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Egyptian Arabic
Native toEgypt
SpeakersL1: 78 million (2021)[1]
L2: 25 million (2022)[2]
Arabic alphabet
Egyptian Sign
Language codes
ISO 639-3arz
Areas where Egyptian Arabic is spoken (in dark blue those areas where it is the most widely spoken).
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 Arabic, locally known as Colloquial Egyptian (Arabic: اللغة العامية المصرية,[3][4][5] [el.ʕæmˈmejjæ l.mɑsˤˈɾejjɑ]), or simply Masri (also Masry) (مَصرى),[6][7] is the most widely spoken vernacular Arabic dialect in Egypt.[8][9] It is part of the Afro-Asiatic language family, and originated in the Nile Delta in Lower Egypt. The estimated 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 in the region, including through Egyptian cinema and Egyptian music. These factors help to make it the most widely spoken and by far the most widely studied variety of Arabic.[10][11][12][13][14]

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 radio and television news reporting, literary Arabic is used. Literary Arabic is a standardized language based on the language of the Qur'an, i.e. 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.[15] The dialect's phonetics, grammatical structure, and vocabulary are influenced by the Coptic language;[16][17][18] its rich vocabulary is also influenced by Turkish and European languages such as French, Italian, Greek,[19] and English.


Speakers of Egyptian Arabic 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" (عاميه, 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, مصر 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

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 Modern Standard Arabic.[26][better source needed]


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Arabic was spoken in parts of Egypt such as the Eastern Desert and Sinai before Islam.[27] 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[28](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 and the Coptic Catholic Church.


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 with the name اللغة العربية al-luġa al-ʿarabiyyah, lit. "Arabic language".[29] 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" (تمصير, tamṣīr) by abandoning the so-called Modern Standard Arabic in favor of Masri or Egyptian Arabic.[30]

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.[31] 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.[30]

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%.[32]

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.[33]

The dialogs in the following novels are partly in Egyptian Arabic, partly in Standard Arabic: Mahmud Tahir Haqqi's Adhra' Dinshuway (Arabic: عذراء دنشواي; 1906), Yaqub Sarruf's Fatat Misr (Arabic: فتاة مصر, romanizedFatāt Miṣr; first published in Al-Muqtataf 1905–1906), and Mohammed Hussein Heikal's Zaynab (1914).[34]

Early stage plays written in Egyptian Arabic were translated from or influenced by European playwrights. Muhammad 'Uthman Jalal translated plays by Molière, Jean Racine and Carlo Goldoni to Egyptian Arabic and adapted them as well as ten fables by Jean de La Fontaine. Yaqub Sanu translated to and wrote plays on himself in Egyptian Arabic.[35] Many plays were written in Standard Arabic, but performed in colloquial Arabic. Tawfiq al-Hakim took this a step further and provided for his Standard Arabic plays versions in colloquial Arabic for the performances.[36] Mahmud Taymur has published some of his plays in two versions, one in Standard, one in colloquial Arabic, among them: Kidb fi Kidb (Arabic: كذب في كذب, lit.'All lies', 1951[37] or ca. 1952) and Al-Muzayyifun (Arabic: المزيفون, romanizedAl-Muzayyifūn, lit.'The Forgers', ca. 1953).[38]

The writers of stage plays in Egyptian Arabic after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 include No'man Ashour, Alfred Farag, Saad Eddin Wahba [ar], Rashad Roushdy, and Yusuf Idris.[37] Thereafter the use of colloquial Egyptian Arabic in theater is stable and common.[39] Later writers of plays in colloquial Egyptian include Ali Salem, and Naguib Surur.[37]

Novels in Egyptian Arabic after the 1940s and before the 1990s are rare. There are by Mustafa Musharrafah [ar] Qantarah Alladhi Kafar (Arabic: قنطرة الذي كفر, romanizedQanṭarah Alladhī Kafar, lit.'Qantara Who Disbelieved', Cairo, 1965) and Uthman Sabri's (Arabic: عثمان صبري, romanizedʻUthmān Ṣabrī; 1896–1986) Journey on the Nile (Egyptian Arabic: رحلة في النيل, romanized: Riḥlah fī il-Nīl, 1965)[40] (and his Bet Sirri (بيت سري, Bēt Sirri, 'A Brothel', 1981) that apparently uses a mix of Standard Arabic and Egyptian Arabic[41]).

Prose published in Egyptian Arabic since the 1990s include the following novels: Yusuf al-Qa'id's Laban il-Asfur (لبن العصفور, Laban il-ʿAṣfūr, 'The Milk of the Bird'; 1994),[42] Baha' Awwad's (Arabic: بهاء عواد, romanizedBahāʾ ʿAwwād) Shams il-Asil (شمس الاصيل, Shams il-ʿAṣīl, 'Late Afternoon Sun'; 1998), Safa Abdel Al Moneim's Min Halawit il-Ruh (من حلاوة الروح, Min Ḥalāwit il-Rōḥ, 'Zest for Life', 1998), Samih Faraj's (Arabic: سامح فرج, romanizedSāmiḥ Faraj) Banhuf Ishtirasa (بانهوف اشتراسا, Bānhūf Ishtirāsā, 'Bahnhof Strasse', 1999); autobiographies include the one by Ahmed Fouad Negm, by Mohammed Naser Ali [ar] Ula Awwil (اولى أول, Ūlá Awwil, 'First Class Primary School'), and Fathia al-Assal's Hudn il-Umr (حضن العمر, Ḥuḍn il-ʿUmr, 'The Embrace of a Lifetime').[43][44]

The epistolary novel Jawabat Haraji il-Gutt (Sa'idi Arabic: جوابات حراجى القط, romanized: Jawābāt Ḥarājī il-Guṭṭ, lit.'Letters of Haraji the Cat', 2001) by Abdel Rahman el-Abnudi is exceptional in its use of Saʽidi Arabic.[43]

21st-century journals publishing in Egyptian Arabic include Bārti (from at least 2002), the weekly magazine Idhak lil-Dunya (اضحك للدنيا, Iḍḥak lil-Dunyā, 'Smile for the World', from 2005),[45][46] and the monthly magazine Ihna  [ar] (احنا, Iḥna, 'We', from 2005).[47] In the 21st century the number of books published in Egyptian Arabic has increased a lot. Many of them are by female authors, for example I Want to Get Married! (عايزه أتجوز, ʻĀyzah atgawwiz, 2008) by Ghada Abdel Aal and She Must Have Travelled (شكلها سافرت, Shaklahā sāfarit, 2016) by Soha Elfeqy.

