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Iraqi Arabic is a unique language and not a dialect

Reader comment on item: Passing as Shi'i in Iraq

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Jun 29, 2014 at 17:05

Dr. Pipes

Alissa Rubin's article is not really news (compare this with Egypt where you can tell with great ease who is a Copt and who is really Muslim although the population of Egypt is very homogenous) but she seems to be missing a very important part of how can one tell the difference between Sunni and Shia in Iraq.

Iraqi Arabic is very unique and I would even say that it is a unique language not just a dialect. It has many loan words as well as grammatical constructions from Syro-Aramaic as well as Akkadian and Persian and to a far lesser degree from Kurdish and Turkish as well as English and it has two main dialects one is called Gelet (he said) or the southern variety and then we have the northern variety or Qeltu (he said) and this is straight out of Aramaic

Iraqi Arabic also has the unique Jewish Iraqi Arabic as well as the Christian variety

Shia Arabic is indeed different and I understand (and this is anecdotal observation by a very good Shia Iraqi friend) that it tends to be the Qelet variety

I really believe that an ISIS member from Iraq would be able to tell just from the accent if an individual is Shia or Sunni

The sad thing is and this is what Ms Rubin does not get is that it seems that many members of ISIS are foreign terrorists be it Pakistanis and Indian Muslims via England or even Egyptians and Maghrebees that have no clue about Iraqi Arabic and how one can tell the difference or even at times what is the Iraqi man or woman is really saying

Ms Rubin did not get it and this is a sad story about the decline of a great newspaper and that is the NYT

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