Varieties of Arabic

Sometimes a certain dialect may be associated with backwardness and does not carry mainstream prestige—yet it will continue to be used as it carries a kind of covert prestige and serves to differentiate one group from another when necessary.

Immigrant speakers of Arabic often incorporate a significant amount of vocabulary from the host-country language in their speech, in a situation analogous to Spanglish in the United States.

Even within countries where the official language is Arabic, different varieties of Arabic are spoken. For example, within Syria, the Arabic spoken in Homs is recognized as different from the Arabic spoken in Damascus, but both are considered to be varieties of "Levantine" Arabic. And within Morocco, the Arabic of the city of Fes is considered different from the Arabic spoken elsewhere in the country.

Egyptian linguist Al-Said Badawi proposed the following distinctions between the different "levels of speech" involved when speakers of Egyptian Arabic switch between vernacular and formal Arabic varieties:

All varieties, sedentary and nomadic, differ in the following ways from Classical Arabic (CA)
All dialects except some Bedouin dialects of the Arabian peninsula share the following innovations from CA
The following innovations are characteristic of many or most sedentary dialects