TRADITIONAL EGYPT www.traditionalegypt.co.uk

LANGUAGE IN EGYPT
It's easy to communicate on holiday in Luxor!

You'll be fine - everyone speaks English! Well, in Luxor it really is true - of everyone who deals with travellers daily, anyway. You really and truly can get by perfectly well speaking English in Luxor (although the official language in Egypt is Egyptian Arabic). Mohamed will help you if you get stuck!

But many travellers enjoy learning the basics of a new language. Many think it's only polite to have a stab at saying 'hello' (Salaam aleikum), 'yes' (Aiwa), 'no' (La'a), 'please' (min fadlak) and 'thank you' (shukran) to local people in their own language — and Egyptians really will appreciate your efforts! Those people who don't have much contact with the tourist trade - as well as a huge number of women - actually haven't had a chance to learn much English, so if you're the kind of person who likes to 'make contact' beyond the universal smile, a few polite words will help. So we've provided a few phrases to get you started! If you want to learn Egyptian Arabic more systematically, we can also recommend some great Egyptian Arabic learning resources available.

Egyptian Arabic on Street signs in a Luxor 'suk'

Hieroglyphics

Hieroglyphics are no longer used as a living language, but they are fascinating!

Some hieroglyphic symbols only make sense if you understand the culture - for instance, the word "god" ('netcher') looks like a flag on a flagpole, which makes sense if you know that Ancient Egyptian temples all had flagpoles. The hieroglyphic represents what was worshipped at a temple (ie. the god).

The little sparrow often found at the end of a word denotes 'littleness', 'weakness' or 'evil'.

USEFUL PHRASES IN EGYPTIAN ARABIC
for Travellers in Luxor

The Egyptian Arabic Phrases for travellers (below) are written phoenetically - as they sound to an English speaker. We have not reproduced any of the Arabic script.

ASKING QUESTIONS IN EGYPTIAN ARABIC

What's your name?
Ismak eih? (to a boy)
Ismek eih? (to a girl)

My name is . . . Ismi . . .

How much is this? Bikam di?

Do you speak English?
Enta bitikallim Inglizi? (said to a male)
Enti bitikallimi Inglizi? (said to a female)

I don't understand
Ana mish fahim (said by a male)
Ana mish fahma (said by a female)

Where is...? Fein...? (pr. 'fayn')

Bus stop Mawif el otobis

Bathroom El hammam

Police station El bolis

Doctor Doktoor

Road / street El sharia
Sharia al-Mahatta runs from the train station to Luxor Temple. Sharia al-Karnak runs from Luxor temple to Karnak Temple.

Town square El midan

Market El suq (pr. 'issook')

Restaurant Mataam

Airport Matar

Café Ahwa


GENERAL PHRASES IN EGYPTIAN ARABIC

Enough! (Stop!) Bass!

Don't! Balashs!

Go away! (to nuisance children) Imshi!
(but in tourist areas the tourist police will usually prevent children from being a nuisancel!)

Son; My son Ibn; Ibny

Daughter; My daughter Bint; Binty

Children; My children Awlad; Awlaadi

Husband; My husband Gooz; Goozi

Wife; My wife Merrat; Merrati

jump to:
LONELY PLANET EGYPTIAN ARABIC PHRASEBOOK Learn Egyptian Arabic - Books, Language Learning Courses, Audio and other resources

'Min Fadlak' and 'Shukran'
('Please' and 'Thank You') —
HOW TO SPEAK POLITELY IN EGYPTIAN ARABIC

Hello Salaam aleikum (pr. 'salam alaykoom')
(formal, "peace be with you")

And also with you Aleikum issalaam (pr. alaykoom isalam)
This is the way to reply when you are greeted with 'Salaam aleikum'

Hello (informal, as in 'welcome') Ahlan wa sahlan

Goodbye Salam / Masalama

Pardon/Excuse me Afwan / ahlan

Sorry Assif

You're welcome Al-affu / 'afuann

Please Min fadlak (to males)

Please Min fadlek (to females)

Please Min fadlokoum

Yes Aiwa

Thank you Shukran

No La'a (pr. 'la')

No thank you La'a Shukran

No chance! Feel mish mish
(a much stronger way to say "no!" - lit. "when the apricots bloom")

My dear Habibi
Someone might say this to your child, so explain the meaning to your child in advance, to save them getting upset! The person is not calling them a baby - and it doesn't mean "hi baby".


ASKING THE TIME IN EGYPTIAN ARABIC

Now Dilwa'ti

Later Ba'deen

Day Yom

Today Innaharda

Tonight Innaharda billil

Tomorrow Bukkra

Yesterday Imbaarih

Morning Issubh

Afternoon/ Evening Ba'd id-duhr

Evening/ night Bil-leel











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