـَي ē ee e any []
ɑy in open syllable in Lebanese /ay/ as in price or in face
ـِي ī ii ī any [] as in see
ـَو ō ō oo ō o any [] as in boat, but plain vowel
ɑw in open syllable in Lebanese /aw/ as in mouth or in boat
ـُو ū uu any [] as in food

Final vowels

Letter(s) Aldrich[22] Elihay[189] Liddicoat[190] Assimil[191] Environment IPA Pronunciation notes
ـَا ـَى ـَة ɑ α a a near emphatic consonant [ɑ] as in got (American pronunciation)
a elsewhere [a~æ] as in cat
ـَا ـَى i (respelled to ي) é Imāla in North Levantine [ɛ~e] as in get, but closed vowel
ـِة i e e any [e]
ـِي i i any [i]
[e] (Lebanese)
as in see, but shorter
merged to "e" in Lebanese
ـُه u (respelled to و) o N/A o any [o] as in lot, but closed vowel
ـُو u any [u]
[o] (Lebanese)
as in food, but shorter
merged to "o" in Lebanese

Helping vowels

Helping vowels (see above) are usually not written.[193][179]


Main article: Levantine Arabic grammar

Word order

Both VSO and SVO word orders are possible in Levantine. The verb is before the object (VO).[194] However, Classical Arabic tends to prefer VSO, whereas in Levantine SVO is more common.[195] Subject-initial order indicates topic-prominent sentences, while verb-initial order indicates subject-prominent sentences.[196]

In interrogative sentences, the interrogative particle comes first.[197]


There is no copula used in the present tense in Levantine. In other tenses, the verb kān (كان) is used. Its present tense form is used in the future tense.[198]


See also: Arabic definite article

There is no indefinite article in Levantine. Nouns (except proper nouns) are automatically indefinite by the absence of the definite article.[199]

The Arabic definite article ال (il) precedes the noun or adjective and has multiple pronunciations. Its vowel is dropped when the preceding word ends in a vowel. A helping vowel "e" is inserted if the following word begins with a consonant cluster.[170]

It assimilates with "Sun letters", basically all consonants that are pronounced with the tip of the tongue. Other letters are called "Moon letters".[170] The letter Jeem (ج) is a special case. It is usually a Sun letter for speakers pronouncing it as [ʒ] but not for those pronouncing it as [d͡ʒ].[199][200]



There is no case marking in Levantine, contrary to Classical Arabic.[201]


Nouns are either masculine or feminine. In the singular, most feminine nouns end with Tāʼ marbūṭah (ـة). This is pronounced as –a or -e depending on the preceding consonant. Generally, -a after guttural (ح خ ع غ ق ه ء) and emphatic consonants (ر ص ض ط ظ), and -e after other consonants.[202]


Nouns in Levantine are singular, dual or plural.[203][202]

The dual is invariably formed with suffix -ēn (ين-).[204][202] The dual is often used in a non-exact sense, especially in temporal and spatial nouns:

For nouns referring to humans, the regular (also called sound) masculine plural is formed with the suffix -īn. The regular feminine plural is formed with -āt. The masculine plural is used to refer to a group with both gender. However, there are many broken plurals (also called internal plurals),[205][202] in which the consonantal root of the singular is changed (nonconcatenative morphology). These plural patterns are shared with other varieties of Arabic and may also be applied to foreign borrowings: such as faːtuːra (plural: fwaːtiːr), from the Italian fattura, invoice.[201] Several patterns of broken plurals exist and it is not possible to exactly predict them.[206]

Inanimate objects take feminine singular agreement in the plural, for verbs, attached pronouns, and adjectives.[207]

Nominal sentences

Phrasal word order is head-dependent:[194]

The genitive relationship is formed by putting the nouns next to each other,[208] this construct is called iḍāfah (lit.'addition'). The first noun is always indefinite. If an indefinite noun is added to a definite noun, it results in a new definite compound noun.[209][64][210]

Besides possessiveness, the iḍāfah construct can also specify or define the first term.[209]

Possession is also expressed with تبع, tabaC, especially for loanwords:

There is no limit to the number of nouns that can be strung together in an iḍāfah. However, it is rare to have three or more words, except with very common or monosyllabic nouns.[208]

The iḍāfah construct is different from the noun-adjective structure. In an iḍāfah construct, the two nouns might be different in terms of their definiteness: the first is indefinite, the second is usually definite. Whereas adjectives always agree with nouns in definiteness.[212][209]

The first term must be in the construct state: if it ends in the feminine marker (/-ah/, or /-ih/), it changes to (/-at/, /-it/) in pronunciation (i.e. ة pronounced as "t"). Whereas in a noun-adjective string, the pronunciation would remain (/-ah/, /-ih/).[209]


