This study deals with an unwritten dialect of Arabic which is spoken in
parts of northern and central Chad (French Tchad) and which has received
serious attention only in the last three decades. The description and
materials used is of potential interest to nonspecialists as well as to
students of Arabic linguistics and dialectology. A variety of what may be
labeled Sudanic Arabic, the Chadian dialect manifests certain linguistic
features which pose a challenge to its classification in terms of the
traditional Eastern/Western or nomadic/sedentary dichotomies.
Included in this study are brief phonological, morphological and syntactic
outlines of the dialect followed by sample texts in phonemic transcription.
It is hoped that enough information is given to be of help to those who do
not know Arabic as well as to those who are familiar with other varieties
of Arabic. A number of characteristic features of Chadian Arabic,
especially in the area of phonology, are contrasted with equivalent
structures in Modern Standard Arabic since the latter is one variety of
Arabic which is more likely to be familiar to most readers.
The materials in this sketch is based mainly on data collected in the late
sixties from a native speaker of Chadian Arabic to be used in the
preparation of teaching material for the Peace Corps. Other materials
collected by other researchers and published since are also taken into
2nd printing 2007.