The official language of Egypt is Arabic, but Egyptian Arabic is far more prevalent than the traditional version of the language. The Coptic language used in the country during the period of the Roman Empire has had a significant influence on Egyptian Arabic which has evolved from the Afro-Asiatic family of languages. Past languages include the ancient Egyptian Language was recorded as early as 2690 B.C. This dialect remains one of the most fascinating languages in human history, especially when paired with ancient hieroglyphs.

The population of Egypt is approximately 96 million and 65.2 million (68%) of these individuals speak Egyptian Arabic as their first language. Egyptian Arabic is understood by almost every single Egyptian and the language is also widely understood throughout Northern Africa and other Middle Eastern countries. This phenomenon is due to the influence and popularity of Egyptian films and music throughout the Arabic-speaking world.

Egyptian Arabic is similar to traditional Arabic. However, the Egyptian version varies slightly in pronunciation as well as containing unique consonants and vowels. Traditional Arabic greetings such as" As-salam alaykum", meaning “peace be unto you” can be used as a casual greeting as well as a formal one. The correct response to this phrase is “wa alaykum as-salam” which means, “and unto you, peace”. Shuk-ran" (thank-you) is another straightforward phrase to learn before travelling to the country.

Minority languages in the country include Sa'idid Arabic, another form of Arabic that originated in Egypt and has spread as far south as Sudan. Bedouin Arabic is another branch of the language that is spoken in the country by around 1.5% of citizens. Sudanese Arabic is also spoken by a tiny percentage (0.6%) of the population. The main immigrant languages in Egypt are Armenian, Greek, and Italian.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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