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

Ensemble Español Partnership

The Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater celebrates Spain in America through performance, arts education, and community programs that bring the dance, music, and song of Spain to U. S. audiences. For over 45 years, the organization has shared the rich history and contemporary importance of culturally specific art, and maintains this commitment for artists, students, […]

Staying Connected in the Target Language

Last quarter in Spanish class 3rd grade students learned and practiced food vocabulary and discussed their personal food preferences. To showcase their speaking skills, students recorded and uploaded a Flipgrid video sharing which fruits and vegetables they love, like and absolutely don’t like! Although students currently are not able to applaud and engage with their […]

Learning About Food in French

The sixth grade French students have been working hard during their mealtime in the French-speaking world unit! They started out the year exploring dishes and restaurants in the French-speaking country of Senegal in Western Africa. The students researched recipes and created Flip Grids describing their preferences of the dishes. We digitally traveled across the world […]

Accomplishments for our French Students

French students in grades 4th-8th participated in the National French Contest/Le Grand Concours in February. Students studying French in all 50 states and abroad take a written test and compete against students with similar educational backgrounds. We are so proud of our students who were nationally ranked this year! And a special congratulations to LaSalle II’s first […]

Culinary Arts in French

Middle school students studying French went to Alliance Française this month for a scrumptious field trip. The students worked with a French culinary instructor to make a delicious French meal that included a salad with home-made vinaigrette, Croque-Monsieur sandwiches, and Madeleine cookies. The students did an awesome job cooking and at the end were able […]