Egyptian Arabic
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Egyptian Arabic, locally known as Colloquial Egyptian (Arabic: العامية المصرية‎‎,[2][3][4] [el.ʕæmˈmejjæ l.mɑsˤˈɾejjɑ]), or simply Masri (مَصرى‎),[5][6] is the spoken vernacular Arabic dialect of Egypt.[7][8]
Egyptian Arabic
العامية المصرية
Pronunciation[el.ʕæmˈmejjæ l.mɑsˤˈɾejjɑ]
Native toEgypt
Native speakers
68,000,000 (2020)[1]
Egyptian Arabic
Arabic alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3arz
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
Egyptian is a dialect of the Arabic language, which is part of the Afro-Asiatic language family. It originated in the Nile Delta in Lower Egypt. Egyptian Arabic evolved from the Quranic Arabic which was brought to Egypt during the seventh-century AD Muslim conquest that aimed to spread the Islamic faith among the Egyptians.[9] Egyptian Arabic is influenced by the Egyptian Coptic language in its grammar structure which was the native language of the vast majority of Nile Valley Egyptians prior to the Islamic conquest[10][11][12] and later it had influences by European and foreign languages such as French, Italian, Greek,[13] Turkish and English. The 100 million Egyptians speak a continuum of dialects, among which Cairene is the most prominent. It is also understood across most of the Arabic-speaking countries due to broad Egyptian influence on the region. Furthermore, Egyptian media including cinema has had a big influence in the MENA region for more than a century, along with the music industry. These factors help to make it the most widely spoken and by far the most widely studied variety of Arabic.[14][15][16][17][18]
While it is primarily a spoken language, the written form is used in novels, plays and poems (vernacular literature), as well as in comics, advertising, some newspapers and transcriptions of popular songs. In most other written media and in television news reporting, Literary Arabic is used. Literary Arabic is a standardized language based on the language of the Quran, that is, Classical Arabic. The Egyptian vernacular is almost universally written in the Arabic alphabet for local consumption, although it is commonly transcribed into Latin letters or in the International Phonetic Alphabet in linguistics text and textbooks aimed at teaching non-native learners.[19]
Egyptians generally call their vernacular "Arabic" (عربى‎, [ˈʕɑrɑbi]) when juxtaposed with non-Arabic languages; "Colloquial Egyptian" (العاميه المصريه‎, [el.ʕæmˈmejjæ l.mɑsˤˈɾejjɑ])[note B] or simply "'Aamiyya" (عامية‎, colloquial) when juxtaposed with Standard Arabic and the Egyptian dialect (اللهجه المصريه‎, [elˈlæhɡæ l.mɑsˤˈɾejjɑ])[note C] or simply Masri (مَصرى‎, [ˈmɑsˤɾi], Egyptian) when juxtaposed with other vernacular Arabic dialects.[20] Sometimes it is also called Modern Egyptian language[21] (اللغه المصريه الحديثه‎,[21]Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [elˈloɣæ l.mɑsˤˈɾejjɑ l.ħæˈdiːsæ]).[note A]
The term Egyptian Arabic is usually used synonymously with "Cairene Arabic", which is technically a dialect of Egyptian Arabic. The country's native name, Maṣr, is often used locally to refer to Cairo itself. As is the case with Parisian French, Cairene Arabic is by far the most prevalent dialect in the country.[22]
Geographic distribution
The total number of Egyptian Arabic users in all countries is over 51 million, 49 million of whom are native speakers in Egypt, including several regional dialects. In addition, there are immigrant Egyptian communities in the Middle East, Europe, North America, Latin America, Australia and South East Asia. Among the spoken varieties of Arabic, Standard Egyptian Arabic[23] (based on the dialect of the Egyptian capital) is the only one to have become a lingua franca in other parts of the Arabic-speaking world for two main reasons:[24][25] the proliferation and popularity of Egyptian films and other media in the region since the early 20th century as well as the great number of Egyptian teachers and professors who were instrumental in setting up the education systems of various countries in the Arabian Peninsula and also taught there and in other countries such as Algeria and Libya. Also, many Lebanese artists choose to sing in Egyptian and Lebanese. Standard Egyptian Arabic when used in documents, broadcast media, prepared speeches and sometimes in liturgical purpose, is Cairene Arabic with loanwords from Modern Standard Arabic origin or code-switching between Cairene Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic.[better source needed]
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Arabic was spoken in parts of Egypt such as the Eastern Desert and Sinai before Islam.[26] However, Nile Valley Egyptians slowly adopted Arabic as a written language following the Muslim conquest of Egypt in the seventh century. Until then, they had spoken either Koine Greek or Egyptian in its Coptic form. A period of Coptic-Arabic bilingualism in Lower Egypt lasted for more than three centuries. The period would last much longer in the south. Arabic had been already familiar to Valley Egyptians since Arabic had been spoken throughout the Eastern Desert and Sinai. Arabic was also a minority language of some residents of the Nile Valley such as Qift in Upper Egypt through pre-Islamic trade with Nabateans in the Sinai Peninsula and the easternmost part of the Nile Delta. Egyptian Arabic seems to have begun taking shape in Fustat, the first Islamic capital of Egypt, now part of Cairo.
One of the earliest linguistic sketches of Cairene Arabic is a 16th-century document entitled Dafʿ al-ʾiṣr ʿan kalām ahl Miṣr [27](دفع الإصر عن كلام أهل مصر‎, "The Removal of the Burden from the Language of the People of Cairo") by Yusuf al-Maghribi (يوسف المغربي‎). With Misr here meaning Cairo. It contains key information on early Cairene Arabic and the language situation in Egypt in the Middle Ages. The main purpose of the document was to show that while the Cairenes' vernacular contained many critical "errors" vis-à-vis Classical Arabic, according to al-Maghribi, it was also related to Arabic in other respects. With many waves of immigration from the Arabian peninsula such as the Banu Hilal exodus, together with the ongoing Islamization and Arabization of the country, multiple Arabic varieties, one of which is Egyptian Arabic, slowly supplanted spoken Coptic. Local chroniclers mention the continued use of Coptic as a spoken language until the 17th century by peasant women in Upper Egypt. Coptic is still the liturgical language of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.
Egyptian Arabic has no official status and is not officially recognized as a language. Standard Arabic is the official language of the state as per constitutional law .[28] Interest in the local vernacular began in the 1800s (in opposition to the language of the ruling class, Turkish), as the Egyptian national movement for self-determination was taking shape. For many decades to follow, questions about the reform and the modernization of Arabic were hotly debated in Egyptian intellectual circles. Proposals ranged from developing neologisms to replace archaic terminology in Modern Standard Arabic to the simplification of syntactical and morphological rules and the introduction of colloquialisms to even complete "Egyptianization" (tamṣīr) by abandoning the so-called Modern Standard Arabic in favor of Masri or Egyptian Arabic.[29]
Proponents of language reform in Egypt included Qasim Amin, who also wrote the first Egyptian feminist treatise, former President of the Egyptian University, Ahmed Lutfi el-Sayed, and noted intellectual Salama Moussa. They adopted a modernist, secular approach and disagreed with the assumption that Arabic was an immutable language because of its association with the Qur'an. The first modern Egyptian novel in which the dialogue was written in the vernacular was Muhammad Husayn Haykal's Zaynab in 1913. It was only in 1966 that Mustafa Musharafa's Kantara Who Disbelieved was released, the first novel to be written entirely in Egyptian Arabic.[30] Other notable novelists, such as Ihsan Abdel Quddous and Yusuf Idris, and poets, such as Salah Jahin, Abdel Rahman el-Abnudi and Ahmed Fouad Negm, helped solidify vernacular literature as a distinct literary genre.[29]
Amongst certain groups within Egypt's elite, Egyptian Arabic enjoyed a brief period of rich literary output. That dwindled with the rise of Egyptian Arab nationalism, which had gained wide popularity in Egypt by the final years of the Muhammad Ali dynasty, as demonstrated vividly by Egypt's involvement in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War under King Farouk of Egypt. The Egyptian revolution of 1952, led by Mohammed Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser, further enhanced the significance of Arab nationalism, making it a central element of Egyptian state policy. The importance of Modern Standard Arabic was reemphasised in the public sphere by the revolutionary government, and efforts to accord any formal language status to the Egyptian vernacular were ignored. Egyptian Arabic was identified as a mere dialect, one that was not spoken even in all of Egypt, as almost all of Upper Egypt speaks Sa'idi Arabic. Though the revolutionary government heavily sponsored the use of the Egyptian vernacular in films, plays, television programmes, and music, the prerevolutionary use of Modern Standard Arabic in official publications was retained.[citation needed]
Linguistic commentators[who?] have noted the multi-faceted approach of the Egyptian revolutionaries towards the Arabic language. Whereas Egypt's first president, Mohammed Naguib exhibited a preference for using Modern Standard Arabic in his public speeches, his successor, Gamal Abdel Nasser was renowned for using the vernacular and for punctuating his speeches with traditional Egyptian words and expressions. Conversely, Modern Standard Arabic was the norm for state news outlets, including newspapers, magazines, television, and radio. That was especially true of Egypt's national broadcasting company, the Arab Radio and Television Union, which was established with the intent of providing content for the entire Arab world, not merely Egypt, hence the need to broadcast in the standard, rather than the vernacular, language. The Voice of the Arabs radio station, in particular, had an audience from across the region, and the use of anything other than Modern Standard Arabic was viewed as eminently incongruous.
