They all derive historically from a common language, just as the North Germanic, Saami and Mongolian languages do. The primary reason that most "versions of Arabic" are called Arabic is political and the reason why Maltese is not generally called Arabic is likewise political, though it is clearly not as similar to Classical Arabic as Spoken Levantine Arabic is.
In other words, saying that Lebanese is "a version of Arabic" does not clarify anything, and you can't decide whether it is "a version", unless you have a clear and well-justified terminological alternative. If you were speaking of Chaldean Neo-Aramaic in Iraq, that could not be considered a "version" of Arabic. It is sensible to ask about the relationship between two genetically-related languages, it's just that "version" does not impart any clarity to the discussion.
There is a significant similarity between Classical Arabic and Spoken Lebanese Arabic in the realm of grammar, and a huge similarity between Lebanese, Syrian, Iraqi, Egyptian and so on. For example, the patterns of verb inflection in the modern languages are extremely similar, and recognizable related to Classical Arabic — though there are a number of things in Classical Arabic that have disappeared for instance, jussive and subjunctive inflections. This system of rules is complex enough to be an area of significant interest for linguists and has been reasonably well studied.
I would agree that there is not much similarity between Classical Arabic and the modern dialects, but it is easy to see how the phonologies of the modern dialects arose historically. It would be a wonderful project to line up the relevant properties and compose a model of relatedness based on such shared changes from the classical language: this has been done somewhat, and research on the topic will continue for many years. If some other Arabic speakers think you are Israeli, that probably reflects the fact that the varieties of Arabic spoken along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean are extremely similar.
It would be interesting, but quite impractical, to conduct a well-controlled and extensive survey of perceived similarity among varieties of Arabic. Factoring in language-external comparisons such as Aramaic-Arabic, Berber-Arabic is just that much more difficult: not impossible, but difficult. Please note that this just looks at large-scale subjective judgments of "similarity"; another approach is to develop a metric of objective grammatical and lexical similarity.
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The best answers are voted up and rise to the top. Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. Conflation of language dialects and phonology Ask Question. Asked 1 year, 8 months ago. Active 1 year, 8 months ago. Viewed times. What about the grammatical rules? What about phonology? Strong Syro-Aramaic. Appreciate any clarification on that. Useful concepts for you in your quest: lexical overlap, philogenetic relatedness, substrate, superstrate, adstrate, fusion language, diglossia.
Obviously English is not a Romance language but by vocabulary alone it may appear to be. The Levantine vs Arabic case is blurred by the fact that they are both Semitic languages, one is somewhat moribund, and of course the extreme politicisation you mention, culminating in the use of literary Arabic as the written language, before the advent of SMS anyway.
I don't know if you've seen this already, but I'll link in any case to provide context for others as well. The linguist Lameen Souag has several blog posts presenting the argument for Lebanese being a variety of Arabic; see the recent lughat. I am not sure that there is something such as a "dialect of a language". Asymmetry in grammar.
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