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Encyclopedia > Palestinian Arabic
Palestinian Arabic dialect
Spoken in: Palestine
Total speakers:
Language family: Afro-Asiatic
  West Semitic
   Central Semitic
    South-Central Semitic
      Palestinian Arabic dialect 
Writing system: Arabic alphabet 
Official status
Official language of: Palestinians
Regulated by: none
Language codes
ISO 639-1: none
ISO 639-2:
ISO 639-3: ?

Palestinian Arabic is a Levantine Arabic dialect subgroup spoken by Palestinian Arabs. Palestinian rural dialects exhibit several distinctive features (particularly the pronunciation of qaf as kaf) which distinguish them from other Arabic varieties, but Palestinian urban dialects more closely resemble northern Levantine dialects, i.e., those of Syria and Lebanon. Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... The Holy Land or Palestine Showing not only the Old Kingdoms of Judea and Israel but also the 12 Tribes Distinctly, and Confirming Even the Diversity of the Locations of their Ancient Positions and Doing So as the Holy Scriptures Indicate, a geographic map from the studio of Tobiae Conradi... A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common proto-language. ... The Afro-Asiatic languages constitute a language family (Languages of Africa) with about 375 languages (SIL estimate) and more than 300 million speakers spread throughout North Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, and Southwest Asia (including some 200 million speakers of Arabic). ... 14th century BC diplomatic letter in Akkadian, found in Tell Amarna. ... 14th century BC diplomatic letter in Akkadian, found in Tell Amarna. ... 12th century Hebrew Bible script The Semitic languages are a family of languages spoken by more than 250 million people across much of the Middle East, where they originated, and North and East Africa. ... Arabic ( or just ) is the largest living member of the Semitic language family in terms of speakers. ... Writing systems of the world today. ... The Arabic alphabet is the script used for writing languages such as Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and others. ... For other uses of Palestinian, see Definitions of Palestine and Palestinian. ... ISO 639-1 is the first part of the ISO 639 international-standard language-code family. ... ISO 639-2 is the second part of the ISO 639 standard, which lists codes for the representation of the names of languages. ... ISO 639-3 is an international standard for language codes. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... The Unicode Standard, Version 5. ... Levantine Arabic (sometimes called Eastern Arabic) is a group of Arabic dialects spoken in the 100 km-wide eastern-Mediterranean coastal strip known as the Levant, i. ... The Palestinian flag, adopted in 1948, is a widely recognized modern symbol of the Palestinian people. ...


Differences from other forms of Levantine Arabic

The pronunciation of hamzated verbs with an 'o'-like vowel in the imperfect is typical of Palestinian dialects. For example, in Fuṣḥa the imperfect of اكل akala 'eat' is آكل 'ākulu: the common equivalent in Palestinian dialect is بوكل bokel (the b is an imperfect tense marker common to some Mashriqi dialects). Thus, in the Galilee, the colloquial for the verbal expression, "I am eating" or "I eat" is Ana bokel, rather than Ana bakul used in Syrian dialect or by the Bedouin in the south. Hamza () is a letter in the Arabic alphabet, representing the glottal stop . ... FusÌ£hÌ£a (فصحى) (pronounced like FoosÌ£ HÌ£a where the sÌ£ and hÌ£ are emphatic consonants) is a collective term referring to the standardized, non-spoken varieties of the Arabic language, as opposed to the spoken varieties of Arabic. ... Mashriq or Mashreq is the region of Arabic-speaking countries to the east of Egypt. ...

Palestinian Arabic also shares some features with Egyptian, distinguishing it from northern Levantine dialects.

  • In vocabulary: for example 'like' (prep.) is زي zayy in Palestine and Egypt, مثل mitl in Syria and Lebanon, however some Palestinians also use "mitl" depending on which region.
  • In grammar: the Palestinian dialects (except for the Bedouin dialect), like Egyptian, typically suffix (ش -sh, IPA: /ʃ/) to form the negative of verbs and pseudo-verbal prepositional pronouns.

