Do native speakers think their dialect sounds the nicest?


Imperfect mod
US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
I recently watched a YouTube video about Arabic dialects, and the comments gave me the impression that there was a general expectation that native Arabic speakers generally think their dialect sounds the nicest. I've never felt this way. I don't really have any strong feelings about how "nice" or "not nice" Palestinian Arabic sounds. For me, it's just "the way I talk": I don't really think of it in terms of how "nice" it sounds. If someone were to tell me that they think Palestinian Arabic sounds nice, that would be nice to hear (no pun intended), but that's not because I think it's particularly "nice," but simply because it's nice to hear any compliment about my dialect. I don't know if that makes sense. Anyway, in my opinion the nicest-sounding dialects are Syrian and Lebanese, so not my own.

What do other native speakers think? Do you think your dialect sounds the nicest? If not, which dialect(s) do you think sound(s) the nicest?

For both native speakers and non-native speakers: what has been your experience with this? Do you feel like native speakers generally think their dialect sounds the nicest? I have to say I don't recall ever encountering that. Of course, we all feel, to some extent, that our dialect "makes the most sense" and are sometimes puzzled by what other dialects do because some of it doesn't intuitively "make sense," but to me that's different from feeling that our dialect sounds the nicest.
  • Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think it is not so much that "my dialect sounds nicest" but that "your dialect sounds ugly". If the emphasis is on accent it can be a case of "I don't have an accent". It is not necessarily the case that all accents/dialects are perceived to be ugly.

    In the British Isles certain accents are perceived by many to be ugly. The interesting thing is that such accents are spoken in areas perceived by many to be places where it would not be desirable to live, such as the East End of London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Glasgow. On the other hand, all Irish accents (with the possible exception of the Ulster variety) are perceived by the English to be particularly euphonious, perhaps reflecting Ireland as the Emerald Isle.

    Some years ago an experiment was conducted in Russia. Examples of different varieties of English were played to people who had no knowledge of English. No variety was considered to be nicer or uglier than any other.

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    I don't think people necessarily prefer their own personal dialect but they do tend to be partial to the dialect they were surrounded with in their childhood (i.e. how their parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc. spoke). They might not think it's *the* nicest but they do like hearing it. Also, Arabic dialects have been changing rapidly in the last few generations, and people "use" language differently than before (you just cannot expect a bilingual computer programmer to speak in the same way as a monolingual farmer for example). That accentuates the nostalgia and feeling that something valuable is being lost.

    But when comparing dialects generally, I don't get the sense that most people prefer their own (current) dialect. Some do, but many people tend to have one or two "favorite" dialects or accents, just like you do with Syrian or Lebanese.

    Personally, I fall in the nostalgic camp: I like the sound of most Arabic dialects when spoken by older people (or people who speak like older people). Modern dialects, not so much. I actually find the modern speech in Saudi Arabia to be one of my least favorite, even though I love the traditional dialects spoken by older generations.
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    Senior Member
    Tunisia Arabic
    If someone were to tell me that they think Palestinian Arabic sounds nice
    I'm one of those who think that Palestinian Arabic (probably Jerusalemite) is the best Arabic dialect. Contrary to my experience with other dialects I rarely needed an interpreter in Palestine. Even when Palestinians were talking to each other, I was able to understand most of what they said.


    Senior Member
    That accentuates the nostalgia and feeling that something valuable is being lost.
    But this nostalgia seems to have a particularly long tradition in Arabia! I mean already in ancient times it's said that city-dwelling dignitaries sent their sons to the desert to learn the "pure", "uncorrupted" bedouin speech, didn't they?


    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    I'm sure I am biased by my experience as a non-native, because I learned Moroccan dialect (darija) when living there for several years, and feel very warm and comfortable using it, because as a blue-eyed "Nasrani", just saying basic things to people as a physically obvious outsider is so pleasing to people there who assume that anyone looking like me speaks only French--they were very forgiving as I struggled to learn more.