As the status of Egyptian Arabic as opposed to Classical Arabic can have such political and religious implications in Egypt,[how?] the question of whether Egyptian Arabic should be considered a "dialect" or "language" can be a source of debate. In sociolinguistics, Egyptian Arabic can be seen as one of many distinct varieties that, despite arguably being languages on abstand grounds, are united by a common dachsprache in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA).
During the early 1900s many portions of the Bible were published in Egyptian Arabic. These were published by the Nile Mission Press. By 1932 the whole New Testament and some books of the Old Testament had been published in Egyptian Arabic in Arabic script.[31]
Spoken varieties
Sa‘īdi Arabic is a different variety than Egyptian Arabic in Ethnologue.com and ISO 639-3 and in other sources,[32] and the two varieties have limited mutual intelligibility. It carries little prestige nationally but continues to be widely spoken, with 19,000,000 speakers.[33]
The traditional division between Upper and Lower Egypt and their respective differences go back to ancient times. Egyptians today commonly call the people of the north baḥarwa ([bɑˈħɑɾwɑ]) and those of the south ṣaʿayda ([sˤɑˈʕɑjdɑ]). The differences throughout Egypt, however, are more wide-ranging and do not neatly correspond to the simple division. The language shifts from the eastern to the western parts of the Nile Delta, and the varieties spoken from Giza to Minya are further grouped into a Middle Egypt cluster. Despite the differences, there are features distinguishing all the Egyptian Arabic varieties of the Nile Valley from any other varieties of Arabic. Such features include reduction of long vowels in open and unstressed syllables, the postposition of demonstratives and interrogatives, the modal meaning of the imperfect and the integration of the participle.[34]
The Western Egyptian Bedawi Arabic variety[35] of the western desert differs from all other Arabic varieties in Egypt in that it linguistically is part of Maghrebi Arabic.[36] Northwest Arabian Arabic is also distinct from Egyptian Arabic.[37]
Regional variation
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Egyptian Arabic varies regionally across its sprachraum, with certain characteristics being noted as typical of the speech of certain regions.
The dialect of Alexandria (West Delta) is noted for certain shibboleths separating its speech from that of Cairo (South Delta). The ones that are most frequently noted in popular discourse are the use of the word falafel as opposed to ṭa`meyya for the fava-bean fritters common across the country and the pronunciation of the word for the Egyptian pound as [ˈɡeni], rather than the Cairene [ɡeˈneː] (closer to the pronunciation of the origin of the term, the British guinea). The speech of the older Alexandrian families is also noted for use of the first-person plural even when they speak in the singular, a feature of Maghrebi Arabic.
Port Said
Port Said's dialect (East Delta) is noted for a "heavier", more guttural sound, compared to other regions of the country.
Rural Nile Delta
The dialect of the Fellah in Northern Egypt is noted for a distinct accent, replacing the urban pronunciations of ج [giːm] and ق [ʔaːf] with [ʒiːm] and [gaːf] respectively. The dialect also has many grammatical differences when contrasted to urban dialects.[38]

Main article: Egyptian Arabic phonology
Egyptian Arabic has a phonology that differs slightly from that of other varieties of Arabic and has its own inventory of consonants and vowels.
In contrast to CA and MSA, nouns are not inflected for case and lack nunation (with the exception of certain fixed phrases in the accusative case, such as شكراً‎ [ˈʃokɾɑn], "thank you"). As all nouns take their pausal forms, singular words and broken plurals simply lose their case endings. In sound plurals and dual forms, where, in MSA, difference in case is present even in pausal forms, the genitive/accusative form is the one preserved. Fixed expressions in the construct state beginning in abu, often geographic names, retain their -u in all cases.[39]
Most common broken plural patterns
CVCCVC(a)CaCaaCiCany four-character root with short second vowelmaktab, makaatib "desk, office"; markib, maraakib "boat"; maṭbax, maṭaabix "kitchen"; masʔala, masaaʔil "matter"; maṭṛaḥ, maṭaaṛiḥ "place"; masṛaḥ, masaaṛiḥ "theater"; tazkaṛa, tazaakir "ticket"; ʔiswira, ʔasaawir "bracelet"; muʃkila, maʃaakil "problem"; muulid, mawaalid "(holy) birthday"; maktaba, maktabaa "stationary";
CVCCVVC(a)CaCaCiiCany four-character root with long second vowelfustaan, fasatiin "dress"; guṛnaal, gaṛaniil "newspaper"; muftaaḥ, mafatiiḥ "key"; fingaan, fanagiin "cup"; sikkiina, sakakiin "knife"; tamriin, tamariin "exercise"; siggaada, sagagiid "carpet"; magmuuʕ, magamiiʕ "total"; maṣruuf, maṣaṛiif "expense"; maskiin, masakiin "poor, pitiable"