Cardinal numbers

Number one and two have a masculine and feminine form. When used with a noun, they rather follow it like an adjective than precede it for emphasis.[213] An exception are uncountable nouns.[214] When the number 2 is accompanied by a noun, the dual form is usually used: waladēn, 2 boys.[213]

Numbers larger than 3 do not have gender but some have two forms, one used before nouns and one used independently.[215] In particular, numbers between 3 and 10 lose their final vowel before a noun.[213]

Numbers from 3 to 10 are followed by plural nouns. Numbers from 11 to 99 are followed by a singular.[215][216][213]

Numbers 100 and onwards follow the same rule as numbers 0-99 based on their last two digits. 100 and 101 are followed by a singular, 102 is followed by a dual (102 books: miyye u-ktābēn), 103-110 by a plural, and 111-199 is like 11–99, followed by a singular.[217]

Ordinal numbers and fractions

Ordinal numbers either precede or follow the noun. If they precede the noun the masculine form is used and the definite article is dropped.[214]

Ordinal numbers above 10 do not exist, instead the cardinal numbers are used following the noun.[214]



Many adjectives have the pattern فعيل (fʕīl / CCīC or faʕīl / CaCīC) but other patterns are also possible.[64]

Adjectives derived from nouns by the suffix ـي (-i) are called Nisba adjectives. Their feminine form ends in ـية (-iyye) and the plural in ـيين (-iyyīn).[218]


Adjectives typically have three form: a masculine singular, a feminine singular, and a plural which does not distinguish gender. In most adjectives the feminine is formed through addition of -a/e, sometimes dropping an unstressed short vowel.[219]


Nouns in dual have adjectives in plural.[64]

The plural of adjectives is either regular ending in ـين (-īn) or is an irregular "broken" plural. It is used with nouns referring to people. For non-human / inanimate / abstract nouns, adjectives use either the plural or the singular feminine form regardless of the noun's gender.[219][64][220][207]

Word order

Adjectives follow the noun they modify and agree with it in definiteness. Adjectives without an article after a definite noun express a clause with the invisible copula "to be".[221]

بيت كبير bēt kbīr a big house
البيت الكبير il-bēt le-kbīr the big house
البيت كبير il-bēt kbīr the house is big

There is no dominant order for degree words and adjectives: adverbs of degree like ‏كتير‎ (ktīr, "very") and ‏شوي‎ (šwayy, "a little / a bit") either precede or follow the adjective.[194]

Superlative and comparative

There are no separate comparative and superlative forms but the elative is used in both cases.[219]

The elative is formed by adding a hamza at the beginning of the adjective and replace the vowels by "a" (pattern: أفعل ʾafʕal / aCCaC).[64] Adjective endings in ‏ي‎ (i) and ‏و‎ (u) are changed into ‏ی‎ (a). If the second and third consonant in the root are the same, they are geminated (pattern: أفلّ ʾafall / ʾaCaCC).[222]

Speakers who pronounce ‏ق‎ as hamza might pronounced the elative prefix as "h" in order to avoid two consecutive hamzas.[223]

Examples of elative adjectives
Adjective Elative
Regular كبيرkbīr أكبرʾakbar
سهلsahl أسهلʾashal
قديمʾadīm أقدمʾaʾdam / haʾdam
Gemination جديدjdīd أجدّʾajadd
قليلʾalīl أقلّʾaʾall / haʾall
Final i/u عاليʕāli أعلىʾaʕla
حلوḥilu أحلىʾaḥla
Irregular منيحmnīḥ / ‏كويسkwayyes أحسن'aḥsan (from ‏حسنḥasan)

When an elative modifies a noun, it precedes the noun an no definite article is used.[224]

In order to compare two things, the word ‏من‎ (min, lit.'from') is used in the sense of "than" in English.[224]

Examples of elative sentences
Levantine (Arabic) Levantine (Latin) English
أحسن إشي ʾaḥsan ʾiši the best thing
هالإشي أحسن ha-l-ʾiši ʾaḥsan this thing is better / the best
هالإشي أحسن من إشي تاني ha-l-ʾiši ʾaḥsan min ʾiši tāni this thing is better than something else

Not all adjectives can form an elative, especially those that are participles or derived from nouns. In this case, ‏أكتر‎ (ʾaktar, "more, most") is used.[219]


Prepositions must precede nominals in Levantine.[197]


Feminine plural forms modifying human females are found mostly in rural and Bedouin areas. They are not mentioned below.[225]

Personal pronouns

Levantine has eight persons, and therefore eight pronouns. Dual forms that exist in MSA do not exist in Levantine, the plural is used instead. Because conjugated verbs indicate the subject with a prefix and/or a suffix, independent subject pronouns are usually not necessary and are mainly used for emphasis.[226][227]

