Modern Standard Arabic is the official language of the African country of Egypt and is used in most written documents and taught in schools across the country. Arabic was introduced to Egypt under the Arab occupation. Arabic easily became integrated with other Semitic languages such as Syriac, Berber, and Assyrian to form other variants of Arabic spoken in the country today. Colonization of Egypt facilitated the spread of western languages such as English and French, which are associated with the elite and affluent in modern Egypt. The Languages spoken in Egypt are discussed below:
Languages Spoken In Egypt
Although Modern Standard Arabic is the official language, Egyptian Arabic is the most widely spoken among the languages spoken in Egypt. It is also the de facto national language in the country. The language boasts 68% of speakers, and it is widely used in literature such as plays and novels and media forms such as advertising, film, and newspapers.
The language first developed in the Nile Delta near Cairo, where the first Islamic Capital was located. The variety of Arabic was the language spoken by the Arab invaders during the Muslim conquest of Egypt in the 7th century. The mixture fused with the locally spoken Coptic language and other languages such as Turkish, Ottoman, French, and Italian. Egyptian Arabic is a second language in other Arabic countries such as Yemen, Kuwait, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The prevalence of the language in other nations has been facilitated by the popularity of Egyptian film and media industries across the world.
Sa'idi Arabic is spoken by 29% of the population in modern day Egypt. The language is mainly spoken by the Sa'idis, who are concentrated in the South of Cairo all the way to the Sudanese border. Linguistically, the language is similar to Egyptian Arabic and Sudanese Arabic. Sa'idi Arabic is mostly popular among non-urbanized people and rural immigrants. The language has little prestige in the country but still enjoys a level of popularity.
Arabic is a minority language in Egypt and is spoken by 1.6% of the population in the country. Arabic is mainly spoken in religious contexts in Egypt today. The language is associated with traditional Islamic texts.
Sudanese Arabic is also popular among the languages spoken in Egypt. It is spoken by 1.6% of the population in Egypt. Sudanese Arabic is most prevalent among Sudanese immigrants, and it is linguistically distinct from Egyptian Arabic. Egypt is home to the largest number of Sudanese immigrants and refugees than any other African country. Years of civil war in Sudan has caused many Sudanese nationals to migrate in the country. These immigrants who widely speak Sudanese Arabic have facilitated the spread of the language in the country.
The Domari language is spoken by Muslim Gypsies in Egypt and boasts 0.3% of the county’s population. At a prevalence of 0.3% is the Nobiin language which is native to the Nubian people, concentrated along the banks of River Nile in Egypt and Sudan. The language has been classified as threatened due to the rapid urbanization and consequent spread of other common languages. The Bedawi language is spoken by 0.15% of the country’s population, mainly the Bedouin people.
What Languages Are Spoken in Egypt?
Although Modern Standard Arabic is the official language, Egyptian Arabic is the most widely spoken among the languages spoken in Egypt. Sa'idi Arabic is spoken by 29% of the population in modern day Egypt.
Languages Spoken In Egypt
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About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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