The term Hilalian dialects refer to the Banu Hilal, a confederation of Arab nomadic tribes who invaded North Africa in the eleventh century.
Varieties and distribution
Nevertheless, there are several enclaves of Pre-Hilalian Arabic dialects in this area, including old urban dialect-speaking cities (such as Fez, Rabat, Tlemcen, Constantine, Tunis) and four major sedentary rural dialects speaking areas as well as several Berber speaking areas.
- Sulaym dialects: in Libya and southern Tunisia;
- Eastern Hilal dialects: in central Tunisia and eastern Algeria;
- Central Hilal dialects: in central and southern Algeria;
- Maqil dialects: in western Algeria and Morocco.
Hilalian dialects strongly influenced some old urban dialects, such as those of Tripoli and Marrakesh. They also represent the bulk of modern urban dialects (koiné languages) such as those of Casablanca, Oran and Algiers.