This document is a concise reference to grammar for people who are learning the spoken arabic of Egypt.
At the top right of the screen is a button: this will take you to the next chapter. There is also a button which will show you a chapter menu.
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 an 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 navigate around the document and select how arabic is displayed using the buttons at the top of the screen:
- and - turns the version of the example in arabic letters on or off
- and - selects transliterated or pronounced version of the example
- - go to the next chapter
- - display the chapter menu
You can also use the p and t key on your keyboard to select pronounced or transliterated arabic, and the a key to turn arabic on or off.