The Arabic language belongs to the family of Semitic languages; a group called Southern. Arab historians write that in the Arabian peninsula of Antiquity there were two types of Arabs: there were the Yactanid Arabs or Jectanides (“al-‘arab al-qahtâniyya“), mainly inhabiting the south of the peninsula , and there were Arab Adnanites (“al-‘arab al-‘adnâniyya“), whose primary habitat was the Center and the North of the peninsula.
Arab historians also report that Hagar and Ishmael were left in a valley of the Arabian Peninsula by Abraham – respectively husband and father to them and that a spring of water then gushes into this valley. A group of nomads of Yactanid descent, the Jur’hum, passing in the vicinity and noticing the presence of water, approached and decided to settle on the spot too. Thus the city of Mecca was founded. If Abraham was Mesopotamian and Agar Egyptian, Ishmael himself learned the Arabic language “al-‘arabiyya” from the Jurhum, among whom he lived. It was also in the Jur’humites that he married, and so his children were born.
Arab historians, therefore, classify the Arabs into two main categories: the “arab musta’riba” – the Arabs descended from Ishmael – and the “arab arabic” – the Arabs descended from peoples present in the peninsula before Ishmael installs himself there.
To what extent do these classifications correspond to reality, this is another debate. However, what is certain is that in the South, we spoke mainly of “South Arabic” dialects (like the Sabean), while in the North we spoke of “North Arabic” dialects. There was a definite difference between the North Arabic language – from which the present “Arabic” language was derived – and the South Arabic language – from which the present languages Soqotri, Jiball, were formed. The Arabic language in which the Koranic text is written is derived from the Nordarabic dialects only.
On the other hand, the ancient Arab historians considered both the North Arabic and South Arabic populations to be Arab.
In fact, it is not impossible that the language that Ishmael had learned from the Jurum was a dialect of a kind of “proto-Arab” spoken here and there in the peninsula, and that it is this “proto-Arab” “which formed the basis of the southern group (of the family of Semitic languages). That, some dialects of this group to then evolve and give the North Arabic languages, other dialects to give the South Arabic languages. This “proto-Arab” spoken in the time of Ishmael everywhere in the peninsula would then be the ancestor not only of the North Arabic languages but also of the South Arabic languages.
It should not be forgotten that the distinction between language and dialect is not linguistic but only social: Linguistically speaking, a dialect is a form of a language with a lexical, syntactic and phonetic system of its own. It is used in a more restricted environment than the language. Unlike the language in which it developed, the dialect did not acquire the cultural, institutional and social status of that language. This distinction is not linguistic but social.
Indeed, initially, there is the same language spoken by a given set of people. As this group has grown, some small groups are moving away from it and settling in areas that are relatively distinct from each other. There, in contact with different peoples and because of the relative distance from each other, different languages of the mother tongue appear. If no external event hinders the process, the different dialects soon become different dialects, which then become different languages.