Hejazi Arabic

Hejazi Arabic

Infobox Language
name=Hejazi Arabic
states=Hejaz region, Saudi Arabia
fam3=West Semitic
fam4=Central Semitic
fam5=South Central Semitic
script=Arabic alphabet

Hejazi Arabic (also known as Hijazi Arabic [ISO 639-3] , West Arabian Arabic) is a variety of the Arabic language spoken in the western region of Saudi Arabia. Although, strictly speaking, there are two distinct dialects spoken in the Hejaz region, one by the bedouins, and another by the urban population, the term most often applies to the urban variety, spoken in cities such as Jeddah, Mecca ,Ta'if, Rabigh, Yanbu, and Medina. It is the most widely understood dialect of Arabic in the Arabian Peninsula. Outside of Arabia, it appears to be most closely related to the Arabic dialect of Khartoum in northern Sudan (Ingham 1971).

Urban Hejazi Dialect

Also referred to as the sedentary Hejazi dialect, this is the form most commonly associated with the term "Hejazi Arabic", and is spoken in the urban centers of the region, such as Jeddah, Mecca, and Medina. With respect to the axis of bedouin versus sedentary dialects of the Arabic language, this dialect group exhibits features of both.Fact|date=October 2007

Bedouin Features

The most prominent of these are the followingFact|date=October 2007:

#The "qaaf" (ق) of Standard Arabic is voiced and pronounced as /IPA|g/ (as in the English word "get").
#Hejazi Arabic does not employ double negation, nor does it append the negation particles "-sh" to negate verbs (Hejazi "Ma A'rif", as opposed to Egyptian "Ma'rafsh" and Palestinian "Bi'rafish", meaning "I don't know")
#The prohibitive mood of Classical Arabic is preserved in the imperative ("la truu'h" "don't go").
#The possessive suffixes are generally preserved in their Classical forms. For example, beitakum ("your house").

edentary Features

Like other sedentary dialects, the urban Hejazi dialect is less conservative than the bedouin varieties and has therefore shed many Classical forms and features that are still present in many bedouin dialects. These include the internal passive form (which in Hejazi, is replaced by the pattern "anfa'al"/"yinfa'il"), the marker for indefiniteness ("tanwin"), gender-number disagreement, and the feminine marker "-n" (see Varieties of Arabic). Features that mark Hejazi Arabic as a sedentary dialect include:
#The present progressive tense is marked by /ʕamman/ or the prefix "bi-" ("ʕamman iktub" or "biyudrus", "he is studying").
#The interdental /θ/ ث (as in English "three") is mostly rendered "t", while the interdental /ð/ ذ (as in English "this") is mostly rendered "d"and sometimes "z" like in the word ("kazaba"). They remain interdental in the countryside.
#In contrast to bedouin dialects, the distinction between the emphatic sounds /dˤ/ ض and /ðˤ/ ظ is generally preserved.
#The final "-n" in present tense plural verb forms is no longer employed (e.g. "yirkabu" instead of "yirkabun")
#The dominant case ending before the 3rd person masculine singular pronoun is "-u", rather than the "-a" that is prevalent in bedouin dialects. For example, "beituh" ("his house"), " 'induh" ("with him"), " 'arafuh" ("he knew him").
#Possessive pronouns for the 2nd person are "-ak" (masculine) and "-ik" (feminine). In Standard Arabic, these are "-ka" and "-ki", respectively, while in bedouin dialects they are "-ik" and "-its" or some variation thereof.Fact|date=October 2007

Other Features

Other features of Hejazi Arabic are:
# Compared to neighboring dialects, urban Hejazi retains more of the short vowels of Standard ArabicFact|date=October 2007, for example::: "samaka" ("fish"), as opposed to bedouin "smika", and Syrian "samake":: "darabatu" ضربَتو ("she hit him"), as opposed to bedouin "dribtah":: "uktub" ("write", instructive case), as opposed to bedouin "iktib", and Syrian "ktoub":: " 'indakum" عندَكُم ("in your [plural] possession"), as opposed to bedouin "'indikom", Egyptian " 'anduku", and Lebanese " 'andkun"
# The plural first person pronoun is "nihna" (نحنا), as opposed to the more common "ihna" (إحنا) or the bedouin "hinna" (حنّا) and "inna" (إنّا).Fact|date=October 2007
#When used to indicate location, the preposition "fee" في is preferred to "b" بـ ("fee Makkah", meaning "in Mecca"). In bedouin dialects, the preference differs by region.
#Less restriction on the distribution of /i/ and /u/.
#/a/ is more retracted.
#The glottal stop can be added to final syllables ending in a vowel as a way of emphasising.
#The first person suffix pronoun is "-ni".


The urban Hejazi vocabulary differs in some respect from that of other dialects in the Arabian Peninsula. For example, there are fewer specialized terms related to desert life, and more terms related to seafaring and fishing. Due to the diverse origins of the inhabitants of Hijazi cities, many borrowings from the dialects of Egypt, Syria, and Yemen exist. Five centuries of Turkish rule have also had their influence. Due to this, the Hijazi dialect is considered to be of "mixed affinities" (Ingham 1971).

Certain distinctive particles and vocabulary in Hijazi are /gi:d/ "already", /daħħin/ "now", and /baɣa/ "he wanted".

Bedouin Hejazi Dialects

The varieties of Arabic spoken by the bedouin tribes of the Hejaz region are relatively under-studied. However, the speech of some tribes shows much closer affinity to other bedouin dialects, particularly those of neighboring Nejd, than to those of the Hejazi cities. The dialects of northern Hejazi tribes merge into those of Jordan and Sinai, while the dialects in the south merge with those of 'Asir and Nejd. It is also worth noting that many large tribal confederations in Nejd and eastern Arabia are recent migrants from the Hejaz, including the tribes of Utaybah, Mutayr, Harb, and Bani Khalid. In earlier times, many other Arab tribes also came from the Hejaz, including Kinana, Juhayna, Banu Sulaym, and Ghatafan. Also, not all speakers of these bedouin dialects are literally nomadic bedouins; some are simply sedentary tribal sections that live in rural areas, and thus speak dialects similar to those of their bedouin neighbors.


* [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=acw Ethnologue entry for Hijazi Arabic]
* Kees Versteegh, "The Arabic Language", NITLE Arab World Project, by the permission of Edinburgh University Press, [http://arabworld.nitle.org/texts.php?module_id=1&reading_id=113&sequence=1]
* Bruce Ingham, "Some Characteristics of Meccan Speech", "Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies", University of London, Vol. 34, No. 2. (1971), pp. 273-297. [http://www.jstor.org/cgi-bin/jstor/viewitem/0041977x/ap020067/02a00040/0?searchUrl=http%3a//www.jstor.org/search/BasicResults%3fhp%3d25%26si%3d1%26gw%3djtx%26jtxsi%3d1%26jcpsi%3d1%26artsi%3d1%26Query%3dhijazi%2bdialect%26wc%3don&frame=noframe&dpi=3&currentResult=0041977x%2bap020067%2b02a00040%2b0%2c3601B0&userID=a9edd7b3@ucdavis.edu/01cc99331600501ca8907&backcontext=page]
* Margaret K. Omar, "Saudi Arabic: Urban Hijazi Dialect, Basic Course ", ISBN-10: 0884327396


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