Versatility of Iraqi Dialect [in Qatar]
Thread poster: KRhodes

Aug 26, 2007

I had seen an old post about the level of difficulty for the Iraqi Dialect to be understood by non-Iraqis. But I have more specific questions.

In which countries will the Iraqi dialect be most easily understood?

Specifically, I am wondering about Qatar. Will Qatari people have difficulty understanding the Iraqi dialect?

In English, the different dialects can tend to have certain cultural associations. For example, in America we might associate a Southern-American accent with a lack of intelligence or education. Whereas, we might associate a British accent(or rather, certain variations of the British accent) with the upper class, or snobbery. (this kind of assumption and stereotyping is, of course, unfair)
So, what kind of (if any) associations the Iraqi dialect has in the rest of the Arab world?

Thank you!



United States
Local time: 08:12
English to Arabic
+ ...
Iraqi dialects of Arabic - recognized by other Arabs outside Iraq Aug 27, 2007


Qataris can recognize the Iraqi dialects(s) when encountered.

The three regional and distinct dialect(s) of Iraqi Arabic, at least those used by Iraqi expatriates resettled in Jordan and adjacent Arab Gulf states, can be easily recognized and (usually) understood by other Arabs.

Regional Iraqi dialects of Arabic are generally categorized as:

Northern = "Muslaawi" (centered around Mosul)

Central/western = "Baghdadi"

Southern = "Basraawi" (centered around the Basra area)

In many situations involving Iraqi and non-Iraqis, a good deal of diglossia and code-switching toward MSA occurs, but they can communicate.

Another general factor is the level of education and sophistication of the expat Iraqis, in that educated and urbanized Iraqi adults can shift between MSA and original Iraqi dialect to fit the dominant local dialect of those host country than can Iraqis with less education and originating from rural areas.

Non-Iraqi Arabs can easily recognize speakers of local dialects of Iraqi Arabic from their use of certain colloquialisms, exchanges of social amenities and inquiries [ esp. "shaakoo? maakoo?" ] and pronunciation of utterances by the Iraqi speakers.

The book by the late T. M. Johnstone entitled Eastern Arabic Dialect Studies (Oxford U. Press, 1987) is a good basic reference. More-recent books by Yassin al-Khalesi (now at UCLA) are also useful for features of Iraqi dialects, especially Baghdadi.

Hope this helps.


Stephen H. Franke
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
(Field researcher in dialectology among Iraqi Arabs and Iraqi Kurds in Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE and the US)

[Edited at 2007-08-27 01:35]


Jalil Aljuboory
Local time: 12:42
English to Arabic
+ ...
Iraqi Dialects! Aug 27, 2007

I'm from north of Iraq, exactly between Mosul & Tikrit, I spend three years working in Qatar. From the first day I was wearing my Iraqi traditional wear, which is the same Gulf men's wear, nobody could recognize that I'm not a Qatari, I was using my own dialect, even now in Dubai it's hard to say that this man is not a UAE man. Also I'm still using my northern Iraqi dialect

I do believe that the closest Arabic dialect to the gulf countries dialects is the Iraqi one, even for the northern Iraqi people.

About the classification: Maslawi in north, baghdadi central and Basrawi in south. I can say it is not that accurate, because Maslawi dialect is only used by the Mosul city people and even not by the rounding areas of the city. My town called Sharqat, it is a town 100 km southern of Mosul, but my dialect completely different. And the same situation for the southern cities, i.e. Al-Kut city dialect is different from Al-Basrah city.

I lived for 15 years in Mosul (north). 3 years In Amara (South). 3 years in Ramadi (Mid/ West) 6 years in my home town Sharqat.

Feel free to contact me on for more details.

Best regards



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