My [top 5] influencing Arabic dialects

*HIMTAL – s01 e01
Alias How I Met The Arabic Language…
Take it easy, it won’t take 9 seasons of shadow chasing to find out which language I got married with… Haha!

Well… when I arrived to Algeria three years ago as a European guy, sure enough that I had to face many problems in assimilation. I must learn cultural and traditional NORMS (such as saying hi with kisses and hugs among men but not even waving to women that may be a strange thing to an EU-man).. But the most pressing factor or the hardest thing that was like walking without shoes across the hot sand of Sahara is… The Languages. In fact, I found myself as Robinson Crusoe among the native jungle-inhabitants with my no-worth Hungarian, no-worth German, no-worth English… I can’t say a word among Francophone and Arabophone people.

So, this is how I met Arabic, the hardest language I have ever learnt – I wish to say successfully, but not yet. It’s very different indeed, compared to the Indo-European languages I used to speak; just taken that the Arabic language has a very different writing system with no vowels, but “Harakat” that are like modifiers of the consonants whether they are pronounced “as if” with “ee”, “oo”, “aa” or not pronounced with anything.. For instance, the world “backpack” is written like this (محفظة) that is equivalent with “mHfda”, but it secretly contains its “harakat” alias “movements”, so the word will be like (مِحفَظَة) = meHfadah. Crazy, isn’t it.

No, it isn’t. Chinese does have different writing system that melts morphology with semantics while writing pictures of ideas… I’m just saying that you won’t hear that “The Arabic is the hardest language ever.” – because there’s no such language as the hardest to learn. There are many personal variable that affects if a language is hard to learn or not.. (such as cultural differences, strange sounds to learn, إلخ…)

However, Arabic can be difficult indeed… since it has an uncountable number of dialects that is necessary to learn to understand the complexity and richness of the language, or in some case to understand the language itself. For example: If you speak only classical Arabic of the schools, plausibly you’ll be understood everywhere, but you’ll understand only a very few of any Arabic country’s common speech.

I think, that’s fair enough for a linguistic introduction… let’s see the top 5 Arabic dialects that influenced me the most:

1) Darja – “algerois”:
shershito fi shambertou bsah malqeetosh

Translation: I searched for it in his room, but I didn’t find it.
Note: French words with Arabic infections (chercher+t+o, fi, chambre+t+o, ma+elqa+t+o+sh)

The very first most influencing dialect to me is the Algerian dialect of course… Since, it’s my beloved country. However, there are many and many other dialects in Algeria. Mine is the so called “Algerois” that stands for the language used in the capital of Algiers.
It’s said here that Ageria is mainly an Arabic-speaker country. Why mainly? Because of its dialect is a mixture of Arabic, Berber, French, Spanish, Touareg and so on…
The dialect of the capital is like a 50-50 mixture of Arabic and French. We say French phrases using Arabic structure, Arabic phrases using French structure, and in the most case we mix up Arabic and French vocabulary as if it would be a duty to color the speech.
To cut it short, I have a famous saying about the Arabic of Algeria: “I have come to Algeria to learn Arabic, et je parle français.” Haha.

2) Arabiya fos7a – Classical Arabic
buhithat a3nho fi ghorfatihi, walakin lam ‘adjid dhalik.

Translation: I searched for it in his room, but I didn’t find it.

The second most influencing Arabic form is not a dialect, but the formal register that is thought at schools and used in written or tele-media. In the first time when I came to Algeria, the only way of communication that I had was classical Arabic that I’ve been learning from the university of Algiers and from some friends. In fact, it caused some very funny moments to the shopkeepers when I started to speak in the formal language of the Quran and the news. Some people thought that I was joking so he continued fooling me, while others thought that either I was extremist Muslim who doesn’t accept even the change in language, or thought that I’m stranger, so they behaved mockingly.
To mention something quite unfortunate, Teaching Arabic as Foreign Language is unusual in Algeria… based on my experience, there may be only around one hundred foreigners studying Arabic here. I studied with Germans, French, Turkish and even Chinese; although, the teaching level is still developing.

3) Masriya – Egyptian
BaHast a3nnou fi odtou bassi mal’it’houch

Translation: I searched for it in his room, but I didn’t find it.

Another influencing Arabic dialect is the Egyptian dialect that is one of the most known and learnt Arabic dialect on the world. While in Algerian perspective, its influence on me is quite one-sided in that I recognize and understand Egyptian dialect thanks to the so-famous Egyptian comedies and other media-productions, but we don’t speak it since it sounds quite weird to the Algerian ears. Not mentioning that we are football-enemies… HAHA.

4) Falestiniya – Palestinian dialect
Dawart a3liha bgorifto biss ma l’itha

The following influencing dialect is the Syrian/Palestinian one. They are both alike; however, there are many difference in pronunciation… as well as in our relation. Haha
I’d like to highlight the Palestinian accent more because I felt love in the language’s rhythm and glottal stops (in place of ‘hamza’ and ‘qaf’…). Also, “Algerian people hold Palestine in their hand” -ya3ni- we are in love with each other that derives from the years of colonization. Finally, one can understand Palestinian because the most turkish and foreign series are translated into Syrian or Palestinian dialect that are quite close to the Classical Arabic one which is easily understandable as I said before.

5) Khaleedj – Saudi Arabia
Ya tara Tawil lo3mor fattasht a3nnah w ma ligitah

Well, well, well… The Saudi Arabian Arabic is one of the farest dialects that would influence my proper Algerian language; though, it’s presence is unavoidable thanks to such shows as Arab Got Talent and other MBC 1-2-3-4 productions. We understand it well… we can joke with it as well.. But mainly that’s all.

As a consequence, I am very very happy for having met and learnt Arabic, because it is a beautiful and very rich language of science, philosphic literature and religion. I can just recommend it to you, Inshallah.


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