CaC(i)C, CiCC, CeeC (< *CayC)CuCuuCvery common for three-character rootsdars, duruus "lesson"; daxl, duxuul "income"; daʔn, duʔuun "chin"; ḍeef, ḍuyuuf "guest"; ḍirṣ, ḍuruuṣ "molar tooth"; fann, funuun "art"; farʔ, furuuʔ "difference"; faṣl, fuṣuul "class, chapter"; geeb, guyuub "pocket"; geeʃ, guyuuʃ "army"; gild, guluud "leather"; ḥall, ḥuluul "solution"; ḥarb, ḥuruub "war"; ḥaʔʔ, ḥuʔuuʔ "right"; malik, muluuk "king"
CaC(a)C, CiCC, CuCC, CooC (< *CawC)ʔaCCaaCvery common for three-character rootsdurg, ʔadṛaag "drawer"; duʃʃ, ʔadʃaaʃ "shower"; film, ʔaflaam "film"; miʃṭ, ʔamʃaaṭ "comb"; mitr, ʔamtaaṛ "meter"; gism, ʔagsaam; guzʔ, ʔagzaaʔ "part"; muxx, ʔamxaax "brain"; nahṛ, ʔanhaaṛ "river"; door, ʔadwaaṛ "(one's) turn, floor (of building)"; nooʕ, ʔanwaaʕ "kind, sort"; yoom, ʔayyaam "day"; nuṣṣ, ʔanṣaaṣ "half"; qism, ʔaqṣaam "division"; waʔt, ʔawʔaat "time"; faṛaḥ, ʔafṛaaḥ "joy, wedding"; gaṛas, ʔagṛaas "bell"; maṭaṛ, ʔamṭaaṛ "rain"; taman, ʔatmaan "price"; walad, ʔawlaad "boy"
CaaC, CuuCʔaCwaaCvariant of previousḥaal, ʔaḥwaal "state, condition"; nuur, ʔanwaaṛ "light"
CaCCa, CooCa (< *CawCa)CiCaC, CuCaCCaCCa < Classical CaCCa (not CaaCiCa)gazma, gizam "shoe"; dawla, duwal "state, country"; ḥalla, ḥilal "pot"; ʃooka, ʃuwak "fork"; taxta, tuxat "blackboard"
CiCCaCiCaCḥiṣṣa, ḥiṣaṣ "allotment"; ḥiṭṭa, ḥiṭaṭ "piece"; minḥa, minaḥ "scholarship"; nimra, nimar "number"; qiṣṣa, qiṣaṣ "story"
CuCCaCuCaCfuṛma, fuṛam "shape, form"; fuṛṣa, fuṛaṣ "chance"; fusḥa, fusaḥ "excursion"; fuuṭa, fuwaṭ "towel"; nukta, nukat "joke"; ʔuṭṭa, ʔuṭaṭ "cat"; mudda, mudad "period (of time)"
CVCVVC(a)CaCaayiCthree-character roots with long second vowelsigaaṛa, sagaayir "cigarette"; gariida, gaṛaayid "newspaper"; gimiil, gamaayil "favor"; ḥabiib, ḥabaayib "lover"; ḥariiʔa, ḥaraayiʔ "destructive fire"; ḥaʔiiʔa, ḥaʔaayiʔ "fact, truth"; natiiga, nataayig "result"; xaṛiiṭa, xaṛaayiṭ "map"; zibuun, zabaayin "customer"
CaaCiC, CaCCaCawaaCiCCaCCa < Classical CaaCiCa (not CaCCa)ḥaamil, ḥawaamil "pregnant"; haanim, hawaanim "lady"; gaamiʕ, gawaamiʕ "mosque"; maaniʕ, mawaaniʕ "obstacle"; fakha, fawaakih "fruit"; ḥadsa, ḥawaadis "accident"; fayda, fawaayid "benefit"; ʃaariʕ, ʃawaariʕ "street"; xaatim, xawaatim "ring"
CaaCiCCuCCaaCmostly occupational nounskaatib, kuttaab "writer"; saakin, sukkaan "inhabitant"; saayiḥ, suwwaaḥ "tourist";
CaCiiCCuCaCaadjectives and occupational nounsfaʔiir, fuʔaṛa "poor"; nabiih, nubaha "intelligent"; naʃiiṭ, nuʃaṭa "active"; raʔiis, ruʔasa "president"; safiir, sufaṛa "ambassador"; waziir, wuzaṛa "minister"; xabiir, xubaṛa "expert"; ṭaalib, ṭalaba "student"
CaCiiC/CiCiiCCuCaaCadjectivesgamiil, gumaal "beautiful"; naʃiiṭ, nuʃaaṭ "active"; niḍiif, nuḍaaf "clean"; tixiin, tuxaan "fat"
Secondary broken plural patterns
CVCCVVCCaCaCCaoccupational nounstilmiiz, talamza "student"; ʔustaaz, ʔasatza "teacher"; simsaaṛ, samasṛa "broker"; duktoor, dakatra "doctor"
CaCVVCCawaaCiiCqamuus, qawamiis "dictionary"; maʕaad, mawaʕiid "appointment"; ṭabuuṛ, ṭawabiiṛ "line, queue"; meʃwar, maʃaweer "Walk, Appointment"
CaCaCCiCaaCgamal, gimaal "camel"; gabal, gibaal "mountain, hill"
CaCCʔaCCuCʃahṛ, ʔaʃhur "month"
CiCaaC, CaCiiC(a)CuCuCkitaab, kutub "book"; madiina, mudun "city"
CaCC(a)CaCaaCimaʕna, maʕaani "meaning"; makwa, makaawi "iron"; ʔahwa, ʔahaawi "coffee"; ʔaṛḍ, ʔaṛaaḍi "ground, land"
CaaCa, CaaCi, CaCyaCawaaCiḥaaṛa, ḥawaaṛi "alley"; naadi, nawaadi "club"; naḥya, nawaaḥi "side"
CaCaC, CiCaaCʔaCCiCa/ʔiCCiCaḥizaam, ʔaḥzima "belt"; masal, ʔamsila "example"; sabat, ʔisbita "basket"
CiCiyyaCaCaayahidiyya, hadaaya "gift"
CaaCCiCaaCfaaṛ, firaan "mouse"; gaaṛ, giraan "neighbor"; xaal, xilaan "maternal uncle"
Color/defect nouns
Examples of "color and defect" nouns
A common set of nouns referring to colors, as well as a number of nouns referring to physical defects of various sorts (ʔaṣlaʕ "bald"; ʔaṭṛaʃ "deaf"; ʔaxṛas "dumb"), take a special inflectional pattern, as shown in the table. Note that only a small number of common colors inflect this way: ʔaḥmaṛ "red"; ʔazraʔ "blue"; ʔaxḍaṛ "green"; ʔaṣfaṛ "yellow"; ʔabyaḍ "white"; ʔiswid "black"; ʔasmaṛ "brown-skinned, brunette"; ʔaʃʔaṛ "blond(e)". The remaining colors are invariable, and mostly so-called nisba adjectives derived from colored objects: bunni "brown" (< bunn "coffee powder"); ṛamaadi "gray" (< ṛamaad "ashes"); banafsigi "purple" (< banafsig "violet"); burtuʔaani "orange" (< burtuʔaan "oranges"); zibiibi "maroon" (< zibiib "raisins"); etc., or of foreign origin: beeع‎ "beige" from the French; bamba "pink" from Turkish pembe.[40]
Forms of the independent and clitic pronouns
MeaningSubjectDirect object/PossessiveIndirect object
After vowelAfter 1 cons.After 2 cons.After vowelAfter 1 cons.After 2 cons.
