3 Reasons to teach the Egyptian Dialect of Arabic

In this post, I talk about the reasons for choosing to teach the Egyptian dialect of Arabic. Before I talk about that, I’d like to mention a few things about Arabic.

Fun Facts about Arabic

There are three forms of Arabic: Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), Qur’anic Arabic or Classical Arabic, and Colloquial Arabic. MSA is the official modern language of the Arab world and is derived from the Qur’an. MSA is widely taught in schools and universities throughout Arab speaking countries. It is also used to varying degrees in workplaces, government, and the media throughout the Arab World.

Map of the Arabic Dialects

Despite the existence of MSA, Arabic-Speakers grow up speaking the dialect of their region. Every Arabic speaking country has its own form of colloquial Arabic that differs radically from MSA. A single dialect of colloquial Arabic may be common throughout an entire region or specific to one country.

Many courses that teach Arabic, actually teach MSA. If you learn MSA and try to speak it to anyone, they’ll laugh at you. It’s almost like running into someone on the street that talks to you in Shakespearean English.

Below are the 3 reasons why I decided to teach Egyptian Arabic

The most popular dialect

The Egyptian population is about 90 million today. The combined population of all Arab states is about 340 million. That means that Egyptians make up 26% of all Arabic speakers. So if you were to choose one dialect, to begin with, it would be the Egyptian dialect. Of course, if you intend to go live in Morocco, then it would make more sense to learn the Moroccan dialect.

Egyptian media is ubiquitous

The entire Arab world watches Egyptian media. Ask any non-Egyptian Arabic speaker and they will tell you the latest Egyptian movie, soap opera or song. Therefore, the majority of Arabic folks will understand you when you speak.

Personal Experience

Since I was born and raised in Egypt, the Egyptian dialect comes naturally to me. I went through the schooling system and graduated from University there. Although I can understand other Arabic dialects, I’m much more comfortable with the Egyptian dialect.

Final note

Cairene speech (spoken in Cairo) is the most widely used for non-print media. Egypt itself has multiple dialects; however, I’ll be covering Cairene in all of the material on this site.

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Map of Arabic Dialects

List of Arabic Speaking Countries

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