Najdi Arabic

Najdi Arabic (Arabic: اللهجة النجدية) is the group of Arabic varieties originating from the Najd region of Saudi Arabia. The group includes the majority of bedouin tribes historically residing in deserts surrounding Najd, and as a result several regions surrounding Najd, including the Eastern Province, Al Jawf, Najran, and Northern Borders Regions are now mostly Najdi-speaking.[citation needed] Outside of Saudi Arabia, it is also the main Arabic variety spoken in the Syrian Desert of Iraq, Jordan, and Syria (with the exception of Palmyra oasis and settlements dotting the Euphrates, where Mesopotamian Arabic is spoken) as well as the westernmost part of Kuwait.

Najdi Arabic
Native toSaudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria
Native speakers
4.05 million (2011-2015)[1]
Arabic alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3ars
Glottolognajd1235
Árabe najdí.png

Najdi Arabic can be divided into four region-based groups:

  1. Northern Najdi, spoken by the tribe of Shammar and surrounding tribes in Ha'il Region in Najd and the Syrian Desert.[2][3]
  2. Mixed northern-central Najdi of Al-Qassim, and the tribe of Dhafeer around Kuwait.[3][4]
  3. Central Najdi (Urban Najdi), spoken in the city of Riyadh and surrounding towns and farming communities, and by the tribe of Anazah in the Syrian Desert.[3][2]
  4. Southern Najdi, spoken by the tribes of Qahtan and Banu Yam, including in the Rub' al-Khali and Najran, as well as the branches of Banu Yam, Ajman and Al Murrah in Eastern Arabia.[3][4]

PhonologyEdit

ConsonantsEdit

Here is a table of the consonant sounds of Najdi Arabic. The phones [p]پ⟩ and [v]ڤ⟩ (not used by all speakers) are not considered to be part of the phonemic inventory, as they exist only in foreign words and can be pronounced as /b/ and /f/ respectively depending on the speaker.[5]

Consonants[6][7]
Labial Inter-
Dental
Dental
Alveolar
Palatal Velar Pharyngeal Glottal
 plain  emphatic
Nasal m n
Stop voiceless (p) t k ʔ
voiced b d d͡ʒ ɡ
Affricate voiceless ts
voiced dz
Fricative voiceless f θ s ʃ x~χ ħ h
voiced (v) ð z ðˤ ɣ~ʁ ʕ
Trill r
Approximant l j w

Phonetic notes:

  • /ɡ/ is the modern reflex of Classical /q/ق⟩, though /q/ can appear in a few loanwords from Modern Standard Arabic and proper names, as in القرآن [alqurˈʔaːn] ('Quran') and قانون [qaːnuːn] ('law').[7]
  • The distinction between the Classical Arabic⟩ and ⟨ظ⟩ was completely lost in Najdi Arabic, and both are realised as [ðˤ].[8] /tˤ/ is sometimes voiced.[6]
  • The phonemes /ɣ/غ⟩ and /x/خ⟩ can be realised as uvular fricatives [ʁ] and [χ] respectively.
  • Northern and central dialects feature affricates [t͡s] and [d͡z] as allophonic variants of the velar stops /k/ and /ɡ/, respectively, particularly in the context of front vowels e.g. كَلْب [t͡salb] ('dog').[9][8][10] Dialect leveling as a result of influence from the Riyadh-based prestige varieties has led to the affricate allophones becoming increasingly less common among younger speakers.[10]
  • Historically, /ʔ/ was deleted. It now appears only in borrowings from Classical Arabic; word-medially, this deletion comes along with the lengthening of short vowels.[11]

VowelsEdit

Vowels of Najdi Arabic[12][13]
Front Central Back
short long short long short long
Close ɪ ʊ
Mid
Open a

Unless adjacent to /ɣ x h ħ ʕ/, /a/ is raised in open syllables to [i], [ɨ], or [u], depending on neighboring sounds.[14] Remaining /a/ may become fronted to [æ~ɛ] in the context of front sounds, as well as adjacent to the pharyngeals /ħ ʕ/.[12]

Najdi Arabic exhibits the so-called gahawa syndrome, insertion of epenthetic /a/ after (/h x, ɣ ħ, ʕ/). For example, [gahwah] > [gahawah].

