1- What are the many dialects?
There are many Arabic dialects, but don’t be alarmed. Depending on your academic or personal goals, you can learn the most common dialect. It’s simple if you have a geographic interest. For academics and tourists, the Egyptian dialect is often preferred. Because of its intellectual and cultural importance, Egypt can be considered the New York of Middle East. You will also find Egyptian speakers who speak other Arabic dialects “changing over” to Egyptian, probably because the majority of movies in the Middle East are Egyptian.
In the Arab world, there are four dialect groups:
a- Egypt and Libya
b- The Maghrib, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, an Mauritania
c- The Levant (Syria and Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, as well as portions of Iraq)
d- Gulf region (Saudi Arabian, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar, Oman, UAE and Yemen).
Egyptian speakers will be able to understand the Levant, Libyan and Gulf dialects. The Maghreb dialect can be more difficult for Egyptian speakers.
2- Spoken Arabic or MSA/Classical: Should you choose to study an Learn Egyptian dialect (spoken Arabic), or MSA/Classical Arabic (“formal” spoken and written Arabic)? This is an age-old question that every Arabic student should answer.
MSA is required to read books, newspapers, and attend academic classes. You can’t even speak Arabic casually in business and social settings. This is a difficult decision. It all depends on how you plan to use the language. If you want to interact with Arabs in the same way that Arabs interact in their houses, streets, and offices, then you should learn Colloquial/spoken Arabic. If you plan to write, read novels and newspapers, and interact with academics, then MSA/Classical is the right course for you.
Students who choose to study Classical and Colloquial together will get the best of both, but they will also experience slower progression. Practical students who only study Colloquial can be successful. What if you could use MSA/Classical Arabic every day to communicate with people on the streets and in offices? MSA/Classical Arabic can make you stand out among friends and colleagues. MSA is more difficult than formal written English in non-formal settings. MSA can be very formal, and even native speakers find it difficult. It is usually a sign that you have received a solid education and can speak MSA fluently. More students today are choosing to learn MSA/Classical AND Spoken Arabic together. This was not true in the 1980s.
Is Spoken/Colloquial Arabic any different from MSA/Classical Arabic, or is it? It’s not. Because of the overlap in syntax, semantics and syntax, colloquial Arabic doesn’t differ from MSA. There are similarities in the Idaafa (possession) and the noun-adjective phrases, as well as 40-50% of vocabulary. Native speakers can learn both simultaneously. MSA is learned in the classroom, while spoken colloquial Arabic can be learned in daily life.