Syrian dialects: Homs, Hama, Idlib, Latakia, Tartous

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by basquiat19, May 16, 2016.

  1. basquiat19 New Member

    Arabic- Syria
    I'm currently doing a project for one of my classes comparing various dialects within Syria. I am trying to not just compare Aleppo and Damascus (both dialects I am very familiar with especially Aleppan as my family is from there), but also other regions.

    1) What are some characteristics of Homsi or Hamawi dialects (vowels, grammar, words, vocab, etc) that differ?

    2) The same for Latakia and Tartous, etc etc.

    I am also looking for academic resources on this but I realize those are hard to find. Any response from people on here (especially other Syrians) who may be more familiar with Homs, Hama, coastal dialects would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!
  2. analeeh Senior Member

    English - UK
    Homsi doesn't have the i-u merger in stressed syllables, so they say Homs instead of Hims like everywhere else in Syria. They shift final i to e and e to i - so Homs has umme for Damascene immi. More weirdly, inti is used for 'you' (masc) and inte for 'you' (fem), the opposite of the usual. Grammatically, I think Homs (like Aleppo) has the badros bidros paradigm instead of the bidros byidros one.

    Hamawi sounds very similar to Old City Damascene to me but I'm sure there are clear differences for some people.

    Tartousi I'm not particularly familiar with, but it sounds to me similar to Latakian. Latakian has a lot of strange features. Firstly, the final long -ii produced by addition of the -o suffix to final vowels (e.g. naasii 'I've forgotten him') seems to be replaced by -aa. So you get faa for fii, 3aaTaa for 'I have given it to him', 3alaa for 'on him', etc etc. Latakian also has a lot of regularisation and analogy (the only dialect I've ever encountered where qara2a was fully regularised as a defective verb to 2ara yi2ri). Like many dialects (but not usually Damascene) it doesn't only have sound imperatives in f3aal, f3ool, f3eel but also defective ones (nsaa, 7kii instead of insa, i7ki). Its back allophone for long aa is much more back than in other places, but it also has a few examples of imaala (jeeje, dabbeene). Finally, vocabulary-wise it obviously has some of its own slang but I think most characteristically it has a lot of coastal features also found in Lebanon like heeydoone, heedooke, heeda, heedi, iji, 7éki etc instead of hadool, hadink, haada, hayy, ija, 7aka.
  3. basquiat19 New Member

    Arabic- Syria
    Thank you so much! I have definitely heard the speech of ahl il sa7il before (Latakia, Tartous, etc) but I never had resources for it.
    I am wondering if people in Jableh and Baniyas speak this way, or if there are any differences? For example, pronouncing qaf vs. hamza. Is there a sectarian component to the speech in this region, or would Sunnis in the coastal region also speak in this way?

    I am also wondering if there are specific dialect lines. For example, what is commonly considered "Syrian" by other Arabs is the dialect of central Syria, from the A'waj River to the Hama/Idlib border, although it seems like while Damascus and its countryside and Hama city are very similar, Homs would seem to be an isolated cluster and not entirely part of this, although it shares some aspects.

    Also, for example, would a Homsi (or coastal Syrian) use imala? For example in Aleppo (and in many towns in Idlib), we would say "neeyem" for sleeping instead of "naayim". And "kteb" for "ktab". Homsi uses a lot of "eh" for the "ee" sounds, but it seems as if there is not much imala.

    Again, sorry for the amount of questions, I am just thinking of writing a paper and a dialect map based on comparisons between words (maybe having some sentences in each dialect to compare). Thank you for your help!
  4. analeeh Senior Member

    English - UK
    I don't think Homsi has much imaala that I've noticed (except the ubiquitous word-final imala that basically all Levantine dialects have to some extent).

    As far as the qaaf is concerned - there are a lot of similarities between the Alawite and Druze speech of the saa7el and the urban speech of e.g. Latakia, for obvious reasons, but they're still quite distinct from the urban dialect. (Whether there are or were rural Sunni dialects that were more similar I don't know). Urban Latakians in general do not say qaaf - this is a distinctly rural Alawite/Druze feature associated most of all with Alawites (even for Alawites though it's an identity thing; I've met Alawites who don't pronounce the q). Other features of the Alawite dialect include having -kin -hin instead of -kon -hon.

    I know a guy from Banyas and his accent and that of a guy from Tartous I know sound vaguely similar to me. They both have a weird lowering of the e: vowel to a: (so beet sounds like baat). This is I guess what happens in Latakia too but perhaps in Latakia it's restricted to open syllables?
  5. momai

    momai Senior Member

    Arabic - Syria
    And Ismaeilis.
    Probably enfluenced by urban speech .
    It's not exactly an a, it is between a and e.This shift is anyway dying out and is used only by old people in my city (Salamieh).
  6. basquiat19 New Member

    Arabic- Syria
    I think for the sake of my project I'm going to map the coast as one region, including the west of Hama like Masyaf and Salhab because the dialects are very similar in features.

    I'm wondering about east Hama and north Hama countryside- Hama city seems to have a very typical urban dialect similar to Damascus (I agree with you based on what I've heard from it), but is there a Hamawi regional dialect? Or do the towns north and immediately west of Hama have their own dialects? I know it is a continuum, but for the sake of mapping what would it fall under?

    Also- would Homs have kom/hom or kon/hon features, for example?
  7. Ioannasehi New Member

    Albanian greek
    Hi. I Will like to ask you.. I wann to learn the dialect of the Arabic Syria Damascus the spoken Arabic do You know how can I do that?
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2018
  8. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)

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