What is the official language of Egypt

Country information Egypt

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Here we have compiled the most important facts and figures about Egypt and the language spoken there.

The official language and language used in everyday life in Egypt is Arabic. The Egyptian Arabic that you will learn on this course is a stand-alone Arabic dialect spoken by around 75 million people as their mother tongue. Standard Arabic is the written language in Egypt.

In addition to Arabic, other - far less common - languages ​​are spoken in Egypt: Individual Berber languages ​​and speakers of Coptic, Nubian and Domari can also be found.

English is spoken in foreign languages, but also occasionally French.

Arabic belongs to the Afro-Asian language family and is counted among the Semitic languages ​​in this family. In addition to standard Arabic and a large number of Arabic dialects (e.g. Saudi Arabian, Iraqi, Moroccan and - last but not least - Egyptian Arabic), Hebrew (in its modern form Iwrit), Aramaic and various Ethiopian languages.

The Arabic language is mainly spoken in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Egyptian Arabic is by far the most widely spoken dialect of the Arabic language.

Arabic is also one of the six official languages ​​of the United Nations (UN), alongside English, French, Spanish, Chinese and Russian.

The spoken Arabic languages, i.e. the various regional dialects, differ greatly from one another.

What these regional languages ​​have in common, however, is their common written language - Standard Arabic, which is used almost uniformly throughout the Arab world.

In response to the question "هل تتكلم اللغة العربية؟ - Do you speak Arabic?", Around 200 million people will answer you with "نَعَمْ (na'am) - Yes." After all, Arabic is their mother tongue. In addition, there are around 10 million people who speak it as a second language.

But Arabic is also - and this is a very central aspect - the language of Islam. The Koran, the holy script of this world religion, is traditionally printed in Arabic script and language.

Because of the belief in the literal transmission of the words of God, every sign, every word and every sentence is considered sacred and inviolable. Although there are translations of the Koran into most languages, the script is only considered to reproduce exactly what was revealed in the Arabic original. The Koran may only be recited in Arabic in order to avoid errors in translations and to reproduce the literal transmission of the message.

Islam is the religion of around 1.3 billion people worldwide. For pious Muslims, as explained, it is considered a religious act and brings great prestige to study the Koran in the original. This is how many Muslims can (at least fundamentally) read the Arabic language. It is also considered a special religious honor to be able to recite the Koran (or at least parts of it) by heart. The prosaic language used in the Koran can only be reproduced in all its facets in the original Arabic. When translating into other languages, this linguistic attraction is usually lost.

This again shows the importance of the Arabic language worldwide.

So the Koran is the Criterion for grammatical, orthographic or linguistic questions about Arabic.

The pronunciation of most letters is very similar to what you know from your mother tongue. Some letters are stressed similarly to English. There are also letters for which there is no equivalent in German (or English).

The pronunciation of the Arabic letters

Description of pronunciation (if possible with examples from German)
Example from Arabic

