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Bahrani Arabic

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Title: Bahrani Arabic  
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Subject: Varieties of Arabic, Bahrani people, Arabic, Tihamiyya Arabic, Ancient North Arabian
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Bahrani Arabic

Bahrani Arabic
العربية البحرانية
Native to Bahrain, Oman, Sri Lanka
Native speakers
1,220 in Sri Lanka  (2011)[1]
Arabic alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3 abv
Glottolog baha1259[2]

Bahrani Arabic (also known as Bahrani and Baharna Arabic) is a variety of Arabic spoken in Eastern Arabia and Oman,[3] and even in remote countries such as Sri Lanka. In Bahrain, the dialect is primarily spoken in Shia villages and some parts of Manama.

The Bahrani Arabic dialect has been significantly influenced by the ancient Aramaic, Syriac and Akkadian languages.[4][5]

An interesting sociolinguistic feature of Bahrain is the existence of three distinct dialects: Bahrani, Sunni and Ajami Arabic.[6] Sunni Bahrainis speak a dialect which is most similar to urban dialect spoken in Qatar, which is considered the most prestigious dialect in Bahrain.

The Persian language has the most foreign linguistic influence on all the Bahraini dialects.[7] The differences between Bahrani Arabic and other Bahraini dialects suggest differing historical origins. The main differences between Bahrani and non-Bahrani dialects are evident in certain grammatical forms and pronunciation. Most of the vocabulary, however, is shared between dialects, or is distinctly Bahraini, arising from a shared modern history. Many Bahrani words have also been borrowed from Hindi or English.

Examples of words borrowed from other languages

Bahrani dialect has borrowed some vocabulary from Persian, Hindi and more recently from English.


Bahrani Arabic (called Baħrāni by its speakers) has the main features of Gulf Arabic dialects (e.g. Kuwait, UAE, Qatar) in addition to its own unique features. General features include the Standard Arabic q becoming g (qamar vs gamar 'moon'), k becoming ch in some positions (kalb vs chalb 'dog'). J becoming y in some villages (jiħħe vs yiħħe 'watermelon'). Final Standard Arabic -ah becomes -e in some positions. Unique features include changing "th" and "dh" into "f" and "d". Many younger speakers avoid such pronunciations, however.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Baharna Arabic". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ "Arabic, Baharna Spoken".  
  4. ^ "Non-Arabic Semitic elements in the Arabic dialects of eastern Arabia". Clive Holes. 2002. pp. 270–279. 
  5. ^ "Dialect, Culture, and Society in Eastern Arabia: Glossary". Clive Holes. 2001. pp. XXIX–XXX. 
  6. ^ Bassiouney, Reem (2009). "5". Arabic Sociolinguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 105–107. 
  7. ^ Dialect, Culture, and Society in Eastern Arabia: Glossary. Clive Holes. 2001. Page XXX. ISBN 90-04-10763-0

Further reading

  • Mahdi Abdalla Al-Tajir. 1983. Language and Linguistic Origins in Bahrain: The Bahrani Dialect of Arabic. ISBN 0-7103-0024-7
  • Clive Holes. 1983. "Bahraini Dialects: Sectarian Differences and the Sedentary/Nomadic Split," Zeitschrift für arabische Linguistik 10:7-38.
  • Clive Holes. 1987. Language Variation and Change in a Modernising Arab State: The Case of Bahrain. ISBN 0-7103-0244-4
  • Clive Holes. 2001. Dialect, Culture, and Society in Eastern Arabia: Glossary. ISBN 90-04-10763-0
  • Clive Holes, "MusalsalatDialect and National Identity. The Cultural Politics of Self-Representation in Bahraini ", in Paul Dresch and James Piscatori (eds), Monarchies and Nations: Globalisation and Identity in the Arab states of the Gulf, London: I.B. Tauris, 2005, p. 60.

External links

  • Baharna Arabic Travel Phrases
  • Dialects of the Arabian Peninsula
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