Arabic is the language of Egypt and the only official language in the country, the one taught in schools, the one used in public institutions and the one spoken by the majority of the inhabitants. It is also known as “Masri Arabic” or “Egyptian Arabic”, as it is a variant of the generic language (from Standard Arabic) but has adopted a particular physiognomy with linguistic elements specific to the country, such as some things from the original Egyptian, also called the Coptic language.

Arabic language of Egypt

The Muslim conquest of the country defined the current language of Egypt, which is also influenced by other languages such as French, English or Turkish, although from the outside these nuances are not very noticeable. But being a country where tourism is one of the main sources of income, most hotels have staff trained to speak mostly English and, to a lesser extent, French and Spanish.

In the Red Sea area, as there is a high demand for Russian and German tourists, some hotels hire staff who can express themselves in one of these languages. On the other hand, many hotels do not have staff who speak other languages but due to the large influx of tourists they are able to pronounce a few words, so with some effort, we can make ourselves understood.

There arealso tour guides in the main languages who are in charge of the routes through the pyramids and ancient temples. It is advisable to hire them in advance, before traveling to Egypt, through an agency to make sure you get a good price. Because the other option is to do it through hotels, but the cost is higher.

Basic expressions

Here is a brief vocabulary of Egyptian Arabic so that you can make yourself more easily understood by the people of Egypt. In addition, they always appreciate it when tourists make an effort to say a few words in their language.

In an everyday, informal conversation:

  • Hello: Ahalan
  • Goodbye: Ma’a ElSalama

In more formal greetings, for example in a restaurant or hotel:

  • Good morning: Saba’a AlKair
  • Good afternoon: Masa’a AlKair
  • Good evening: Laila Tiaba

And never forget good manners:

  • Please: Min Fadilak
  • Thank you: Shokran
  • You are welcome: Ala ElRahib Wa ElSaa
  • Sorry: Ann Eazinak
  • It’s too expensive: Da ghâli nar!
  • Could the price be lowered: Inta tikhaffad el taman?
  • I would like to buy… This one: Ana awez (awza, f.) yachteri… haga, da!
  • I love: Ana habb
  • Dislike/Dislike: Mahabb
  • Money: Flouss
  • I’m just looking: Ana atfarrag
  • I would like to go….: Ana awez arouh illa….
  • Aircraft: Tayara
  • Vessel: Marhib
  • Train: Atr
  • Cab: Takss
  • Bus/Bus: Otobiss
  • I would like to rent: Ana awez hagaz
  • Motorcycle: Motousikl
  • Car: Sayara / Arabiha
  • Bicycle: Agala


Knowing the basic numbers in Arabic will be very helpful, not only to make yourself understood but also for you to be able to understand the prices of some things you want to buy and also other parameters where you need numbers.

Especially at street food stalls and bazaars, knowing a few numbers in Arabic will save you a lot of headaches, as you will encounter many vendors who only speak Arabic and with whom you will not even be able to communicate in English.

We are going to teach you how to count to 10 in Egyptian Arabic and how to write it:

  • zero: sefir (٠)
  • one: wahed (١)
  • dos: etnin (٢)
  • three: talata (٣)
  • four: arbaa (٤)
  • five: hamsa (٥)
  • six: sita (٦)
  • seven: sabaa (٧)
  • eight: tamania (٨)
  • nine: tesaa (٩)
  • ten: ashara (١١٠)
  • twenty: ashrin (٢٢٠)
  • fifty: jamsin (٥٠)
  • one hundred: mahya (١١٠٠)
  • two hundred: metien (٢٢٠٠)
  • five hundred: jomsehmilla (٥٠٠٠)
  • mil: ahlf (١١٠٠٠١١٠)

Use of English

If you travel to Egypt and you are more or less fluent in English, you will find that the tourist guides and hotel staff are usually fluent enough to understand each other without any problem. In the restaurants, the waiters usually express themselves relatively well in English and you will find all the menus written in that language, so you will know exactly what to order, for lunch or dinner.

It is estimated that 35% of the Egyptian population speaks or understands English, a language that expanded in the country after the British occupation ended in 1952.

You will find many road signs written in Arabic and English, as well as coins and banknotes circulating in the country. Today, Arabic in Egypt is borrowing more and more from English.

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