This map is from Wikipedia's Varieties of Arabic page. On the northern half of the western Red Sea coast, as well as most of Sinai and Israel, it seems to indicate that "Badawi" Arabic is spoken, but I can't find for the life of me any sources on the topic. My questions:

  1. Is this map accurate with regards to Badawi Arabic?
  2. Can you tell me a bit about it, or share any reading material on the topic of this variety of Arabic and its similarity/differences with Egyptian Arabic? Wikipedia's Varieties of Arabic
  • 2
    Given that badawī is the origin of the word ‘Bedouin’, it seems likely enough. Just googling the term leads to the Wikipedia article on Northwest Arabian Arabic, which shows a map with the same distribution and mentions “typical Bedouin lexical items”, so I’d guess it’s simply an alternative name for Northwest Arabian Arabic. Nov 22, 2020 at 9:18
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Thanks!
    – Gabi
    Nov 25, 2020 at 10:48
  • One problem with Arabic dialect maps is that there can be a relatively strong urban / peasant / bedouin distinction. There are even distinctions between different tribes of bedouins who crisscross the same areas. It's not purely geographic, it's social. Nov 23, 2022 at 21:38

2 Answers 2


This is intended to refer to the dialects of the bedouin communities of eastern Egypt, the Sinai and the Negev desert. It is most closely related to the bedouin dialects of Jordan and northwestern Saudi Arabia and is the same as what Wikipedia refers to as "Northwestern Arabian Arabic". It is closer to what you would hear in the Jordanian and north Saudi Arabian deserts than what you would hear in Cairo in terms of phonology and vocabulary, but not as conservative as your typical Arabian bedouin dialect.


No, this map is not correct. It was recently removed from Wikipedia because it has numerous errors & is largely unsourced. With regard to "Badawi Arabic", this map collapses a historically bedouin version of Arabic spoken in the Levant & Sinai peninsula with a superficially similarly named Cushitic language "Bidhaawyeet" spoken mostly in the Sudan. Most of the area along the Red Sea Coast in this map comes from sources on Bidhaawyeet. (Arabic is also spoken in these areas, but it's not the "Badawi Arabic" in question.) As a starting point for linguistic sources, I think Glottolog is usually good. Here's their Eastern Egyptian Bedawi Arabic page: https://glottolog.org/resource/languoid/id/east2690 De Jong's grammars are a good starting point.

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