Which Dialect Of Arabic Should You Learn? This Will Help You
So you've decided to learn Arabic but you're not sure which dialect to study?
Hopefully I can help you make a decision.
I've already talked at length about the importance of learning a colloquial dialect vs Modern Standard Arabic. You should absolutely not learn Modern Standard Arabic first unless your job requires it, you're in politics, media or academia, or you're learning for religious reasons.
If you just want to speak Arabic, learn a dialect.
But the next question is going to be: which dialect should I learn?
Well that depends.
What are the Arabic dialects and which is the best to learn?
There are so many Arabic dialects and even sub-dialects of dialects to choose from.
These different varieties of the language have emerged and evolved over centuries through conquest and linguistic contact. Each dialect has not only been influenced by fus7a (MSA/Classical), but also local languages.
In the case of Maghrebi dialects like Moroccan and Algerian for example, the Berbers had a profound impact on the development of the Arabic spoken there.
- Egyptian Arabic (the most popular colloquial Arabic dialect, spoken in Egypt)
- Levantine Arabic (Palestinian, Jordanian, Lebanese and Syrian)
- Iraqi Arabic (Mesopotamian varieties in Iraq)
- Saudi Arabic (Hijazi, Najdi and Gulf)
- Sudanese Arabic (spoken in Sudan)
- Tunisian Arabic (spoken in Tunisia)
- Algerian Arabic (spoken in Algeria)
- Moroccan Arabic (spoken in Morocco)
Believe it or not, there are actually quite a few more dialects not listed here (think countries like Libya, Yemen, Chad and even Malta).
So which dialect is best to learn?
The answer is: there is no single "best" dialect.
The dialect you should choose is the one that has the most value to you personally (based on your needs and interests).
With the possible exception of Maghrebi dialects, all dialects are fairly comprehensible to most native Arabic speakers.
Resources for Arabic dialects
Unfortunately, most courses and textbooks have only ever focused on Modern Standard Arabic.
But this situation is getting better rapidly.
More and more publishers and educational institutions are waking up to the importance of teaching colloquial dialects.
We've produced a list of quality Arabic dialect books.
Additionally, we put together a list of best Arabic apps.
Our platform has also been the market leader at teaching spoken dialects for many years (sign up).
We offer the dialects listed above.