Spoken varieties

Sa'īdi Arabic is a different variety than Egyptian Arabic in and ISO 639-3 and in other sources,[48] and the two varieties have limited mutual intelligibility. It carries little prestige nationally but continues to be widely spoken, with 19,000,000 speakers.[49]

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 بَحَارْوَة, baḥārwah ([bɑˈħɑɾwɑ]) and those of the south صَعَايْدَة, ṣaʿāydah ([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.[50]

The Western Egyptian Bedawi Arabic variety[51] of the western desert differs from all other Arabic varieties in Egypt in that it linguistically is part of Maghrebi Arabic.[52] Northwest Arabian Arabic is also distinct from Egyptian Arabic.[53]

Regional variations

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 (جنيه gineh [ɡeˈneː]), as [ˈɡeni], closer to the pronunciation of the origin of the term, the British guinea). The speech of the older Alexandrians is also noted for use of the same pre-syllable (ne-) in the singular and plural of the first person present and future tenses, which is also a common feature of Tunisian Arabic[54][55] and also of Maghrebi Arabic in general. The dialects of the western Delta tend to use the perfect with /a/ instead of the perfect with /i/, for example for فهم this is faham instead of fihim.[56] Other examples for this are لَبَس, labas, 'to wear', نَزَل, nazal, 'to descend', شَرَب, sharab, 'to drink', نَسَى, nasá, 'to forget',[57] رَجَع, طَلَع, رَكَب.

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 /ɡ/ (spelled ج gīm) and /q/ (ق qāf) with [ʒ] and [ɡ] 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.[58]


Main article: Egyptian Arabic phonology

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, but like all modern colloquial varieties of Arabic, 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.[59]


Nouns take either a sound plural or broken plural. The sound plural is formed by adding endings, and can be considered part of the declension. For the broken plural, however, a different pattern for the stem is used. The sound plural with the suffix ـِين, -īn is used for nouns referring to male persons that are participles or follow the pattern CaCCaaC. It takes the form ـيِين, -yīn for nouns of the form CaCCa and the form ـيِّين, -yyīn for nisba adjectives.[60]

Most common broken plural patterns
Singular Plural Notes Examples
CVCCVC(a) CaCaaCiC any four-consonant noun with short second vowel maktab, 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) CaCaCiiC any four-consonant noun with long second vowel fustaan, fasatiin "dress"; 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) CuCuuC very common for three-consonant nouns dars, 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) ʔaCCaaC very common for three-consonant words durg, 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, CuuC ʔaCwaaC variant of previous ḥaal, ʔaḥwaal "state, condition"; nuur, ʔanwaaṛ "light"
CaCCa, CooCa (< *CawCa) CiCaC, CuCaC CaCCa < Classical CaCCa (not CaaCiCa) gazma, gizam "shoe"; dawla, duwal "state, country"; ḥalla, ḥilal "pot"; ʃooka, ʃuwak "fork"; taxta, tuxat "blackboard"
CiCCa CiCaC ḥiṣṣa, ḥiṣaṣ "allotment"; ḥiṭṭa, ḥiṭaṭ "piece"; minḥa, minaḥ "scholarship"; nimra, nimar "number"; qiṣṣa, qiṣaṣ "story"
CuCCa CuCaC fuṛma, 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) CaCaayiC three-consonant roots with long second vowel sigaaṛa, 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, CaCCa CawaaCiC CaCCa < 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"
CaaCiC CuCCaaC mostly occupational nouns kaatib, kuttaab "writer"; saakin, sukkaan "inhabitant"; saayiḥ, suwwaaḥ "tourist";
CaCiiC CuCaCa adjectives and occupational nouns faʔiir, fuʔaṛa "poor"; nabiih, nubaha "intelligent"; naʃiiṭ, nuʃaṭa "active"; raʔiis, ruʔasa "president"; safiir, sufaṛa "ambassador"; waziir, wuzaṛa "minister"; xabiir, xubaṛa "expert"; ṭaalib, ṭalaba "student"
CaCiiC/CiCiiC CuCaaC adjectives gamiil, gumaal "beautiful"; naʃiiṭ, nuʃaaṭ "active"; niḍiif, nuḍaaf "clean"; tixiin, tuxaan "fat"
Secondary broken plural patterns
Singular Plural Notes Examples
CVCCVVC CaCaCCa occupational nouns tilmiiz, talamza "student"; ʔustaaz, ʔasatza "teacher"; simsaaṛ, samasṛa "broker"; duktoor, dakatra "doctor"
CaCVVC CawaaCiiC qamuus, qawamiis "dictionary"; maʕaad, mawaʕiid "appointment"; ṭabuuṛ, ṭawabiiṛ "line, queue"; meʃwar, maʃaweer "Walk, Appointment"
CaCaC CiCaaC gamal, gimaal "camel"; gabal, gibaal "mountain, hill"
CaCC ʔaCCuC ʃahṛ, ʔaʃhur "month"
CiCaaC, CaCiiC(a) CuCuC kitaab, kutub "book"; madiina, mudun "city"
CaCC(a) CaCaaCi maʕna, maʕaani "meaning"; makwa, makaawi "iron"; ʔahwa, ʔahaawi "coffee"; ʔaṛḍ, ʔaṛaaḍi "ground, land"
CaaCa, CaaCi, CaCya CawaaCi ḥaaṛa, ḥawaaṛi "alley"; naadi, nawaadi "club"; naḥya, nawaaḥi "side"
CaCaC, CiCaaC ʔaCCiCa/ʔiCCiCa ḥizaam, ʔaḥzima "belt"; masal, ʔamsila "example"; sabat, ʔisbita "basket"
CiCiyya CaCaaya hidiyya, hadaaya "gift"
CaaC CiCaaC faaṛ, firaan "mouse"; gaaṛ, giraan "neighbor"; xaal, xilaan "maternal uncle"