When short /a/ appears in an open syllable that is followed by a nonfinal light syllable, it is deleted. For example, /saħab-at/ is realized as [sˈħa.bat].[15] This, combined with the gahawa syndrome can make underlying sequence of /a/ and a following guttural consonant (/h x, ɣ ħ, ʕ/) to appear metathesized, e.g. /ʕistaʕʒal/ ('got in a hurry') [ʕistˈʕaʒal].[16]

Short high vowels are deleted in non-final open syllables, such as /tirsil-uːn/ ('you [m. sg.] send') [tirsˈluːn].[17]

There is both limited distributional overlap and free variation between [i] and [u], with the latter being more likely in the environment of bilabials, pharyngealized consonants, and /r/.[6]

The mid vowels /eː oː/ are typically monophthongs, though they can be pronounced as diphthongs when preceding a plosive, e.g. /beːt/ ('house') [beit].[12] [ei]

GrammarEdit

MorphologyEdit

Najdi Arabic sentence structure can have the word order VSO and SVO, however, VSO usually occurs more often.[18] NA morphology is distinguished by three categories which are: nouns ism, verb fial, and particle harf. Ism means name in Arabic and it corresponds to nouns and adjectives in English. Fial means action in Arabic and it corresponds to verbs. Harf means letter and corresponds to pronouns, demonstratives, prepositions, conjunctions and articles.

Verbs are inflected for number, gender, person, tense, aspect and transitives. Nouns show number (singular and plural) and gender (masculine and feminine).[19]

Complementizers in NA have three different classes which are: relative particle, declarative particle, and interrogative particles. The three different complementizers that are used in Najdi Arabic are: illi, in, itha.[20]

NegationEdit

Two particles are used in negation, which are: ma and la. These particles come before the verb in verbal sentences.[18] ma is used with all verbal sentences but la is used with imperative verb forms indicating present and future tense.[19]

Tense/Aspect SystemEdit

Najdi Arabic exhibits a number of discourse particles whose main function is to mark different tenses and aspects, including the perfective, imperfective, and progressive aspects. These speech particles "form a link between the time of occurrence of the verb and a point of reference not concurrent with it".[21] [22] cites six "relative time markers":[21]

  • [d͡zid] ('already')
  • [ʕaːd] ('still, anymore')
  • [maː ʕaːd] ('no longer, no more')
  • [baʕad] ('still')
  • [maː baʕad] ('not yet')
  • [taww-] ('just')

Most of these discourse particles are preverbal, yet a few of them can show up in non-verbal sentences.[21] These discourse particles have a number of features when they show up in speech:[23]

  1. The particle [taww] occurs with the perfective and active particle and is almost always followed by a personal pronoun suffix.
  2. A few of these particles are not pre-verbal, i.e, they can show up with non-verbal sentences.
  3. Their function is similar, "setting the time of occurrence of the situation referred to by the sentence in relation to a point of reference".[21]
  4. The particles [ʕaːd] and [baʕad] can sometimes have a suffix in the affirmative.
  5. The particle [maː ʕaːd] occurs with the perfective and imperfective.
  6. The particles [ʕaːd] and [baʕad] occur with the imperfective and the active participle.
  7. The particle [maː baʕad] occurs with the perfective.

The following examples illustrate the use of these discourse particles in Najdi Arabic:[24]

  • [ʕaːd]

ʕaːd-ik

still.2SG

bduwi

bedouin

ʕaːd-ik bduwi

still.2SG bedouin

'you are still a bedouin'

ħaːmid

Hamid

ʕaːd

still

ʃiftih

see.PERF.3SG

ħaːmid ʕaːd ʃiftih

Hamid still see.PERF.3SG

'have you seen Hamid any more?'

