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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

Fashion Week in French

It was fashion week at LaSalle II, and the 5th grade French students put on quite the show. The students used a box of fabrics and old clothing to create their own brand and looks for a runway show. After coming together as a design team, the students took turns using their French from our […]

Mi Ciudad

4th grade Spanish students explored the different aspects of city life. After learning about the capital city of Argentina, Buenos Aires, students then became the architects of their own city! Students designed their cities (real or fictional) and presented them in Spanish to their classmates and Ms. Fuller. They discussed special places in their city, […]

El árbol de Anselmo

Students in Ms. Bucciarelli’s seventh grade Spanish class read the story El árbol de Anselmo (Anselmo’s Tree) by Carolina Loureiro. This story is about Anselmo, a boy living in Quetena Chico, a small town in Potosí, Bolivia, who learns to value what is nearby even as he is interested in things far away. After reading, students brainstormed […]

CPS Pathways Towards the Seal of Biliteracy

Congrats to our students that earn the pathway towards the seal of biliteracy! Please see below to learn more about the program and for a short video about this years’ winners. What is the Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy? The State Seal of Biliteracy is a recognition given to high school seniors who have studied […]

Ramadan in our Arabic Classroom

Ramadan is a very special month in the Arab World and it is celebrated by the majority of Arabs and Muslims around the world. Ramadan is a holy month that features 30 days of fasting from dawn to dusk. In our Arabic classroom, students are learning about Ramadan as an important part of the Arabic […]