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The Egyptian Language

Some English is spoken by most people involved in tourism: in Egypt - hotel clerks, shopkeepers etc, and many Egyptians take every opportunity to try their language skills on visitors to their country. A little patience with a waiter practising his English will pay dividends.

Shopkeepers in Egypt even come out with buzzwords designed to appeal to their customers. Thus, after establishing you are British - "where you from?" is usually the first question of anyone you meet - they will say "lubbly jubbly" or "Asda price" with a large grin.

Shopkepers are friendly, but persistent. Knowing some of the Arabic language can be helpful

  A shop in Aswan

Although it is difficult for the westerner to get his tongue around some arabic words, people in Egypt appreciate any attempt to speak the Egyptian language.

A few useful phrases in the Arabic language

(shown here as they sound):

"shukran" = "thank you"
"lah" = "no" (you will use "lah, shukran" a lot)
"aywa" = "yes"
"salaam alla aykum" = "hello" (the reply is "alla aykum es salaam")
"imshi!" = "go away!" (use only when absolutely necessary)

 

Written arabic is even more difficult for the westerner to learn in a short holiday. Fortunately, most signs are also in English and/or graphical.

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