Color/defect nouns

Examples of "color and defect" nouns
Meaning (template) green blue black white deaf blind one-eyed
Masculine ʔaCCaC ʔaxḍaṛ ʔazraʔ ʔiswid ʔabyaḍ ʔaṭṛaʃ ʔaʕma ʔaʕwaṛ
Feminine CaCCa xaḍṛa zarʔa sooda beeḍa ṭaṛʃa ʕamya ʕooṛa
Plural CuCC xuḍr zurʔ suud biiḍ ṭurʃ ʕumy ʕuur

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. 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.[61]


Forms of the independent and clitic pronouns
Meaning Subject Direct object/Possessive Indirect object
After vowel After 1 cons. After 2 cons. After vowel After 1 cons. After 2 cons.
Normal + ʃ + l- Normal + ʃ + l- Normal + ʃ + l- Normal + ʃ Normal + ʃ Normal + 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(m) -úku(m) - ́lku(m) -lúku(m) -ílku(m)
"they/them/their" humma - ́hum -úhum - ́lhum -lúhum -ílhum
Examples of possessive constructs
Base Word béet
Construct Base béet- biyúut- bánk- sikkíin(i)t- miṛáat- ʔabúu- ʔidée-
"my ..." béet-i biyúut-i bánk-i sikkínt-i miṛáat-i ʔabúu-ya ʔidáy-ya
"your (masc.) ..." béet-ak biyúut-ak bánk-ak sikkínt-ak miṛáat-ak ʔabúu-k ʔidée-k
"your (fem.) ..." béet-ik biyúut-ik bánk-ik sikkínt-ik miṛáat-ik ʔabúu-ki ʔidée-ki
"his ..." béet-u biyúut-u bánk-u sikkínt-u miṛáat-u ʔabúu-(h) ʔidée-(h)
"her ..." bét-ha biyút-ha bank-áha sikkinít-ha miṛát-ha ʔabúu-ha ʔidée-ha
"our ..." bét-na biyút-na bank-ína sikkinít-na miṛát-na ʔabúu-na ʔidée-na
"your (pl.) ..." bét-ku(m) biyút-ku(m) bank-úku(m) sikkinít-ku(m) miṛát-ku(m) ʔabúu-ku(m) ʔidée-ku(m)
"their ..." bét-hum biyút-hum bank-úhum sikkinít-hum miṛát-hum ʔabúu-hum ʔidée-hum
Suffixed prepositions
Base Word fi
"by, in, with"
"in the
possession of,
to have"
"... me" fíy-ya bíy-ya líy-ya wayyáa-ya ʕaláy-ya ʕánd-i mínn-i
"... you (masc.)" fíi-k bíi-k líi-k, l-ak wayyáa-k ʕalée-k ʕánd-ak mínn-ak
"... you (fem.)" fíi-ki bíi-ki líi-ki, li-ki wayyáa-ki ʕalée-ki ʕánd-ik mínn-ik
"... him" fíi-(h) bíi-(h) líi-(h), l-u(h) wayyáa-(h) ʕalée-(h) ʕánd-u mínn-u
"... her" fíi-ha bíi-ha líi-ha, la-ha wayyáa-ha ʕalée-ha ʕand-áha minn-áha, mín-ha
"... us" fíi-na bíi-na líi-na, li-na wayyáa-na ʕalée-na ʕand-ína minn-ína
"... you (pl.)" fíi-ku(m) bíi-ku(m) líi-ku(m), li-ku(m) wayyáa-ku(m) ʕalée-ku(m) ʕand-úku(m) minn-úku(m), mín-ku(m)
"... them" fíi-hum bíi-hum líi-hum, li-hum wayyáa-hum ʕalée-hum ʕand-úhum minn-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 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.) Since Arabic lacks an infinitive, the third person masculine singular past tense form serves as the "dictionary form" used to identify a verb. 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 patterns Example
Past Present
a a ḍárab – yíḍrab to beat
a i kátab – yíktib to write
a u ṭálab – yíṭlub~yúṭlub to order, to demand
i a fíhim – yífham to understand
i i misik – yímsik to hold, to touch
i u sikit – yískut~yúskut to be silent, to shut up
Regular verb, form I, fáʕal/yífʕil

Example: kátab/yíktib "write"

Tense/Mood Past Present Subjunctive Present Indicative Future Imperative
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st katáb-t katáb-na á-ktib ní-ktib bá-ktib bi-ní-ktib ḥá-ktib ḥá-ní-ktib
2nd masculine katáb-t katáb-tu tí-ktib ti-ktíb-u bi-tí-ktib bi-ti-ktíb-u ḥa-tí-ktib ḥa-ti-ktíb-u í-ktib i-ktíb-u
feminine katáb-ti ti-ktíb-i bi-ti-ktíb-i ḥa-ti-ktíb-i i-ktíb-i
3rd masculine kátab kátab-u yí-ktib yi-ktíb-u bi-yí-ktib bi-yi-ktíb-u ḥa-yí-ktib ḥa-yi-ktíb-u
feminine kátab-it tí-ktib bi-tí-ktib ḥa-tí-ktib