Independent personal pronouns
Levantine independent personal pronouns[227][228]
Singular Plural
1st person (m/f) أناʾana احناʾiḥna (South) / ‏نحناniḥna (North)
2nd person m انتʾinta انتو‎ / ‏انتواʾintu
f انتيʾinti
3rd person m هوhuwwe همhumme (South) / ‏هنhinne (North)
f هيhiyye
Direct object and possessive pronouns

Direct object pronouns are indicated by suffixes attached to the conjugated verb. Their form depends whether the verb ends with a consonant or a vowel. Suffixed to nouns, these pronouns express possessive.[229][227]

Levantine enclitic pronouns, direct object and possessive[227]
Singular Plural
after consonant after vowel
1st person after verb ـني-ni ـنا-na
else ـِي-i ـي-y
2nd person m ـَك-ak ـك-k ـكُن-kun (North)
ـكُم-komـكو-ku (South)
f ـِك-ik ـكِ-ki
3rd person m و-u (North)
ـُه-o (South)
ـه‎ (silent)[n] ـُن-(h/w/y)un (North)
ـهُم-hom (South)
f ـا-a (North)
ـها-ha (South)
ـا-(h/w/y)a (North)
ـها-ha (South)

If a pronoun is already attached on the end of a word, the second pronoun is attached to يا (after a vowel) / iyā- (after a consonant), for instance: بدي ياك beddi yaak (I want you (m)).[230][231]

Indirect object pronouns

Indirect object pronouns (dative) are suffixed to the conjugated verb. They are form by adding an ل (-l) and then the possessive suffix to the verb.[225] They precede object pronouns if present:

Levantine indirect object pronoun suffixes[227]
Singular Plural
1st person (m/f) ـلي-li ـلنا-lna
2nd person m لَك-lak ـلكُن-lkun (North)
ـلكُم-lkom, ‏ـلكو-lku (South)
f ـِلك-lik
3rd person m لو-lu (North)
لُه-lo (South)
ـلُن-lun (North)
ـلهُم-lhom (South)
f ـلا-la (North)
ـلها-lha (South)

Demonstrative pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns have three referential types: immediate, proximal, and distal. The distinction between proximal and distal demonstratives is of physical, temporal, or metaphorical distance. The genderless and numberless immediate demonstrative article ‏هاha is translated by "this/the", to designate something immediately visible or accessible.[232]

Levantine demonstrative pronouns
Singular Plural
(this, these)
m هاداhāda / ‏هادhād (South, Syria)
هيداhayda (Lebanon)
هدولhadōl (South, Syria)
هيدولhaydōl / ‏هوديhawdi (Lebanon)
f هاديhādi / ‏هايhāy (South)
هيّhayy (Syria)
هيديhaydi (Lebanon)
(that, those)
m هداكhadāk (South, Syria)
هيداكhaydāk (Lebanon)
هدولاكhadōlāk (South)
هدوليكhadōlīk (Syria)
هيدوليكhaydōlīk (Lebanon)
f هديكhadīk (South, Syria)
هيديكhaydīk (Lebanon)



Like Arabic verbs, most Levantine verbs are based on a triliteral root (also called radical) made of three consonants (therefore also called triconsonantal root). The set of consonants communicates the basic meaning of a verb, e.g. ‏ك ت ب‎ k-t-b ('write'), ‏ق ر ء‎ q-r-ʼ ('read'), ‏ء ك ل‎ ʼ-k-l ('eat'). Changes to the vowels in between the consonants, along with prefixes or suffixes, specify grammatical functions such as tense, person and number, in addition to changes in the meaning of the verb that embody grammatical concepts such as mood (e.g. indicative, subjunctive, imperative), voice (active or passive), and functions such as causative, intensive, or reflexive.[233]

Quadriliteral roots are less common, but often used to coin new vocabulary or to Arabicize foreign words.[234][235]

The base form is the third-person masculine singular of the perfect (also called past) tense.[236]

Verb forms

For broader coverage of this topic, see Wiktionary:Template:ajp-conj/documentation.

