The ARABIC Language:
Today Arabic is spoken throughout the Arabian Peninsula and also in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Mauritania, and Chad. It is the mother tongue of over 180 million people in Africa and Asia. In addition, Arabic plays an important part in the lives of all Muslims, for it is the sacred language of Islam and its holy book the Qur'an.
The Arabic language can be characterized as having one standard, formal, written form that is used and understood all over the Arab world. However, in its spoken form, it is represented by many regional, generally mutually intelligible dialects. The standard form (called Classical--or Literary--Arabic) is used mainly for writing, but is also used orally in highly formal situations (such as, in written media and books, and in the spoken media, higher education, religious sermons, and courts of law).
The basic difference between the formal language and the dialects is that the latter are used in everyday oral interaction, and reflect the popular spoken language of specific geographical regions. The differences in the dialects spoken in various Arabic-speaking countries or regions is similar to the differences between English-speaking countries and regions. Pronounciations (accents) differ, such as the accent of a person from New York compared to someone from the Deep South (in the United States). Minor differences in vocabulary are also found: a "drinking fountain" in Arizona, is called a "bubbler" in Wisconsin, or a "soft drink" in one region, is called a "soda" in another area.
The differences in English are even more distinct between North Americans and Britons, or Britons and Australians. Yet all are native speakers of English--we all can communicate with spoken English, read the same newspapers, and watch the same television programs, essentially without difficulty.
The communication skills learned in either the Pimsleur Eastern Arabic course or the Pimsleur Egyptian Arabic course, may be used successfully with any other speaker of the Arabic language.
Eastern Arabic is the dialect spoken in: Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine. Eastern Arabic is also very well understood in the eastern and southeastern parts of the Arab world: Arabia, the gulf region and Iraq due to the fact that millions of Syrians, Palestinians, Jordanians, and Lebanese have worked and are working there. Additionally, there is considerable intermarriage among these groups. Eastern Arabic, although a general term, is based on the dialect of Damascus, which is the largest city in the area (with more than five million people). Moreover, it has been the center of power, culture, and education over many centuries. Individuals learning this dialect will have no trouble understanding neighboring dialects nor making themselves understood.
Egyptian Arabic is mainly spoken in: Egypt. Egyptian Arabic has also gained a high degree of acceptance throughout the Arabic-speaking world because of its use in films. The Cairene dialect of Egyptian Arabic is the variety spoken in the Pimsleur Egyptian Arabic course. It is the standard for spoken Egyptian and the people are extremely proud of it.