This paper delves into the history of the Hejazi dialect. The paper researches the various forms of the Hejazi dialect and then provides some brief examples of the difference that this dialect has from other Arabic dialects.
History of the Hejazi Dialect
There is no explicit information provided about the origin of Hejazi dialect. However, since it’s spoken in the western side of Saudi Arabia, it can be taken to mean that it’s indigenous to this region. The Hejazi dialect, is spoken in the Hejazi area of Saudi Arabia, is a form of the Arabic language. Sometimes it’s called Arabiya. It’s classified as Afro-Asiatic, in the branch of Central Semitic of the Semitic. Of the four dialects of the Arabic language, that is, Northern, Central, Southern and Southern; it’s is classified as a Southern dialect. The people who speak this dialect are called Hejazis. As James (2002) notes the dialect language has borrowed extensively from both Arabic languages and non-Arabic languages. The growth of the Hejazi dialect could be attributed to the fact that it was the medium of communication when trading in most parts of the area of the Red Sea (p. 733).
Kinds of the Hejazi Arabic dialect
There are two forms of the Hejazi dialect. These two dialects are Bedouin Hejazi dialects and the Urban Hejazi dialects.
The Bedouin Hejazi dialect
There is a close similarity between basic languages spoken by the members of the ethnic groups bordering the Hejazi region. Perhaps this is attributed by the fact that a considerable number of the Arab ethnic groups originated from Hejaz and settled on the adjacent areas. Some of these tribes include Harb, Mutayr, Bani Khalid, Utaybah and the Ansaar tribe. During the migration of these tribes aforementioned from Hejazi, there was a number of other Arabic tribes that had preceded them. Such tribes include Ghatafan, Juhayna, Kinana and Banu Sulayan.
However, it cannot be overlooked that the tribes that are closer or that migrated from Hejazi at a later period compared to those who migrated earlier show strikingly similarities than the latter. These similarities can be picked from the dialogue of the members of those tribes. Examples of those tribes include Nejd, which being closer to Hejazi has an evident dialect that assert heavily borrowing of words and/or close similarity to the rest of the Bedouin dialects. The similarity depicted the various dialects can be placed into two groups; these groups are the southern and the northern dialects.
The southern dialects show explicit similarities with the other dialects that are found in both Nejd and Asir regions. Conversely, the northern dialects depict similarities with other dialects that are found in Sinai and Jordan (AVIA (n.d)). However, no matter the location of the ethnic groups that speak the various dialects, either southern or northern dialects, their similarities in one form or the point some form of affinity.
The Urban Hejazi dialects
As the term “urban” suggests, this form of dialect is embraced in the urban centers. Examples of these cities where the Urban Hejazi dialect is spoken include and not limited to, Mecca, Ta’if, Jeddah, Medina and Yanbu: these cities are located in the western Saudi Arabia. Among the cities aforementioned, is Mecca, a city that is renowned for being the holiest location in the Islamic religion and that sees annual pilgrimages known as Hajj. Thus the Urban Hejazi dialect has been greatly modified by the pilgrims who have been making the journeys for a long time, more so in the cities of Mecca and Medina. Other forms of interactions that brought ne words from the outside include through movement by the immigrants and foreign employees. Some of the countries that through the interaction with the Arabic regions and have led to the transformation of the Urban Hejazi include Jordan, Palestine and Egypt.
These borrowed words were bred with the Hejazi language and lost their pronunciations that they had when they were borrowed from their origins and got a touch that made them seem as if they were indigenous to the region. This is because the interaction with foreigners, the borrowing of the words and the transformation took many centuries. Thus, the Urban Hejazi dialect has explicit difference with the other forms of dialects. There is an explicit difference between the components of the Urban Hajezi dialect and those that are spoken in the rural regions by the ethnic tribes. However, there are little differences, almost indiscernible, between the features of the dialect spoken in some urban centers and that in the rural areas. Some of these urban centers that don’t have sharp contrast with the dialect spoken by the rural ethnic tribes are towns that are found in Najdi; examples of such towns include Ha’il, Riyadh and Burayda.
Differences between Hejazi dialects from other Arabic dialects
The following are examples of the how this dialect differs from other Arabic dialects. Whereas Hejazis pronounce /yiktub/, the Najdis pronounce it as /yaktib/. Both mean a single thing: they write. Whereas in Urban Hejazi dialect the word is pronounced as “samaka”, the Syrian dialect pronounce it as “samake”, yet, they mean the same thing: fish.The Urban Hejazi dialect pronounces the word as “indakum”, the Bedouin dialect “indikom”, an Egyptian dialect as “andoko” while a Lebanese dialect as,”andkun”. However it’s one thing that is mean: to possess.
(AVIA), A. V. (n.d.). Urban Hijazi Arabic. Retrieved November 26, 2011, from Homepage: http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~nlynn/AVIA/Level3/hejazi/h_default.htm
James, M. (2002). Encyclopedia of the Stateless NATIONS: D-K. Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group.