Normal+ ʃ+ l-Normal+ ʃ+ l-Normal+ ʃ+ l-Normal+ ʃNormal+ ʃNormal+ ʃ
"my" (nominal)- ́ya-i
"I/me" (verbal)ána- ́ni-íni- ́li-íli
"you(r) (masc.)"ínta- ́k-ak- ́lak-ílak
"you(r) (fem.)"ínti- ́ki-ik-ki-ik-iki- ́lik-lkí-lik-likí-ílik-ilkí
"he/him/his"huwwa- ́-hu-u-hu-u-uhu- ́lu-ílu
"she/her"hiyya- ́ha-áha- ́lha-láha-ílha
"we/us/our"íḥna- ́na-ína- ́lna-lína-ílna
"you(r) (pl.)"íntu- ́ku-úku- ́lku-lúku-ílku
"they/them/their"humma- ́hum-úhum- ́lhum-lúhum-ílhum
Examples of possessive constructs
Base Wordbéet
Construct Basebéet-biyúut-bánk-sikkíin(i)t-miṛáat-ʔabúu-ʔidée-
"my ..."béet-ibiyúut-ibánk-isikkínt-imiṛáat-iʔabúu-yaʔidáy-ya
"your (masc.) ..."béet-akbiyúut-akbánk-aksikkínt-akmiṛáat-akʔabúu-kʔidée-k
"your (fem.) ..."béet-ikbiyúut-ikbánk-iksikkínt-ikmiṛáat-ikʔabúu-kiʔidée-ki
"his ..."béet-ubiyúut-ubánk-usikkínt-umiṛáat-uʔabúu-(h)ʔidée-(h)
"her ..."bét-habiyút-habank-áhasikkinít-hamiṛát-haʔabúu-haʔidée-ha
"our ..."bét-nabiyút-nabank-ínasikkinít-namiṛát-naʔabúu-naʔidée-na
"your (pl.) ..."bét-kubiyút-kubank-úkusikkinít-kumiṛát-kuʔabúu-kuʔidée-ku
"their ..."bét-humbiyút-humbank-úhumsikkinít-hummiṛát-humʔabúu-humʔidée-hum
Suffixed prepositions
Base Wordfi
"by, in, with"
"in the
possession of,
to have"
"... me"fíy-yabíy-yalíy-yawayyáa-yaʕaláy-yaʕánd-imínn-i
"... you (masc.)"fíi-kbíi-klíi-k, l-akwayyáa-kʕalée-kʕánd-akmínn-ak
"... you (fem.)"fíi-kibíi-kilíi-ki, li-kiwayyáa-kiʕalée-kiʕánd-ikmínn-ik
"... him"fíi-(h)bíi-(h)líi-(h), l-u(h)wayyáa-(h)ʕalée-(h)ʕánd-umínn-u
"... her"fíi-habíi-halíi-ha, la-hawayyáa-haʕalée-haʕand-áhaminn-áha, mín-ha
"... us"fíi-nabíi-nalíi-na, li-nawayyáa-naʕalée-naʕand-ínaminn-ína
"... you (pl.)"fíi-kubíi-kulíi-ku, li-kuwayyáa-kuʕalée-kuʕand-úkuminn-úku, mín-ku
"... them"fíi-humbíi-humlíi-hum, li-humwayyáa-humʕalée-humʕand-úhumminn-úhum, mín-hum
Egyptian Arabic object pronouns are clitics, in that they attach to the end of a noun, verb, or preposition, with the result forming a single phonological word rather than separate words. Clitics can be attached to the following types of words:
With verbs, indirect object clitic pronouns can be formed using the preposition li- plus a clitic. Both direct and indirect object clitic pronouns can be attached to a single verb: agíib "I bring", agíb-hu "I bring it", agib-húu-lik "I bring it to you", m-agib-hu-lkíi-ʃ "I do not bring it to you".
Verbs in Arabic are based on a stem made up of three or four consonants. The set of consonants communicates the basic meaning of a verb. Changes to the vowels in between the consonants, along with prefixes and/or suffixes, specify grammatical functions such as tense, person, and number, in addition to changes in the meaning of the verb that embody grammatical concepts such as causative, intensive, passive or reflexive.
Each particular lexical verb is specified by two stems, one used for the past tense and one used for non-past tenses along with as subjunctive and imperative moods. To the former stem, suffixes are added to mark the verb for person, number, and gender, while to the latter stem, a combination of prefixes and suffixes are added. (Very approximately, the prefixes specify the person and the suffixes indicate number and gender.) The third person masculine singular past tense form serves as the "dictionary form" used to identify a verb, similar to the infinitive in English (Arabic has no infinitive). For example, the verb meaning "write" is often specified as kátab, which actually means "he wrote". In the paradigms below, a verb will be specified as kátab/yíktib (where kátab means "he wrote" and yíktib means "he writes"), indicating the past stem (katab-) and non-past stem (-ktib-, obtained by removing the prefix yi-).
The verb classes in Arabic are formed along two axes. One axis (described as "form I", "form II", etc.) is used to specify grammatical concepts such as causative, intensive, passive, or reflexive, and involves varying the stem form. For example, from the root K-T-B "write" is derived form I kátab/yíktib "write", form II káttib/yikáttib "cause to write", form III ká:tib/yiká:tib "correspond", etc. The other axis is determined by the particular consonants making up the root. For example, defective verbs have a W or Y as the last root consonant, which is often reflected in paradigms with an extra final vowel in the stem (e.g. ráma/yírmi "throw" from R-M-Y); meanwhile, hollow verbs have a W or Y as the middle root consonant, and the stems of such verbs appear to have only two consonants (e.g. gá:b/yigí:b "bring" from G-Y-B).
Strong verbs
Strong verbs are those that have no "weakness" (e.g. W or Y) in the root consonants. Each verb has a given vowel pattern for Past (a or i) and Present (a or i or u). Combinations of each exist.
Regular verbs, form I
Form I verbs have a given vowel pattern for past (a or i) and present (a, i or u). Combinations of each exist:
Vowel patternsExample
aaḍárab – yíḍrab to beat
aikátab – yíktib to write
auṭálab – yíṭlub~yúṭlub to order, to demand
iafíhim – yífham to understand
iimisik – yímsik to hold, to touch
iusikit – yískut~yúskut to be silent, to shut up
Regular verb, form I, fáʕal/yífʕil
Example: kátab/yíktib "write"
Tense/MoodPastPresent SubjunctivePresent IndicativeFutureImperative
Note that, in general, the present indicative is formed from the subjunctive by the addition of bi- (bi-a- is elided to ba-). Similarly, the future is formed from the subjunctive by the addition of ḥa- (ḥa-a- is elided to ḥa-). The i in bi- or in the following prefix will be deleted according to the regular rules of vowel syncope:
Example: kátab/yíktib "write": non-finite forms
Number/GenderActive ParticiplePassive ParticipleVerbal Noun
Masc. Sg.ká:tibmaktú:bkitá:ba
Fem. Sg.kátb-amaktú:b-a
Regular verb, form I, fíʕil/yífʕal
Example: fíhim/yífham "understand"
Tense/MoodPastPresent SubjunctivePresent IndicativeFutureImperative
Boldfaced forms fíhm-it and fíhm-u differ from the corresponding forms of katab (kátab-it and kátab-u due to vowel syncope). Note also the syncope in ána fhím-t "I understood".
Regular verb, form II, fáʕʕil/yifáʕʕil
Example: dárris/yidárris "teach"
Tense/MoodPastPresent SubjunctivePresent IndicativeFutureImperative
Boldfaced forms indicate the primary differences from the corresponding forms of katab:
Regular verb, form III, fá:ʕil/yifá:ʕil
Example: sá:fir/yisá:fir "travel"
Tense/MoodPastPresent SubjunctivePresent IndicativeFutureImperative
The primary differences from the corresponding forms of darris (shown in boldface) are:
Defective verbs
Defective verbs have a W or Y as the last root consonant.
Defective verb, form I, fáʕa/yífʕi
Example: ráma/yírmi "throw away" (i.e. trash, etc.)
Tense/MoodPastPresent SubjunctivePresent IndicativeFutureImperative
The primary differences from the corresponding forms of katab (shown in boldface) are:
Defective verb, form I, fíʕi/yífʕa
Example: nísi/yínsa "forget"
Tense/MoodPastPresent SubjunctivePresent IndicativeFutureImperative
This verb type is quite similar to the defective verb type ráma/yírmi. The primary differences are:
Note that some other verbs have different stem variations, e.g. míʃi/yímʃi "walk" (with i in both stems) and báʔa/yíbʔa "become, remain" (with a in both stems). The verb láʔa/yilá:ʔi "find" is unusual in having a mixture of a form I past and form III present (note also the variations líʔi/yílʔa and láʔa/yílʔa).
Verbs other than form I have consistent stem vowels. All such verbs have a in the past (hence form stems with -é:-, not -í:-). Forms V, VI, X and IIq have a in the present (indicated by boldface below); others have i; forms VII, VIIt, and VIII have i in both vowels of the stem (indicated by italics below); form IX verbs, including "defective" verbs, behave as regular doubled verbs:
Hollow verbs
Hollow have a W or Y as the middle root consonant. Note that for some forms (e.g. form II and form III), hollow verbs are conjugated as strong verbs (e.g. form II ʕáyyin/yiʕáyyin "appoint" from ʕ-Y-N, form III gá:wib/yigá:wib "answer" from G-W-B).
