Khaleeji (Arab Gulf) Dialectic
Khaleeji (Arab Gulf) Dialectic
Khaleeji dialectic or Gulf Arabic is the language of Arabic native to Arab nationals such as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar or Kuwait. Constitute countries of UAE include Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi among other member countries. Others include Kuwait, Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and most parts of Southern Iraq, State of Qatar and the Sultanante of Oman. Khaleeji is not a written but spoken language by many countries in United Arab Emirates (Sami, 1999). Countries within these regions are Arabic which is also known as Modern Standard Arabic (MSA).
Gulf Arabic also known as Khaleeji is a variety of Arabic language spoken by nationalities from Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Khaleeji dialectic has some notable characteristics that differentiate it from other Arabian dialects such as a number of slang terms and pronunciation of certain words. The users of the language have similar ethical originality especially true Arabs who trace their origin from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar or Bahrain. Immigrants from Persian Gulf have different language from that of Khaleeji.
A good example to reflect this is the use of language by people from GCC who are in a position to communicate and understand each other because their dialect is very similar (Gabriel, 2003). Accent of different users tend to differ from one region to another owing to their place of origin. United Arab Emirates share a lot of slang terms with individuals from Bahrain. People from Bahrain and Qatar both have undeniable similarity in the use of their language. Saudi Arabia itself has a number of dialects whereby people from the northern part of the country sound different from those from the southern part of the country.
People from Jeddah have notable accent while those from Eastern province have an accent similar to those from Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait (Jacques, 2003). The language is used in the press such as television, radios, magazines and newspapers. Officials in the government use this language to communicate important information and it is applied in day-to-day tasks by Gulf Arabs. Gulf Arabic is a variety of Arabic language spoken around the Persian Gulf. Some notable characteristics that differentiate Khaleeji language include small number of Persian loanwords and pronunciation of “k” as “ch” (Leslie, 2003).
The background of Khaleeji dialectic can be traced from Old North Arabian dialects of pre-Islamic Arabia. As a matter of fact, early Arabic language had noticeable dialect distinctions between Adnan, Himyar and Qahtanite. The spread of Islam in 7th century made Quranic Araqbic to be one of the most prevalent dialects (Buhier, 2001). Vernacular Arabic was first recognized as a written language in contrast to Classical Arabic during the 17th century. In African continent, Egypt was a major developer of elite that led to formation of certain trends towards colloquial writing.
In the modern world, Arabs have different spoken dialects from literary Arabic. Another basis of Khaleeji dialect is related to Arabic pronunciation which is central to Semitic language. The language is related to other Semitic languages such as Hebrew and Neo-Aramaic languages. Khaleeji language has more speakers than any other language in Semitic language family. It is the first language with a number of two hundred and eighty million people. Most of the people speaking this language live in Middle East and North Africa. Khaleeji dialect has a variety of geographically distributed speakers some of which are mutually unintelligible.
The Islamic world has borrowed a number of words from Arabic languages meaning that they share certain accents. In the middle ages, Arabic was a major concern of cultural practices by many European languages. Arabic language has influence from many Mediterranean languages especially Spanish, Sicilian and Portuguese (Mufwene, 2001). This owes both to proximity of Arab civilizations and European during the 700 years of Islamic rule. Khaleeji dialect borrows words from other languages including Hebrew, Persian and Syriac in the early centuries. In the modern times, Arabic language has some sentiments of European language.
The central dialect known as Khaleeji in Saudi Arabia is one of the closest dialects to classical Arabic. The Arabs are united by one language which is a common aspect that helped the Arabs to change Persian Gulf. A brief description of the Persian Gulf a major development in Khaleeji dialect is very crucial to help understand the background of such language (Hrair, 1998). The Persian Gulf was a re-known transportation route that declined with fall of Mesopotamia. The region was under the control of Arabs, Persians, Western Europeans and Turks. The Arabs, Persians and Turks are our major relevant issues in this paper.
The Arab sheikhdoms of Persian Gulf signed perpetual maritime truce that led to formalization of certain truces. The sheiks agreed to stop harassment of British shipping in Arabian Sea and recognize Britain as the dominant power in the gulf. These Sheikdoms became to be known as the crucial States upon the agreements by major powers around 1907. This led to a development of Khaleeji dialect which differentiates individuals from different Arabic background. Arabic language is Semitic with a variety of dialects that diverge from one country to another and within single country.
