Monday, May 5, 2008

Getting Started

Hi welcome to Egyptian Arabic online lessons. Due to the popularity of my other blog Arabic Song Lyrics and Translation at, I have launched this site to help readers use music to learn Egyptian Arabic dialect. Music is a great way to access colloquial Arabic because unlike newspapers and books, it is predominantly composed in colloquial Arabic, Egyptian being the most popular dialect to use. This allows users to hear the words as well as read them, and music is optimized for memorization. Moreover, the songs use a limited vocabulary, which allows one to access all the aspects of grammar and speech with out being bogged down by lots of new vocabulary.

Egypt is the largest speaking Arabic country and the Egyptian dialect has become widely known in the Arab world thanks to Egypt's movies and music. Thus, it is a useful dialect not just in Egypt, but in all Arabic speaking countries.

First I will make clear: I am not Egyptian. I was born in the United States and have been learning Arabic as a second language for a few years now. I don't claim to know everything about Arabic, let alone a dialect like Egyptian. This being said I will only publish content here that I am confident is accurate. I spent a short time in Egypt, but most of my knowledge of the Egyptian dialect was learned entirely through music, so you will see that you can learn a lot just from memorizing some songs and their meanings!

To use this site properly, one should have some knowledge of Standard Arabic and mastery of the Arabic alphabet. If you don't know the alphabet, don't give up! I have made some accommodations to help the motivated learner transition into using exclusively Arabic alphabet. The first lesson is intended for even beginners to be able to follow. Although the site is self-contained, A Dictionary of Egyptian Arabic by El-Said Badawi is an excellent reference for learning dialect, especially for understand the differences between colloquial and Standard Arabic.

In addition to the lessons, I will provide and continually update a "vocabulary" that contains important words and phrases.

This site is a blog, which means users can leave comments. If you have any comments or questions about the lesson or other related questions feel free to use the comment function to do so.

To begin learning Egyptian Arabic, click here to see the Egyptian ABCs!