In this article, we will talk a little about the geography of the Levantine area and the countries that are considered among the Levantine Arabic-speaking countries. We will talk about the spoken dialects there and focus on the Syrian Arabic dialect and its relation to the Levantine Arabic. We will also give instructions on how to learn Syrian Arabic using the online courses in Arabic on our website www.communityofbabel.com and illustrate our vision on the best way to learn Arabic online.
The Levant is a geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. It may include several regions of the Middle East but mainly it refers to four countries; which are: Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine.
Historically, Aramaic, among other languages, was the main spoken language of the region before the advent of Arabic and is still spoken among some Syriac Christian denominations. However, after the Islamic-Arabic conquests of the area, the Aramaic language started fading and Arabic started to be used more among the people of the Levantine area due to the spread of Islam. It took some time because it was hard to learn Arabic quickly, but eventually, Arabic became the most common language there as the Levantine area was officially considered a part of the Arab world.
However, classical Arabic didn't remain the same. Due to its interference with other languages and its exposure to lots of nations and cultures, it lost a lot of its characteristics. Especially, on the grammatical level. The spoken Arabic
language gave less interest to the complicated grammar in classical Arabic. Also, a lot of vocabulary was taken or borrowed from other languages. Thus, currently, there are a lot of spoken Arabic dialects. Levantine Arabic is mostly affected by Aramaic, Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, and others. Also, English and French conquests of the area brought a lot of western vocabulary into the language. A lot of words were taken from English to Levantine Arabic as it is without any change.
Syrian Arabic dialect: As mentioned before; Levantine Arabic is spoken in four countries, which are: Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine. However, each country has its own accent and distinctive vocabulary. The difference between them may be trivial, mainly in pronunciation, and some vocabulary. These differences will only be spotted from different countries within the Levant But to a non-Levant person, the four accents are close to each other, especially, the Syrian and Lebanese dialects (Northern Levantine), and the Jordan and Palestine dialects (Southern Levantine). Here, in the community of babel, we focus mainly on the Syrian Arabic dialect and Syrian Arabic phrases. The reason for that is because It's the most known of Levantine Arabic dialects amongst people of the Middle East and most Arabs are familiar with the Syrian Levantine Arabic words and phrases. First, Syria is the largest country in the Levantine area with the highest population; meaning, more people speak Syrian Arabic. Second, Syria is well known for its soap operas which are broadcasted all over the Middle East. Plus, Turkish melodrama and series have been a huge hit in the Arab world for a long time. How is
this relevant to the Syrian dialect? Well, most Turkish melodramas broadcasted in Arabic televisions were dubbed into the Syrian dialect making the Syrian Arabic dialect one of the most understandable dialects in the Arab world.
How to learn Syrian Arabic: Many people nowadays use the internet to learn Arabic online. On www.communityofbabel.com you can find a lot of online courses in Arabic to different Arabic dialects. Among them, many Levantine Arabic courses that teach you step-by-step Levantine Arabic words and phrases alongside grammatical tips and analyses. You will also find audio files attached to every lesson which allow you to listen to the right pronunciation by native Syrian speakers that gets you familiar with the language and the Syrian Arabic phrases. The best way to learn Arabic quickly is by actively listening to recordings with keeping an eye on the text over and over again. You might not focus very well in the beginning and the recordings might sound like mumbling noises. But with time, you will feel more comfortable with the language and more advanced levels will be easier to learn.