There are two major classification of the language such as classical and standard Arabic with certain variants. Arabic in its native environment occurs in a diglossic situation meaning that native speakers in Arabic countries learn on how to use two different forms of language (Peter, 2001). In the Arabic countries, they learn their mother tongue which is used nearly in all communication including films, plays and music. Modern Standard Arabic is another major class of Arabic language learned in schools and is used in most printed work, formal institutions and public media.
The use of the two major classes of language differs from one country to another, speaker to speaker and subject matter of discussion. People make mistakes when they assume that all Gulf Arabs are same in which case there is a big difference. The difference is as vast as in other various forms of national interest such as the dress code. The local United Arab Emirates has origins that come from within and outside Arabian territory. The emirate people have their origin from diverse places such as Yemen, Asian sub-continent, Iran and khaleeji.
There are a number of ethnic groups that depict the difference between the users of Khaleeji dialect and other languages. Bani Yas is a major focus in the aspect of discussing Arabic ethnicities. The Balushi people are the entertainers of indigenous population which is more approachable than any other nationals in UAE. They are considered as entertainers because of their humorous nature and their character of easy going. The Balushistans have their roots in Iran and borrows some Pakistan traits (Katzner, 2002). A major concern is their dress code and use of language with slight difference from other Arabic countries.
A major development has been made to bring out clearly the speakers of Khaleeji dialect. This is clearly depicted in cultural and religious practices. People try to merge culture and religion to mean the same thing but this is not possible as the two terms mean different things. An important aspect of Khaleeji is its values and meaning it has to different Arabic countries. However, the Arabic society is considered to be one entity but with different cultural practices. The common element in this aspect is the issue of Islamic observations. Islam and Arabs have common traits but they have a number of differences.
The Arabian culture is rich with rituals and customs that are not particularly practices by the Islam. Islam tried to borrow some cultural observations from Arabs and in other situations they have tried to abolish some Arabic practices. In the past the Islamic and Arabic interaction was dynamic leading to a development of certain languages. Islam added to Arabian culture leading to existence of new Hadiths with odd endorsed concepts. The Islam was very stern trying to shape a new nation out of the Arabs and abolished Arab nationalism into a new Islamic identity (Gabriel, 2003).
However this was never achieved as individuals had different feelings of belonging. There have been various changes in feeling with change of circumstances, time and surroundings. Majority of Arabic countries that use the Khaleeji language are not in a state of take or leave it with Islam. They pick and choose what suits their personal beliefs or lifestyles. Another consideration is what the society makes an easy option relating to what has been accustomed to them. A blend between Islam and Arabia is the current structure of Arabic society.
The society has a number of components that vary in proportion from one individual to another. Different cultures that in region aboard merchant ships and commercial jets. Language is an aspect of connecting Gulf’s population at home and on the street. A development of the Gulf Pidgin Arabic (GAP) a testament to the ability of trade and development creates something new. A mixture of Khaleeji Arabic and South Asian languages has gained recognition as Lingua franca on the streets. Many people are interested in learning Khaleeji language so as to get employed in many countries of United Arab Emirates.
A country like Dubai is known for its booming business of textile and electronic goods. Business people should have a common language that promotes the extent of doing business (Peter, 2001). A businessperson should be in a position to communicate with customers in a language which is understood by the two partners. Talking to a neighbor or colleagues is of essence and requires each party to understand the essence of communication. Khaleeji has been of importance to business people and other individuals who travel to Arabic countries in search of jobs.
Many individuals from Africa and other developing nations opt to look for employment opportunities in UAE countries. This requires the job seekers to learn Arabic language so as to fit in the job market. Communication is of essence and many individuals opt to choose the best way for passing information without a break down of specific channels. Khaleeji dialectic is a major development in Arabic countries used by musicians to entertain their listeners (Barnett, 2000). As a language it is used by media to broadcast news and air entertaining television shows or programs.