Almost all Levantine verbs are categorized in one of ten verb forms (also called verb measures,[237] stems,[238] patterns,[239] or types[240]). Form I, the most common one, serves as a base for the other nine forms. Each form carries a different verbal idea, relative to the meaning of its root. Technically, 10 verbs can be constructed from any given triconsonantal root. However, all of those ten forms are not used in practice.[233] After Form I, Forms II, V, VII, and X are the most common ones.[238]

Aldrich also defines verb forms XI (for verbs based on quadriliteral roots) and XII (for passive or intransitive version of form XI verbs).[237]

In addition to its form, each verb has a "quality":

Some irregular verbs do not fit into any of the verb forms.[237]

The initial i in verb forms VII, VIII, IX, X drops when the preceding word ends in a vowel or at the beginning of a sentence.[170]

Regular verb conjugation

The Levantine verb has only two tenses: past (perfect) and present (also called imperfect, b-imperfect, or bi-imperfect). The future tense is an extension of the present tense. The negative imperative is the same as the negative present with helping verb (imperfect). The grammatical person and number as well as the mood are designated by a variety of prefixes and suffixes. The following table shows the paradigm of a sound Form I verb, katab (كتب) 'to write'.[233]

The b-imperfect is usually used for the indicative mood (non-past present, habitual/general present, narrative present, planned future actions, or potential). The prefix b- is deleted in the subjunctive mood, usually after various modal verbs, auxiliary verbs, pseudo-verbs, prepositions, and particles.[64][81][49][165]

Table of prefixes, affixes, and suffixes added to the base form (for sound form I verbs with stressed prefixes)[241]
Singular Dual/Plural
1st person 2nd person 3rd person 1st person 2nd person 3rd person
Past[o] M -it -it ∅ (base form) -na -tu -u
F -ti -it (North)
-at (South)
Present[p] M bi- (North)
ba- (South)
bti- byi- (North)[228]
bi- (South)
mni- bti- -u byi- -u (North)[228]
bi- -u (South)
F bti- -i bti-
Present with helping verb[q] M i- (North)
a- (South)
ti- yi- ni- ti- -u yi- -u
F ti- -i ti-
Positive imperative[r] M N/A ∅ (Lengthening the present tense vowel, North)
i- (Subjunctive without initial consonant, South)
N/A N/A -u (Stressed vowel u becomes i, North)
i- -u (South)
F -i (Stressed vowel u becomes i, North)
i- -i (South)
Active participle[s] M -ē- (North) or -ā- (South) after the first consonant -īn (added to the masculine form)
F -e/i or -a (added to the masculine form)
Passive participle[t] M ma- and -ū- after the second consonant
F -a (added to the masculine form)

In the perfect tense, the first person singular and second person masculine singular are identical. For regular verbs, the third-person feminine singular is written identically but stressed differently.[242]

Depending on regions and accents, the -u can be pronounced -o and the -i can be pronounced -é.[243]

Active participle

The active participle, also called present participle, is grammatically an adjective derived from a verb. Depending on the context, it can express the present or present continuous (with verbs of motion, location, or mental state), the near future, or the present perfect (past action with a present result).[244] It can also serve as a noun or an adjective.[245]

Passive participle

The passive participle, also called past participle,[22] has a similar meaning as in English (i.e. sent, written, etc.). It is mostly used as an adjective and sometimes as a noun. It is inflected from the verb based on its verb form.[246] However, in practice, passive participles are largely limited to verb forms I (CvCvC) and II (CvCCvC), becoming maCCūC for the former and mCaCCaC for the latter.[196]


There are various ways to express the future. One is by using the present tense (with b- prefix) on its own. Another one is by using ‏بد‎ (bidd-, lit.'want').[247]

The future tense is formed with the imperfect preceded by the particle ‏رح‎ (raḥ) or by the prefixed particle ‏حـ‎ (ḥa-).[248]

Present continuous

The present continuous is formed with the progressive particle ‏عم‎ (ʕam) followed by the imperfect, with or without the initial b/m depending on the speaker.[249][250]

Examples of the present continuous
Without b-/m- prefix With b-/m- prefix English
Levantine (Arabic) Levantine (Latin) Levantine (Arabic) Levantine (Latin)
شو عم تعمل؟ šū ʕam tiʕmel? شو عم بتعمل؟ šū ʕam(ma) btiʕmel? What are you doing?
عم أشرب قهوة. ʕam ʾašrab ʾahwe. عم بشرب قهوة. ʕam bašrab ʾahwe. I'm drinking coffee.

