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

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 […]

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.