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/Gender Active Participle Passive Participle Verbal Noun
Masc. Sg. ká:tib maktú:b kitá:ba
Fem. Sg. kátb-a maktú:b-a
Pl. katb-í:n maktub-í:n
Regular verb, form I, fíʕil/yífʕal

Example: fíhim/yífham "understand"

Tense/Mood Past Present Subjunctive Present Indicative Future Imperative
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st fihím-t fihím-na á-fham ní-fham bá-fham bi-ní-fham ḥá-fham ḥá-ní-fham
2nd masculine fihím-t fihím-tu tí-fham ti-fhám-u bi-tí-fham bi-ti-fhám-u ḥa-tí-fham ḥa-ti-fhám-u í-fham i-fhám-u
feminine fihím-ti ti-fhám-i bi-ti-fhám-i ḥa-ti-fhám-i i-fhám-i
3rd masculine fíhim fíhm-u yí-fham yi-fhám-u bi-yí-fham bi-yi-fhám-u ḥa-yí-fham ḥa-yi-fhám-u
feminine fíhm-it tí-fham bi-tí-fham ḥa-tí-fham

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/Mood Past Present Subjunctive Present Indicative Future Imperative
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st darrís-t darrís-na a-dárris ni-dárris ba-dárris bi-n-dárris ḥa-dárris ḥa-n-dárris
2nd masculine darrís-t darrís-tu ti-dárris ti-darrís-u bi-t-dárris bi-t-darrís-u ḥa-t-dárris ḥa-t-darrís-u dárris darrís-u
feminine darrís-ti ti-darrís-i bi-t-darrís-i ḥa-t-darrís-i darrís-i
3rd masculine dárris darrís-u yi-dárris yi-darrís-u bi-y-dárris bi-y-darrís-u ḥa-y-dárris ḥa-y-darrís-u
feminine darrís-it ti-dárris bi-t-dárris ḥa-t-dárris

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/Mood Past Present Subjunctive Present Indicative Future Imperative
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st safír-t safír-na a-sá:fir ni-sá:fir ba-sá:fir bi-n-sá:fir ḥa-sá:fir ḥa-n-sá:fir
2nd masculine safír-t safír-tu ti-sá:fir ti-sáfr-u bi-t-sá:fir bi-t-sáfr-u ḥa-t-sá:fir ḥa-t-sáfr-u sá:fir sáfr-u
feminine safír-ti ti-sáfr-i bi-t-sáfr-i ḥa-t-sáfr-i sáfr-i
3rd masculine sá:fir sáfr-u yi-sá:fir yi-sáfr-u bi-y-sá:fir bi-y-sáfr-u ḥa-y-sá:fir ḥa-y-sáfr-u
feminine sáfr-it ti-sá:fir bi-t-sá:fir ḥa-t-sá:fir

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/Mood Past Present Subjunctive Present Indicative Future Imperative
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st ramé:-t ramé:-na á-rmi ní-rmi bá-rmi bi-ní-rmi ḥá-rmi ḥa-ní-rmi
2nd masculine ramé:-t ramé:-tu tí-rmi tí-rm-u bi-tí-rmi bi-tí-rm-u ḥa-tí-rmi ḥa-tí-rm-u í-rmi í-rm-u
feminine ramé:-ti tí-rm-i bi-tí-rm-i ḥa-tí-rm-i í-rm-i
3rd masculine ráma rám-u yí-rmi yí-rm-u bi-yí-rmi bi-yí-rm-u ḥa-yí-rmi ḥa-yí-rm-u
feminine rám-it tí-rmi bi-tí-rmi ḥa-tí-rmi

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

Defective verb, form I, fíʕi/yífʕa

Example: nísi/yínsa "forget"

Tense/Mood Past Present Subjunctive Present Indicative Future Imperative
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st nisí:-t nisí:-na á-nsa ní-nsa bá-nsa bi-ní-nsa ḥá-nsa ḥa-ní-nsa
2nd masculine nisí:-t nisí:-tu tí-nsa tí-ns-u bi-tí-nsa bi-tí-ns-u ḥa-tí-nsa ḥa-tí-ns-u í-nsa í-ns-u
feminine nisí:-ti tí-ns-i bi-tí-ns-i ḥa-tí-ns-i í-ns-i
3rd masculine nísi nísy-u yí-nsa yí-ns-u bi-yí-nsa bi-yí-ns-u ḥa-yí-nsa ḥa-yí-ns-u
feminine nísy-it tí-nsa bi-tí-nsa ḥa-tí-nsa

This verb type is quite similar to the defective verb type ráma/yírmi. The primary differences are:

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. 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/mood Past Present subjunctive Present indicative Future Imperative
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st gíb-t gíb-na a-gí:b ni-gí:b ba-gí:b bi-n-gí:b ḥa-gí:b ḥa-n-gí:b
2nd masculine gíb-t gíb-tu ti-gí:b ti-gí:b-u bi-t-gí:b bi-t-gí:b-u ḥa-t-gí:b ḥa-t-gí:b-u gí:b gí:b-u
feminine gíb-ti ti-gí:b-i bi-t-gí:b-i ḥa-t-gí:b-i gí:b-i
3rd masculine gá:b gá:b-u yi-gí:b yi-gí:b-u bi-y-gí:b bi-y-gí:b-u ḥa-y-gí:b ḥa-y-gí:b-u
feminine gá:b-it ti-gí:b bi-t-gí:b ḥa-t-gí: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).

