Best Arabic Dialects to Learn

March 26, 2024

The Arabic language is complex and vast, with a rich tapestry of grammar and vocabulary. The language boasts a vast vocabulary, allowing for precise expression across various contexts. It has a long history, contributing to its depth and complexity, it encompasses numerous dialects, each with unique expressions and pronunciation. The Arabic language itself is a root language, not derived from any other language, like Latin. Most countries that speak the Arabic language are in North Africa and the Middle East, these countries speak the same language (Arabic) but differently, therefore, Arabic has so many dialects. Choosing which dialect to learn is a challenge, and it depends on why you want to learn Arabic in the first place: do you want to learn how to read the Qur’an, state documents, or sound cool and cultured? or do you want to be mostly understood by Arabic speakers, watch TV, and listen to Arabic music? This article will guide you on the best Arabic dialects to learn, and how to choose them.

Arabic Dialects

According to Wikipedia, there are around 292 million people who speak Arabic as their first language, and it is the official language in 27 countries. Modern Standard Arabic, MSA is used in formal speech and is the closest to the classical Arabic, which is used in the Qur’an, however, it is not the version that most people speak, people had to come up with a dialect with simpler grammar, and more casual vocabulary which can be used often in their everyday lives. Arabic dialects can be so different that it feels like a whole different language, however, interestingly enough, most Arabic speakers from different countries understand each other easily. So, as a language learner, you need to be aware of the different dialects that exist out there. Keep in mind that, MSA is used in formal settings, like: business meetings, diplomacy, newspapers, … etc. You might have heard somewhere that the literacy rate of the Arab region is among the lowest, which means that people can’t speak or read MSA fluently.

Choosing the Right Arabic Dialects

Arabic dialects are used for everyday activities, when you buying coffee, talking to a friend, and various other activities. There is no standard writing for Arabic dialects, so they can easily borrow words from other languages, and interestingly, dialects can vary within the same country! For example, in Egypt, people from Upper Egypt (southern region) speak in a different dialect than people from Lower Egypt (northern region). Choosing the best Arabic dialects for beginners depends on various factors, including your goals, interests, and the regions you plan to visit or interact with, here are a few popular options commonly recommended for beginners:

  • Egyptian Arabic

It is widely understood across the Arab world due to Egypt’s cultural influence through film, television, and music. It is spoken by over 100 million people and originated in the Nile Delta. Before the Arab Muslim conquest of Egypt, Egyptians spoke “Egyptian Coptic”. Then, Arabic slowly supplanted spoken Coptic. Egyptian Arabic is relatively straightforward for beginners, with simplified grammar and pronunciation compared to other dialects, and learning Egyptian Arabic opens doors to understanding popular Arabic media and interacting with Egyptians, who are known for their friendly and welcoming nature.

  • Levantine Arabic (Jordanian, Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian)

It is spoken in countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and parts of Palestine, Levantine Arabic shares similarities with MSA but has distinct regional variations. Levantine Arabic is favored by many learners due to its prevalence in popular Arabic music, TV series, and movies. While the Levantine dialect may have some complexities in pronunciation and vocabulary, it offers learners valuable insights into regional culture and daily life.

  • Gulf Arabic (Emirati, Saudi, Kuwaiti, Qatari, etc.)

It is widely spoken in the Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. It features simplified grammar and pronunciation, making it accessible for beginners. Learning Gulf Arabic can be beneficial for those interested in business opportunities or cultural exchanges in the Gulf region.

Best Arabic Dialects to Learn

If your target goal or priority is to speak Arabic, then start with learning the Egyptian dialect directly, MSA is not spoken by anyone on Earth, so you would rather focus on something that people speak. This article has some valuable insight on why it is not advisable to learn MSA first. So, let's summarize the key points in this article:

  • It is not spoken by ordinary people.
  • It is not a neutral dialect. When people who speak different dialects reach a communication barrier, they adapt to the other dialect, for example: Syrians in Egypt Egyptianize their speech to get by and communicate effectively with locals.
  • When you learn MSA, everyone will understand you, but you will understand no one.

Learn the Alphabet

We know, unlike German or Russian, it is nearly impossible to guess how to pronounce a word in Arabic without actually hearing someone pronounce it which is why a lot of new learners can be easily put off by the alphabet. Some people may offer an easy way out, and resort to Franco, which is alpha-numeric letters to resemble the sound of the Arabic letters, however, we are strongly against it as it will affect you negatively later. All good quality Arabic content is written in the Arabic alphabet. not Franco, hence we discourage learning it that way.

Practice Makes Perfect!

Speak out loud.

Speak Egyptian Arabic whenever you get a chance, practice with your language exchange partner, record yourself reading Egyptian texts, or even talk to yourself in Egyptian Arabic.

Apps & online courses.

Utilize apps and online courses designed for learning Egyptian Arabic, many offer interactive lessons, at Academy, we pride ourselves on offering the premier Egyptian Arabic course for beginners, audio exercises, and vocabulary builders specifically tailored to the dialect. We also offer one-to-one classes!

Connect with other Egyptian Arabic learners.

Join online forums, groups, or communities, share your experiences, ask questions, and motivate each other on your learning journey. At, we can help with that too!

Learning a new language is a difficult task, however, if you surround yourself and listen to the target dialect consistently, you will become fluent in the target dialect in the least amount of time. Never forget to assimilate, understanding the cultural nuances and context behind language usage, enriches your understanding and fluency. Language learning takes time. Be patient, stay motivated, and celebrate small victories. 

At we offer high-quality classes and excellent teachers who don’t just drill grammar but teach you how to communicate. Book a free lesson now!