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Mistakes regarding Gazans' dialect(s)

Reader comment on item: Solving the "Palestinian Problem" [with the No-State Solution]

Submitted by Rayyan Al-Shawaf (United Kingdom), Jan 11, 2009 at 22:53

... Daniel,

... you are incorrect in stating that Gazans speak the Egyptian Sinai dialect of Arabic. In fact, this phenomenon is largely restricted to the Gazans of Rafah, a city which straddles the Gaza-Egypt border. Moreover, most Gazans (75-80%) are refugees or descendants thereof from the Palestinian interior. Though their (various) dialects have not remained unaffected by their new surroundings, these refugees' origins can still be determined by their speech.

Other notes of interest:

--Sure, Hamas is an outgrowth of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Yet even most Hamas members--including top people such as Haniyeh and Zahhar--do not speak Egyptian Arabic, or even what you term the Sinai dialect, as their native vernacular.

--It is common for Arabs who have been exposed to several dialects to make use of their knowledge when talking to other Arabs. Thus, a number of Palestinian politicans and other figures will adopt the Egyptian dialect (or even just the accent) when addressing Egyptians. Among Gazans, this phenomenon is even more widespread. Many Gazans with college degrees were educated in Egypt, meaning that they can switch to a more Egyptian-sounding Arabic when they visit Egypt or are interviewed by Egyptian television, etc.

--There is no single Sinai vernacular. Among inhabitants of the peninsula, the Arabic of the "Egyptians" differs from that of the Bedouin, and has sometimes been a source of discrimination by the former against the latter.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

You are confirming my basic point that native Gazans speak the Arabic spoken in Sinai. Of course, you are correct to point out that immigrants to Gaza from further north speak a Palestinian dialect.

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