Hollow verb, form I, fá:l/yifú:l

Example: ʃá:f/yiʃú:f "see"

Tense/Mood Past Present Subjunctive Present Indicative Future Imperative
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st ʃúf-t ʃúf-na a-ʃú:f ni-ʃú:f ba-ʃú:f bi-n-ʃú:f ḥa-ʃú:f ḥa-n-ʃú:f
2nd masculine ʃúf-t ʃúf-tu ti-ʃú:f ti-ʃú:f-u bi-t-ʃú:f bi-t-ʃú:f-u ḥa-t-ʃú:f ḥa-t-ʃú:f-u ʃú:f ʃú:f-u
feminine ʃúf-ti ti-ʃú:f-i bi-t-ʃú:f-i ḥa-t-ʃú:f-i ʃú:f-i
3rd masculine ʃá:f ʃá:f-u yi-ʃú:f yi-ʃú:f-u bi-y-ʃú:f bi-y-ʃú:f-u ḥa-y-ʃú:f ḥa-y-ʃú:f-u
feminine ʃá:f-it ti-ʃú:f bi-t-ʃú:f ḥa-t-ʃú:f

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/Mood Past Present Subjunctive Present Indicative Future Imperative
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st ḥabbé:-t ḥabbé:-na a-ḥíbb ni-ḥíbb ba-ḥíbb bi-n-ḥíbb ḥa-ḥíbb ḥa-n-ḥíbb
2nd masculine ḥabbé:-t ḥabbé:-tu ti-ḥíbb ti-ḥíbb-u bi-t-ḥíbb bi-t-ḥíbb-u ḥa-t-ḥíbb ḥa-t-ḥíbb-u ḥíbb ḥíbb-u
feminine ḥabbé:-ti ti-ḥíbb-i bi-t-ḥíbb-i ḥa-t-ḥíbb-i ḥíbb-i
3rd masculine ḥább ḥább-u yi-ḥíbb yi-ḥíbb-u bi-y-ḥíbb bi-y-ḥíbb-u ḥa-y-ḥíbb ḥa-y-ḥíbb-u
feminine ḥább-it ti-ḥíbb bi-t-ḥíbb ḥa-t-ḥíbb

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). 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/Mood Past Present Subjunctive Imperative
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st gé:-t or gí:-t gé:-na or gí:-na á:-gi ní:-gi
2nd masculine gé:-t or gí:-t gé:-tu or gí:-tu tí:-gi tí:-g-u taʕá:la taʕá:l-u
feminine gé:-ti or gí:-ti tí:-g-i taʕá:l-i
3rd masculine 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"
yí:-gi yí:-g-u
feminine gat (also ʔígat) tí:-gi

Example: gé/yí:gi "come": non-finite forms

Number/Gender Active Participle Verbal Noun
Masc. Sg. gayy nigíyy
Fem. Sg. gáyy-a
Pl. gayy-í:n

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.

Tense/Mood Past Non-Past
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st PAc-t PAc-na a-NP0 ni-NP0
2nd masculine PAc-t PAc-tu ti-NP0 ti-NPv-u
feminine PAc-ti ti-NPv-i
3rd masculine PA0 PAv-u yi-NP0 yi-NPv-u
feminine PAv-it ti-NP0

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.