Compound tenses

The verb ‏كان‎ (kān), followed by another verb, forms compound tenses. Both verbs are conjugated with their subject.[251]

Compound tenses with the example of the verb ʕimil (to do)[251][252][247]
kān in the past tense kān in the present tense
Followed by Levantine English Levantine English
Past tense كان عمل kān ʕimel he had done بكون عمل bikūn ʕimel he will have done
Active participle كان عامل kān ʕāmel he had done بكون عامل bikūn ʕāmel he will have done
Subjunctive كان يعمل kān yiʕmel he used to do / he was doing بكون يعمل bikūn yiʕmel he will be doing
Progressive كان عم يعمل kān ʕam yiʕmel he was doing بكون عم يعمل bikūn ʕam yiʕmel he will be doing
Future tense كان رح يعمل kān raḥ yiʕmel
كان حيعمل kān ḥa-yiʕmel
he was going to do N/A
Present tense كان بعمل kān biʕmel he would do

Passive voice

Form I verbs often correspond to an equivalent passive form VII verb, with the prefix n-. Form II and form III verbs usually correspond to an equivalent passive on forms V and VI, respectively, with the prefix t-.[237][253]

Examples of passive forms
Active Passive
Verb form Levantine English Verb form Levantine English
I مسكmasak to catch VII انمسكinmasak to be caught
II غيّرḡayyar to change V تغيّرtḡayyar to be changed
III فاجأfājaʾ to surprise VI تفاجأtfājaʾ to be surprised

While the verb forms V, VI and VII are common in the simple past and compound tenses, the passive participle (past participle) is preferred in the present tense.[254]

To have

Levantine does not have a verb "to have". Instead, possession is expressed using the prepositions عند (ʕind, lit.'at', meaning "to possess") and مع (maʕ, lit.'with', meaning "to have on oneself"), followed by personal pronoun suffixes. The past indicator ken and the future indicator raH are used to express possession in the past or the future, respectively.[255][256]


Levant does not distinguish between adverbs and adjectives in adverbial function. Almost any adjective can be used as an adverb: ‏منيح‎ (mnīḥ, 'good') vs. نمتي منيح؟ (nimti mnīḥ, 'Did you sleep well?') Adverbs from MSA, showing the suffix -an, are often used, e.g. ‏أبدا‎ (ʾabadan, 'at all').[196] Adverbs often appear after the verb or the adjective. ‏كتير‎ (ktīr, 'very') can be positioned after or before the adjective.[196]

Adverbs of manner can usually be formed using bi- followed by the nominal form: ‏بسرعة‎ (b-sirʿa, 'fast, quickly', lit.'with speed').[49]


لا and ‏لأlaʔ mean "no."[257]

Verbs and prepositional phrases are negated by the particle ‏ماmā / ma either on its own or, in South Levantine, together with the suffix ‏ـش-iš at the end of the verb or prepositional phrase. In Palestinian, it is also common to negate verbs by the suffix ‏ـش-iš only.[257]

Examples of negation with mā and -š
Without -š With -š English
Levantine (Arabic) Levantine (Latin) Levantine (Arabic) Levantine (Latin)
ما كتب. mā katab. ما كتبش. ma katab-š. He didn't write.
ما بحكي إنكليزي. mā baḥki ʾinglīzi. ما بحكيش إنكليزي. ma baḥkī-š ʾinglīzi. I don't speak English.
ما تنسى! mā tinsa! ما تنساش! ma tinsā-š! Don't forget!
ما بده ييجي عالحفلة. mā biddo yīji ʕa-l-ḥafle. N/A He doesn't want to come to the party.

مشmiš or in Syrian Arabic ‏مو negates adjectives (including active participles), demonstratives, and nominal phrases.[258][257]

Examples of negation with miš
Levantine (Arabic) Levantine (Latin) English
أنا مش فلسطيني. ʾana miš falasṭīni. I'm not Palestinian.
مش عارفة. miš ʕārfe. I (fem.) don't know.
هادا مش منيح. hāda miš mnīḥ. That's not good.

The particles ‏عم‎ (ʕam) and ‏رح‎ (raḥ) are negated with either ‏ما or ‏مشmiš.

Levantine (Arabic) Levantine (Latin) English
ما رح أروح. mā raḥ ʾarūḥ. I won't go.
مش رح أروح. miš raḥ ʾarūḥ.


Relative clauses are formed with the particle yalli/illi/halli (the one who) when definite things are being described. It is used for both for people (who) and objects (that, which).[259][260][261]

If the noun to which the relative pronoun refers is indefinite and non specific, the relative clause is linked without any coordinating conjunction and is indistinguishable from an independent sentence.[262][260][261]

Examples of relative clauses[261][165]
English Levantine (Arabic) Levantine (Latin) Note
I saw the boy who was playing football. شفت الولد اللي كان يلعب فطبول šuft il-walad illi kān yilʕab faṭbōl. Definite subject: use of illi
I saw a girl playing football. شفت بنت كانت تلعب فطبول šuft bint kānat tilʕab faṭbōl. Indefinite subject: sentences connected without a pronoun

In formal speech, sentence complements are introduced with the particle ʔǝnn ("that"), to which some speakers attach a personal pronoun (o or i).[262]

For circumstantial clauses, the conjunction w- introduces subordinate clauses with the sense "while, when, with".[263]


