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

4th Grade Mi Ciudad Projects

Students in 4th grade showcased their understanding of 2nd quarter’s theme: En la Ciudad by designing and building a 2D or 3D model based on their own city, our city of study (Buenos Aires) or a fictional city. The students used their city models to discuss with their classmates the various activities to do, places […]

Bring Culture Into Classrooms

While ushering in the Lunar New Year, LaSalle II Chinese language students began their annual Chinese dance training with Lingling Pao, the artist-in-residence. Upon hearing the news that the Chinese dance training would soon begin, every student, whether boy or girl, in a lower or upper grade, eagerly wanted to find out which day would […]

1st Grade French Project

First graders helped with a fun project in French class recently and made flags for the French speaking countries of the world. We used their wonderful props and took some photos for our class yearbook page.

Welcome to our visitors from Beijing! 

Our exchange students from the Beijing Foreign Language School arrived last week and we are so excited they are here! This week they visited the John Hancock building, the Chicago Art Institute, the Shedd Aquarium, and City Hall. A huge thank you to Ms. Aquino for all of her planning and to our families for […]

French Exchange Visitors at L2! 

We had the pleasure of hosting exchange students and teachers from Angers, France the last two weeks in October. Sixteen students came from Collège Mongazon to stay with host families at LaSalle II. Since the French students travel back to France the day before Halloween we decided to throw them an American Halloween-themed going away […]