Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics

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Subject: Language and Linguistics

Managing Editors Online Edition: Lutz Edzard and Rudolf de Jong

The Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics Online comprehensively covers all aspects of Arabic languages and linguistics. It is interdisciplinary in scope and represents different schools and approaches in order to be as objective and versatile as possible. The Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics Online is cross-searchable and cross-referenced, and is equipped with a browsable index. All relevant fields in Arabic linguistics, both general and language specific are covered and the Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics Online includes topics from interdisciplinary fields, such as anthropology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, and computer science.

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Baby Talk

(6 words)

see Caretaker Talk


(5 words)

see Vowel Lowering


(6 words)

see Apposition ; ʾIbdāl

Baghdad Arabic

(5,315 words)

Author(s): Farida Abu-Haidar
1. Introduction 1.1 Baghdad, the capital and the seat of government and financial operations, is situated on the river Tigris in the center of Iraq. In 2003 it was estimated that its population exceeded five million inhabitants, 60 percent of whom are Shiʿi. The rest are mainly Sunni, with a Christian minority comprising Chaldean Catholics, Assyrians (Orthodox and Catholics), and a small number of Greek Catholics and Protestants. The number of Mandeans, another religious minority, has decreased to fewer than two thousa…

Baghdad Arabic Jewish

(5,855 words)

Author(s): Jacob Mansour
1. General 1.1 Speakers …

Bahraini Arabic

(9,469 words)

Author(s): Clive Holes
1. General 1.1 Area Bahrain is an archipelago (552 square kilometers) halfway between the head of the Gulf and the Straits of Hormuz, 20 kilometers off the coast of Saudi Arabia. In 1999 the population was approximately 660,000, of whom 402,000 were Bahrain nationals. Its dialects are of two types: those of the so-called ʿArab (lit. ‘ Arabs’, hencef…


(1,393 words)

Author(s): Dinie Bouwman
1. Bambara and Arabic Bambara is the largest language family of the Mande group (Niger-Congo family). From the 19th century onward, Bambara gained influence in the region as lingua franca of trade and army, and, through Bambara-speakers, in French administration and education. It is now the predominant lingua franca in Mali and Eastern Senegal, and it is also spoken in Gambia, Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Sierra Leone (Baldi 1992:1–3), by a total of approximately 10 million or more people as first (around 2.8 million) or second language (<www.ethnologue.com>). In the 1st millennium C…


(1,204 words)

Author(s): Ali Riaz
Bangladesh came into existence in 1971 after a lengthy nationalist movement which emphasized the linguistic identity of the Bengali population of the eastern part of Pakistan. The ethnic homogeneity of the population (about 98 percent of the people are Bengalis and speak Bengali), the low level of literacy, and the linguist…

B (Bā ʿAlwī ibn ʿAbdallāh al-ʿAllāma aṭ-Ṭāhir - bāṭin)

(1,811 words)

Bā ʿAlwī ibn ʿAbdallāh al-ʿAllāma aṭ-Ṭāhir Indonesia Baalbaki, Munir Lexicography: Bilingual Dictionaries Baalbaki, Ramzi ʾAṣl, Bināʾ, Exclamation, Grammatical Tradition: Approach, Grammatical Tradition: Approach, ʾIʿrāb, Qirāʾāt, Ṣarf, Sound Symbolism, South Arabian Loanwords, Taʿaddin, Tamyīz, Taqdīr, Baalbaki, Rohi Lexicography: Bilingual Dictionaries Baars, Bernard Slips of the Tongue, Speech Errors Baath Ethnicity and Language Baâziz Europe bāb ʾAṣl Bab al-Mandeb Djibouti/Eritrea Baba, Ahmad Mali, Yoruba Baba, Mamoudou Cameroon Arabic Babatorun Antiochia Arabic Babault, Sophie Language Policies and Language Planning babbling First Language Acquisition, Reduplication Babel Nationalism and Language, Nationalism and Language Babikian, Salem Religion and Language Babtī, ʿAzīza Passive (Syntax) baby talk Caretaker Talk, Reduplication, Register, Sound Symbolism, Speech Accommodation baby talk → caretaker talk Babylonian Gulf States, Semitic Languages, Thamudic Babylonian, Old Northwest Arabian Arabic, Pseudodual Bac…

B (Bāṭina - bilingualism, Persian/Arabic)

(1,951 words)

Bāṭina Omani Arabic Bāṭina Arabic Omani Arabic, Omani Arabic, Omani Arabic, Omani Arabic …

B (bilingualism, Romance/Arabic - Būlus, Jawād)

(1,844 words)

bilingualism, Romance/Arabic Ibero-Romance Loanwords, Sicily bilingualism, Sindhi/Arabic India, Language Contact bilingualism, South Arabian/Arabic Language Contact, Lingua Franca bilingualism, Uzbek/Tajik Uzbek bilinguals Code-switching, Diglossia biliteral → biradical Biliy Arabic Northwest Arabian Arabic, Northwest Arabian Arabic, Sinai Arabic, Vowel Harmony Biltine Chad Arabic Bimbashi Arabic Juba Arabic bimoraic Phonology bimorphemic question word Interrogative Pronoun Bin Laden → ʾUsāma bin Lādin bināʾ ʾAṣl, Bināʾ, ʾIʿrāb, Jazāʾ, Kalām, Noun Phra…

B (Bung - Bzoch, Kenneth R.)

