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Episode 1851             Episode 1853
Episode 1852

Levantine Arabic
Tue, 2022-May-31 00:58 UTC
Length - 3:00

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Tuesday, 31 May 2022 is Levantine Arabic.

Levantine Arabic, also called Shami (autonym: ‏شامي‎ šāmi or اللهجة الشامية il-lahje š-šāmiyye), is a group of mutually intelligible vernacular Arabic varieties spoken in the Levant, in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, and Turkey (historically in Adana, Mersin and Hatay only). With over 44 million speakers, Levantine is, alongside Egyptian, one of the two prestige varieties of spoken Arabic comprehensible all over the Arab world.

Levantine is not officially recognized in any state or territory. Although it is the majority language in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria, it is predominantly used as a spoken vernacular in daily communication, whereas most written and official documents and media in these countries use the official Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), a form of literary Arabic only acquired through formal education that does not function as a native language. In Israel and Turkey, Levantine is a minority language.

The Palestinian dialect is the closest vernacular Arabic variety to MSA, with about 50% of common words. Nevertheless, Levantine and MSA are not mutually intelligible. Levantine speakers therefore often call their language ‏العامية‎ al-ʿāmmiyya listen , 'slang', 'dialect', or 'colloquial'. However, with the emergence of social media, attitudes toward Levantine have improved. The amount of written Levantine has significantly increased, especially online, where Levantine is written using Arabic, Latin, or Hebrew characters. Levantine pronunciation varies greatly along social, ethnic, and geographical lines. Its grammar is similar to that shared by most vernacular varieties of Arabic. Its lexicon is overwhelmingly Arabic, with a significant Aramaic influence.

The lack of written sources in Levantine makes it impossible to determine its history before the modern period. Aramaic was the dominant language in the Levant starting in the 1st millennium BCE; it coexisted with other languages, including many Arabic dialects spoken by various Arab tribes. With the Muslim conquest of the Levant, new Arabic speakers from the Arabian Peninsula settled in the area, and a lengthy language shift from Aramaic to vernacular Arabic occurred.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:58 UTC on Tuesday, 31 May 2022.

For the full current version of the article, see Levantine Arabic on Wikipedia.

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