Bahrani Arabic

Not to be confused with Gulf Arabic.
Bahrani Arabic
العربية البحرانية
Native to Bahrain, Oman, Qatif, Al Ahsa
Native speakers
400,000 (2004)[1]
Dialects Ajami
Arabic alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3 abv
Glottolog baha1259[2]

Bahrani Arabic (also known as Bahrani and Baharna Arabic) is a variety of Arabic spoken in Eastern Arabia and Oman.[3] In Bahrain, the dialect is primarily spoken in Shia villages and some parts of Manama.

The Bahrani Arabic dialect has been significantly influenced by the ancient Aramaic, Syriac and Akkadian languages.[4][5]

An interesting sociolinguistic feature of Bahrain is the existence of three distinct dialects: Bahrani, Sunni and Ajami Arabic.[6] Sunni Bahrainis speak a dialect which is most similar to urban dialect spoken in Qatar.

The Persian language has the most foreign linguistic influence on all the Bahraini dialects.[7] The differences between Bahrani Arabic and other Bahraini dialects suggest differing historical origins. The main differences between Bahrani and non-Bahrani dialects are evident in certain grammatical forms and pronunciation. Most of the vocabulary, however, is shared between dialects, or is distinctly Bahraini, arising from a shared modern history. Many Bahrani words have also been borrowed from Hindi, Turkish, or English.

Examples of words borrowed from other languages

Bahrani dialect has borrowed some vocabulary from Persian, Hindi, Turkish, and more recently from English.


Bahrani Arabic (called Baħrāni by its speakers) has the main features of Gulf Arabic dialects (e.g. Kuwait, UAE, Qatar) in addition to its own unique features. General features include the Standard Arabic q becoming g (qamar vs gamar 'moon'), k becoming ch in some positions (kalb vs chalb 'dog'). J becoming y in some villages (jiħħe vs yiħħe 'watermelon'). Final Standard Arabic -ah becomes -e in some positions. Unique features include changing "th" and "dh" into "f" and "d". Many younger speakers avoid such pronunciations, however.


  1. Bahrani Arabic at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Baharna Arabic". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. "Arabic, Baharna Spoken". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  4. "Non-Arabic Semitic elements in the Arabic dialects of eastern Arabia". Clive Holes. 2002. pp. 270–279.
  5. "Dialect, Culture, and Society in Eastern Arabia: Glossary". Clive Holes. 2001. pp. XXIX–XXX.
  6. Bassiouney, Reem (2009). "5". Arabic Sociolinguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 105–107.
  7. Dialect, Culture, and Society in Eastern Arabia: Glossary. Clive Holes. 2001. Page XXX. ISBN 90-04-10763-0

Further reading

External links

Bahrani Arabic test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator
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