Juba Arabic

Juba Arabic is an Arabic-based pidgincreole spoken in the Republic of South Sudan. At present, Juba Arabic is the major lingua franca of South Sudan as well as of large diaspora communities in Sudan, Egypt, the United States, and Australia. As Juba Arabic has many second- and third-language speakers, it is difficult to estimate the number of its speakers. Since 2005, Juba Arabic has been recognized as "national language", whereas English is the only "official language" of South Sudan. While it does not possess an established standard orthography, Juba Arabic is widely written in the Latin script.

It is doubtful whether we can speak of a continuum in the case of Juba Arabic and its Sudanese Arabic lexifier. The prolonged coexistence of Juba Arabic with Sudanese Arabic has resulted in increasing structural affinity between this pidgincreole and its lexifier (labeled as "Arabic interference" in the data set). The structural effects of this contact situation vary a great deal according to sociolinguistic variables such as the speakers' residence and their degree of education. Urban speakers and people educated in Arabic generally speak acrolectal varieties, while rural and recently urbanized people tend to speak basilectal varieties. Polylectal variation may be entirely a matter of lexical switching (e.g. the basilectal/mesolectal ta/bita against the acrolectal ḥagg as possessive marker) or else may include variation affecting phonological rules as well (e.g. the absence of pharyngeal sounds in basilectal varieties against the integration of etymological [ʕ] and [ʔ] in acrolectal/mesolectal varieties). The default lect documented in APiCS is a mesolectal variety spoken by young and middle-aged English-educated male speakers born in Juba and displaced in Khartoum in the late 1990s. In the case of our informants, knowledge of Sudanese Arabic correlates with awareness of separateness and ability to keep it apart from Juba Arabic.

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No. Feature Value % lect Details Source
No. Feature Value % lect Details Source

Consonants

bilabial
labiodental
dental
dental/alveolar
dental/alveolar
affricate
palato-alveolar
retroflex
palatal
velar
labial-velar
uvular
glottal
plosive/affricatepbtdt͡sd͡zt͡ʃd͡ʒʈɖcɟkgk͡pg͡bqʔ
aspirated plosive/affricatet͡sʰt͡ʃʰ
glottalized stop/affricateɓt͡sʼt͡ʃʼ
nasalmnɳɲŋ
trill, tap or flaprɾ
fricativeɸβfvθðszʃʒxɣχh
lateral/approximantɬlɭjw

Vowels

frontnear-frontcentralnear-backback
high
higher-mid
mid
lower-mid
low

Legend

 Exists (as a major allophone)
 Exists only as a minor allophone
 Exists only in loanwords
 Does not exist
No. Feature Value % lect Details Source