Arab artists sing in Gulf dialect but many listeners confuse their tones with other languages. Some of the musicians do it for money and others for fame. Diana is one of the best-known artists who use Arab Gulf to entertain her listeners. This is not a new trend and has been going on since the 1970’s and the listeners look at it in terms of performance and implications of the words. Khaleeji dialect is not as simple as people think but if an artist is in a position to master Bedouin dialect in their own countries, they have no difficult when using Gulf dialect to perform their music.
Most Arabic countries have close forms of Bedouin dialect but this is never heard in main cities. It is commonly used by people in desert town or countryside to promote their cultural values. Many successful singers in Arabic countries who use Gulf dialect are usually best in their own countries dialect. This means that a singer should be very well conversant with his or her own country dialect before using Gulf dialect. Singers without their own countries dialect will have their original accent come through even if they try to use proper vocabulary used in Gulf countries (Sami, 1999).
This is a major problem because singers may not be in a position to control turning ‘Th’ into ‘S’. This problem is generally with people living in cities as they are called city dialects. The problem is major because it reaches a certain situation when singers complicate words to pronounce grammar phonics wrong. Once this happens the meaning of the song or communicated message is changed. The problem in this situation arises as a result of poor rooted grammar from young age. However, some other people have no problem with Gulf dialect as they have good command of language.
A few number of Gulf artists sing in other Arabic dialects as well as in Arab which is also a Gulf dialect. This means that such artists are on their home turf which promotes production of good music. Khaleeji just means Gulf and it is a regional thing which relates to traditional music styles from Arab Persian Gulf states. The major difference is the rhythms distinct from other Arabic countries. Khaleeji dialectic used in music is drawn from Indian and African sources. Artists from Gulf States perform their music in styles from other countries.
Khaleeji dialectic used in music is popular in Arabic countries especially radio stations. The stations play music from this genre in which most Arabic singers normally sing in this particular genre. Most of them record their music in khaleeji style to cater for particular niche audience. Dubai is one of the main production centers for Khaleeji music in the recent past. Rabsha Art Production studio is a major studio in United Arab Emirates that specializes in Khaleeji music. It is one of the best known music studios that promote Khaleeji language. This is achieved through promotional campaigns undertaken by various channels.
The studio is equipped with special tools and music software applications available for top quality condenser. This ensures that quality of acoustic recordings meets international standards. Khaleeji music is based on peculiar rhythmic patterns accompanied by hand clapping. The genre of music is linked to belly dancing with particular traditional acoustic instruments. Traditional acoustic instruments create harmony leaving a room for couple of instrument solos. The Khaleeji sound is created through the use of traditional acoustic instruments such as Oud the Arabic lute.
Other instruments used include Qanoon which resembles plucked harp and the Rababa a bowed fiddle. Khaleeji style has not changed over time, as people from Persian Gulf are proud of their cultural heritage. The rhythmic layers of the music are pretty much traditional in both style and sound. Recently, the genre of music has taken a new trend whereby there is application of modern instruments which gives the music additional contemporary flavor. The music genre uses certain elements of traditional and modern instruments giving it entertaining beats.
The genre of music has found a huge number of customer bases not only in the UAE market but in Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iran. Rabsha is a development that shows the evaluation of digital technologies and virtual instruments. Application of modern technology is a basic consideration in production studios and other digital workstations. This means that application of technology has shaped the music career in Arabic countries. The situation has led to creation of employment opportunities a measure for improving economic development.
Many production studios in UAE apply software and other technologies to produce quality music. However, there has been a down play in the process of producing music whereby there are no available plug-in to replace natural sound of real Oud player. The producer of music has his own sound trademark as a result of using real instruments. Once the music has been produced, the producer uses midi-driven samples to spice up the mix. This is a step that has led to promotion of Khaleeji dialectic in many Arabic countries and other states. One major known producer of Khaleeji music is Alali who runs Rabsha radio station.
The producer works with a team of known Khaleeji artists such as Qanoon player, Saadek, Hassan Faleh and Haythan Sadoon. Alali is a well re-known television presenter who has helped to change the mode of music composition approach. He says that working in the capacity of editing pictures has dramatically changed the capacity to compose music. This has led to improvement of songwriting and mixing skills of videos. The process of producing music is very extensive and calls for allocation of time in the aspect of promoting music as a career and advancement of entertainment industry.