Main article: Levantine Arabic vocabulary


The lexicon of Levantine is overwhelmingly Arabic,[113] and a large number of Levantine words are shared with a least another vernacular Arabic variety outside the Levant, especially with Egyptian Arabic.[18] Many words, such as verbal nouns (also called gerunds or masdar[22]) are derived from a Semitic root. For instance ‏درسdars 'a lesson', from ‏‏درسdaras 'to study, to learn'.[264] However, it also includes layers of ancient languages: Canaanite, classical Hebrew (Biblical Hebrew and Mishnaic Hebrew), Aramaic (particularly Western Aramaic), Persian, Greek, and Latin.[265]

Aramaic substrate

Aramaic traces remain in Levantine, especially in rural areas. Aramaic influence on Levantine is important and particularly prominent in vocabulary. Aramaic words underwent morphophonemic adaptation when they entered Levantine. Over time, it has become difficult to identify them. They belong to different fields of everyday life such as seasonal agriculture, housekeeping, tools and utensils, alongside Christian religious terms.[265][266] Aramaic is still spoken in the villages of Maaloula, Al-Sarkha, and Jubb'adin in the Anti-Lebanon Mountains;[103] near them, Aramaic words in Levantine are more frequent.[98][267]


Moreover, since the early modern period, Levantine has borrowed from Turkish and European languages, mainly English (particularly in the contexts of technology and entertainment[268][269]), French (especially in Lebanese due to the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon[3]), German, and Italian.[265] With the establishment of Israel in 1948, there has also been a significant influence of Modern Hebrew on the Palestinian dialect spoken by Arab Israelis.[115][270]

Loanwords are gradually replaced with words of Arabic root. For instance, borrowings from Ottoman Turkish that were common in the 20th century have been largely replaced by Arabic words after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.[113] However, Arabic-speaking minorities in Turkey (mainly in the Hatay Province) are still influenced by Turkish.[111][112]

Lexical distance from MSA

Levantine often borrows learned words from MSA, particularly in more formal settings.[13] In modern and religious borrowings from MSA the original MSA pronunciation is usually preserved. For instance, قرآن (Quran) is only pronounced /qurʾān/.[271]

However, an analysis of spoken words from five-year-old native Palestinian speakers concluded:

Despite these differences, three scientific papers concluded, using various natural language processing techniques, that Levantine dialects (and especially Palestinian) were the closest colloquial varieties, in terms of lexical similarity, to MSA: one compared MSA to two Algerian dialects, Tunisian, Palestinian, and Syrian and found 38% of common words between Syrian and MSA and 52% between Palestinian and MSA;[9] another compared MSA to Egyptian, Levantine, Gulf, and North African Arabic;[11] and the other compared MSA to Algerian, Tunisian, Palestinian, Syrian, Jordanian, and Egyptian and found that Levantine dialects were very similar to each other and between 0.4 and 0.5 similarity between MSA and Palestinian.[12]

Sample texts

The Little Prince

The Little Prince: Chapter 6
Lebanese (Arabic)[274] Lebanese (Romanized)[274] Palestinian (Arabic)[275][158] Palestinian (Romanized)[275][158] MSA[276] MSA (Romanized)[276] English[277]
الأمير الزغير
al-amir az-z'ghir
الأمير الصغير
il-ʼamir le-zġīr
الأمير الصغير
al-amir as-saghir The Little Prince
وهيك يا إميري الزغير، ونتفي نتفي، فهمت حياتك التواضعا الكئيبي. إنت اللّي ضلّيت عَ مِدّي طويلي ما عندك شي يسلّيك إلاّ عزوبة التطليع بغياب الشمس. هالشي الجزءي، وجديد، غرفتو رابع يوم من عبكرا، لِمّن قلتلّي: أنا بحب غياب الشمس.[u]
أخ، يا أميري الصغير!شوي شوي عرفت عن سر حياتك الكئبة. وما كانش إلك ملاذ تاني غير غروب الشمس. وهدا الإشي عرفته بصباح اليوم الرابع لما قلت لي: - بحب كتير غروب الشمس[v]
ʼᾱꜧ̄, yā ʼamīri le-zġīr! šwayy ešwayy eCrifet Can sirr ḥayātak il-kaʼībe. u-ma kan-š ʼilak malād tāni ġēr ġurūb iš-šams. u-hāda l-ʼiši Crifto bi-ṣαbᾱḥ il-yōm ir-rᾱbeC lamma qultelli: - baḥebb ektīr ġurūb iš-šams[w]
آه أيها الأمير الصغير ، لقد أدركت شيئا فشيئا أبعاد حياتك الصغيرة المحزنة ، لم تكن تملك من الوقت للتفكير والتأمل غير تلك اللحظات التي كنت تسرح فيها مع غروب الشمس. لقد عرفت بهذا الأمر الجديد في صباح اليوم الرابع من لقائنا، عندما قلت لي: إنني مغرم بغروب الشمس.
Aah al-amiir as-saghiir, liqad adrakat shay'an fashai'an ab"ad xayaatika as-saghiirat al-xazinat, lam takun tamallaka min waqt liltafqiir wa-ttaamil ghayr tilka al-laxazaat allati kanat tasarrax fiihaa ma"a gharuub ash-shams. Liqad "araftu bihadha al-amiir al-jadiid fii sabaaxi al-yawmi ar-raabi"i min liqaa'inan, "indamaa qalta lii: innanii mughram bigharuub ash-shams. Oh, little prince! Bit by bit I came to understand the secrets of your sad little life. For a long time you had found your only entertainment in the quiet pleasure of looking at the sunset. I learned that new detail on the morning of the fourth day, when you said to me: I am very fond of sunsets.

