Egyptian Arabic

Authored by: Thomas Leddy-Cecere , Jason Schroepfer

The Semitic Languages

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9780415731959
eBook ISBN: 9780429025563
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



Egyptian Arabic (EA) is the language spoken by the nearly 20 million residents of Cairo (cf. Paul et al. 2017). EA is not an official language, nor is it a standardized language in Egypt. However, as a native tongue it is spoken in contexts ranging from daily interactions to academic discourse. It is internationally exported in television, music and other forms of media, which propagate EA not only across Egypt but throughout the Arab world. EA also represents an influential lingua franca within the country. Egyptians living outside of Cairo as well as Cairenes of diverse dialect backgrounds are frequently conversant in EA alongside their native Arabic varieties (Schroepfer 2016, Leddy-Cecere 2014). Egyptians who are speakers of other minority indigenous languages such as Nubian and Siwi often proficiently speak EA as well. In total, when taken together with closely related varieties spoken across Lower Egypt, the Ethnologue estimates speakers of EA (in the broad sense) to number over 60 million, rendering it the most widely spoken extant Semitic language by a wide margin (Paul et al. 2017) (see Map 17.1).

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.