Form Root Type Stem Participle Verbal Noun Example
Past Non-Past Active Passive
Person of Suffix 1st/2nd 3rd
Suffix Type Cons-Initial None Vowel-Initial None Vowel-Initial
Suffix Name PAc PA0 PAv NP0 NPv
I Strong FaMaL FMaL Fá:MiL maFMú:L (varies, e.g.
fátaḥ/yíftaḥ "open"
FMiL kátab/yíktib "write"
FMuL dáxal/yúdxul "enter"
FiMiL FiML FMaL fíhim/yífham "understand"
FMiL mísik/yímsik "hold, catch"
FMuL síkin/yúskun "reside"
I Defective FaMé: FáMa FaM FMa FM Fá:Mi máFMi (varies, e.g.
FaMy, máFMa)
báʔa/yíbʔa "remain"
FMi FM ráma/yírmi "throw"
FiMí: FíMi FíMy FMa FM nísi/yínsa "forget"
FMi FM míʃi/yímʃi "walk"
I Hollow FíL Fá:L Fí:L Fá:yiL (mitFá:L, properly
Form VIIt)
(varies, e.g.
Fe:L, Fo:L)
ga:b/yigí:b "bring"
FúL Fú:L ʃa:f/yiʃú:f "see"
FíL Fá:L na:m/yiná:m "sleep"
FúL xa:f/yixá:f "fear"
I Doubled FaMMé: FáMM FíMM Fá:MiM maFMú:M (varies, e.g.
ḥabb/yiḥíbb "love"
FúMM ḥaṭṭ/yiḥúṭṭ "put"
II Strong FaMMaL miFáMMaL taFMí:L ɣáyyaṛ/yiɣáyyaṛ "change"
FaMMiL miFáMMiL dárris/yidárris "teach"
II Defective FaMMé: FáMMa FáMM FáMMi FáMM miFáMMi taFMíya wárra/yiwárri "show"
III Strong FaMíL Fá:MiL FáML Fá:MiL FáML miFá:MiL miFáMLa zá:kir/yizá:kir "study"
III Defective FaMé: Fá:Ma Fá:M Fá:Mi Fá:M miFá:Mi miFáMya ná:da/yiná:di "call"
IV Strong ʔáFMaL FMiL míFMiL iFMá:L ʔáḍṛab/yíḍrib "go on strike"
IV Defective ʔaFMé: ʔáFMa ʔáFM FMi FM míFMi (uncommon) ʔáṛḍa/yíṛḍi "please"
IV Hollow ʔaFáL ʔaFá:L Fí:L miFí:L ʔiFá:La ʔafá:d/yifí:d "inform"
IV Doubled ʔaFaMMé: ʔaFáMM FíMM miFíMM iFMá:M ʔaṣárr/yiṣírr "insist"
V Strong itFaMMaL tFaMMaL mitFáMMaL taFáMMuL (or Form II) itmáṛṛan/yitmáṛṛan "practice"
itFaMMiL tFaMMiL mitFáMMiL itkállim/yitkállim "speak"
V Defective itFaMMé: itFáMMa itFáMM tFáMMa tFáMM mitFáMMi (use Form II) itʔáwwa/yitʔáwwa "become strong"
VI Strong itFaMíL itFá:MiL itFáML tFá:MiL tFáML mitFá:MiL taFá:MuL (or Form III) itʕá:win/yitʕá:win "cooperate"
VI Defective itFaMé: itFá:Ma itFá:M tFá:Ma tFá:M mitFá:Mi (use Form III) iddá:wa/yiddá:wa "be treated, be cured"
VIIn Strong inFáMaL nFíMiL nFíML minFíMiL inFiMá:L (or Form I) inbásaṭ/yinbísiṭ "enjoy oneself"
VIIn Defective inFaMé: inFáMa inFáM nFíMi nFíM minFíMi (use Form I) inḥáka/yinḥíki "be told"
VIIn Hollow inFáL inFá:L nFá:L minFá:L inFiyá:L (or Form I) inbá:ʕ/yinbá:ʕ "be sold"
VIIn Doubled inFaMMé: inFáMM nFáMM minFáMM inFiMá:M (or Form I) inbáll/yinbáll "be wetted"
VIIt Strong itFáMaL tFíMiL tFíML mitFíMiL itFiMá:L (or Form I) itwágad/yitwígid "be found"
VIIt Defective itFaMé: itFáMa itFáM tFíMi tFíM mitFíMi (use Form I) itnása/yitnísi "be forgotten"
VIIt Hollow itFáL itFá:L tFá:L mitFá:L itFiyá:L (or Form I) itbá:ʕ/yitbá:ʕ "be sold"
VIIt Doubled itFaMMé: itFáMM tFáMM mitFáMM itFiMá:M (or Form I) itʕádd/yitʕádd "be counted"
VIII Strong iFtáMaL FtíMiL FtíML miFtíMiL, muFtáMiL (classicized) muFtáMaL (classicized) iFtiMá:L (or Form I) istálam/yistílim "receive"
VIII Defective iFtaMé: iFtáMa iFtáM FtíMi FtíM miFtíMi, muFtáMi (classicized) (use Form I) iʃtára/yiʃtíri "buy"
VIII Hollow iFtáL iFtá:L Ftá:L miFtá:L, muFtá:L (classicized) iFtiyá:L (or Form I) ixtá:ṛ/yixtá:ṛ "choose"
VIII Doubled iFtaMMé: iFtáMM FtáMM miFtáMM, muFtáMM (classicized) iFtiMá:M (or Form I) ihtámm/yihtámm "be interested (in)"
IX Strong iFMaLLé: iFMáLL FMáLL miFMíLL iFMiLá:L iḥmáṛṛ/yiḥmáṛṛ "be red, blush"
X Strong istáFMaL stáFMaL mistáFMaL, mustáFMaL (classicized) istiFMá:L istáɣṛab/yistáɣṛab "be surprised"
istáFMiL stáFMiL mistáFMiL, mustáFMiL (classicized) mustáFMaL (classicized) istáʕmil/yistáʕmil "use"
X Defective istaFMé: istáFMa istáFM stáFMa stáFM mistáFMi, mustáFMi (classicized) (uncommon) istákfa/yistákfa "be enough"
X Hollow istaFáL istaFá:L staFí:L mistaFí:L, mistaFí:L (classicized) istiFá:L a istaʔá:l/yistaʔí:l "resign"
X Doubled istaFaMMé: istaFáMM staFáMM mistaFáMM, mustaFáMM (classicized) istiFMá:M istaḥáʔʔ/yistaḥáʔʔ "deserve"
staFíMM mistaFíMM, mustaFíMM (classicized) istamáṛṛ/yistamírr "continue"
Iq Strong FaSTaL miFáSTaL FaSTáLa láxbaṭ/yiláxbaṭ "confuse"
FaSTiL miFáSTiL xárbiʃ/yixárbiʃ "scratch"
IIq Strong itFaSTaL tFaSTaL mitFáSTaL itFaSTáLa itláxbaṭ/yitláxbaṭ "be confused"
itFaSTiL tFaSTiL mitFáSTiL itʃáʕlil/yitʃáʕlil "flare up"


Main article: Negation in Arabic

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:

However, verbs in the future tense can instead use the prefix /miʃ/:

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 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: [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

See also: Copto-Arabic literature

Some authors have argued for the influence of a substratum of the Coptic language which was the native language of the vast majority of Nile Valley Egyptians prior to the Muslim conquest on Egyptian Arabic,[62][63][64] specifically on its phonology, syntax, and lexicon. 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.


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)

Behnstedt argues that the phenomenon of merging of interdentals with plosives has also occurred in areas without a substratum lacking interdentals, e.g. in Mecca, Aden and Bahrain, and can be caused by drift rather than the influence of a substratum concluding that "[o]n the phonological level, there is no evidence for Coptic substratal influence."[65]


A syntactic feature of to Egyptian Arabic arguably inherited from Coptic[62] is the remaining of wh-words (i.e. "who", "when", "why") in their "logical" positions in a sentence rather than being preposed, or moved to the front of the sentence, as in (mostly) in Classical Arabic or English.