(213 words)

Bung Cameroon Arabic Bunnags Thai Bura West Sudanic Arabic Buraymi Arabic Omani Arabic Burchardt, Bishop Malta Burckhardt, John Lewis Najdi Arabic, Northwest Arabian Arabic Bureng, George Vincent Juba Arabic Burg Miġīzil Educated Arabic Burger, S. First Language Acquisition Burgess, James Transcription Burkina Faso Bambara Burridge, Kate Dysphemism, Dysphemism, Euphemism Burriel, Andres Marcos Andalus burst Affrication Burt, Marina Second Language Acquisition Burton, John Qirāʾāt, Qurʾān Burton, Richard F. Somalia Burton-Page, J. India Burton-Roberts, Noel Appositi…

Bedouin Arabic

(5,610 words)

Author(s): Judith Rosenhouse
1. Introduction Bedouin Arabic is the colloquial Arabic spoken by speakers who are or consider themselves to be of Bedouin origin. Bedouin dialects have been divided into nomadic and semi-nomadic groups, according to their way of living and its effect on their dialects. Bedouin speakers, whether nomadic or not, constitute one of the two major demographically determined dialect groups of colloquial Arabic, the other one being sedentary dialects. In many regions, however, contemporary dialects are mixtures of Bedouin and sedentary dialects, and the distinction b…


(3,931 words)

Author(s): Farida Abu-Haidar
1. Introduction Sociolinguists dealing with Bedouin-sedentary Arabic contact identify several stages of transition from Bedouin to urban Arabic. Cadora (1992:1), for example, cites the following five stages: Bedouin ⇒ Bedouin-Rural ⇒ Rural ⇒ Rural-Urban ⇒ Urban This is a gradual process that takes place when nomadic tribes settle in sedentary rural or urban areas and level their speech patterns in the direction of the host communities' dialects. Linguistic leveling may be complete or partial, depending on how far the settlers accommodate to their sedentary envir…

Beirut Arabic

(6,303 words)

Author(s): Samia Naïm
1. General Remarks Beirut has a population of 1,500,000 people. The country's oldest urban communities are the Sunnis and Greek-Orthodox. Successive waves of migration brought Maronites, Shiʿis, Druzes, Greek-Catholic, Syriacs, as well as Syrians, Palestinians, Kurds, Armenians, and others. Colloquial Arabic is the means of communication, par excellence. To varying degrees, the population is bilingual: French or English is taught at the primary school level. It is mostly among the upper classes that foreign languages are used, often alternating with A…


(2,157 words)

Author(s): James M. Wilce
Ask Bangladeshis what divides Muslim from Hindu speech and they will mention pani (vs. jɔl) ‘water’. This favorite index actually derives from Sanskrit. Yet, the ‘Muslim’ valeur of pani is a social fact. Such facts warrant attention to ideological representations of ‘Perso-Arabic’ lexemes in Bengali – and suggest that lists of loanwords require reanalysis in terms of ideologies. 1. Semantic domains The semantic categories of Arabic loanwords in Bengali reveal the history of Bengali Islam. “The ordinary Bengali words for ‘paper’ kagɔj (Arabic kaġaḏ) and ‘pen’ kɔlɔm (Arabic qalam) [a…


(2,440 words)

Author(s): Jorge Aguadé
1. Arabic and Berber At the end of the 7th century, when the first Arabs came to Morocco during the Islamic conquests, Berber was the dominant language in Northern Africa with the exception of some Latinized towns on the Mediterranean coast, whose inhabitants were Romance speakers. After the Islamic conquests, the Arabization of the population seems to have been superficial and limited to the major towns. It was only after the arrival of the Arab tribes of the Banū Hilāl and Banū Sulaym in the 12th century that Arabization progressed in the Maghreb (Colin 1986:1193–1194). Mo…

Berber Loanwords

(3,915 words)

Author(s): Abderrahman El Aissati
1. A brief history of Berber/Arabic contacts The oldest known populations of North Africa are the Libyans or libici. Morocco, as part of this area, had its share in the colonization waves under the Phoenicians, the Romans, and finally the Arabs or Muslims in the 7th century. The last wave of Arabic-speaking people arrived in Morocco in the 15th century, as a result of the fall of Muslim Spain. Each of these waves had a large impact on social and cultural life in Morocco. It is clear that Arabic – in its different forms – was the m…

Bʿēri Arabic

(5,132 words)

Author(s): Manfred Woidich
1. General Bʿēri Arabic is a variety of Upper Egyptian Arabic spoken on the West Bank at Luxor between Gurnat Marʿi in the north and Armanṭ in the south in a region named ilBiʿeṛāt (see Ramzī 1963:164). The speakers make a living in agricul- Table 1. Inventory of consonants bilabial labiodental alveolar postalveolar palatal velar pharyngeal laryngeal plosive voiceless, voiced t, d j k, g ʾ emphatic b ṭ, ḍ nasal m n fricatives voiceless, voiced f s, z š x, ġ ḥ, ʿ h emphatic ṣ, ẓ trill r emphatic ṛ lateral l emphatic ḷ glides w y ture and their number is unknown. They claim Bedouin descent fro…