Lord's Prayer

Lord's Prayer
Lebanese (Arabic) Lebanese (Romanized)[278] MSA[279] MSA (Romanized)[279] English[280]
‏أبونا اللي بالسما
abūna ellé bel-sama,
،أَبَانَا الَّذِي فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ
ʼabā-nā alladhī fī as-samāwāt-i, Our Father in heaven,
خلي اسمك يتقدس
xallé esmak yetʼaddas
!لِيَتَقَدَّسِ اسْمُكَ
li-ya-ta-qaddas-i asm-u-ka! hallowed be your name,
خلي ملكوتك يجي
xallé malakūtak yejé
!لِيَأْتِ مَلَكُوتُكَ
li-ya-ʼti malakūt-u-ka! your kingdom come,
خلي مشيئتك تصير بالأرض متل ما بالسما
xallé mašīʼtak tṣīr bel areḍ metel ma bel-sama
!لِتَكُنْ مَشِيئَتُكَ عَلَى الأَرْضِ كَمَا هِيَ السَّمَاءِ فِي
li-takun ma-shīʼat-u-ka ʽalā al-ʼarḍ-i kamā hīa fī as-samāʼ-i! your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
خبزنا حاجتنا كل يوم عطينا ياه
xebezna hɑ̄jetna kel yōm cṭīna yyē
!خُبْزَنَا كَفَافَنَا أَعْطِنَا الْيَوْمَ
khubz-a-nā kafāf-a-nā ʼa-ʽṭi-nā al-yawm-a! Give us today our daily bread.
وسامحلنا غلطنا
w sēmeħelna ġalaṭna
،وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا
wa-aghfir la-nā dhunūb-a-nā, Forgive us our sins
متل ما نحنا منسامح للي غلطو معنا
metel ma neħna mensēmeħ lallé ġelṭo macna
!كَمَا نَغْفِرُ نَحْنُ لِلْمُذْنِبِينَ إِلَيْنَا
kamā na-ghfir-u naḥnu li-lmu-dhnib-ī-na ʼilay-nā! as we forgive those who sin against us.
وما تدخلنا بالتجربة
w ma tdaxxelna bel-tajerbé
،وَلاَ تُدْخِلْنَا فِي تَجْرِبَةٍ
wa-lā tu-dkhil-nā fī ta-jribat-in, Save us from the time of trial
بس خلصنا من الشر
bas xalleṣna men el-šar
،لَكِنْ نَجِّنَا مِنَ الشِّرِّيرِ
lakin najji-nā mina ash-shirrīr-i, and deliver us from evil.
لأنه لإلك الملكوت والقوة والمجد للأبد
laʼanno la-elak el-malakūt w el-uwwé w el-majed lal-abad.
.لأَنَّ لَكَ الْمُلْكَ وَالْقُوَّةَ وَالْمَجْدَ إِلَى الأَبَدِ
lʼanna laka al-mulka wa-al-qūwaha wa-al-majda ʼilā al-ʼabadi. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever.
ʼāmīn. Amen.