  • [maʕaːd]

leːn

until

sˤirt

become.PERF.1SG

maː

NEG

ʕaːd

longer

aħiss

1SG-feel-IMPERF

biʔajj

any

farɡ

difference

 

 

 

 

leːn sˤirt maː ʕaːd aħiss biʔajj farɡ    

until become.PERF.1SG NEG longer 1SG-feel-IMPERF any difference    

'until I could no longer feel any difference'

maː

NEG

ʕaːd

longer

ʃiftih

see.PERF.3SG

maː ʕaːd ʃiftih

NEG longer see.PERF.3SG

'I have not seen him anymore'

  • [baʕad]

baʕad-hum

still-3PL

jsulifuːn

talk.IMPERF.3PL

baʕad-hum jsulifuːn

still-3PL talk.IMPERF.3PL

'they are still talking'

baʕad-hum

still.3PL

hnaj'ja

here

baʕad-hum hnaj'ja

still.3PL here

'they are still here'

  • [maː baʕad]

maː

NEG

baʕad

yet

ligeːt

find.PERF.1SG

aħdin

anyone

jwasˤsˤilha

send.IMPERF.3SG

maː baʕad ligeːt aħdin jwasˤsˤilha

NEG yet find.PERF.1SG anyone send.IMPERF.3SG

'I have not yet found anyone to send it'

ila

to

l-ħiːn

now

maː

NEG

'baʕad

yet

garrart

decide.PERF.3SG

ʃajj

thing

ila l-ħiːn maː 'baʕad garrart ʃajj

to now NEG yet decide.PERF.3SG thing

'up till now I have not yet decided anything'

  • [taww]

taww

just

nuːrah

Nurah

hnajja

here

taww nuːrah hnajja

just Nurah here

'Nurah was just here'

taww-ih

just.3SG

d͡ʒaːj

arrive.IMPERF.3SG

taww-ih d͡ʒaːj

just.3SG arrive.IMPERF.3SG

'he has just arrived'

In addition to these, [d͡zid] ('already') may occur before the main verb[25][page needed] to convey that something has been done but is no longer the case (equivalent to the experiential perfect in English).[26] There are a number of meanings of [d͡zid] depending on context:

  • 'had done' when occurring with a past reference point
  • 'has done' when occurring with a present reference point
  • 'already' when the action has actually occurred previously to the time of utterance
  • 'never' with a negative sentence that has a present reference point
  • 'ever' with an interrogative sentence with a present reference point.

The following examples illustrate the use of the particle [d͡zid]:[27]

hu

he

d͡zid

EXP

ritsib

ride.PERF.3SG

hu d͡zid ritsib

he EXP ride.PERF.3SG

'He has ridden'

int

you

d͡zid

already

d͡ʒiː-ta-hum

come.PERF.2SG.3PL

gabul

before

int d͡zid d͡ʒiː-ta-hum gabul

you already come.PERF.2SG.3PL before

'You have visited them before' (I think)'

maː

NEG

d͡zid

EXP

ʃif-t-ih

see.PERF.1SG-3SG

maː d͡zid ʃif-t-ih

NEG EXP see.PERF.1SG-3SG

'I have never seen him'

ana

I

laħaɡ-t-kum

follow.PERF-1SG-2PL

laːkin

but

d͡zid

EXP

taʕaddeː-tu

pass.PER-.2PL

l-kullijjah

DEF-college

ana laħaɡ-t-kum laːkin d͡zid taʕaddeː-tu l-kullijjah

I follow.PERF-1SG-2PL but EXP pass.PER-.2PL DEF-college

'I came after you, but you had already turned the corner of the college'

