What language do they speak in Egypt?

Millions of people travel to Egypt each as a popular tourist destination and many of them like to visit local markets or experience the local culture. Knowing a few words in the local language can make the experience more unforgettable. But what language do they speak in Egypt? Let’s look at some common and minor languages that Egyptians speak across the country.

Official language – Standard Arabic

Traditionally, the country of Egypt had several languages and if we add a few international ones, we can make a list of around ten of them. The Standard Arabic is considered to be the official language which can be found in official texts and schools still teach this, although it is not spoken in everyday life.

Actually, there is plenty of history behind the spread of Standard Arabic in Egypt. It was brought here by the first Muslim occupants who invaded the lands and spread their language and culture. This later influenced the integration of Standard Arabic with other local languages being spoken.

Moreover, religious and scientific texts of medieval times were also written in Arabic.

Egyptian Arabic – the major spoken language.

In fact, Egyptian Arabic is considered to be the most widely-spoken across the country. If you know the basic Egyptian you will almost never get lost as every two people out of three can speak this language across the country.

If you are seriously interested in Egyptian culture, then you are sure to find plenty of poems, plays, and novels written in Egyptian variation of Arabic. The language is also gaining widespread popularity due to the fact that media and advertising, as well as movies exported to neighboring countries, feature the Egyptian.

International languages

Egypt was the colony of Great Britain for almost seven decades and it is not surprising to find a very large number of people who are able to speak English. Besides, it is also taught in educational institutions and you can communicate in it in many places which are offering services to tourists.

The French language is also taught in many schools across the country and if you know it, you can ask for what you want or chat with some people for a while when you are browsing the streets in cities.

Some less common languages

The second most spoken language in Egypt is Sa’idi peoples language. These peoples are spread to the south of the country and according to estimations around 30 percent of the population in Egypt use it in their everyday conversations. Another less common Arabic is the Sudanese which is slowly growing in number due to the immigrants and refugees from Sudan.

There are also a few minority languages which are spoken by a small number of indigenous people:

  • The Domari
  • The Noblin and
  • Bedawi language

Whatever the purpose of your visit is, making sure that you can find your way around by asking for directions or having a pleasant conversation in your own language with a local from where you go as a tourist is always a welcome bonus. So, your visit to Egypt’s main tourist spots can be perfectly fine if you know English or French, but if you are planning to go a bit off the tourist tracks, it is better to say a few words in Arabic.

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