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Jijel Arabic

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Title: Jijel Arabic  
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Subject: Varieties of Arabic, Saharan Arabic, Judeo-Iraqi Arabic, Thamudic language, North Mesopotamian Arabic
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Jijel Arabic


Jijeli, or Jijel Arabic, is a variety of Arabic spoken specifically in the Jijel Province in northeastern Algeria, but traces of it reach parts of the neighboring provinces of Skikda and Mila. It is quite different from all the other Arabic dialects spoken in eastern Algeria and has probably survived into present times because of the geographic enclavement of that mountainous area and the difficulty of terrestrial connections with the rest of the country for centuries.

Jijel is a relic of the pre-Hilalian Arabic dialects (resulting from the first Islamic Arabic conversion of North Africa in the 7th and 8th centuries) that were once spoken in all the north of Constantine but which were later mixed with Hilalian Bedouin Arabic that was brought by the second wave of Arab invasion during the 11th century. Pre-Hilalian Arabic dialects remained intact only in a small area around Jijel while they were heavily mixed with bedouin dialects in the areas of Constantine, Mila, Collo and El Milia. These pre-Hilalian Arabic dialects have survived also in the Algerian region of Tlemcen and to this day, Tlemcen Arabic, and Jijel Arabic are still very close to one another.[1]. Jijelian Arabic is also amongst the most Berber influenced Arabic dialects of Algeria.

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