Iraqi arabic

Mesopotamian Arabic
Iraqi Arabic
عراقي ʕirāqi
Pronunciation [ʕɪˈrɑːqi]
Native to Iraq, Syria, Iran, Turkey
Region Mesopotamia, Armenia, Cilicia
Native speakers unknown (undated figure of 15 million)Template:Infobox language/ref
Language family
Writing system Arabic alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3 acm
Linguist List Template:Infobox language/linguistlist
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Mesopotamian Arabic, also known as Iraqi Arabic, is a continuum of mutually intelligible Arabic dialects native to the Mesopotamian basin of Iraq as well as spanning into central and northern Syria,[1] western Iran,[1] southeastern Turkey,[2] and spoken in Iraqi diaspora communities. In its various forms, it is the official vernacular of Iraq.


Aramaic was the lingua franca in Mesopotamia from the early 1st millennium BCE until the late 1st millennium CE, and as may be expected; Iraqi Arabic shows signs of an Aramaic substrate.[3] The Gelet variety has retained features of Babylonian Aramaic.[3]

Due to Iraq's inherent multiculturalism as well as history, Iraqi Arabic in turn bears extensive borrowings in its lexicon from Aramaic, Akkadian, Persian, Kurdish and Turkish.


Mesopotamian Arabic has two major varieties. A distinction is recognised between Gelet Mesopotamian Arabic and Qeltu Mesopotamian Arabic, the names deriving from the form of the word for "I said".[4]

The southern (Gelet) group includes a Tigris dialect cluster, of which the best-known form is Baghdadi Arabic, and a Euphrates dialect cluster, known as Furati (Euphrates Arabic). The Gelet variety is also spoken in the Khuzestan Province of Iran.[1]

The northern (Qeltu) group includes the north Tigris dialect cluster, also known as North Mesopotamian Arabic or Maslawi (Mosul Arabic), as well as both Jewish and Christian sectarian dialects (such as Baghdad Jewish Arabic).


Both the Gelet and the Qeltu varieties of Iraqi Arabic are spoken in Syria,[1][2] the former is spoken on the Euphrates east of Aleppo, and the latter is spoken in the Upper Khabur area and across the border in Turkey.[2]

Cypriot Arabic shares a large number of common features with Mesopotamian Arabic;[5] particularly the northern variety, and has been reckoned as belonging to this dialect area.[6]


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