Subdialects of Palestinian Arabic

Palestinian Arabic falls into three groups: urban Palestinian, rural Palestinian and Bedouin. Of these, the urban dialect is the closest to northern Levantine Arabic (such as Syrian and Lebanese), while the Bedouin dialect is nearer to the dialects of Arabia itself. Notable differences are as follows:

  • The pronunciation of qāf serves as a shibboleth to distinguish the three main Palestinian dialects: it becomes a glottal stop in most cities, a pharyngealized k in smaller villages and the countryside, and g in the far south and among Bedouin speakers. In a number of villages in the Galilee (e.g. Maghār), especially but not only among the Druze, the qāf is actually pronounced qāf as in Classical Arabic.
  • In dialects where qāf is pronounced as k, a true kāf is often pronounced /tʃ/, as in some dialects of Gulf Arabic. This is generally a feature of more conservative idiolects. This pronunciation of kāf also happens in the northern West Bank (Samaria) and adjacent Palestinian populated areas in Israel, known as "the triangle". This pronunciation is often stigmatised by urban Palestinians and some villagers who refrain from that pronunciation.
  • In addition, a feminine suffix -a rather than the more common Levantine -i or is fairly widespread, particularly in the south of the area. However, the "-i" or something approximating it is in use in the "triangle".
  • Another interesting sub-dialectical marker is the word used for the preposition "here". The urban dialect favours "hōn". The Negev Bedouin, on the other hand, tend to use "hiniyye" or even "hiniyante".
  • In the Negev, the -sh form is not used in negating the past or present. Instead, the Bedouin dialect uses only the "mā" particle to negate.

In general, the rural dialects are somewhat stigmatised and urban pronunciations are gaining ground, as is the case in other Arabic dialect groups. In contrast, Bedouin dialect use remains quite common, even among university educated speakers. While stigmatized by other Israeli Arabs, the basic characteristics of the Bedouin dialect (e.g. the qāf pronounced as a g) are used very widely in all informal contexts by Bedouin speakers, including those who are university-educated. Thus, a phenomenon similar to the disappearance of the /tʃ/ for the kāf - as seen in the "triangle" - has yet to be witnessed in the Negev. This is not the case, however, with Bedouin from the Negev who moved to Lod and Ramle in the 1960s and show more of a tendency to adopt a standard urban dialect. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Pharyngealisation is a secondary feature of phonemes in a language. ... A Bedouin man on a hillside at Mount Sinai Bedouin, derived from the Arabic ( ), a name for a desert-dweller, is a term generally applied to Arab nomadic pastoralist groups, who are found throughout most of the desert belt extending from the Atlantic coast of the Sahara via the Western... Religions Druzism Scriptures Rasail al-hikmah (Epistles of Wisdom) Languages Arabic, Hebrew The Druze (Arabic: درزي, derzÄ« or durzÄ«, plural دروز, durÅ«z; ‎, Druzim; also transliterated Druz or Druse) are a Middle Eastern religious community whose traditional religion began as an offshoot of the Ismaili sect of Islam, but is unique... Gulf Arabic or The Persian Gulf Arabic is a variety of the Arabic language spoken around both shores of the Persian Gulf, mainly in Kuwait, eastern Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and parts of Oman. ... An idiolect is a variety of a language unique to an individual. ... It has been suggested that Ending (linguistics) be merged into this article or section. ...

Influence of other languages

Palestinian Arabic, like all forms of Levantine Arabic, is strongly influenced by Aramaic, as spoken in the Levant before the arrival of Arabic.

In addition, Palestinian Arabic, especially in its rural dialects, shows possible traces of influence from classical Hebrew. “Hebrew” redirects here. ...

  • The clearest example is the second and third person plural pronouns. Hemme (they) resembles Hebrew hēm as against Classical Arabic hum, Aramaic hon and general Levantine Arabic henne. Similarly the suffix -kem (you or your) resembles Hebrew -khem as against Classical Arabic -kum and Aramaic and northern Levantine Arabic -kon.
  • A less clear example is the transformation of an elongated alif (alif wasla) into an "o" sound, as in the form Ana bokel noted above. This certainly occurs in the future forms of Hebrew verbs with an aleph as the first consonant of their root. However, it is equally characteristic of Aramaic.