Þa, Þi, Þu

Voiceless plosive sound, as abovea in old, iin is u in our
أسد: Þasad (lion) إسلام: Þislām (Islam) أم: Þumm (mother)
Long, open vowel, mostly like a in train
مال: māl (money)
Voicedb, like in bunt, Bach
باب: bāb (door)
Voicelesstlike in a cup, table
تمر: tamr (date)
Voiceless plosive sound, like the English "th“In throw, three
ثور: tawr (ox)
Voiced clasp fricative, like English "G"Or"j“In gentleman or jolly
جمل: ğamal (camel)
strongly breathed H
حمار: Îimār (donkey)
Voiceless fricative, like chin cloth
خير: Ìair (goodness)
Voiced plosive, like d in roof, thank you
دب: dubb (bear)
Voiced plosive sound, like the English "th“In the, there, father
ذهب: Æahab (gold)
Voiced tonguer, like (dialect) in lawn, giant
ريح: rīÎ (wind)
Voiced fricative, like s in looking, are, thing
زهرة: zahrah (flower)
Voiceless fricative, like s in rest, cracks
سلام: salām (peace)
Voiceless hissing sound like schin shame, shell, slide
شمس: šams (sun)
emphatic voiceless slike sun in English
صحراء: ÒaÎrāÞ (desert)
emphatic voiced d
ضحك: ÃaÎik (laughter)
emphatic voiceless t
طائرة: ÔāÞirah (airplane)
emphatic voiced Æ
ظهر: Ûahr (back)
عرب: Ýarab Arabs
Suppositoryr, as in (High German) lawn, giant
غرب: ġarb (west)
Voiceless fricative, like fin ferry, lazy
فرس: faras (mare)
emphatic voiceless k
قرد: qird (monkey)
Voiceless plosive sound likek in box, grain
كرة: kurah (ball)
Voiced lateral sound, like l in love, land
لحم: laÎm (meat)
Voiced nasal sound, like min mouse, mint
إمرأة: ÞimrarÞah (woman)
Voiced nasal sound, like nin nose, new
نور: nūr (light)
Voiceless puff, like H in hurry, dog
هبة: hibah (gift)
Voiced fricative, like English w in word, want, with
وردة: wardah (rose)
Voiced long vowel likei in bee, again
يوم: yawm (day)
Is mute for isolated words, only for genitive constructions is used as t pronounced
فتاة: fatāh (girl)

Please note that Arabic is written and read from right to left. According to our reading comprehension, a book is therefore started “at the back”.

The Arabic letters change their shape depending on their position in a word. Therefore, in this table you will find all letters in their different forms:

The Arabic keyboard layout

If you ever want to write an Arabic text with your computer, it is necessary to know which Arabic characters are located where on your keyboard.

















































But now to the land of Egypt. You will find interesting facts and information specific to the country in the following section.

Egypt is called مصر (Misr) in the local Arabic language.

Egypt has more than 80 million inhabitants, about 98% of whom are Egyptians. Other ethnic groups in the country include Berbers, Bedouins, Nubians, Greeks, Armenians and other Europeans (especially Italians and French).

The average age of the population is around 24 years. The Egyptian population is therefore much “younger” than, for example, the German population, for whom the mean is almost 43 years. The average life expectancy in Egypt is just under 72 years, which is around seven years lower than in Germany.

The national territory of Egypt covers an area of ​​around 1,000,000 km² and is therefore almost three times the size of the Federal Republic of Germany. Egypt's lifeline is the Nile, which stretches from Lake Nasser in the south of the country across the country to the Mediterranean Sea.

In Egypt you pay with the Egyptian pound. A pound is divided into 100 piastres. We cannot offer you a current exchange rate of the Egyptian pound to the euro at this point, but it can be found easily on the Internet with little effort (just enter the term “currency converter” in a search engine). Or, of course, you can also ask your bank for the rate.

Economic situation

In direct comparison to Germany, Austria or Switzerland, the Egyptian population has a considerably lower standard of living. In an African comparison, however, Egypt is - after South Africa - the second most industrialized country on the continent.

Despite numerous state efforts to liberalize the economy economically, a large part of Egyptian industry is still in state hands. The most important export goods are crude oil (which is also the country's most important mineral resource), oil products, machines, textiles, metals, chemicals and food.

In addition to the oil business, one of the most important sources of income in Egypt is the tourism sector, which attracts hundreds of thousands of guests from all over the world every year.

Due to the water scarcity in the interior of the country, agriculture in Egypt is concentrated almost exclusively on the Nile valley and delta as well as on smaller oases and coastal stretches on the Mediterranean. The main crops are cotton, rice, wheat, maize, and fruits and vegetables. Livestock farming is mainly done with cattle, buffalo, sheep and goats. Almost every third employed person is employed in the agricultural sector.

The unemployment rate in Egypt is just under 10%, around a fifth of the population lives below the poverty line.

Egypt is in a different time zone than Austria, Germany and Switzerland. It is already an hour later there than here. An illustrative example: if it is 12 noon in Germany, the clock in Egypt reads 1 p.m.

As with us, the clocks in Egypt are changed to summer time.

In the next chapter we have put together some selected travel recommendations.