The same sentences in Literary Arabic (with all the question words (wh-words) in the beginning of the sentence) would be:

Diem argues that in Cairene Arabic also the preposition of wh-words occurs and in Classical Arabic and other Arabic dialects also their postposition and thus the effect of a Coptic substratum might be – if at all – the preference for one of the two possibilities.[66]


Behnstedt estimates the existence of ca. 250 to 300 Coptic loanwords in Egyptian Arabic.[67]

Orthography and romanization


There is no fixed orthography for Egyptian Arabic. Where it is written in Arabic script the orthography varies between spellings closer to those of Standard Arabic and spellings closer to the phonology of Egyptian Arabic. This variability arises from the deficiency of the Arabic script for writing the colloquial Egyptian Arabic, for which it is not designed. Part of this is the unavailability of signs for some sounds of Egyptian Arabic that are not part of Standard Arabic.[68] Both options are used in parallel, often even in by one author or in one work.[69][70] The two options appears for example for these cases:


See also: Arabic alphabet and Romanization of Arabic

In the table below romanizations by different authors starting with Spitta's from 1880 are given as examples of the variety of those used. Where authors use custom glyphs the ones given try the best available approximation. The use of transcribing glyphs among different authors and between those and a representation of Egyptian Arabic in Arabic script (in doubt Hinds & Badawi 1986 is used below) can not be exactly aligned because different authors use different analyses of the studied language. Here also the table below tries to give a good approximation.

Arabic letter Romanization IPA[71]
Spitta[72] Mitchell[73] Harrell[74] Abdel-Massih[citation needed] Hinds/
Woidich[76] Franco[77]
ب b b b b b b b /b/
ب/پ[78] p p /p/[78]
ت t t t t t t t /t/
(respelled to ت for /t/)
t/s[80] t/θ t/s /t/, /s/
ج g g g g g g g /ɡ/
ج/چ[78] j ž ž j ž j /ʒ/[78]
ح ħ ɦ 7/h (h[81]) /ħ/
خ x x x x x kh/7’/5 (kh[81]) /x/
د d d d d d d d /d/
(respelled to د for /d/)
d/z d/z /d/, /z/
ر r r r r/ṛ r r r /r/~/ɾ/
ز z z z z z z z /z/
س s s s s s s s /s/
ش ś ʃ ʃ š ʃ š sh/ch/4 /ʃ/
ص ʂ ʂ s //
ض ɖ ɖ/ẓ d //
ط ʈ ʈ t //
(respelled to ض for //)
ʐ d/ẓ z //, //
ع ʿ ƹ ع ʕ ƹ ʿ 3 (not written or a/e[81]) /ʕ/
غ ġ ɣ ǥ ɣ ɣ ġ gh/3’ (gh[81]) /ɣ/
ف f f f f f f f /f/
ف/ڤ[78] v v v v /v/[78]
ق q (ʾ)[82] q ʔ ʔ ɢ 2/k /ʔ/
q q q q q q k /q/
ك k k k k k k k /k/
ل l l l l/ḷ l l l /l/
م m m m m m m m /m/
ن n n n n n n n /n/
ه h h h h h h h /h/
و w w w w w w w/ou /w/
ي j y y y y y y/i /j/
ء ʾ ʕ ʔ ʔ ʕ ʾ 2 (not written or a/e[83]) /ʔ/
Long vowels
ا ɑ̂/(ɑ̊)[84] aa a: aa aa ā a /a(ː)/: [æ(ː)]
ɑ̈ aa a: aa ɑɑ ā a /a(ː)/: [ɑ(ː)]
و û uu u: uu uu ū ou/oo/o /u(ː)/
oo o: oo oo ō o /o(ː)/
ي y ii i: ii ii ī i/ee /i(ː)/
ee e: ee ee ē e/ei/ai /e(ː)/
Short vowels
ـَ/ا ɑ/ɑ̈/(e/ɑ̊)[85] a a a a/ɑ a a /a/
[æ] and [ɑ]
ـُ/و o/u o/u u/(o) o/u o/u o/u o/ou /u/
ـِ/ي i/(e/ü)[86] i/e i/(e) e/i e/i e/i e/i /i/
[e]~[ɪ] and [i]
e̊/å/i̊/ů[88] ĭ/ă/ŭ a/e/i/o/u[89] ⁱ/ᵃ/...[90] i/i̊/u/ů[91] not written/e[92] [e]~[ɪ][93]

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).[94] 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.[94] 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).[94] 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.[94]

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.

Examples of Egyptian honorifics
Honorific IPA Origin/meaning Usage 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 ḥāǧ, "pilgrim" Traditionally, 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 Turkish pasha Informal address to a male of equal or lesser social status. Roughly equivalent to "man" or "dude" in informal English speech.
bēh [beː] Ottoman Turkish bey Informal address to a male of equal or lesser social status. Essentially equivalent to but less current than bāsha.
afandi [æˈfændi] Ottoman Turkish efendi Largely archaic address to a well-born male of a less social standard than bēh and bāsha; more commonly used jocularly 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 madame Respectful 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 and plumbers).
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 (including spouses of aunts, uncles-in-law, and "honorary" uncles).
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
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 fil 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]