Hollow verb, form I, fá:l/yifí:l
Example: gá:b/yigí:b "bring"
Tense/moodPastPresent subjunctivePresent indicativeFutureImperative
This verb works much like dárris/yidárris "teach". Like all verbs whose stem begins with a single consonant, the prefixes differ in the following way from those of regular and defective form I verbs:
In addition, the past tense has two stems: gíb- before consonant-initial suffixes (first and second person) and gá:b- elsewhere (third person).
Hollow verb, form I, fá:l/yifú:l
Example: ʃá:f/yiʃú:f "see"
Tense/MoodPastPresent SubjunctivePresent IndicativeFutureImperative
This verb class is identical to verbs such as gá:b/yigí:b except in having stem vowel u in place of i.
Doubled verbs
Doubled verbs have the same consonant as middle and last root consonant, e.g. ḥább/yiḥíbb "love" from Ḥ-B-B.
Doubled verb, form I, fáʕʕ/yifíʕʕ
Example: ḥább/yiḥíbb "love"
Tense/MoodPastPresent SubjunctivePresent IndicativeFutureImperative
This verb works much like gá:b/yigí:b "bring". Like that class, it has two stems in the past, which are ḥabbé:- before consonant-initial suffixes (first and second person) and ḥább- elsewhere (third person). Note that é:- was borrowed from the defective verbs; the Classical Arabic equivalent form would be *ḥabáb-, e.g. *ḥabáb-t.
Other verbs have u or a in the present stem: baṣṣ/yibúṣṣ "to look", ṣaḥḥ/yiṣáḥḥ "be right, be proper".
As for the other forms:
Assimilated verbs
Assimilated verbs have W or Y as the first root consonant. Most of these verbs have been regularized in Egyptian Arabic, e.g. wázan/yíwzin "to weigh" or wíṣíl/yíwṣal "to arrive". Only a couple of irregular verbs remain, e.g. wíʔif/yúʔaf "stop" and wíʔiʕ/yúʔaʕ "fall" (see below).
Doubly weak verbs
"Doubly weak" verbs have more than one "weakness", typically a W or Y as both the second and third consonants. This term is in fact a misnomer, as such verbs actually behave as normal defective verbs (e.g. káwa/yíkwi "iron (clothes)" from K-W-Y, ʔáwwa/yiʔáwwi "strengthen" from ʔ-W-Y, dá:wa/yidá:wi "treat, cure" from D-W-Y).
Irregular verbs
The irregular verbs are as follows:
Tense/MoodPastPresent SubjunctiveImperative
1stgé:-t or gí:-tgé:-na or gí:-naá:-giní:-gi
2ndmasculinegé:-t or gí:-tgé:-tu or gí:-tutí:-gití:-g-utaʕá:lataʕá:l-u
femininegé:-ti or gí:-tití:-g-itaʕá:l-i
3rdmasculine or (also ʔíga)
gá:-ni (or -li)
"he came to me"
but not *gé:-ni
but gú:-ni (or -li)
"they came to me" and magú:-ʃ "they didn't come"
femininegat (also ʔígat)tí:-gi
Example: gé/yí:gi "come": non-finite forms
Number/GenderActive ParticipleVerbal Noun
Masc. Sg.gayynigíyy
Fem. Sg.gáyy-a
Table of verb forms
In this section all verb classes and their corresponding stems are listed, excluding the small number of irregular verbs described above. Verb roots are indicated schematically using capital letters to stand for consonants in the root:
Hence, the root F-M-L stands for all three-consonant roots, and F-S-T-L stands for all four-consonant roots. (Traditional Arabic grammar uses F-ʕ-L and F-ʕ-L-L, respectively, but the system used here appears in a number of grammars of spoken Arabic dialects and is probably less confusing for English speakers, since the forms are easier to pronounce than those involving ʕ.)
The following table lists the prefixes and suffixes to be added to mark tense, person, number and gender, and the stem form to which they are added. The forms involving a vowel-initial suffix, and corresponding stem PAv or NPv, are highlighted in silver. The forms involving a consonant-initial suffix, and corresponding stem PAc, are highlighted in gold. The forms involving a no suffix, and corresponding stem PA0 or NP0, are unhighlighted.
The following table lists the verb classes along with the form of the past and non-past stems, active and passive participles, and verbal noun, in addition to an example verb for each class.
FormRoot TypeStemParticipleVerbal NounExample
Person of Suffix1st/2nd3rd
Suffix TypeCons-InitialNoneVowel-InitialNoneVowel-Initial
Suffix NamePAcPA0PAvNP0NPv
IStrongFaMaLFMaLFá:MiLmaFMú:L(varies, e.g.
fátaḥ/yíftaḥ "open"
FMiLkátab/yíktib "write"
FMuLdáxal/yúdxul "enter"
FiMiLFiMLFMaLfíhim/yífham "understand"
FMiLmísik/yímsik "hold, catch"
FMuLsíkin/yúskun "reside"
IDefectiveFaMé:FáMaFaMFMaFMFá:MimáFMi(varies, e.g.
FaMy, máFMa)
báʔa/yíbʔa "remain"
FMiFMráma/yírmi "throw"
FiMí:FíMiFíMyFMaFMnísi/yínsa "forget"
FMiFMmíʃi/yímʃi "walk"
IHollowFíLFá:LFí:LFá:yiL(mitFá:L, properly
Form VIIt)
(varies, e.g.
Fe:L, Fo:L)
ga:b/yigí:b "bring"
FúLFú:Lʃa:f/yiʃú:f "see"
FíLFá:Lna:m/yiná:m "sleep"
FúLxa:f/yixá:f "fear"
IDoubledFaMMé:FáMMFíMMFá:MiMmaFMú:M(varies, e.g.
