Article | Palestinian Arabic

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Throughout the Arab world people speak their local dialects, which vary from country to country. An Egyptian visiting Morocco, for example, will be unable to understand the local people when they speak to one another, though he may be able to identify the odd word here and there.

The colloquial Arabic taught in this book is uniquely Palestinian; however, the Palestinian dialect very closely resembles those of Lebanon and Syria, and it is spoken in Jordan, too, because of the large number of Palestinians who live there. Here and there throughout this course we shall point out similarities between the Palestinian dialect and its near neighbors.

The Palestinian dialect itself is not uniform, and different varieties of it are heard in different parts of the country. People in towns speak differently from those in rural areas; Galileans speak slightly differently from Jerusalemites. In this book we have chosen to teach the urban dialect, while indicating the minor differences in usage between the Galilee region (Nazareth, Haifa, etc.) and Jerusalem. Apart from a few words and phrases there is very little dialectal difference between the north and south of the country, and learners will soon grow accustomed to the speech of the area they live in. If you speak the urban dialect taught in this book – with the correct pronunciation, of course – all Arabs will understand you. The individual idiosyncrasies of particular villages or regions (the villages along the Lebanese border, for example, or in the Gaza Strip) can easily be learned through spending time in these areas. The final lesson in the course (Book 4, Lesson 50) is devoted to a study of the differences between Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian Arabic.