Egyptian Arabic Grammar


This document is a concise reference to grammar for people who are learning the spoken arabic of Egypt.

Getting started

This document is made up of three main sections:

  • essentials - an introduction to grammatical terms and to Egyptian arabic, pointing out the similarities and differences between Egyptian and English
  • grammar - a description of how to build sentences using the standard language elements
  • usage - commonly used words, phrases and expressions

If you just want to learn a few useful phrases like "Hello" and "How are you?", you can skip to the Courtesies chapter, however it will make a lot more sense to you if you read the earlier chapters first.

A word about arabic writing

It is not difficult to learn to read and write in arabic, but it is an additional barrier to learning. You are unlikely ever to see Egyptian Arabic in print: notices, packaging, adverts, web sites etc are written in Modern Standard Arabic. And if you want to read Arabic handwriting, that's a different ballgame altogether. An understanding of the Arabic alphabet can, therefore, be useful, but it is by no means essential.

The examples in this document are therefore written in both arabic and roman letters. There are two ways of writing arabic using roman letters: the transliterated form tells you exactly how it would be written in arabic, and the pronounced form gives you an indication of how to pronounce it. For the pronounced form, I have chosen to write things how and english person would. My apologies to people whose first language is not english.

The pronunciation rules, the arabic alphabet and the transliterated and pronounced spelling are explained in the section on arabic writing and pronunciation

You can hear most of the examples by clicking on the button next to the example.

You can select whether you want to see the examples in either transliterated or pronounced form, and you can select whether you wish to see it also in arabic writing. You can control these options using the buttons at the start of each chapter.

You can also use the following keys:

  • a - show/hide arabic
  • p - show pronounced
  • t - show transliterated

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