ḥabb/yiḥíbb "love"
FúMMḥaṭṭ/yiḥúṭṭ "put"
IIStrongFaMMaLmiFáMMaLtaFMí:Lɣáyyaṛ/yiɣáyyaṛ "change"
FaMMiLmiFáMMiLdárris/yidárris "teach"
IIDefectiveFaMMé:FáMMaFáMMFáMMiFáMMmiFáMMitaFMíyawárra/yiwárri "show"
IIIStrongFaMíLFá:MiLFáMLFá:MiLFáMLmiFá:MiLmiFáMLazá:kir/yizá:kir "study"
IIIDefectiveFaMé:Fá:MaFá:MFá:MiFá:MmiFá:MimiFáMyaná:da/yiná:di "call"
IVStrongʔáFMaLFMiLmíFMiLiFMá:Lʔáḍṛab/yíḍrib "go on strike"
IVDefectiveʔaFMé:ʔáFMaʔáFMFMiFMmíFMi(uncommon)ʔáṛḍa/yíṛḍi "please"
IVHollowʔaFáLʔaFá:LFí:LmiFí:LʔiFá:Laʔafá:d/yifí:d "inform"
VStrongitFaMMaLtFaMMaLmitFáMMaLtaFáMMuL (or Form II)itmáṛṛan/yitmáṛṛan "practice"
itFaMMiLtFaMMiLmitFáMMiLitkállim/yitkállim "speak"
VDefectiveitFaMMé:itFáMMaitFáMMtFáMMatFáMMmitFáMMi(use Form II)itʔáwwa/yitʔáwwa "become strong"
VIStrongitFaMíLitFá:MiLitFáMLtFá:MiLtFáMLmitFá:MiLtaFá:MuL (or Form III)itʕá:win/yitʕá:win "cooperate"
VIDefectiveitFaMé:itFá:MaitFá:MtFá:MatFá:MmitFá:Mi(use Form III)iddá:wa/yiddá:wa "be treated, be cured"
VIInStronginFáMaLnFíMiLnFíMLminFíMiLinFiMá:L (or Form I)inbáṣaṭ/yinbíṣiṭ "enjoy oneself"
VIInDefectiveinFaMé:inFáMainFáMnFíMinFíMminFíMi(use Form I)inḥáka/yinḥíki "be told"
VIInHollowinFáLinFá:LnFá:LminFá:LinFiyá:L (or Form I)inbá:ʕ/yinbá:ʕ "be sold"
VIInDoubledinFaMMé:inFáMMnFáMMminFáMMinFiMá:M (or Form I)inbáll/yinbáll "be wetted"
VIItStrongitFáMaLtFíMiLtFíMLmitFíMiLitFiMá:L (or Form I)itwágad/yitwígid "be found"
VIItDefectiveitFaMé:itFáMaitFáMtFíMitFíMmitFíMi(use Form I)itnása/yitnísi "be forgotten"
VIItHollowitFáLitFá:LtFá:LmitFá:LitFiyá:L (or Form I)itbá:ʕ/yitbá:ʕ "be sold"
VIItDoubleditFaMMé:itFáMMtFáMMmitFáMMitFiMá:M (or Form I)itʕádd/yitʕádd "be counted"
VIIIStrongiFtáMaLFtíMiLFtíMLmiFtíMiL, muFtáMiL (classicized)muFtáMaL (classicized)iFtiMá:L (or Form I)istálam/yistílim "receive"
VIIIDefectiveiFtaMé:iFtáMaiFtáMFtíMiFtíMmiFtíMi, muFtáMi (classicized)(use Form I)iʃtára/yiʃtíri "buy"
VIIIHollowiFtáLiFtá:LFtá:LmiFtá:L, muFtá:L (classicized)iFtiyá:L (or Form I)ixtá:ṛ/yixtá:ṛ "choose"
VIIIDoublediFtaMMé:iFtáMMFtáMMmiFtáMM, muFtáMM (classicized)iFtiMá:M (or Form I)ihtámm/yihtámm "be interested (in)"
IXStrongiFMaLLé:iFMáLLFMáLLmiFMíLLiFMiLá:Liḥmáṛṛ/yiḥmáṛṛ "be red, blush"
XStrongistáFMaLstáFMaLmistáFMaL, mustáFMaL (classicized)istiFMá:Listáɣṛab/yistáɣṛab "be surprised"
istáFMiLstáFMiLmistáFMiL, mustáFMiL (classicized)mustáFMaL (classicized)istáʕmil/yistáʕmil "use"
XDefectiveistaFMé:istáFMaistáFMstáFMastáFMmistáFMi, mustáFMi (classicized)(uncommon)istákfa/yistákfa "be enough"
XHollowistaFáListaFá:LstaFí:LmistaFí:L, mistaFí:L (classicized)istiFá:L aistaʔá:l/yistaʔí:l "resign"
XDoubledistaFaMMé:istaFáMMstaFáMMmistaFáMM, mustaFáMM (classicized)istiFMá:Mistaḥáʔʔ/yistaḥáʔʔ "deserve"
staFíMMmistaFíMM, mustaFíMM (classicized)istamáṛṛ/yistamírr "continue"
IqStrongFaSTaLmiFáSTaLFaSTáLaláxbaṭ/yiláxbaṭ "confuse"
FaSTiLmiFáSTiLxárbiʃ/yixárbiʃ "scratch"
IIqStrongitFaSTaLtFaSTaLmitFáSTaLitFaSTáLaitláxbaṭ/yitláxbaṭ "be confused"
itFaSTiLtFaSTiLmitFáSTiLitʃáʕlil/yitʃáʕlil "flare up"
Main article: Negation in Arabic
One characteristic of Egyptian syntax which it shares with other North African varieties as well as some southern Levantine dialect areas is in the two-part negative verbal circumfix /ma-...-ʃ(i)/
/ma-/ comes from the Classical Arabic negator /maː/. /-ʃ(i)/ is a development of Classical /ʃajʔ/ "thing". This negating circumfix is similar in function to the French circumfix ne ... pas.
The structure can end in a consonant /ʃ/ or in a vowel /i/, varying according to the individual or region. The fuller ending /ʃi/ is considered rural, and nowadays Cairene speakers usually use the shorter /ʃ/. However, /ʃi/ was more common in the past, as attested in old films.
The negative circumfix often surrounds the entire verbal composite including direct and indirect object pronouns:
/ma-katab-hum-ˈliː-ʃ/ "he didn't write them to me"
However, verbs in the future tense typically instead use the prefix /miʃ/:
/miʃ-ħa-ˈjiktib/ (or /ma-ħa-jikˈtibʃ/ "he won't write"
Interrogative sentences can be formed by adding the negation clitic "(miʃ)" before the verb:
Addition of the circumfix can cause complex changes to the verbal cluster, due to the application of the rules of vowel syncope, shortening, lengthening, insertion and elision described above:
In addition, certain other morphological changes occur:
In contrast with Classical Arabic, but much like the other varieties of Arabic, Egyptian Arabic prefers subject–verb–object (SVO) word order; CA and to a lesser extent MSA prefer verb–subject–object (VSO). For example, in MSA "Adel read the book" would be قرأَ عادل الكتابQaraʾa ʿĀdilu l-kitāb IPA: [ˈqɑɾɑʔɑ ˈʕæːdel ol keˈtæːb] whereas EA would say عادل قرا الكتابʕādil ʔara l-kitāb IPA: [ˈʕæːdel ˈʔɑɾɑ lkeˈtæːb].
Also in common with other Arabic varieties is the loss of unique agreement in the dual form: while the dual remains productive to some degree in nouns, dual nouns are analyzed as plural for the purpose of agreement with verbs, demonstratives, and adjectives. Thus "These two Syrian professors are walking to the university" in MSA (in an SVO sentence for ease of comparison) would be "هذان الأستاذان السوريان يمشيان إلى الجامعة‎" Haḏān al-ʾustāḏān as-Sūriyyān yamšiyān ʾilā l-ǧāmiʿah IPA: [hæːˈzæːn æl ʔostæːˈzæːn as suːrejˈjæːn jæmʃeˈjæːn ˈʔelæ lɡæːˈmeʕæ], which becomes in EA "الأستاذين السوريين دول بيمشو للجامعة‎" il-ʔustazēn il-Suriyyīn dōl biyimʃu lil-gamʕa, IPA: [el ʔostæˈzeːn el soɾejˈjiːn ˈdoːl beˈjemʃo lelˈɡæmʕæ].
Unlike most other forms of Arabic, however, Egyptian prefers final placement of question words in interrogative sentences. This is a feature characteristic of the Coptic substratum of Egyptian Arabic.
Coptic substratum
Egyptian Arabic appears to have retained a significant Coptic substratum in its lexicon, phonology, and syntax. Coptic is the latest stage of the indigenous Egyptian language spoken until the mid-17th century when it was finally completely supplanted among Egyptian Muslims and a majority of Copts by the Egyptian Arabic. Some features that Egyptian Arabic shares with the original ancient Egyptian language include certain prefix and suffix verbal conjugations, certain emphatic and glottalized consonants, as well as a large number of biliteral and triliteral lexical correspondences.
A syntactic feature particular[citation needed][dubious discuss] to Egyptian Arabic arguably inherited from Coptic[41] is:
Wh words (i.e. "who", "when", "why" remain in their "logical" positions in a sentence rather than being preposed, or moved to the front of the sentence, as in Literary Arabic or English).
