A Grammar of the Jewish Arabic Dialect of Gabes - cover image

Book Series


Wiktor Gębski

Published On





  • English

Print Length

528 pages (xviii+510)


Paperback156 x 27 x 234 mm(6.14" x 1.06" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 29 x 234 mm(6.14" x 1.14" x 9.21")


Paperback736g (25.96oz)
Hardback915g (32.28oz)



OCLC Number





  • CF
  • CFF
  • CFK
  • CFFD
  • QRJ
  • 2CSR


  • CF
  • CFF
  • CFFD
  • CFK
  • JFSR1
  • 2CSR


  • LAN009010
  • LAN006000
  • HIS022000
  • HIS026010


  • PJ5079.5.G33


  • Spoken Arabic dialect in Northern Africa
  • Jews of Gabes, Tunisia
  • Linguistics
  • Judaeo-Arabic
  • Northern African dialects
  • Linguistic preservation
  • Linguistic extinction

A Grammar of the Jewish Arabic Dialect of Gabes

This volume undertakes a linguistic exploration of the endangered Arabic dialect spoken by the Jews of Gabes, a coastal city situated in Southern Tunisia. Belonging to the category of sedentary North African dialects, this variety is now spoken by a dwindling number of native speakers, primarily in Israel and France.

Given the imminent extinction faced by many modern varieties of Judaeo-Arabic, including Jewish Gabes, the study's primary goal is to document and describe its linguistic nuances while reliable speakers are still accessible. Data for this comprehensive study were collected during fieldwork in Israel and France between December 2018 and March 2022.

The volume's primary objective is a meticulous comparative analysis of Jewish Gabes, with a special emphasis on syntax, aiming to discern unique linguistic features through comparison with other North African dialects. The results of the study suggest that the Jewish dialect of Gabes emerged in the first wave of the Arab conquest of the Maghreb, thus exhibiting features that set it apart from its Muslim counterpart. This old variety therefore has the potential to provide invaluable information on the formation of Maghrebi Arabic and the mechanisms of language contact in the pre-Islamic Maghreb.

The volume is organised in three main sections: phonology, morphology, and syntax, with the syntax section adopting historical and typological perspectives to shed light on this linguistic terra incognita.


1. Introduction

(pp. 1–22)
  • Wiktor Gębski

2. Phonology

(pp. 25–88)
  • Wiktor Gębski

3. Verbal morphology

(pp. 91–138)
  • Wiktor Gębski

4. Nominal morphology

(pp. 139–202)
  • Wiktor Gębski

5. Syntax of nouns

(pp. 205–260)
  • Wiktor Gębski
  • Wiktor Gębski

7. Syntax of pronouns

(pp. 385–400)
  • Wiktor Gębski

8. Conclusions

(pp. 401–406)
  • Wiktor Gębski


Wiktor Gębski

Rothschild Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Cambridge

Dr Wiktor Gębski is a linguist specialising in Arabic dialectology and Hebrew. Hailing from Poland, he completed his BA and MA in Hebrew and Modern Greek Studies at the University of Warsaw. Between 2014 and 2016 he pursued Hebrew and Arabic studies at the University of Tel Aviv as a scholar of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2022 he gained his PhD from the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge. His doctoral dissertation The Jewish Dialect of Gabes (Southern Tunisia): Phonology, Morphology, Syntax was written under the supervision of Professor Geoffrey Khan. It entailed documentation of this endangered North-African Arabic dialect. The project was based on extensive fieldwork in Israel and France, during which Dr Gębski recorded the last native speakers of Jewish Gabes. For his work towards the preservation of Jewish linguistic heritage, in 2022 he was awarded the Oliver Cromwell Prize in Jewish Studies. Currently, Dr Gębski is a Rothschild Postdoctoral Fellow at FAMES, Cambridge, where he teaches Modern Hebrew and conducts research on Jewish and Muslim varieties of spoken Maghrebi Arabic. His academic interests involve language endangerment, the syntax of spoken Arabic, and language contact between Jewish dialects of Arabic and Israeli Hebrew.