In this case, Alali is in a position to expand his studio so as to meet increased demand of video music. Clients have been in massive demand of his music and he provides them with the capacity to record and edit their music from his studio. The relevant concept of this argument is the fact of promoting Khaleeji dialectic through music videos. A major advantage in this concept is the application of package music track under one roof. The use of khaleeji dialectic in music is destined to be more important in future as it is gaining popularity among other non-Arabic audiences.
Although it is based on traditional concepts, the act of producing the music through digital technology means that it is available via the internet. This therefore is an implication that such music is accessible to other listeners all over the world. The production of music through traditional Khaleeji gives it a modern touch that widens its appeal. Khaleeji music is very entertaining and this attracts many people to listen such music. In certain circumstances, individuals develop a mechanism for developing music genre which is basically essential in media (Barnett, 2000).
Khaleeji dialect which is developed from different Arabic countries has led to advancement in entertainment sector through music, films and dance. As a major area of concern in the history of Arabic countries, Khaleeji dance basically known as belly dance is a way of promoting Khaleeji dialect. It is a typical style of Arabic peninsula and Persian Gulf including countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen and some parts of Iraq. The belly dance performed by different Arabic countries is different from the one that is performed by Egyptians, Turkish and Lebanese.
Language in any particular nation is a reflection of cultural practices and dance styles. In this case a major concern is in promotion of language through Khaleeji dance performed by people wearing characteristic piece of clothing called thobe nasshal. Khaleeji dance is performed through an Arabic dance style that involves a lot of focus on footwork, movements and spins. Dancers toss their unbound hair from one shoulder to the other as per the rhythm. Khaleeji rhythm is different from classical Middle Eastern rhythms characterized by heavy beats.
One common used rhythm is the Saudi rhythm with heavy accents on beats. Instruments used for Khaleeji style are frame drums such as bendirs or tars while ud is used as the primary instrument. Apart from the various issues of Khaleeji music and dance as discussed above which reflects Khaleeji dialect, there is a major issue related to dialectal various in Arabic languages. In some dialects there may be more or fewer phonemes than in non-Arabic languages. The variations exist between written and spoken language a major aspect that differentiates Khaleeji language from foreign languages (Leslie, 2003).
Certain Arabic dialects differentiate some letters from other Semitic languages. During the past decades, expansion of Arabic characterized by emphatic phonemes meant a single phoneme. A major distinguishing mark of Arabic dialects is the application of certain stops. The grammatical concept of Khaleeji dialects differs from other Semitic languages. The algebraic looking grammar is the distinguishing mark between Arabic language and other foreign languages. Arabic language a major reflection of Khaleeji dialectic borrowed a number of religious terminologies, academic and economic terms used in every day activity.
Arabic worlds with Khaleeji dialect also made their way into several West African languages as Islam tried to spread through the Sahara. Arabic language can be associated with Latin in Europe throughout the Islamic world. Many Arabic concepts are applied in certain fields such as science, commerce or philosophy. People like to use Arabic language with the help of translators who are known from the way they pronounce certain Arabic words. In addition, foreign concepts are translated into Arabic meaning so as to make every person in a given gathering understand message being communicated (Jacques, 2003).
Khaleeji dialect is reflected in many different Arabic countries through its application in many aspects of life. References Barnett, N. (2000). Dialogues in Arab Politics: Negotiations in Regional Order. New York: Columbia University Press Buhier, M. (2001). The Formation and Perception of the Modern Arab World. Princeton, NJ: Darwin Press Gabriel B. (2003). Minorities and the State in the Arab World. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers Hrair, D. (1998). Islam in Revolution: Fundamentalism in the Arab World. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press Jacques, M. (2003).
Languages in a Globalizing World. New York: Cambridge University Press Katzner, K. (2002). The Languages of the World: Language and Languages. London: Routledge Leslie, J. (2003). Colloquial Arabic (Khaleeji). London: Routledge. Mufwene. S. (2001). The Ecology of Language Evolution. London: Cambridge University Press Peter, C. (2001). Ideology of Power in the Middle East: Studies in Honor of George Lereczowski on Dialectical Progress. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Sami, H. (1999). Arab Socialism: A Documentary Survey of Dialectical Transformations. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 22 September 2016
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