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Levantine Arabic ( (Shami) and sometimes called Eastern Arabic) is a group of Arabic varieties spoken in the 100 km-wide eastern-Mediterranean coastal strip known as the Levant, i.e. in western Syriamarker, Lebanonmarker, Cyprusmarker, Palestine, Israelmarker, and western Jordanmarker. This corresponds to the western wing of the Fertile Crescent, which clearly appears green on satellite photos.

To the East, in the Desert, the North Arabian Beduinic dialects are found. In the North, between Aleppo and the Euphrates valley, there may be a transition zone towards North Mesopotamian qeltu dialects (to be confirmed, since the Raqqah dialect in the Syrian Euphrates valley still seems to be quite close to South Iraqi and Beduinic dialects.)

Levantine Arabic can be divided into two major branches:
  • North Levantine (Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus)
  • South Levantine (Palestine, Israel, and Jordan)


South Levantine shows closer relationship with Egyptian Arabic (derived primarily from classical Yemenimarker Arabic), whereas North Levantine, though also rooted in classical Yemeni Arabic, shows more relations with classical Najdi Arabic.Northern Levantine can be sub-divided into the following branches:

Product of in the modern Levant
main difference between these three branches is the product of the standard long A vowel. It is predominantly in North Syrian (Najdi shift), in West Syrian (Canaanite shift), and in Central Syrian.

There is a clear urban vs. rural contrast with regard to vowels in North Levantine. Rural dialects preserve the vowels and diphthongs of Classical Arabic unchanged; whereas urban dialects use vowels similar to those of the other modern varieties of Arabic.

South Levantine can be sub-divided as follows:

South Levantine sub-dialects differ in the following:
  • Product of ( common in Lebanese)
  • Products of short vowles (classical short vowles predominantly preserved in Lebanese and Urban Palestinian)
  • Products of classical diphthongs ( and preserved in Lebanese)
  • Realizations of the feminine ending -ah (-ih/-eh in Lebanese and Urban Palestinian)
  • Realizations of ﻙ , ﻕ , and ﺝ .
  • Conservation of interdentals ﺙ , ﺫ , and ﻅ ;
  • Vocalism and consonnatism of suffix pronouns -at, -kum and -kunna
  • The form of independent pronouns, huwa, hiya, hum and hunna


Differences between North and South Levantine:
  • The use of ش for negation (in South Levantine)
  • The vowel following the second radical in verbal forms (often a in South Levantine)
  • The common form of the active praticiple (fa l n common in North Levantine)
  • The realization of ق (more pharyngealized in North Levantine)


The table below shows how the variants are distributed.

Dialect -ah -kum -kunna hum hunna Not We can
North Syrian urban , , -e -kon -kon hennen hennen m n der
rural , , -i -kun -kun hinni(n) hinni(n) m ni dir
West Syrian urban , , -e -kon -kon henne(n) henne(n) m , m n dor
rural , -i -kun -kun hinni(n) hinni(n) m , m ni dur
Central Syrian urban -e -kon -kon henne(n) henne(n) m n der
rural , word-terminally , -i -kun -kun hinni(n), hinnon hinni(n), hinnon m ni dir
Lebanese , , , -i -kun -kun hinni hinni mi , mu , - suffix ne dar, ne dir
Palestinian urban -e, -i -kom, -kum -kom, -kum homme, hommi homme, hommi mi , mu , - suffix ni dar
rural -e, -a -kem -ken hemme henne mi , mu , - suffix ni dar
bedouin -a -kom -ken homme henne mi , mu , - suffix nigdar


See also



References



External links


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