Jordanian Arabic: Spoken Grammar Variations

About the Research

While Arabic is usually thought of as one language, it includes numerous dialects that can be mutually unintelligible to each other. The literary language is known as Modern Standard Arabic and it’s the only official version of the language, used in written newspapers and spoken broadcasts or lectures throughout the Arabic speaking world. However, in an everyday spoken context, each region has its own specific dialect of Arabic. You can see in the map to the right, each different color swatch represents a distinctive dialect of Arabic that is spoken in that geographic region. For reference, the dialect that this project focuses on, Levantine or 'shaami' in Arabic, is the light green area shading in parts of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine.


The rules between Modern Standard Arabic and the different dialects can be similar, but often, the grammar rules in dialect are much simpler and alternated to make speaking easier and more natural. This project focuses on the Jordanian dialect of Arabic, as spoken by people in the capital city of Amman, and a few specific grammar applications in the dialect. It looks at aspects of morphology among verb prefixes, gender agreement, and phonetics and elision in prepositions.

The main research question this project tackles is exploring varying ways in which dialectal Arabic uses, ignores, and manipulates the loosely held grammar rules of the dialect. It does this through analyzing spoken dialect in context to understand how the speaker is using the language and what rules they may be following or disregarding, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Creative Commons License
Jordanian Arabic by Amber Montgomery is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.