Egyptian Arabic

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 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]) or simply "'Aamiyya" (عامية, colloquial) when juxtaposed with Standard Arabic and the Egyptian dialect (اللهجه المصريه, [elˈlæhɡæ l.mɑsˤˈɾejjɑ]) 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]).

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]

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 Southeast 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 primarily for two 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.

Standard Egyptian Arabic when used in documents, broadcast media, prepared speeches and sometimes in liturgical purpose, is heavily influenced by Cairene Arabic with loanwords of Modern Standard Arabic origin or code-switching between Cairene Arabic and .[better source needed]

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 few waves of immigration from the Arabian peninsula such as the Banu Hilal exodus, who later left Egypt and were settled in Morocco and Tunisia, 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 (even though it has its own ISO language code). 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 Pan-Arabism, which had gained popularity in Egypt by the second half of the twentieth century, as demonstrated 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 Pan-Arabism, 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.

In a study of three Egyptian newspapers (Al-Ahram, Al-Masry Al-Youm, and Al-Dustour) Zeinab Ibrahim concluded that the total number of headlines in Egyptian Arabic in each newspaper varied. Al-Ahram did not include any. Al-Masry Al-Youm had an average of 5% of headlines in Egyptian, while Al-Dustour averaged 11%.[31]

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[how?][according to whom?] 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.[32]

Sa'īdi Arabic is a different variety than Egyptian Arabic in Ethnologue.com and ISO 639-3 and in other sources,[33] and the two varieties have limited mutual intelligibility. It carries little prestige nationally but continues to be widely spoken, with 19,000,000 speakers.[34]

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.[35]

The Western Egyptian Bedawi Arabic variety[36] of the western desert differs from all other Arabic varieties in Egypt in that it linguistically is part of Maghrebi Arabic.[37] Northwest Arabian Arabic is also distinct from Egyptian Arabic.[38]

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's dialect (East Delta) is noted for a "heavier", more guttural sound, compared to other regions of the country.

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, but that is not true of all rural dialects, a lot of them do not have such replacement. The dialect also has many grammatical differences when contrasted to urban dialects.[39]

Egyptian Arabic has a phonology that differs significantly from that of other varieties of Arabic, and has its own inventory of consonants and vowels.

In contrast to CA and MSA, Egyptian Arabic 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.[40]

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 .[41]

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 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.

Form I verbs have a given vowel pattern for past (a or i) and present (a, i or u). Combinations of each exist:

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:

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".

Boldfaced forms indicate the primary differences from the corresponding forms of katab:

The primary differences from the corresponding forms of darris (shown in boldface) are:

The primary differences from the corresponding forms of katab (shown in boldface) are:

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 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).

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).

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 have the same consonant as middle and last root consonant, e.g. ḥább/yiḥíbb "love" from Ḥ-B-B.

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".

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 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).

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.

One characteristic feature of Egyptian syntax is the two-part negative verbal circumfix /ma-...-ʃ(i)/, which it shares with other North African dialect areas as well as some southern Levantine dialect areas, probably as a result of the influence of Egyptian Arabic on these areas:

/ma-/ probably comes from the Arabic negator /maː/. This negating circumfix is similar in function to the French circumfix ne ... pas. It should also be noted that Coptic and Ancient Egyptian both had negative circumfix.

The structure can end in a consonant /ʃ/ or in a vowel /i/, varying according to the individual or region. Nowadays speakers use /ʃ/. However, /ʃi/ was sometimes used stylistically, specially in the past, as attested in old films.

The negative circumfix often surrounds the entire verbal composite including direct and indirect object pronouns:

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 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 الكتاب Qaraʾa ʿĀdilu l-kitāb IPA: [ˈqɑɾɑʔɑ ˈʕæːdel ol keˈtæːb] whereas EA would say عادل قرا الكتاب ʕādil 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: , which becomes in EA "الأستاذين السوريين دول بيمشو للجامعة" il-ʔustazēn il-Suriyyīn dōl biyimʃu lil-gamʕa, IPA: .

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.

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 ] to Egyptian Arabic arguably inherited from Coptic[42] is:

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)

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).[43] 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.[43] 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. جمبرى gambari, [ɡæmˈbæɾi] "shrimp", from Italian gamberi, "shrimp" (pl.)) or refer to technological items that find no or poor equivalents in Arabic (e.g. تلفزيون tel(e)vezyōn/tel(e)fezyōn [tel(e)vezˈjoːn, tel(e)fezˈjoːn], television).[43] 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.[43]

In contrast to MSA and most other varieties of Arabic, Egyptian Arabic has a form of the T-V distinction. In the singular, انت enta/enti is acceptable in most situations, but to address clear social superiors (e.g. older persons, superiors at work, certain government officials), the form حضرتك ḥaḍretak/ḥaḍretek, meaning "Your Grace" is preferred (compare Spanish usted).

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.

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.

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.

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.


/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]

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.