|Native to||Iraq (Mesopotamia), Syria, Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Jordan, parts of northern and eastern Arabia|
|Region||Mesopotamia, Armenian highlands, Cilicia|
|About 41.2 million speakers (2019-2021)|
Mesopotamian Arabic, (Arabic: لهجة بلاد ما بين النهرين) also known as Iraqi Arabic, (Arabic: اللهجة العراقية) is a continuum of mutually intelligible varieties of Arabic native to the Mesopotamian basin of Iraq as well as spanning into southeastern Turkey, Iran, Syria, Kuwait, and spoken in Iraqi diaspora communities.
Mesopotamian Arabic has a Syriac-Aramaic substrate, and also shares significant influences from ancient Mesopotamian languages of Sumerian and Akkadian, as well as influences from Persian, Turkish, and Greek. Mesopotamian Arabic is said to be the most Syriac-Aramaic influenced dialect of Arabic, due to Syriac-Aramaic having originated in Mesopotamia, and spread throughout the Middle East (Fertile Crescent) during the Neo-Assyrian period, eventually becoming the lingua franca of the entire region before Islam. Mesopotamian Arabs and Assyrians are the largest Semitic peoples in Iraq, sharing significant similarities in language between Mesopotamian Arabic and Syriac.
Aramaic was the lingua franca in Mesopotamia from the early 1st millennium BCE until the late 1st millennium CE, and as may be expected, Mesopotamian Arabic shows signs of an Aramaic substrate. The Gelet and the Judeo-Iraqi varieties have retained features of Babylonian Aramaic.
Due to Iraq's inherent multiculturalism as well as history, Iraqi Arabic in turn bears extensive borrowings in its lexicon from Aramaic, Akkadian, Persian, and Turkish. Aramaic, and before that Akkadian, were the dominant languages in Mesopotamia before the Arab invasions that brought Islam, and are Semitic like Arabic. The inclusion of Mongolian and Turkic terms in the Iraqi Arabic dialect should also be mentioned, because of the political role a succession of Turco-Mongol dynasties played after Mesopotamia was invaded by Mongol-Turkic colonizers in 1258 that made Iraq became part of Ilkhanate (Iraq is the only Arab country that was invaded and influenced by Mongols), and also because of the prestige Iraqi Arabic dialect and literature enjoyed in the part of Arab world, which was often ruled by sultans and emirs with a Turkic background. Mesopotamian Arabic also boasts a large number of Persian words and expressions, including many that are not found in other forms of Arabic, due to long stretches of Persian rule over the region, as well as continual contact influence over the centuries.
Mesopotamian Arabic has two major varieties. A distinction is recognised between Gelet Mesopotamian Arabic and Qeltu Mesopotamian Arabic, the names deriving from the form of the word for "I said".
The southern (Gelet) group includes a Tigris dialect cluster, of which the best-known form is Baghdadi Arabic, and a Euphrates dialect cluster, known as Furati (Euphrates Arabic). The South Mesopotamian Arabic is spoken in southern Iraq, the Gelet variety is also spoken in the Khuzestan Province of Iran.
The northern (Qeltu) group includes the north Tigris dialect cluster, also known as North Mesopotamian Arabic or Maslawi (Mosul Arabic).
Both the Gelet and the Qeltu varieties of Iraqi Arabic are spoken in Syria, the former is spoken on the Euphrates east of Aleppo and, some parts in Iran, and across the border in Turkey.
Cypriot Arabic shares a large number of common features with Mesopotamian Arabic; particularly the northern variety, and has been reckoned as belonging to this dialect area.
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