Egypt country overview

The people of Egypt

Geography, People, Culture, and Economic Profile

Egypt information index

Languages of Egypt

The official language of Egypt is Arabic, and most Egyptians speak one of several vernacular dialects of that language. The spoken vernacular differs greatly from the literary language, as is the case in other Arab countries. Modern literary Arabic, also known as Modern Standard Arabic or al-fuṣḥā, is learned only in school and is widely used by educated individuals throughout the Arab world. The grammar and syntax of the literary form of the language have remained largely unchanged since the 7th century, but it has undergone transformations in other aspects. The modern forms of style, word sequence, and phraseology are simpler and more flexible than in Classical Arabic and have been influenced by English or French.

In addition to the written language, there are various regional vernaculars and dialects of Arabic, collectively known as al-ʿammiyyah or “common” Arabic. These dialects differ significantly from the literary variant as well as from each other. Within the Egyptian colloquial grouping, there are several distinct vernacular groups, each relatively homogeneous but with further variations within the group. The dialect of the Bedouin in the Eastern Desert and Sinai Peninsula is one example, while the Bedouin in the Western Desert have their own separate dialect group. Upper Egypt also has its own vernacular, which is noticeably different from that of Cairo. The Cairo dialect is used, with variations, in the towns of the delta, but rural areas have their own vernacular. The contact with foreigners over time has led to the incorporation of many loanwords into the Cairene colloquial Arabic. Additionally, the prominence of Cairo in the Arab film industry has ensured that its dialect is widely understood throughout the Arab world. The long contact with foreigners and the presence of foreign-language schools also contribute to the multilingual nature of Egyptian society, with many educated Egyptians being fluent in English or French, in addition to Arabic.

In addition to the major linguistic groups in Egypt, such as Arabic, there are also several smaller linguistic groups that contribute to the diverse linguistic landscape of the country. One such group is the Beja people, who reside in the southern section of the Eastern Desert. The Beja people speak a unique Afro-Asiatic language known as To Bedawi, although some also speak Tigre and many are fluent in Arabic as well. Moving west to the Western Desert, the Siwa Oasis is home to groups of people who speak languages related to the Berber languages of the Afro-Asiatic family. This cultural and linguistic diversity adds to the rich tapestry of Egypt’s heritage. In the southern regions of Egypt, particularly among the Nubian communities, Eastern Sudanic languages are spoken. These languages have some features of the Cushitic languages, although they technically belong to the Nilo-Saharan language family. The Nubian languages add another layer of linguistic complexity to Egypt’s linguistic landscape. Additionally, there are smaller minority linguistic groups in Egypt, such as Greek, Italian, and Armenian. While these communities may be smaller in size compared to the past, they still contribute to the cultural and linguistic diversity of Egypt. These groups have maintained their unique languages and traditions, adding to the vibrant mosaic of Egypt’s linguistic heritage.

Over time, as Islamic rule became more entrenched in Egypt, the Coptic language gradually began to decline in everyday use. Arabic, with its strong influence on the region, became the language of commerce, government, and education. The spread of Islam and the Arabic language also had a profound impact on the Coptic Christian community. Many Copts began to adopt Arabic as their primary spoken language, leading to a decline in fluency in Coptic among the general population. Within a few centuries, the Coptic language was largely restricted to liturgical use within the Coptic Orthodox Church. Despite these changes, the Coptic language has managed to survive through the centuries, thanks in large part to the dedication of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The church has played a crucial role in preserving and promoting the use of Coptic in religious ceremonies and rites. Today, efforts are being made to revitalize the language and ensure its continued survival for future generations. In conclusion, the history of the Coptic language reflects the complex interplay of language, culture, and religious identity in Egypt. While Arabic has become the dominant language in the country, Coptic continues to hold a special place in the hearts of the Coptic Christian community. Its survival is a testament to the resilience and perseverance of a language that has endured centuries of change and upheaval.

brics | ICP

and Cooperation

The Information and Cooperation platform IN4U is a digital hub for BRICS members to collaborate, share information, and promote cooperative initiatives. Stay connected and engaged with the latest developments.


The cooperative

The Cooperative Framework of BRICS by IN4U platform is a dedicated digital space for fostering collaboration and cooperation among inter BRICS government entities and international organizations.

BRICS Collaboration Made Easy: Access info & cooperation tools on IN4U.

This website stores cookies on your computer. Privacy Policy