World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Cypriot Arabic

Article Id: WHEBN0010413767
Reproduction Date:

Title: Cypriot Arabic  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Arabic language, Cyprus, List of official languages by state, ISO 639 macrolanguage, Cypriot American
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Cypriot Arabic

Cypriot Arabic
Native to Cyprus
Region Kormakitis and urban areas in the south
Ethnicity Maronite community of Cyprus
Native speakers 900  (2011)Template:Infobox language/ref
Language family
Writing system Greek and Latin
Official status
Recognised minority language in  Cyprus
Language codes
ISO 639-3 acy
Linguist List Template:Infobox language/linguistlist
  Template:Infobox language/linguistlist
  Template:Infobox language/linguistlist
  Template:Infobox language/linguistlist
  Template:Infobox language/linguistlist
  Template:Infobox language/linguistlist
Kormakitis in Cyprus, former stronghold of the language
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Cypriot Arabic, known as Cypriot Maronite Arabic, is a moribund variety of Arabic spoken by the Maronite community of Cyprus. Formerly speakers were mostly situated in Kormakitis, but following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the majority relocated to the south and spreadTemplate:Sfnp leading to the decline of the language.Template:Sfnp Traditionally bilingual in Cypriot Greek, as of 2011, all 900 remaining speakersTemplate:Sfnp of Cypriot Arabic are over 30 years of age.[1]

History and classification

Cypriot Arabic was first introduced to Cyprus by Maronites fleeing Syria and Lebanon between the ninth and tenth century.Template:SfnpTemplate:Sfnp Since 2002, it is one of UNESCO-designated severely endangered languagesTemplate:Sfnp and, since 2008, it is recognised as a minority language of Cyprus,[2] coinciding with an attempt to revitalise the language that may prove to be futile.Template:Sfnp

Cypriot Arabic shares a large number of common features with Mesopotamian Arabic;Template:Sfnp particularly the northern variety, and has been reckoned as belonging to this dialect area.Template:Sfnp It also shares many traits with Levantine Arabic. It is believed these common features go back to a period in which there was a dialect continuum between the Mesopotamian dialects and the Syrian dialect area.Template:Sfnp


Borg (1997) argues that the sound system of Cypriot Arabic has been heavily influenced by that of Cypriot Greek. Even so, Cypriot Arabic has lost all emphatic consonants and stop voicing opposition (though this is subject to debate in literature)Template:Sfnp—but retained gemination. Geminate voiceless stops surface as aspirates.Template:Sfnp The consonant phonemes of Cypriot Arabic according to Borg (1997) are: /m n p t k f v θ ð s z ʃ ʒ x j l r ʕ/. Affricates [t͡ʃ d͡ʒ] occur as allophones of clusters /tʃ dʒ/. Voiced stops occur as allophones of voiceless stops intervocalically and next to a sonorant or /z/.Template:Sfnp There are five vowel phonemes, /a e i o u/, and two diphthongs, /aj aw/.Template:Sfnp

Phonological phenomena observed in Cypriot Arabic include:Template:Sfnp

  • Historical stop + stop clusters are dissimilated to fricative + stop.
  • /k x/ are palatalized to [c ç] before /i e j/. /j/ is fully assimilated.
  • /j/ between an obstruent and a vowel surfaces as [kj].
  • An epenthetic stop occurs between a nasal and a continuant or sonorant. Place of this epenthetic stop is carried over from the nasal and voicing from the succeeding consonant.

Phenomena similar to the first three are also observed in Cypriot Greek.


Cypriot Arabic has a large number of Syriac and Greek loans.[1]

Writing system

In May 2009, the so-called "Committee of Experts for the Codification of Cypriot Maronite Arabic" submitted to the Cypriot government a proposal for the codification of Cypriot Arabic.Template:Sfnp It is unclear whether this will be in the Greek or Latin script; both have apparently been suggested.Template:Sfnp There exists a Cypriot Arabic–Greek translation dictionary, where the Greek alphabet is used for Cypriot Arabic lemmas.Template:Sfnp


Ismi o Kumetto. Ayşo ismak l-id? My name is Kumetto. What is your name?
Ismi l-ana o Pavlo. Ayşo ismik l-idi? My name is Pavlo. What is your name? (fem.)
L-aδa aş pikulullu? What is his name?
L-ism tel l-yapati o Antoni My father's name is Antoni
Xmenye u tisca aşka pisawnna? What do eight and nine make?
Pisawnna caşra u sapca. They make seventeen
Aş xar kan imps? Imps kan Yamuxmis What day was yesterday? Yesterday was Thursday
Aş xar tte kun pukra? Pukra tte kun Yamussift What day is tomorrow? Tomorrow is Saturday
Yamuxxat marrux fi li knise On Sunday we go to church
Kilt xops ma zaytun, xaytċ casel u şraft xlip tel pakra I ate bread with olives, some honey and drank some cow's milk
Ye Yes
La No

All letters loosely represent their IPA values, with some exceptions:

See also

Notes and references


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.