In addition, the progressive aspect is marked by the particle [qaʕid] ('to sit').[28][page needed][29] The particle [qaʕid] surfaces with a verb in the imperfective aspect but cannot surface with a verb in the perfective aspect, as shown in the following two sentences:[30]

ɡaʔid

AUX

ja-ɡra

3SG.MASC-read.IMPERF

al-kitaab

DEF.book

ɡaʔid ja-ɡra al-kitaab

AUX 3SG.MASC-read.IMPERF DEF.book

'he is reading the book'

*ɡaʔid

AUX

ɡara

read.PERF.3SG

al-kitaab

DEF-book

*ɡaʔid ɡara al-kitaab

AUX read.PERF.3SG DEF-book

'he is reading the book'

The progressive aspect in Najdi Arabic (as well as other dialects is expressed by the imperfective form of the verb, often preceded by the active particle [qaʕid].Holes (1990)[page needed] The following examples to illustrate the use of [qaʕid] to express the progressive aspect:[31]

qaʕid

sit.ACT.PTCP.3SG.M

aːlʕab

play.IPFV.3SG.M

kuːrah

soccer

qaʕid aːlʕab kuːrah

sit.ACT.PTCP.3SG.M play.IPFV.3SG.M soccer

'I am playing soccer'

qaʕid

sit.ACT.PTCP.3SG.M

ʔamʃiː

walk.IPFV.3SG.M

qaʕid ʔamʃiː

sit.ACT.PTCP.3SG.M walk.IPFV.3SG.M

'I am walking'

See alsoEdit

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ "Arabic, Najdi Spoken". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2018-08-08.
  2. ^ a b Ingham (1986), p. 274.
  3. ^ a b c d Al Motairi (2015), p. 4.
  4. ^ a b Ingham (1994), p. 5.
  5. ^ Al Motairi (2015), p. 5.
  6. ^ a b c Ingham (1994), p. 14.
  7. ^ a b Al Motairi (2015), p. 6.
  8. ^ a b Al Motairi (2015), p. 7.
  9. ^ Ingham (1986), p. 274, 278.
  10. ^ a b Al-Rojaie (2013), p. 46.
  11. ^ Ingham (1994), p. 13.
  12. ^ a b c Ingham (1994), p. 15.
  13. ^ Al Motairi (2015), p. 8.
  14. ^ McCarthy (2007:177, 178), citing Al-Mozainy (1981:64ff)
  15. ^ McCarthy (2007), pp. 181.
  16. ^ McCarthy (2007), pp. 205.
  17. ^ McCarthy (2007), pp. 187.
  18. ^ a b Ingham (1994), pp. 37–44.
  19. ^ a b Alothman (2012), p. 96–121.
  20. ^ Lewis Jr. (2013), p. 22.
  21. ^ a b c d Ingham (1994), p. 107.
  22. ^ Ingham (1994).
  23. ^ Ingham (1994), pp. 107–8.
  24. ^ Ingham (1994), pp. 108–9.
  25. ^ Alshammari & Alshammari (2020).
  26. ^ Ingham (1994), p. 104.
  27. ^ Ingham (1994), p. 104–5.
  28. ^ Al Aloula (2021).
  29. ^ This is particle is also a feature of nearby Arabic dialects, including other dialects of Saudi Arabia, as well as Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Oman (Holes 1990)[page needed]
  30. ^ Lewis Jr (2013), p. 14.
  31. ^ Al Aloula (2021), p. 3.

BibliographyEdit

Further readingEdit

  • P.F. Abboud. 1964. "The Syntax of Najdi Arabic", University of Texas PhD dissertation.
  • Al-Mozainy, Hamza Q (1981). Vowel Alternations in a Bedouin Hijazi Arabic Dialect: Abstractness and Stress (Thesis). Austin, Texas: University of Texas, Austin.
  • Al-Sudais, M. S. A critical and comparative study of modern Najdi Arabic Proverbs. PhD diss., University of Leeds, 1976.