Found in: Languages of Saudi Arabia
Bahrani Arabic is a variety of Arabic spoken by the Bahranis of Bahrain and some parts of Saudi Eastern Province, and also in Oman.
In Bahrain, the dialect is spoken in the capital, Manama, and in Bahrani villages. Others speak a Gulf dialect which is more similar to those spoken in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
In Saudi Arabia, Qatif and neighbouring towns and villages are the main center of the dialect. These are distinct from the dialects of Al-Hasa, the other major population center in the Eastern Province.
The differences between Bahrani Arabic and neighboring dialects suggest differing historical origins. Most of the others in the region are relatively recent immigrants, many of them originally Bedouin Najdi tribes. Those now speak Gulf dialects which are very distinct from Najdi and Bedouin dialects, and which are much more similar to the Bahrani dialects. In Bahrain, the main differences between Bahrani speech and others' speech are evident certain grammatical forms and especially pronunciation and accent. Most of the vocabulary, however, is shared between both dialects and distinctly Bahraini, arising from a shared modern history. Many Bahrani words were borrowed from Hindi or English . Some of these words are used more frequently than others.
Bahrani dialect has borrowed some vocabulary from Persian, Hindi and more recently from English. Despite commercial and cultural intercourse with Persia in the past, the Persian element is relatively very small and is concerned mainly with novelties introduced from Persia.
Bahrani Arabic (called Bahrani by its speakers) has the main features of Persian Gulf dialects in addition to its own unique features. General features include Standard Arabic q becoming g (qamar vs gamar 'moon'), k becoming ch in some positions (kalb vs chalb 'dog'). J becomes y in some villages (jihhe vs yihhe 'watermelon'). Final Standard Arabic -ah becomes -e in some positions.
Unique features include changing th and dh into f and d.Many younger speakers avoid such pronunciations, however.
Bahrani grammar is similar to other Gulf dialects but includes the distinctive 'ee' sound that is used at the end of sentences to indicate a tag question it means yes , eg:
Ente rayeh, ee? You are going, yes?
Mahdi Abdalla Al-Tajir. 1983. Language and Linguistic Origins in Bahrain: The Bahrani Dialect of Arabic. ISBN 0-7103-0024-7
Clive Holes. 1983. "Bahraini Dialects: Sectarian Differences and the Sedentary/Nomadic Split," Zeitschrift fur arabische Linguistik 10:7-38.
Clive Holes. 1987. Language Variation and Change in a Modernising Arab State: The Case of Bahrain. ISBN 0-7103-0244-4