In this article we will learn everything you need to know about the Arabic language, And Alif Arabic will provide you with the most important information on

the difference between the Arabic language and the colloquial language.


What is colloquial Arabic?

The Colloquial Arabic or as it called ‘Ammiyya’ is the Arabic that people use in their daily conversations. It differs from a country to another; each country has its different dialect from other countries. You might ask, Is colloquialism a slang? And the answer is yes, it is a slang.

What is an example of a colloquial sentence? An easy example is the sentence ‘صباح الخير’ which means ‘good morning’.


While modern standard Arabic is the official language used for teaching at schools. It is also the Arabic that is used to write anything formal like work reports and so on. It is also taught to people who want to learn the Arabic language.  


What type of language is Arabic?

The beginning of the Arabic language was in Southern Arabia, current day Yemen and with time it spread across the Arabian Peninsula.

When Islam was revealed and started to spread across the world it also spread the Arabic language as it is the language of Quran.

What is the difference between Arabic dialects?

Here are the main Arabic dialects:

Maghrebi Arabic:

This dialect is used in the Western Arab countries which include: Algerians, Moroccans, and Tunisians. The total number of people who speak Maghrebi Arabic is about 80 million speakers.

You can learn the Maghrebi Arabic from the textbook ‘The Routledge Introductory Course in Moroccan Arabic’.


Egyptian Arabic is the Arabic used in Egypt. And most Arab understand it, as Egyptian movies and TV series are popular. So, if you are a non-Arabic speaker then this might be the easiest dialect to learn.


Arabian colloquial:  

This Arabic dialect is also called Khaliji or Gulf Arabic. The countries that speak it include Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Kuwait.


Yemeni Arabic:

This one has many dialects but the main dialect is called San’ani or Sana’ dialect. You should know that the hardest two dialects to learn are the Yemeni and Maghrebi.



The Arabic dialect that is spoken in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Palestine. More than 30 million speak it.



This includes several mutually understandable varieties that have been spoken even in parts of Iraq and eastern Syria.


Those are not all the Arabic dialects in the world, there are still many others like Hassaniya in Mauritania. It is close to the Gulf dialect than it is to the Maghrebi.

What are the two types of the Arabic language?

There are three types of the Arabic language, and here they are:

Classic Arabic

 Classical Arabic is the language of the Quran. It is rarely used except when reciting the Quran or quoting old religious texts.

Today, because studies in Islam and the Quran require a high degree of knowledge of Arabic syntax, lexical theory, and semantics, only Muslim priests who attended religious schools wrote classical Arabic.

Classic Arabic is also found in pre-Islamic and early Islamic poetry, prophecies, and some 1st-century historical documents.

 The Arabic language in general derives its grammatical and syntactic rules from its classical form. Mastery of classical Arabic requires years of study and oral practice. It uses archaic vocabulary, most of which is borrowed from the Quran and hadiths.

 Just like in the Quran, classical Arabic speeches are rich in stylistic tools, figurative speech, rhyming sentences, and word order not typically found in MSA.

 Most non-native learners of Arabic are interested in classical Arabic either because they want to understand the Quran or are scholars of theology and experts in comparative religious studies.

 Arabic is the liturgical language of around one billion Muslims across the world who need to recite Quranic verses verbatim during the five daily prayers.

Modern Arabic

 Often called Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) in English and Fusha in Arabic.

 It is commonly used in contexts such as writing, TV and radio broadcasts, formal interviews, speeches, and official letters.

 It is similar but easier than classical Arabic.

 Native Arabic speakers usually do not make a clear distinction between the two Arabic languages, but few are fluent in the latter.

 Modern Standard Arabic was deliberately developed in the early 19th century as a modernized version of classical Arabic.

 It was promoted by the pan-Arab anti-colonial movement that emerged at the time as a medium of communication that united all Arabs, regardless of country of origin or religion.

 Arabs often use a combination of slang and MSA. For example, interviewers typically use MSA to ask prepared questions or make prepared remarks, then switch to colloquial variations to add instant comments or reply to questions.

 Arab leaders give speeches in MSA and resort to colloquial Arabic to make a point or simplify an idea to illiterate citizens.

 Another reason is most native speakers of Arabic cannot maintain speaking MSA for an extended period of time and resort to colloquial Arabic because that`s what they are used to in their daily life.

Colloquial Arabic or `Ammiyya:

 In the Maghreb region, it is called Darija. As opposed to MSA, `Ammiyya` refers to the regional varieties or vernaculars across the Arab world used for everyday speaking situations. In fact, `Ammiyya or Darija is the first language of every Arab, as they later acquire MSA in school. Unlike MSA, `Ammiyya does not adhere to the strict rules of grammar and word order and often loses other structured linguistic features. In fact, Ammiyya uses many Farsi and Turkish terms in the Arab countries that were under the Ottoman rule, and Darija, or Maghrebi Arabic, has a lot of French, Spanish and Italian.


Arabic language in Egypt and how it differs from the rest of the Arab world

The Egyptian Arabic is the Arabic used in Egypt. And most Arab understand it, as Egyptian movies and TV series are popular. So, if you are a non-Arabic speaker then this might be the easiest dialect to learn. Also, it is considered the more standard among other Arabic dialects.


Difference between eastern Arabic and modern standard Arabic

Eastern Arabic vs modern standard Arabic.

 East Arabic is a dialect spoken in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine. Eastern Arabic is also very well understood in the Arab world. 

While modern standard Arabic is also known as literary Arabic.  Arabic in Egypt is spoken in cities throughout Egypt. It is also widely used in the Arab world as it is used by movie actors.

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