The word “Arabic” refers to the many national or regional dialects/languages derived from Classical Arabic, spoken daily across North Africa and the Middle East, which sometimes differ enough to be mutually incomprehensible. These dialects are not frequently written, although a certain amount of literature (particularly plays and poetry) exists in many of them, notably Lebanon and Egypt.

“Colloquial Arabic” is a collective term for the spoken languages or dialects of people throughout the Arab world, which, as mentioned, differ radically from the literary language. The main dialectal division is between the Maghreb dialects and those of the Middle East, followed by that between sedentary dialects and the much more conservative Bedouin dialects. Maltese, though descended from Arabic, is considered a separate language. Speakers of some of these dialects are unable to converse with speakers of another dialect of Arabic; in particular, while Middle Easterners can generally understand one another, they often have trouble understanding Maghrebis (although the converse is not true, due to the popularity of Middle Eastern, especially Egyptian, films and other media).

One factor in the differentiation of the dialects is influence from the languages previously spoken in the areas, which have typically provided a significant number of new words, and have sometimes also influenced pronunciation or word order; however, a much more significant factor for most dialects is, as among Romance languages, retention (or change of meaning) of different classical forms.

The Major Groups are:

  • Egyptian Arabic (Egypt) Considered the most widely understood and used “second dialect”
  • Maghreb Arabic (Tunisian, Algerian, Moroccan, and western Libyan)
  • Hassaniiya (in Mauritania)
  • Andalusi Arabic (extinct, but important role in literary history)
  • Maltese
  • Sudanese Arabic (with a dialect continuum into Chad)
  • Levantine Arabic (Syrian, Lebanese, Palestinian, and western Jordanian)
  • Iraqi Arabic
  • Gulf Arabic (Gulf coast from Kuwait to Oman, and minorities on the other side)
  • Hijazi Arabic
  • Najdi Arabic
  • Yemeni Arabic

World Languages Taught at LaSalle II

World Language News

8th Grade Spanish and French Art Gallery Walk!

After exploring artists and styles of both French Impressionism and Spanish Cubism, students were challenged to select a local or global theme and demonstrate it through their own artwork. Students selected themes ranging from: pollution, climate change, poaching, domestic violence, depression, religious intolerance and many more. Students presented their artwork in the target language to […]

Seal of Biliteracy

CPS is the first district in Illinois to create a CPS Seal of Biliteracy Pathway award to recognize exemplary 5th and 8th graders who are studying world language or enrolled in Dual Language programs- providing students with comprehensive programming to develop literacy skills and fluency in both English and another language. More than 1,700 5th […]

World Language Performances

This week our World Language students had the opportunity to show off all they learned in their Artist-in-Residency program. The program is generously funded by the PTO and exposes students to different cultural aspects in the language of their study.

Learning Arabic Calligraphy

Students in grades 5, 6, and 7th have been working with our Artist in residency in creating a very artistic Arabic pieces using the Arabic calligraphy. Each student had about 7 sessions of practice in order for them to reach this great level of art. Our Arabic students practiced Khat al- Nasakh style as it […]

French Exchange Trip

Nine students in 7th and 8th grade just returned this week from a 2 week trip to France! Students stayed for 9 nights with their host families in the town of Angers, about 2 hours outside of Paris. Students explored the town in depth, visiting museums and castles for which this region of France is […]