Lebanese Arabic

Lebanese Arabic

Infobox Language
name=Lebanese Arabic
fam3=West Semitic
fam4=Central Semitic
fam5=South-Central Semitic
script=Arabic alphabet

Lebanese or Lebanese Arabic is the colloquial form of Arabic spoken in Lebanon.


Lebanese Arabic is one of the Levantine varieties of Arabic. Many Lebanese people, especially the radical right-wing Guardians of the Cedars group, consider Lebanese Arabic a separate language. However, if Lebanese Arabic is considered a language in its own right, then other dialects such as Egyptian Arabic, Palestinian Arabic and Iraqi Arabic, and Moroccan Arabic must also be considered separate languages. In fact, "all" Arabic dialects differ quite significantly from Standard Arabic and many are mutually unintelligible.

Changes from Classical Arabic

Lebanese Arabic shares many featural similarities with other modern dialects of Arabic. Syntax has become simpler, losing both mood and case markings. Also, verbal agreement regarding number and gender is required for all subjects, whether already mentioned or not. Also, plural inanimate nouns are treated as feminine. Classical Arabic on the other hand requires the singular for newly introduced subjects. For example, the expression "the mites have eaten me" is rendered "akalatni al-barağītu" ("it-ate-me the-mites") in literary Arabic, and "aklūnē l-breğīt" ("the-mites they-ate-me") in Lebanese. French also had a great influence on Lebanese Arabic, as the educated class tend to mix French during conversation as with most former French colonies.

Lebanese Arabic vocabulary and phonology (as in other modern-day dialects) differ from Classical Arabic.

* In Arabic, "look inside" is translated as /ʊnðˤʊr fɪdːaːχɪl/, or in the feminine, /ʊnðˤʊri fɪdːaːχɪl/. However In Lebanese Arabic, as in Syrian and Palestinian, it becomes /ʃuːf ʒʊwːɛ/, or in the female command form, /ʃuːfe ʒʊwːɛ/.
* The following example demonstrates two differences between Standard Arabic and Spoken Lebanese: Coffee (قهوة), pronounced /qahwa/ in Standard Arabic, is pronounced /ʔahwe/ in Lebanese Arabic. The letter Qaaf is not pronounced, and the letter taa marbuta becomes a softer /e/ sound.
* As a general rule of thumb, the Qaaf is dropped from the words in which it appears, and is replaced instead with the hamza or glottal stop: e.g. /daqiːqa/ (minute) becomes /daʔiːʔa/. This is a feature shared with most dialects of Egyptian Arabic.
* The Exception for this general rule is the Druze of Lebanon who like the Druze of Syria and Israel have retained the letter "Qaaf" in the centre of direct neighbours who have substituted the "Qaaf" for the "Aaf" (example: "Heart" is /qalb/ in Arabic, becomes /ʔaleb/ in Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian.
* Unlike most other Arabic dialects, Lebanese has retained the classical diphthongs /aɪ/ and /aʊ/, which were monophthongised into /e/ and /o/ elsewhere. This has changed over time, and today the /e/ has replaced the /ai/, /a/ and /i/ in everyday conversation, and the /o/ has replaced the /au/ and /u/. In singing, the /au/ and /ai/ are maintained for artistic values.

The divergence of vocabulary has been driven by small borrowings from other languages, such as Aramaic, Greek, French, and Turkish.

pelling reform

Lebanese Arabic is rarely written, except in novels where a dialect is implied or in some types of poetry that do not use classical Arabic at all. [ [http://www.caza-zgharta.com/profiles/younisIBN.htm the poetry of Younis Al-Ibn] ] Formal publications in Lebanon, such as newspapers, are typically written in standard classical Arabic. Like Chinese, Arabic uses a single literary language (Unicode|Fuṣ′ḥá) for writing. While Arabic script is usually employed, informal usage such as online chat may mix-and-match Latin letter transliterations. Saïd Akl proposed the use of the Latin alphabet but this did not gain wide acceptance. Whereas some works, such as "Romeo and Juliet" and "Plato's Dialogues" have been transliterated using such systems, they have not gained widespread acceptance.


*"Spoken Lebanese". Maksoud N. Feghali, Appalachian State University. Parkway Publishers, 1999 (ISBN 1-887905-14-6)
* Michel T. Feghali, "Syntaxe des parlers arabes actuels du Liban", Geuthner, Paris, 1928.
* Elie Kallas, "'Atabi Lebnaaniyyi. Un livello soglia per l'apprendimento del neoarabo libanese", Cafoscarina, Venice, 1995.
* Angela Daiana Langone, "Btesem ente lebneni. Commedia in dialetto libanese di Yahya Jaber", Università degli Studi La Sapienza, Rome, 2004.
* Jérome Lentin, "Classification et typologie des dialectes du Bilad al-Sham", in "Matériaux Arabes et Sudarabiques" n. 6, 1994, 11-43.

External links

* [http://www.learn-media.com Lebanese Language Audio CDs]
* [http://www.lebanese-arabic.com Online Material for Learning Lebanese Arabic]
* [http://www.geocities.com/WallStreet/3500/ Lessons of Lebanese Language]
* [http://www.abcleb.com Learn Lebanese]
* [http://www.omniglot.com/writing/lebanese.htm Lebanese alphabet by Omniglot]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lebanese — is an adjective referring to matters related to the Republic of Lebanon, which is located on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. Other meanings associated with this term are: *The Lebanese people ** ** ** *Anything relating to Lebanon:… …   Wikipedia

  • Lebanese people — Infobox Ethnic group group = Lebanese people Fairuz·Carlos Slim Helú·Musa al Sadr population = 3 million in Lebanon 15 million elsewhere in the world. [ [http://cedarfree.blogspot.com/2006/10/lebanese diaspora.html Free Cedar: The Lebanese… …   Wikipedia

  • Lebanese Commando Regiment — Flag Active 1966 – present Country …   Wikipedia

  • Lebanese Armed Forces — Al Quwwāt al Musallaḥa al Lubnāniyya Flag of the Lebanese Army Founded August 1, 1945 Current form …   Wikipedia

  • Lebanese Civil War — The Martyr s Square statue in Beirut, 1982, during the civil war Date 13 A …   Wikipedia

  • Arabic language — Arabic redirects here. For other uses, see Arabic (disambiguation). For the literary standard, see Modern Standard Arabic. For vernaculars, see varieties of Arabic. For others, see Arabic languages. Arabic العربية/عربي/عربى al ʿarabiyyah/ʿarabī …   Wikipedia

  • Arabic literature — (Arabic: الأدب العربي Al Adab Al Arabi ) is the writing produced, both prose and poetry, by speakers (not necessarily native speakers) of the Arabic language. It does not usually include works written using the Arabic alphabet but not in the… …   Wikipedia

  • Arabic grammar — Arabic is a Semitic language. See Arabic language for more information on the language in general. This article describes the grammar of Classical Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic. History The identity of the oldest Arabic grammarian is disputed …   Wikipedia

  • Lebanese Communist Party — الحزب الشيوعي اللبناني Lebanese Communist Party flag Leader …   Wikipedia

  • Lebanese Forces — القوات اللبنانية Leader Samir Geagea …   Wikipedia