The same sentences in Literary Arabic (with all the question words (wh-words) in the beginning of the sentence) would be:
Also since Coptic lacked interdental consonants it could possibly have influenced the manifestation of their occurrences in Classical Arabic /θ/ /ð/ /ðˤ/ as their dental counterparts /t/ /d/ and the emphatic dental // respectively. (see consonants)
Sociolinguistic features
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2011)
Egyptian Arabic is used in most social situations, with Modern Standard and Classical Arabic generally being used only in writing and in highly-religious and/or formal situations. However, within Egyptian Arabic, there is a wide range of variation. El-Said Badawi identifies three distinct levels of Egyptian Arabic based chiefly on the quantity of non-Arabic lexical items in the vocabulary: ʿĀmmiyyat al-Musaqqafīn (Cultured Colloquial or Formal Spoken Arabic), ʿĀmmiyyat al-Mutanawwirīn (Enlightened or Literate Colloquial), and ʿĀmmiyyat al-'Ummiyīn (Illiterate Colloquial).[42] Cultured Colloquial/Formal Spoken Arabic is characteristic of the educated classes and is the language of discussion of high-level subjects, but it is still Egyptian Arabic; it is characterized by use of technical terms imported from foreign languages and MSA and closer attention to the pronunciation of certain letters (particularly qāf). It is relatively standardized and, being closer to the standard, it is understood fairly well across the Arab world.[42] On the opposite end of the spectrum, Illiterate Colloquial, common to rural areas and to working-class neighborhoods in the cities, has an almost-exclusively Arabic vocabulary; the few loanwords generally are very old borrowings (e.g. جمبرىgambari, [ɡæmˈbæɾi] "shrimp", from Italiangamberi, "shrimp" (pl.)) or refer to technological items that find no or poor equivalents in Arabic (e.g. تلفزيونtel(e)vezyōn/tel(e)fezyōn [tel(e)vezˈjoːn, tel(e)fezˈjoːn], television).[42] Enlightened Colloquial (ʿĀmmiyyat al-Mutanawwirīn) is the language of those who have had some schooling and are relatively affluent; loanwords tend to refer to items of popular culture, consumer products, and fashions. It is also understood widely in the Arab world, as it is the lingua franca of Egyptian cinema and television.[42]
In contrast to MSA and most other varieties of Arabic, Egyptian Arabic has a form of the T-V distinction. In the singular, انتenta/enti is acceptable in most situations, but to address clear social superiors (e.g. older persons, superiors at work, certain government officials), the form حضرتكḥaḍretak/ḥaḍretek, meaning "Your Grace" is preferred (compare Spanishusted).
This use of ḥaḍretak/ḥaḍretek is linked to the system of honorifics in daily Egyptian speech. The honorific taken by a given person is determined by their relationship to the speaker and their occupation.
Examples of Egyptian honorifics
HonorificIPAOrigin/meaningUsage and notes
seyattak[seˈjættæk]Standard Arabic siyādatuka, "Your Lordship"Persons with a far higher social standing than the speaker, particularly at work. Also applied to high government officials, including the President. Equivalent in practical terms to "Your Excellency" or "The Most Honourable".
saʿattak[sæˈʕættæk]Standard Arabic saʿādatuka, "Your Happiness"Government officials and others with significantly higher social standing. Equivalent in governmental contexts "Your Excellency", or "Your Honor" when addressing a judge.
maʿalīk[mæʕæˈliːk]Standard Arabic maʿālīka, "Your Highness"Government ministers. Equivalent in practical terms to "Your Excellency" or "The Right Honourable".
ḥagg/ḥagga[ˈħæɡ(ɡ)]​/​[ˈħæɡɡæ]Standard Arabic ḥāǧTraditionally, any Muslim who has made the Hajj, or any Christian who has made pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Currently also used as a general term of respect for all elderly.
bāsha[ˈbæːʃæ]Ottoman TurkishpashaInformal address to a male of equal or lesser social status. Roughly equivalent to "man" or "dude" in informal English speech.
bēh[beː]Ottoman Turkish beyInformal address to a male of equal or lesser social status. Essentially equivalent to but less current than bāsha.
afandi[æˈfændi]Ottoman Turkish efendiLargely archaic address to a male of a less social standard than bēh and bāsha; can be used humorously to social equals or to younger male members of the same family.
hānem[ˈhæːnem]Ottoman Turkish hanım/khanum, "Lady"Address to a woman of high social standing, or esteemed as such by the speaker. Somewhat archaic.
sett[ˈset(t)]Standard Arabic sayyida(t) "mistress"The usual word for "woman". When used as a term of address, it conveys a modicum of respect.
madām[mæˈdæːm]French madameRespectful term of address for an older or married woman.
ānesa[ʔæˈnesæ]Standard Arabic ānisah, "young lady"Semi-formal address to an unmarried young woman.
ostāz[ʔosˈtæːz]Standard Arabic ustādh, "professor", "gentleman"Besides actual university professors and schoolteachers, used for experts in certain fields. May also be used as a generic informal reference, as bēh or bāsha.
osṭa/asṭa[ˈostˤɑ]/[ˈɑstˤɑ]Turkish usta, "master"Drivers and also skilled laborers.
rayyes[ˈɾɑjjes]Standard Arabic raʿīs, "chief"Skilled laborers. The term predates the use of the same word to mean "president", and traditionally referred to the chief of a village.
bash-mohandes[bæʃmoˈhændes]Ottoman Turkish baş mühendis, "chief engineer"Certain types of highly skilled laborers (e.g. electricians).
meʿallem[meˈʕællem]Standard Arabic muʿallim, "teacher"Most working class men, particularly semi-skilled and unskilled laborers.
ʿamm[ˈʕæm(m)]Standard Arabic ʿamm, "paternal uncle"Older male servants or social subordinates with whom the speaker has a close relationship. It can also be used as a familiar term of address, much like basha. The use of the word in its original meaning is also current, for third-person reference. The second-person term of address to a paternal uncle is ʿammo[ˈʕæmmo]; onkel [ˈʔonkel], from French oncle, may also be used, particularly for uncles unrelated by blood.
dāda[ˈdæːdæ]Turkish dadı, "nanny"Older female servants or social subordinates with whom the speaker has a close relationship.
abē[ʔæˈbeː]Ottoman Turkish abi/ağabey, "elder brother"Male relatives older than the speaker by about 10–15 years. Upper-class, and somewhat archaic.
abla[ˈʔɑblɑ]Ottoman Turkish abla, "elder sister"Female relatives older than the speaker by about 10–15 years.
Other honorifics also exist.
In usage, honorifics are used in the second and third person.
Egyptian Arabic has been a subject of study by scholars and laypersons in the past and the present for many reasons, including personal interest, egyptomania, business, news reporting, and diplomatic and political interactions. Egyptian Colloquial Arabic (ECA) is now a field of study in both graduate and undergraduate levels in many higher education institutions and universities in the world. When added to academic instruction, Arabic-language schools and university programs provide Egyptian Arabic courses in a classroom fashion, and others facilitate classes for online study.
Sample text
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Egyptian/Masri (Arabic script; spelling not standardised):
الاعلان العالمى لحقوق الانسان, البند الاولانى
الاعلان العالمى لحقوق الانسان، البند الاولانى البنى ادمين كلهم مولودين حرّين ومتساويين فى الكرامة والحقوق. اتوهبلهم العقل والضمير، والمفروض يعاملو بعضيهم بروح الاخوية.
Franco/Arabic Chat Alphabet (has no strict standard):
el e3lan el 3alami le 72u2 el ensan, el band el awalani
el bani2admin kollohom mawlodin 7orrin we metsawyin fel karama wel 7o2u2. Etwahablohom el 3a2l wel damir, wel mafrud ye3amlo ba3dihom be ro7 el akhaweya.
