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

Spanish Exchange Students

Our exchange students from Madrid were here these past 2 weeks and we had a ton of fun! Our guests visited the Chicago History Museum, the Field Museum, Navy Pier, the Shedd Aquarium, and more! The students even got to attend our middle school dance.   A huge thank you to our host families for […]

Midwest Chinese Student Speech Contest

We had several students participate in the 9th Annual Midwest Chinese Student Speech Contest. Students were required to recite a speech in Chinese and were judged on pronunciation, delivery, and expression. Our school had three participants and all of them earned a medal. Gold: Gabby I. and Ruby V. Silver: Danny M. Congratulations to our […]

Student Reflections from Trips Abroad

Trip To China By Emma Z. Just recently in November, five 8th grade students, including myself, went to Beijing, China! This was one of the greatest trips that we experienced! It was amazing practicing the language, trying new foods, and immersing ourselves in Chinese culture. During the week we were able to go sightseeing to […]

LaSalle II Students in China!

We currently have students abroad in Beijing, China. We can’t wait to hear all about their exciting travels!

LaSalle II Students in France!

Currently we have students in Angers, France. They are having a great time and we cannot wait to hear all the details when they return!