Arab citizens of Israel also tend to borrow from modern Israeli Hebrew, for example: Arab citizens of Israel, Arabs of Israel or Arab population of Israel are terms used by Israeli authorities and Israeli Hebrew-speaking media to refer to non-Jewish Arabs who are citizens of the State of Israel. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ...

  • maḥsom מחסום ('barrier' -- used widely to refer to Israeli military checkpoints throughout the West Bank)
  • ramzor רמזור (traffic light)
  • pelefon פלאפון (cellphone)
  • shamenet שמנת (sour cream)
  • mazgan מזגן (air-conditioner)
  • beseder בסדר (O.K)

See also

The Arabic language is classified as a Semitic language. ...


  • P. Behnstedt, Wolfdietrich Fischer and Otto Jastrow, Handbuch der Arabischen Dialekte. 2nd ed. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz 1980 (ISBN 3-447-02039-3)
  • Haim Blanc, Studies in North Palestinian Arabic: linguistic inquiries among the Druzes of Western Galilee and Mt. Carmel. Oriental notes and studies, no. 4. Jerusalem: Typ. Central Press 1953.
  • J. Cantineau, "Remarques sur les parlés de sédentaires syro-libano-palestiniens", in: Bulletin de la Société de Linguistique de Paris 40 (1938), pp. 80-89.
  • R. L. Cleveland, "Notes on an Arabic Dialect of Southern Palestine", in: Bulletin of the American Society of Oriental Research 185 (1967), pp. 43-57.
  • Olivier Durand, Grammatica di arabo palestinese: il dialetto di Gerusalemme, Rome: Università di Roma La Sapienza 1996.
  • Yohanan Elihai, Dictionnaire de l’arabe parle palestinien: francais-arabe. Jerusalem: Typ. Yanetz 1973.
  • Yohanan Elihai, The olive tree dictionary: a transliterated dictionary of conversational Eastern Arabic (Palestinian). Washington, DC: Kidron Pub. 2004 (ISBN 0-9759726-0-X)
  • Moin Halloun, A Practical Dictionary of the Standard Dialect Spoken in Palestine. Bethlehem University 2000.
  • Arye Levin, A Grammar of the Arabic Dialect of Jerusalem [in Hebrew]. Jerusalem: Magnes Press 1994 (ISBN 965-223-878-3)
  • M. Piamenta, Studies in the Syntax of Palestinian Arabic. Jerusalem 1966.
  • Frank A. Rice and Majed F. Sa'ed, Eastern Arabic: an introduction to the spoken Arabic of Palestine, Syria and Lebanon. Beirut: Khayat's 1960.
  • Frank A. Rice, Eastern Arabic-English, English-Eastern Arabic: dictionary and phrasebook for the spoken Arabic of Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine/Israel and Syria. New York: Hippocrene Books 1998 (ISBN 0-7818-0685-2)
  • Kimary N. Shahin, Palestinian Rural Arabic (Abu Shusha dialect). 2nd ed. University of British Columbia. LINCOM Europa, 2000 (ISBN 3-89586-960-0)

“Hebrew” redirects here. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Encyclopedia: Palestinian (5999 words)
One distinguishing characteristic of Palestinians is their dialect; almost uniquely among Arabic speakers, Palestinians (with the exception of Beduins), pronounce the letter qaaf as k (Arabic kaaf), while Jordanians and non-Palestinian Arabs usually pronounce it as "g".
Arabic onomastic elements began to appear in Edomite inscriptions starting in the 6th century BC, and are nearly universal in the inscriptions of the Nabataeans, who arrived there in the 4th-3rd centuries BC[8].
The Levant or Sham (Arabic root word related to the term Semite) is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in Southwest Asia south of the Taurus Mountains, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea in the west, and the north Arabian Desert and Mesopotamia to the east.
  More results at FactBites »



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