Peninsular Arabic, or Southern Arabic, are the varieties of Arabic spoken throughout the Arabian Peninsula. This includes the countries of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Southern Iraq and the tribal people of Jordan (the native Jordanians).
As this area is the homeland of the Arabic language, the language spoken there is closer to Classical Arabic than elsewhere. Some of the local dialects have retained many archaic features lost in other dialects, such as the conservation of nunation for indeterminate nouns. They retain most Classical syntax and vocabulary but still have some differences from Classical Arabic like the other dialects.
The following varieties are usually noted:
- Yemeni Arabic, displays a past conjugation with the very archaic -k suffix, as in southern Semitic languages. It has to be noted that the dialect of Aden has /ɡʲ/ > [ɡ] as in Cairo.
- Hejazi Arabic, spoken in Saudi Arabia along the coast of the Red Sea, especially in the cities of Mecca and Jeddah. Strictly speaking, there are two distinct dialects spoken in the Hejaz region, one by the Bedouin rural population and another by the urban population. However, it is the urban variety, spoken in cities such as Jeddah, Mecca, and Yanbu, that is typically considered Hejazi.
- Najdi Arabic, spoken in the center of the peninsula in Saudi Arabia and is characterized by a shift of /q/ to /ɡ/ and affrication of /k/ and /ɡ/ to [ts] and [dz], respectively, in certain contexts.
- Gulf Arabic (including Omani Arabic, Dhofari Arabic and Shihhi Arabic), spoken in the coast of the Persian Gulf.
- Bahrani Arabic, spoken in Bahrain and Oman.
- The dialect of Syrian Desert nomads, who also exhibit affrication of /k/ and /ɡ/ (former /q/) to [ts] and [dz], respectively.
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