Languages and Dialects of EGPYT | Ayman Elbadawy
Every country in the world speaks one or more languages. There is an interactive reciprocal relationship between them: Language is one of the unique characteristics of every country. The country, in turn, adds a special flavor to the language, a locale!
You always need to analyze the dialects used in a country. This will help you to provide its people with a localized product or service that doesn’t sound strange. A country’s dialect is always the outcome of different factors: history, education, geography, economical activities, and relations with other nations.
Egypt Geographical Location
Egypt is an African country, located in the north of the continent., It overlooks the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. This country is enjoying a unique location between three continents: Asia, Europe, and Africa. The longest river in the world flows in it, which is the Nile River.
Egypt is the land of the wondrous Pharaonic civilization. The world is still discovering and wondering about its Pyramids and Temples. Egyptians were using Hieroglyphs language at that time. They wrote It on papyrus and on the walls of temples.
Interestingly, Egyptians are still using some of the hieroglyphic synonyms in their modern spoken language. After seven thousand years, the language still alive among the descendants of the Pharaohs! Let’s see just a few examples:
Furthermore, it is even more strange that although, the ِancient Egyptian Language in its writings was not scientifically discovered until 1822 when the French scientist Champollion discovered the meaning of its letters. Yet it did not die and remained alive till now!
Then comes the Coptic language, which is known to be the last development of the ancient Egyptian Language and was prevalent during the period of Roman ruling till the Arab conquest of Egypt.
The Coptic language is a mixture of Greek letters, plus some ancient Egyptian letters, which have no equivalent in the Greek language. ِAnd similar to the ancient Egyptian language, it still has a trace in modern Egyptian speech. Just to name a few:
“yad, wad واد، ياض” meaning a boy, “Abai| اباي” is a sign of surprise and disapproval, “Itai | ايتاي” means a valley, and “Erdab | إردب” which is a measure of agricultural scales, “Afsikhi | افسيخي “ meaning fish, and Awbash| أوباش” means bad people,” outa|أوطة” meaning tomato, and” bah | باح “is a Coptic word meaning none, “tarabiza|طربيزة” means table.
The strange and surprising thing is that after hundreds of years have passed since the Coptic language was replaced by Arabic, there is still an Egyptian village that still speaks the Coptic language until now. It is the village of Al-Zainiya-Bahri in the Luxor Governorate, where they still speak the Coptic language in their daily lives.
In the beginning, the Arabic language began as a stranger among the Copts in the seventh century AD. Then it gradually mixed with the Coptic tongue. At this time, a stage of conflict arose between the two languages over the tongues of the Egyptians, who for centuries remained bilingual. Finally, it ended in favor of Arabic.
And it is worth noting here that the Arabic language is called the language of “dhad”, as it is the only language in the world in which this letter is found.
Nowadays, Arabic is the official language of Egypt, but with many dialects that vary from region to another.
The modern Egyptian language belongs to the family of the Hamitic-Semitic languages (Afro-Asian), and it is the fourth stage of the languages spoken by the Egyptians throughout their history. Among these ones, we have the Cairo, Alexandrian, Farmers, and Upper Egypt dialects.
It turns out that the Egyptian civilization throughout the ages has succeeded in digesting and assimilating many languages such as hieroglyphs, Greek, Coptic, and Arabic. Then, it produced its own verbal language that combines in its vocabulary many words and expressions from other languages without being affected by any of them.
Feel free to leave a comment or to Contact Me for an open discussion!
Originally published at https://aymanelbadawy.com on November 13, 2020.