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 (27th ed., 2024) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Egyptian Arabic at Ethnologue (27th ed., 2024) Closed access icon
  3. ^ سبيرو (1999). قاموس اللهجة العامية المصرية، عربي – إنكليزي (in Arabic). مكتبة لبنان ناشرون. Archived from the original on 2023-03-26. Retrieved 2020-10-25.
  4. ^ تتويج رواية مكتوبة بالعامية.. طيف طه حسين ومستقبل الثقافة بمصر. (in Arabic). Archived from the original on 2019-07-04. Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  5. ^ Musa, Heba (15 November 2016). طه حسين..عشق الفصحى وكره العامية ودعى لتفهم التوارة والإنجيل والقرآن. بوابة اخبار اليوم. Archived from the original on 2022-04-08. Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  6. ^ "Different Arabic Dialects Spoken Around the Arab World". April 15, 2018. Archived from the original on November 27, 2020. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  7. ^ "Disney returns to using Egyptian dialect in dubbing movies". Enterprise. Archived from the original on 2020-11-19. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  8. ^ "Languages Spoken In Egypt". WorldAtlas. 25 April 2017. Archived from the original on 2020-11-19. Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  9. ^ Ondras, Frantisek (2005-04-26). Egyptian Colloquial Arabic. Czech Institute of Egyptology. ISBN 9788086277363. Archived from the original on 2023-03-26. Retrieved 2020-10-25.
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  41. ^ Woidich 2010, p. 77, footnote 66.
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  57. ^ Behnstedt & Woidich 2018, p. 78, 3.3.2 The Case of Alexandria.
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  59. ^ See e.g. Behnstedt & Woidich (2005)
  60. ^ Woidich 2006, p. 115, Externe Pluralbildung mit -īn, -āt and -a.
  61. ^ Hinds & Badawi 1986, p. 104.
  62. ^ a b Nishio 1995.
  63. ^ Bishai 1962.
  64. ^ Youssef 2003.
  65. ^ Behnstedt 2005, p. 501.
  66. ^ Diem 1979, pp. 51–52.
  67. ^ Behnstedt 2005, p. 503.
  68. ^ Zack 2001, p. 199, 1. The orthography.
  69. ^ Woidich 2006, p. 2, Einleitung.
  70. ^ Zack 2001, pp. 199–200, a. Description of the orthography of Laban il-‘aṣfūr.
  71. ^ Generally, for more specific information see Egyptian Arabic phonology.
  72. ^ For the consonants see Spitta 1880, p. 1, § 1a, for the vowels mainly Spitta 1880, p. 34, § 12a.
  73. ^ Mitchell 1978, pp. 2–3, 8, 13, B. The system of writing and hints on pronunciation.
  74. ^ For the consonants see Harrell 1957, p. 25, for the vowels see Harrell 1957, p. 45.
  75. ^ Hinds & Badawi 1986, pp. XVI–XVIII, 8. Transcription.
  76. ^ Woidich 2006, pp. XXVI–XXVII, 11.
  77. ^ Abu Elhija 2014, p. 208; Bjørnsson 2010, pp. 41–42, 58, 61. Only the most common variants are listed, others are used as well.
  78. ^ a b c d e f The sounds /p/, /ʒ/, and /v/ can appear in loanwords, but have a marginal status, often they aren't used by less educated speakers, cf.[citation needed]; Mitchell 1978, p. 8, B. The system of writing and hints on pronunciation. Examples are:
  79. ^ a b c The sounds of the letters ث‎, ذ‎, and ظ in Standard Arabic are not present in Egyptian Arabic. That's why the romanizations that are not transliterations of the representation of Egyptian Arabic in Arabic script don't give a specific transcription for those letters but rather transcriptions that are the same like for other Arabic letters with the same pronunciation.
  80. ^ As examples see "tálat" (p. 215) and "sánya" (p. 213).
  81. ^ a b c d Used in names.
  82. ^ ⟨ʾ⟩ is used additionally to indicate phonology, but not generally for romanization, see Spitta 1880, p. 12, § 2a 18).
  83. ^ Word-initial.
  84. ^ ⟨ɑ̊⟩ is used to indicate phonology, but not generally for romanization, cf. Spitta 1880, p. 36, § 13b: "ṭɑlɑb (gespr. ṭɑ̊lɑb)".
  85. ^ ⟨e⟩ and ⟨ɑ̊⟩ are used additionally to indicate phonology, but not generally for romanization.
  86. ^ ⟨e⟩ and ⟨ü⟩ are used additionally to indicate phonology, but not generally for romanization, cf. Spitta 1880, p. 40, § 14: "siḥr „Zauber“ (sprich seḥr mit im Gaumen klingendem e)" and "ṣibjân „Jünglinge“ sprich ṣübjân mit dumpfem ü, welches dann zu ṣubjân wird".
  87. ^ At least some authors transcribe stressed anaptyctic vowels like the other short vowels, cf. Spitta 1880, p. 55, § 21g. Betonter Zwischenvocal and Hinds & Badawi 1986, p. XVIII: "Unstressed anaptyctic vowels are represented in small elevated form, while stressed anaptyctic vowels are given in the normal fount."
  88. ^ Spitta 1880, pp. 52–55, § 21. Die Zwischenvocale.
  89. ^ Harrell 1957, pp. 59–60, 7.10.
  90. ^ ⟨ᵃ⟩ is used for example in "ʕil-ʕɑgrᵃ ʕal-ɑllɑ" Hinds & Badawi 1986, p. 7, but maybe not all the possible glyphs ⟨ⁱ⟩, ⟨ᵃ⟩, ⟨ᵅ⟩, ⟨ᵉ⟩, ⟨ᵒ⟩ and ⟨ᵘ⟩ are actually used in transcription.
  91. ^ In sandhi, i.e. at word boundary positions, the epenthetic vowel is transcribed ⟨i̊⟩/⟨ů⟩, otherwise ⟨i⟩/⟨u⟩, see Woidich 2006, p. 32, Epenthese von -i- (Aufsprengung).
  92. ^ Bjørnsson 2010, p. 64–65, The epenthetic vowel.
  93. ^ Woidich 2006, p. 32, Epenthese von -i- (Aufsprengung).
  94. ^ a b c d Hinds & Badawi 1986, pp. VII–X.

General sources