The Arab knows quite what ?? ?? false friends. These are words from different languages which are very similar to each other ?? or even on the outside are the same ?? but which have a different background and therefore different meaning. In Arabic is in such cases not even talk of words which are similar, but the same words in one area indicate anything other than another.
False friends can reasonably be innocent, but also in one dialect have a neutral sense and in the other an insulting. Or they can even have a more or less opposite meanings.
Where speakers of different dialects are in frequent contact with each other, they will be synonyms and by going to use next to each other. When this ?? false friends ?? in the game, which can sometimes lead to confusion.
A familiar example is the phrase to mean ?? what are you doing ??:
- Egyptian bti9mel ee
- Levantine shuu 9am 'itsaawi
The differences between the two sentences are as follows:
- different verb
- different word for what ?? ??
- different design for the ?? ????
- different place of the word ?? what ??
Jerusalem is used between a variant for this sentence: shuu bti9mal.
For the average Egyptian and Syrian / Palestinian both sentences will pose any problems. A foreigner who has studied one of the two dialects, will probably be to look strange. Similarly, in a sense as ?? go straight and turn left at the square ??:
- Egyptian ?? imshi 9ala Tuul w huush shmaal 9and il-midaan
- Levantine ruuh dughri W-Liff yasaar 9and is-saaha
A useful overview of the differences between the Egyptian and Levantine Arabic provides Margaret Omar: Levantine and Egyptian Arabic. Comparative Study.
For the foreigner who wants to learn an Arabic dialect, the course books are often written phonetically in Latin characters. The advantage of phonetic writing is that the student can concentrate on the spoken language. If he wants to learn written Arabic, he will have to focus largely on the MSA.
Georgetown University Press offers a number of fine, if somewhat dated, course books and dictionaries for the Moroccan, Iraqi and Palestinian Arabic. The course for the Syrian Arab Mary-Jane Liddicoat, Richard Lennane & Iman Abdul Rahim is more modern in design and provides all the dialogues and exercises also the Arabic notation, although this is not entirely standardized on the MSA.
Be periodically initiatives within the Arab world has taken to achieve a standardization of the various written dialects. At its core it is recommended to keep the written language as close to the MSA and only ?? high-frequency dialectical words ?? to deviate from this.
Proposals are being made also to include a few extra letters to obviate differences in pronunciation. These additional letters are derived from existing letters in order not to cut all the way through the relationship with MSA.
As yet it seems that soon something will arise such as a standardized Standardized Egyptian or Palestinian. For many, the written Arabic still too much attached to the language of the Holy Quran, and you can not just change.