There are several major dialects of Arabic, including Gulf Arabic, Iraqi Arabic, Levantine Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, and Maghrebi Arabic, as well as many more smaller dialects. Which of these dialects, if any, could be considered "closest" to Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), and why?

Possible examples of similarities to MSA include retention of grammatical case, retention of grammatical mood, and no/less vowel shift compared to MSA. I'm sure there are many other possibilities.

EDIT: The answer to this question will be useful in guiding which dialect someone may want to learn. For example, if Gulf Arabic is most similar to MSA, then that will inform an Arabic learner's decision.

EDIT to share resources I found:

  • This question is currently closed because it is worded as a question about a specific language rather than about learning or teaching languages (or dialects). If it can be reworded in a way that makes it on-topic for this site, it will be re-opened.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 15:36
  • Depends on the focus, the answer might be all or none. There's little similarity in General: mostly the situation is as follows the words might have a totally different spelling or use in cases letters are "falsly" pronounced. And many dialects know the mixing with words from other languages, such as Turkish, Berber, Farsi and even westeren Langugases such as English, French and Spanish.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 15:37

3 Answers 3


According to two scientific papers, Palestinian Arabic (a dialect of Levantine Arabic) is the closest to Modern Standard Arabic (MSA):

  • Harrat S., Meftouh K., Abbas M., Jamoussi S., Saad M., Smaili K. (2015) Cross-Dialectal Arabic Processing. In: Gelbukh A. (eds) Computational Linguistics and Intelligent Text Processing. CICLing 2015. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 9041. Springer, Cham. https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01261598/document
  • Kathrein Abu Kwaik, Motaz Saad, Stergios Chatzikyriakidis, Simon Dobnika, A Lexical Distance Study of Arabic Dialects, Procedia Computer Science, Volume 142, 2018, Pages 2-13, ISSN 1877-0509, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2018.10.456

To do so, researchers looked at parallel sentences in different dialects and compared them to the MSA version. For instance, Palestinian sentences share 52% of words with MSA, whereas Algerian sentences share 22% of words.

Another way to measure lexical distance is to look at the most common words in each dialect. Here again, Palestinian is the closest dialect to MSA.


The Arabs are concerned about the dialect closest to the classical Arabic language between the Arab countries and their peoples, but according to the linguists there is no confirmed fact and what is rumored about Arab confessions, in what area is wrong and not documented.

But it can be said that the dialect of the Levant, Syria, Jordan and modern Palestine, not ancient, is very close to the classical language, which is one of the few Arabic languages ​​that have not been affected by foreign languages ​​and words of foreign languages, as in other dialects.

The response to the resort to the stars of art in the recent period to sing in this tone, and the provision of public programs has become reliable and may be the reason for the proximity of this dialect to the classical is not to control the forces of colonialism in any day school education in these countries, You can find exotic Turkish, English, Indian or French words for the language of these regions, which makes some specialists see them as the closest.

In addition to this, the dialects of the Arab Maghreb in general are considered to be the farthest from the clear Arabic language, as it is difficult for the people of the Levant to understand or decipher it,


Saudi Dialect is the closest since firstly, they are the root of Arabs and Arabic language (Arabian peninsula duh!).

and secondly, because they have not been colonized hence their original dialect was not affected at all by any external languages.

  • This post would benefit from adding further details. Being a one-line post, it may attract downvotes and criticism. Please edit it to add further relevant information — preferably with references to credible sources. Commented May 12, 2021 at 13:06

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