Arabic dialects form a continuum of variation from the east to west across the Arab world. Based on the linguistic features that are found in different dialects (such as how the letters <ج> [ʒ] or <ق> [q] are pronounced), some authors have proposed regionally defined groups of dialects:[1,2]
Maghreb/North Africa > Egypt/Sudan > Levant (including Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine)
> Mesopotamia (including Iraq) > Arabian Peninsula (including the Gulf and Saudi Arabia)
These geographical groups do not tell the whole story, however, as there are important differences between bedouin vs. sedentary dialects, which are in turn subdivided into rural vs. urban varieties. Documenting all this dialectal variation is beyond the scope of IVAr, but we control for these factors during data collection.
The main IVAr database will provide data collected with speakers of seven dialects across the Arab world:
Morocco > Tunisia > Egypt > Jordan > Syria > Iraq > Kuwait > Emirates/Oman
Recordings are made on location in the Middle East, to minimise cross-linguistic interference.
Follow up study
A further follow up study is planned for May 2015, to collect speech recordings from speakers of Moroccan Arabic of different ages.