How to choose between Modern Standard Arabic and dialect

Seeing the popularity of the language Arabic, now that you decide to study it, there come many other tough questions related to this decision. Firstly, which type of Arabic should you go for, Modern Standard Arabic or colloquial? In this article, we will guide you to choose between both languages.



What are the Current dialects of Arabic?



Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)


In the early 19th century, this dialect appeared to develop a language that all Arabic speakers could understand irrespective of their country. Arabs use it presently for official purposes like the government sector, scientific research, journalism, and literature. But there are no native speakers following this dialect; teachers teach it only as a formal version of Arabic in schools.



The uneducated Arabians can’t speak it at all. But organizations like the UN recognizes MSA as the official Arabic language. Also, most colleges teach MSA in their beginners and intermediate Arabic courses.


Egyptian Arabic


This Arabic dialect is spoken in Egypt. Today, 20% of all the total Arabic people speak Egyptian Arabic. It is also the 2nd standard Arabic dialect of these times. Most songs, shows, etc., are based on Egyptian Arabic, as most Arab speakers understand this dialect. Hence, it has been noted that many people who decide to learn Arabic prefer to learn Egyptian Arabic.


Maghrebi Arabic


This is a common dialect in Morocco, Libya, Algeria, and Tunisia. This is probably the 2nd biggest Arabic dialect group divided into Algerian, Moroccan, etc. Due to its close contact with the Western countries, this dialect includes a lot of western words. It is used only for speaking, and mostly writing is done in MSA.


Gulf Arabic


This dialect is spoken in the Persian Gulf countries like Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Some say this dialect has similarities with MSA and also with Classical Arabic too. It is usually popular in the Gulf regions, and many people do not understand it.


Sudanese Arabic


This dialect is spoken in Sudan. Since Sudan has a huge number of inhabitants, you will find many people speaking in this dialect. This dialect is known to have a lot of influence on the local African languages. Hence, we can say the dialect has an Arabic-African flavor.


Levantine Arabic


The last of the lot is the Levantine Arabic dialect. It is popularly spoken in the Levant region that includes Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Cyprus, and a few other places in that region. This dialect is further divided into Northern and Southern dialects. The Northern one is similar to the Gulf Arabic dialect, while the Southern one has similarities to the Egyptian Arabic.


Apart from these, there are many other dialects like Najd Arabic, Iraqi Arabic, Hejazi Arabic, and a lot more spread across Arabian countries.



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Which dialect do Arabs speak the most?

Now that you have got a fair idea of the major Arabic dialects, mentioned below are some of the most widely spoken dialects that you can opt to pick while learning the Arabic language:

Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)

If reading the Qur’an is your sole intention, along with reading other state documents, books, etc., then you should go for MSA. Apart from being an official language, it also sounds cool and is helpful when you travel.


Egyptian Arabic

If you want that the Arabian language you learn to be understood mostly in the Arabian countries, to be able to watch Arab TV and also understand the lyrics of the Arabian music, you can go for Egyptian Arabic.

Some specific Arabic dialect

  If you know which Arabic place you have plans to visit or live in, you should go for that particular dialect.  


Why should you firstly learn Modern Standard Arabic?

Modern Standard Arabic or MSA is one of the six official languages of the United Nations and Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Being the official language of countries like Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Sudan, The United Emirates, and Yemen, Modern Standard Arabic is frequently used in magazines, newspapers, online teaching sessions, and television shows. This is why learning Modern Standard Arabic is a must even if you stay temporarily in these countries. It helps you connect easily with other people, so it is a fascinating language.

There are many benefits of learning Modern Standard Arabic. Here we will talk about a few.

Why should you firstly learn Modern Standard Arabic
Why should you firstly learn Modern Standard Arabic


1. Modern Standard Arabic is a language that has been derived from The Quran

If you are a scholar or even if you are someone who has a love for learning or getting to know things from the ancient past, learning Modern Standard Arabic would be of great advantage and benefit for you. Modern Standard Arabic is a language that has been derived from The Quran. So it is completely based on the Arabic which you will find in The Quran. Modern Standard Arabic is actually a brilliant combination of Arabic words found in The Quran from the early 7th century. We use some words in our modern daillivesfeLearningng Modern Standard Arabic to be of great advantage for both the old and modern age scholars. This is especially needed if you want to start your own business in countries like Libya, Algeria, Morocco, and Sudan.

2. Listen and read the media

Al Jazeera is one globally famous television channel broadcasting from its head office in Doha, Qatar. This channel covers everything starting the Gulf’s happening to the news about wars in Afghanistan and Syria. It’s not like people from the Middle East are only inclined towards this channel; people worldwide are a huge fan of their content. This channel only uses modern standard Arabic as their language, and non-Arabic speaking people find it hugely difficult to understand what’s happening. This is why learning Modern Standard Arabic would be of great advantage to better understand the topic.


