Intonational Variation in Arabic Corpus



Twenty five countries have Arabic as an official language, but the dialects spoken vary greatly, and even within one country different accents are heard. Many features create the impression of 'a different accent', including how particular sounds are pronounced, where stress falls in a word, and what intonation pattern is used. There is extensive prior research on the first two of these for Arabic, but few descriptions of the intonation of individual dialects, and what is known is based on different data types so direct comparisons cannot be made.

The Intonational Variation in Arabic project is hosted by the Department of Language and Linguistic Science at the University of York, a leading centre for sociophonetic research. Adapting methodology from earlier ESRC funded work on English ( the project has generated a public-access corpus of Arabic speech, using a parallel set of sentences, stories and conversations, recorded with 18-30 year olds in eight regions of the Arab world. Additional data from older speakers (aged 40-60) in one location permits investigation of changes in progress and local variation. A range of different tools were used to collect speech recordings, to systematically vary certain variables of interest, and control others, and in a range of styles, from scripted to spontaneous speech. Detailed prosodic analysis (published separately) will yield intonational descriptions of individual dialects and cross-dialectal comparisons, for use by linguists, learners and teachers of Arabic and other users. Further information is available at:

The data is embargoed until 29 September 2018, but some of the documentation is available before that date on the UKDA page for the data.
Date made available30 Sept 2017
PublisherUK Data Archive
Date of data production2012 - 2017
Geographical coverageMiddle East and North Africa

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