Pre-Hilalian Arabic dialects
Pre-Hilalian dialects are a result of early Arabization phases that lasted from the 7th to the 12th centuries, and that concerned the main urban settlements (Kairouan, Constantine, Tlemcen and Fez) and the neighboring harbors (respectively Mahdia and Sousse, Jijel and Collo, Rachgun and Honaine, and Badis and Tangiers), as well as the –triangular– areas between them.
- (Old) Urban dialects: those of the major historical urban settlements such as Kairouan, Tunis, Constantine, Bougie, Algiers, Tlemcen, Taza, Fez, Rabat, Tetouan and Chefchaouen ;
- "Village" and Mountain dialects: those of the areas between the four original urban settlements (Kairouan, Constantine, Tlemcen and Fez) and their respective harbors:
- All Jewish dialects of the Maghreb.
- Eastern dialects, those spoken in Libya, the Tunisian Sahel and the Constantinois ;
- Western dialects, those spoken in the Oranais and Morocco.
Additionally, the Maltese language is often classified as pre-Hilalian, since it shares many pre-Hilalian features.
Pre-Hilalian Urban dialects were formerly spoken in other cities such as Tripoli, Mascara and Azemmour, where they are extinct, replaced by the more widespread Hilalian dialects. Currently, many (Old) Urban dialects are endangered because of the prevalence of the Hilalian-based new Urban koinés in everyday communication.
- Dominique Caubet, « Questionnaire de dialectologie du Maghreb », in: EDNA vol.5 (2000-2001), pp.73–92
- Kees Versteegh, « The Dialects of Arabic », in: The Arabic Language, Columbia University Press (1997), pp.148–172
- Martine Vanhove, « De quelques traits prehilaliens en maltais », in: Peuplement et Arabisation au Maghreb Occidental (Dialectologie et Histoire), Casa Velazquez - Universidad de Zaragoza (1998), pp.97-108