3. Visiting or living in the Middle East

Countries from the Middle East are largely flourishing in every aspect. People often migrate to countries in the Middle East for a better life. Students who want to travel to the Middle East for further studies often appear for the entrance exams but fail to crack the exam despite having excellent preparations. Knowing Modern Standard Arabic is a must, especially for students who want to study in countries from the Middle East. So here is another benefit that you can get from learning MSA. Learning Modern Standard Arabic would increase the chances of your cracking the entrance exams even higher, and you would find it even easier to study there.

4. Modern Standard Arabic is not a tough language

You might think Arabic is a callous language to learn, but here is good news for you. Arabic is not as tough as it looks. It is actually a phonetic language. When you start learning it, you will notice that you write it exactly how you pronounce it. It is even easier than many other languages, which consist of words that spell and pronounce differently. In fact, if you have just stepped into the Gulf and planning to learn Gulf Arabic, your first step would be learning Modern Standard Arabic. Once you are fluent in Arabic, you would find it way lot easier to learn Gulf Arabic. Nit just Gulf Arabic; you need to learn Modern Standard Arabic first, to learn Egyptian Arabic and Levantine Arabic.

5. Your business possibilities can increase

If you have started your business in the Middle East and planning to take it to the next level, learning Modern Standard Arabic would be highly recommended. It would help if you learned this language for delivering speeches too. If you deliver your presentations in this language, your clients would surely be highly impressed by your performance for sure. It is a must to learn Arabic for Diplomats because if they do not have a deep-rooted knowledge of Arabic, they will miss out on important conversations that might pose a serious threat to their careers.

6. Modern Standard Arabic is the third most popular language

Finally, it is a known fact that Modern Standard Arabic is the third most popular language in the world, following English and French. If you are fluent in Arabic, you will have the edge over the competition even if you live in an English country. The demand for Arabic-speaking people is quite high, especially in intelligence and foreign services, consulting, education, journalism, banks, and finances. You might land up a brilliant job in a very demanding position.


Reasons You Shouldn’t Learn Modern Standard Arabic before a Dialect.

Language is the way through which people communicate effectively in every aspect of their life. It enables them to share ideas clearly, and without giving rise to any misunderstanding of understanding the importance of language. There are almost 7,111 languages currently spoken globally. But there are only some languages spoken by most people, and one of them is Arabic.

A person can learn Arabic, but the most important question a person encounters is learning modern standard Arabic first or the dialect? Modern Standard Arabic is the light version of classic Arabic; you will hear it in the news and read it in newspapers, and dialect refers to one of the locally spoken varieties of Arabic in the Middle East and North African region. It is beneficial to learn dialect before learning modern standard Arabic. Here are some reasons that will clear it up for you.

Reasons You Shouldn’t Learn Modern Standard Arabic before a Dialect.
Reasons You Shouldn’t Learn Modern Standard Arabic before a Dialect.


Modern Arabic language is not the native language of the Arabic countries.

The modern standard language will work when talking about business but not when you interact with ordinary people. Many institutes and online websites teach modern standard Arabic as a native language, but it is not. It is taught as conversational language bit. Actually, it is not. No person on this planet speaks the modern standard language as a native language. Thus, schools are taught to write and read and participate in and understand politics and media. It is the modern form of the classic Arabic language, which is 1300 years old. It is more complex, so a modern standard Arabic is developed, which is easier to understand, communicate, and write.

Learning modern standard Arabic will let you understand by the majority but not by everyone

of look at it in aspects of grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary.Y. You will find that dialects and modern standard Arabic are totally different. Both are so different that a great great person in modern standard Arabic will have no idea what the other person says in the local dialect. Surely, many people will understand you, but you might not be able to understand what they say in a replay. If you want to learn Arabic and become fluent in it, then learning modern standard Arabic is a waste of time. But why waste time and money in learning modern standard Arabic when you can learn the local language.

Dialect help for a conversation with people of a specific region

Talking to someone in the language he understands will only go to his head, but talking in his language will touch his heart. If you want to connect with people; then the best way is to speak their language – native language and modern standard language is no one’s native language as a local dialect and glue to it and become fluent in it. With this, you will communicate better with local people also with people who speak other dialects connect with them better.

So going for the dialect before modern standard Arabic is the right choice.

You will find many institutes and websites online to teach you the local dialect, but you have to go for the best one. Al-dirassa center is one of the best institutes for online Arabic learning. With them, you can learn actual Arabic. They also provide services like recitation and memorization of the Holy Quran. Their goal is to help you learn and understand the Arabic language better. They also offer personalized courses. For more information, you can visit their website at – You can find out more information about the course and language here.


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