  1. ^ The other being Egyptian Arabic.
  2. ^ a b c d Native speakers of Arabic generally do not distinguish between "Modern Standard Arabic" and "Classical Arabic" as separate languages; they refer to both as al-ʻArabīyah al-Fuṣḥā (العربية الفصحى) meaning "the eloquent Arabic".[128]
  3. ^ In a broader meaning, "Eastern Arabic" refers to Mashriqi Arabic, to which Levantine belongs, one of the two main varieties of Arabic (as opposed to Western Arabic, also called Maghrebi Arabic).
  4. ^ الشَّامaš-Šām, refers to Damascus, Syria, or Greater Syria/the Levant. Therefore ‏شامي‎, Šami refers to the Damascus dialect, Syrian Arabic, or Levantine as a whole.
  5. ^ Some Alawites reject the label "Muslim".[63]
  6. ^ Only countries with at least 100,000 speakers are shown.
  7. ^ Banū Tanūḫ
  8. ^ Youth, especially teenagers, are considered the most active initiators of language change.[117]
  9. ^ a b In loanwords only.
  10. ^ Mainly in words from Classical Arabic and in Druze, rural, and Bedouin dialects.
  11. ^ Only in loanwords, except in Jordanian Arabic.
  12. ^ On Israeli road signs.
  13. ^ a b Rarely used.
  14. ^ The accent moves to the last vowel.
  15. ^ Also called perfect.
  16. ^ Also called bi-imperfect, b-imperfect, or standard imperfect.
  17. ^ Also called Ø-imperfect, imperfect, or subjunctive.
  18. ^ Also called imperative or command.
  19. ^ Also called present participle. Not all active participles are used and their meaning varies.
  20. ^ Also called past participle, mostly used as an adjective. Not all passive participles are used and their meaning varies.
  21. ^ This is author's original orthography. An alternate orthography could be: وهيك يا إميري الزغير، ونتفة نتفة، فهمت حياتك المتواضعة الكئيبة. إنت اللي ضليت ع مدة طويلة ما عندك شي يسليك إلا عزوبة التطليع بغياب الشمس. هالشي الجزئي، وجديد، عرفته رابع يوم من عبكرا، لمن قلتلي: أنا بحب غياب الشمس.
  22. ^ According to the authors: "we decided to adopt a flexible approach and use a form of transcription that reflects the spelling used by native Arabic speakers when they write brief colloquial texts on computer, table or smartphone."
  23. ^ Transcription follows J. Elihay's convention.


  1. ^ a b c Stowasser 2004, p. xiii.
  2. ^ a b c d Cowell 1964, pp. vii–x.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Al-Wer, Enam (2006). "The Arabic-speaking Middle East der arabischsprachige Mittlere Osten". In Ammon, Ulrich; Dittmar, Norbert; Mattheier, Klaus J; Trudgill, Peter (eds.). Sociolinguistics / Soziolinguistik, Part 3. doi:10.1515/9783110184181.3.9.1917. ISBN 978-3-11-019987-1.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o North Levantine at Ethnologue (24th ed., 2021)
    South Levantine at Ethnologue (24th ed., 2021)
  5. ^ a b c d e Abu Kwaik, Kathrein; Saad, Motaz K.; Chatzikyriakidis, Stergios; Dobnik, Simon (2018). "Shami: A Corpus of Levantine Arabic Dialects". Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2018).
  6. ^ International Phonetic Association (1999). Handbook of the International Phonetic Association : a guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. p. 51. ISBN 0-521-65236-7. OCLC 40305532.
  7. ^ a b c d Hoigilt 2017, p. 8.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Al‐Wer, Enam; Jong, Rudolf (2017). "Dialects of Arabic". The Handbook of Dialectology. pp. 523–534. doi:10.1002/9781118827628.ch32. ISBN 9781118827550.
  9. ^ a b Harrat, Salima; Meftouh, Karima; Abbas, Mourad; Jamoussi, Salma; Saad, Motaz; Smaili, Kamel (2015). "Cross-Dialectal Arabic Processing". Computational Linguistics and Intelligent Text Processing. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. 9041. pp. 620–632. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-18111-0_47. ISBN 978-3-319-18110-3.
  10. ^ "The travails of teaching Arabs their own language". The Economist. 18 September 2021. Retrieved 23 September 2021. Pupils are taught Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), the formal tongue of officialdom, yet they grow up speaking a native dialect. The dialect closest to MSA is spoken by Palestinians, yet only about 60% of the local lingo overlaps with MSA.
  11. ^ a b El-Haj, Mahmoud; Rayson, Paul; Aboelezz, Mariam (2018). "Arabic Dialect Identification in the Context of Bivalency and Code-Switching". Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2018).
  12. ^ a b Kwaik, Kathrein Abu; Saad, Motaz; Chatzikyriakidis, Stergios; Dobnika, Simon (2018). "A Lexical Distance Study of Arabic Dialects". Procedia Computer Science. 142: 2–13. doi:10.1016/j.procs.2018.10.456. The results are informative and indicate that Levantine dialects are very similar to each other and furthermore, that Palestinian appears to be the closest to MSA.
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  18. ^ a b Lentin 2018, p. 199.
  19. ^ Lentin 2018, pp. 170–171.
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  23. ^ a b "12-AAC-eh "Syro-Palestinian"". Linguasphere. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
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