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Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Basic Egyptian words to use on your holiday in Egypt

I was asked recently to teach a basic Egyptian language class. Just half an hour on some of the main words and phrases that might be useful for a tourist spending a day in Egypt.
I am not a fluent arabic speaker by any means, but have lived in Cairo for 7 years. I thought I would publish this list for any of you who are planning a trip here and might find it useful. If you are an Egyptian arabic speaker and notice any mistakes- please do feel free to advise me! so here goes- some of the basics for a complete beginner!


Egyptian Arabic- just a few basics to help you get by!

Most common greeting- ‘peace be upon you’- is’sallam aleykum
-Answer that with- we aleykum es’sallam

Hello- Ahlan                       Hello and welcome- Ahlan we sahlan
-Answer that with- Ahlan beek (m) / Ahlan beeki (f)

Good Morning- Sabah el kheir,    Good Afternoon (which you use in the evening too!)- Miss a el kheir
Goodbye- ma’asallama (but most people also use is’sallam aleykum to say goodbye too!)

How are you? – Izzayack? (to m)/ Izzayick (to f)
How do you do?- Amal eh? (to m) / Amla eh? (to f)
-I am good- Ana Qwayees (m) / Ana Qwayeesa (f)
-I am not good- ana mish (or mush!) Qwayees/ Qwayeesa

What is your name?- Ismack (m) / Ismick (f)  eh?                                 
 -My name is... – Ismi ....

Where are you from? – inta min ain? (m) / inti min ain?(f)  
 to reply; ana min.......... ‘your country’

Yes- Aywa     No- La’

Thank you- Shukran  (remember La’ shukran with a smile works wonders!!)
Please – Min fadlack (m) / Min fadlick (f)

Excuse me (to get attention) – Lough samaht (m) / lough samahti (f) (both with breathy ‘h’)

Is it possible?- Momkin?  
Eg Momkin shey? To order tea in cafe!
Also momkin da? (pointing at something) - is it possible to have ‘that’

Tea- shey,    Turkish coffee- ahwa,    ‘normal’ coffee- Nescafe,    water- maya

Sorry- asif (m) / asfa (f)

I don’t understand Arabic- ana mish fahim arabee. (m) / ana mish fahma arabee (f)

How much? – be kam?                
Too much! – Kateer

The word you will hear most often – Inshallah – it mean ‘god willing’ !


Inshallah that will be of help to you if you are planning to travel to Egypt soon... have fun, and enjoy my chosen homeland!

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