    Once I later traveled elsewhere in the Arab world, I realized how different North African dialects are from farther eastern dialects. Moroccan has no Turkish loan words (the Ottomans never came that far west), so some of its everyday words are very old Arabic terms that aren't used elsewhere (or in the same way). And let's not forget about the Moroccan dialect's many Berber and French loan words!

    I later spent a month working in Yemen, and could understand basic things fairly well once I learned some alternative expressions, but I'll confess that my Moroccan replies left most people there clueless. (And I have never learned FosHa, other than knowing the Arabic alphabet and being able to read basic words, street signs, etc.--so I couldn't switch to it to help make things easier.)

    I found Levantine Arabic lovely sounding and a bit more understandable to me than Yemeni--based on many times traveling to Jordan and Lebanon for business.

    And then there was Egypt. Of all the dialects I've been exposed to, I found Egyptian the least pleasing to my ear, and to an outsider like me, it sounds like a machine gun talking! (Sorry to all my Egyptian friends).


    Senior Member
    Moroccan Arabic
    The Moroccan rural/Bedouin sounds refreshing to me, not with regards to comparison with other Arabic dialects, but with my own urban dialect that i speak as i'm not really exposed to all Arabic dialects (excluding the lexicographical approach), It is a matter of preference based on their relative eloquence, and the way they pick out their words and figures of rhetoric, and their almost endless synonyms for every word, which makes their idiolect richer than ours, Andalusi Arabic was an urban dialect but i also love their poetry, the way they used to speak has had a music.
    Moroccan has no Turkish loan words (the Ottomans never came that far west)
    They attempted conquering it several times and ended up occupying the City of Fes and the neighboring towns for few months before they were pushed back to mostaganem in today's Algeria by Saadi kings, However Skirmishes never ended although both parties settled on considering the Moulouya river as a political borders during the early Alaouit dynasty, before that, Saadi kings had a complex but a great relationship with Ottomans, their special guards were mostly Turks, who were also present as mercenaries in their armies, in the coasts Turkish privateers used to roam around the West Med sailing away off the Northen Moroccan ports like Sale and Tetouan side by side with Moroccan and Dutch pirate ships or within eachother's crews...This was a quick introduction that goes to explain the huge number of turkish loan words in MA, probably not as intensive as in other MENA countries, but it is not rare thing either, Here are some Turkish loan words off my head:
    طاوة pan or basin
    غريبة a type of sweet
    عاشق spoon
    تقشيرة sock
    طبسيل plate
    سبسي cannabis pipe
    يطغان a type of swords
    and many more, some are still in use, others have become old fashioned. :)
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    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    The Moroccan rural/Bedouin sounds refreshing to me
    Although I'm not a native speaker, I completely second that. And like @Wadi Hanifa I much prefer old people speaking with their old dialect rather than the modern ones which lost a lot of the vocabulary used and the nuances they kept (using several words with close meaning for different situations) contrary to modern (especially urban and the "standard" dialect used in the media which is sooo poor!!) speech with is tasteless to me.
    I like Libyan accent and the dialect given the exposure I have to it through all the Libyan songs I listen to :D. I also like the Egyptian Delta rural accent and صعيدي as well.

    @wildan1 the non influence of Turkish on Moroccan is an idea spread by ignorant Moroccans (sometimes in a way to distinguish themselves from Algerians and Tunisians) while Moroccan dialects do make use of many Ottoman loanwords because Morocco was in contact with Ottoman empire through current day Algeria although many of them aren't that much used today (for instance, few people still use دغري). There is a study made on Turkish influence over Moroccan. The only dialect which lacks Turkish influence is the Hassaniya dialect. As for old terms found in Morocco, I noticed many of them are shared with Algerians/Tunisians/Libyans/Maltese fellows as well as Southern Arabians (Yemen, Oman, South Western Saudi Arabia).
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