IPA Phonemic transcription (for comparison with Literary Arabic):
/il ʔiʕˈlaːn il ʕaːˈlami li ħˈʔuːʔ il ʔinˈsaːn | il ˈband il ʔawwaˈlaːni/
/il bani ʔadˈmiːn kulˈluhum mawluˈdiːn ħurˈriːn wi mitsawˈjiːn fik kaˈrˤaːma wil ħuˈʔuːʔ || ʔetwahabˈlohom ilˈʕaʔle we ddˤaˈmiːr wel mafˈruːdˤ jeʕamlo baʕˈdˤiːhom biˈroːħ el ʔaxaˈwejja/
IPA phonemic transcription (for a general demonstration of Egyptian phonology):
/el ʔeʕˈlaːn el ʕaːˈlami le ħˈʔuːʔ el ʔenˈsaːn | el ˈband el ʔawwaˈlaːni/
/el bani ʔadˈmiːn kolˈlohom mawloˈdiːn ħorˈriːn we metsawˈjiːn fel kaˈrˤaːma wel ħoˈʔuːʔ || ʔetwahabˈlohom elˈʕaʔle we ddˤaˈmiːr wel mafˈruːdˤ jeˈʕamlu baʕˈdˤiːhom beˈroːħ el ʔaxaˈwejja/
IPA phonetic transcription morphologically (in fast speech, long vowels are half-long or without distinctive length):
[el ʔeʕˈlæːn el ʕæˈlæmi le ħˈʔuːʔ el ʔenˈsæːn | el ˈbænd el ʔæwwæˈlæːni]
[el bæniʔædˈmiːn kolˈlohom mæwlʊˈdiːn ħʊrˈriːn we metsæwˈjiːn fel kɑˈɾɑːmɑ wel ħʊˈʔuːʔ || ʔetwæhæbˈlohom elˈʕæʔle we ddɑˈmiːɾ wel mɑfˈɾuːd jeˈʕæmlu bɑʕˈdiːhom beˈɾoːħ el ʔæxæˈwejjæ]
A suggested alphabet:[43]
El-Eɛlan el-Ɛalami le Ḥoquq el-Ensan, el-band el-awwalani:
El-baniʔadmin kollohom mawludin ḥorrin we metsawjin fek-karama wel-ḥoquq. Etwahablohom el-ɛaql weḍ-ḍamir, wel-mafruḍ jeɛamlo baɛḍihom be roḥ el-acawejja.
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in the spirit of brotherhood.
Sample words and sentences
See also
Explanatory notes
  1. ^ Egyptian Arabic at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  2. ^ سبيرو (1999). قاموس اللهجة العامية المصرية، عربي - إنكليزي (in Arabic). مكتبة لبنان ناشرون.
  3. ^ "تتويج رواية مكتوبة بالعامية.. طيف طه حسين ومستقبل الثقافة بمصر". www.aljazeera.net (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  4. ^ Musa, Heba (الثلاثاء، 15 نوفمبر 2016 - 05:51 ص). "طه حسين..عشق الفصحى وكره العامية ودعى لتفهم التوارة والإنجيل والقرآن". بوابة اخبار اليوم. Retrieved 2020-02-26.Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ "Different Arabic Dialects Spoken Around the Arab World". April 15, 2018.
  6. ^ "Disney returns to using Egyptian dialect in dubbing movies". Enterprise.
  7. ^ "Languages Spoken In Egypt". WorldAtlas. Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  8. ^ Ondras, Frantisek (2005-04-26). Egyptian Colloquial Arabic. Czech Institute of Egyptology. ISBN 9788086277363.
  9. ^ Conversion, Exemption, and Manipulation: Social Benefits and Conversion to Islam in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Forcing taxes on those who refuse to convert (PDF), ʿUmar is depicted as having ordered that "the poll-tax should be taken from all men who would not become Muslims"
  10. ^ Nishio, Tetsuo. "Word order and word order change of wh-questions in Egyptian Arabic: The Coptic substratum reconsidered". Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference of L'Association Internationale pour la Dialectologie Arabe. Cambridge: University of Cambridge. 1996, pp. 171-179
  11. ^ Bishai, Wilson B. "Coptic grammatical influence on Egyptian Arabic". Journal of the American Oriental Society. No.82, pp. 285-289.
  12. ^ Youssef (2003), below.
  13. ^ 13 لغة أجنبية تشكل العامية المصرية [13 foreign languages within the Egyptian Arabic dialect]. رصيف 22. May 31, 2017.
  14. ^ Dick, Marlin. "TBS 15 The State of the Musalsal: Arab Television Drama and Comedy and the Politics of the Satellite Era by Marlin Dick". Arab Media & Society. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  15. ^ Mahmoud Gaafar, Jane Wightwick (2014).Colloquial Arabic of Egypt: The Complete Course for Beginners.
  16. ^ Ostergren, Robert C.; Bossé, Mathias Le (2011-06-15). The Europeans, Second Edition: A Geography of People, Culture, and Environment. Guilford Press. ISBN 978-1-60918-244-1.
  17. ^ Richardson, Dan (2007-08-02). The Rough Guide to Egypt. Rough Guides UK. ISBN 978-1-84836-798-2.
  18. ^ Asante, Molefi Kete (2002). Culture and Customs of Egypt. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-313-31740-8. egyptian arabic influence.
  19. ^ ":: تعلم العربية| جامعة الأزهر | بوابة التعليم الالكتروني والتعليم عن بعد | e-Learning Al-Azhar University | Learn Arabic ::". tafl.live. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  20. ^ Islam online on Mahmoud Timor Archived July 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ a b Present Culture in Egypt (in Arabic) and (in Egyptian Arabic) (PDF) by Bayoumi Andil.
  22. ^ Kerstin, Odendahl (August 2015), "World Natural Heritage", Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Oxford University Press, doi​:​10.1093/law:epil/9780199231690/e1950​, ISBN 978-0-19-923169-0
  23. ^ standard Egyptian Arabic
  24. ^ Haeri (2003)
  25. ^ Jenkins, Siona. Egyptian Arabic Phrasebook. Lonely Planet Publications, 2001. p. 205
  26. ^ The History of Herodotus by George Rawlinson, p.e 9
  27. ^ Zack, Liesbeth. Edition of Daf' al-Isr دفع الإصر عن كلام أهل مصر.
  28. ^ "الدستور المصري المعدل 2019". منشورات قانونية (in Arabic). 2017-04-03. Retrieved 2020-06-16.
  29. ^ a b Gershoni, I., J. Jankowski. (1987). Egypt, Islam, and the Arabs. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  30. ^ "Book Review: First novel written in colloquial Arabic republished – Review – Books – Ahram Online".
  31. ^ Binder |, Adrian. "The British Civil Engineer who made Jesus speak like an Egyptian: William Willcocks and al-Khabar al-Ṭayyib bitāʿ Yasūʿ al-Masīḥ – Biblia Arabica". Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  32. ^ David Dalby, 1999/2000, The Linguasphere Register, The Linguasphere Observatory
    William Bright, 1992, The International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, Oxford.
  33. ^ "Arabic, Sa'idi Spoken". Ethnologue.
  34. ^ Versteegh, p. 162
  35. ^ "Arabic, Libyan Spoken".
  36. ^ David Dalby, 1999/2000, The Linguasphere Register, The Linguasphere Observatory
  37. ^ "Arabic, Eastern Egyptian Bedawi Spoken".
  38. ^ Woidich, Manfred (1996-12-31). "Rural Dialect of Egyptian Arabic: An Overview". Égypte/Monde arabe (27–28): 325–354. doi:10.4000/ema.1952. ISSN 1110-5097.
  39. ^ See e.g. Behnstedt & Woidich (2005)
  40. ^ Hinds, Martin (1986). A Dictionary of Egyptian Arabic. Beirut: Librairie du Liban. p. 104.
  41. ^ Nishio, 1996
  42. ^ a b c d Badawi, El-Said; Hinds, Martin (1986). A Dictionary of Egyptian Arabic. Libraire du Liban. pp. VII–X. ISBN 978-1-85341-003-1.
  43. ^ http://www.facebook.com/egyptianalphabet
General sources
External links
Egyptian Arabic edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wikivoyage has a phrasebook for Egyptian Arabic.
Look up Appendix:Egyptian Arabic Swadesh list in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Last edited on 9 May 2021, at 16:47
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