Egyptian accent

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by SuKi*~, Sep 8, 2006.

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  1. SuKi*~ Member

    English/Arabic, USA
    my family is Egyptian, and most of the Arabic i know is Egyptian regional. I'm learning Arabic formally now though so i can learn to read and write, but as a result, my accent sounds riddiculous, because i'll sound Egyptian at one moment and then COMPLETELY different the next. :p the only real difference i can spot is saying "jah-meel" versus "gah-meel" with a hard G. i've also heard my grandma say "gah-meel-ah" with the extra "ah" at the end. does anyone have any tips for helping me even the pronunciation out?
  2. abusaf Senior Member

    The differences between Arabic and Egyptian dialect as far as pronounciation is concerned are very few, J like you said, and Qaaf and what not. So that should not be any problem.

    I do not understand how the pronounciation should be a problem anyway, as Egyptian Arabic is still Arabic, so it's still an authentic accent. If I were you I would focus on the grammar of the language etc, and then listen to newscasts and formal talk, in classical Arabic, and imitate them. Especially Egyptians, as Egyptians have a tendency to be the best Arabic linguists. :) Good luck.
  3. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
    Hello Suki,
    Welcome to the forum. As Abu saf said Egyptian is Arabic. The difference you speak of is from the north of Egypt. As you probably know people have different accents and sometimes vocabulary in the same country as well as different countries. the j=g and qaf q= hamza. The th sound is z or t .These are an oversimplification of colloquial Northen Egyptian from other variants. Now if you mean how is it different from Arabian peninsula Arabic that is a separate question from Modern standard Arabic. You can do a search to see the discusions of each. If you look at the resourses sticky you will find more info especially:
    (Egyptian Arabic, with standard Arabic as well)
    (extensive lessons in Gulf Arabic)
    (beginner's course with audio)
    (Sudanese Arabic)
    13f is the Egyptian that you know.13d Sudanese is similar to Southern Egypt. 8o is from Eastern Arabia and 8h is MSA.
  4. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    This question seems strange to hear from an Arabic speaker. But I know the answer, since nobody answered it. Doesn't Egyptian Arabic have masculine and feminine forms?

    In MSA:

    جليل - jaliil (masculine)
    جليلة - jaliila(h) (feminine)
  5. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
    Anatoli is right jamil,jamila= gamil, gamila also masc and fem. same as jaliil.
  6. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    Thanks MarcB, I meant to use jamiil as an example but somehow changed it to jaliil by mistake. Anyway, the pattern is the same. jamiil means beautiful but jaliil means venerable.
  7. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Hello Suki and welcome to the forum :)
    I understand from your post that you've been in the States all your life, and that this is why you need to "learn" Arabic. Many immigrants face the same situation.
    My advise to you is to listen, as much and as often as possible, to Arabic news, songs ... choose the content you prefer :
    - If you're interested in news, you can listen to the news from many Arabic speaking radios and t.v. channels
    - If you prefer songs, many singers have songs in MSA (Um Kulthum, Abdel Wahab, Abdel Halim, Fairouz, Magda el roumy, Kazim el Saher....)
    - If you prefer animated movies, look for the movies dubbed in Arabic, they're most often dubbed in MSA

    If you're muslim, listen to the Qur'an, if you're Christian listen to the Bible. (you'll find many interesting links in the resources sticky).

    Good luck :)
  8. suma Senior Member

    English, USA
    Hi Suki*~ and welcome to the forum.

    I'm quite interested in the issues faced by Arab youth raised in the US who have only minimal speaking abilities in the Arabic dialect of their parents, and then go on to learn MSA and become literate in Arabic.

    Oddly enough I've seen some students (heritage learners they're called) struggle a bit more with MSA and literacy than the non-Arab students.
    Keep us posted on your progress and challenges you face.
  9. abusaf Senior Member

    Yes it is interesting. This seems to be a problem which Arabs in America, Canada and other English speaking countries face. While most of the Arabs that are raised in other countries, like Germany, Sweden etc, are more likely to be more fluent in their mother tongue.

    I remember seeing a program on Al-Jazeera where they had gathered like 100 Arab teenagers raised in America to discuss certain topics, and most of them, while understanding the questions posed to them, could not respond in anything other than English.
  10. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Here in Detroit area, where there are many Arab Americans, I wuld say that about 50% of the ones I have met could speak their families' dialects. The other 50% did not know.

    It's interesting Suma mentioned Arabs struggling with MSA because, in the Arabic classes I have taken at the university here, most of the students are, in fact, Arab American, and have expressed difficulty in understanding MSA, even the ones who spoke a dialect. Sadly, by the end of the second year of classes, many said that they did not feel that they learned all that much, and could not speak MSA. Admittedly though, they did not put the time and effort that it requires into learning it better. I'm sure had they been more diligent, they would have done better.
  11. SuKi*~ Member

    English/Arabic, USA
    I think the big problem with "heritage speakers" (btw, that's really catchy. im kinda liking it. :p) learning formally is that they're looking for it to connect to what they know and it's just not happening. i know that's how it is for me. every now and then i have an "OH YEAHHHHHH" moment where i completely know what the Egyptian dialect equal is, and then there's others where its like "yeah, this is definately a different language." for example, Anatoli just pointing out the adjective male/female thing; i recognize it when i'm reading and there's a ة and i know its female, but when i hear it just in normal conversation, i'd never pick up on that being the reason for the extra syllable. (thanks, btw :p) and another one. the word "ayna" (where). before i picked up a book, i've never seen or heard that word in my life. ever. had NO idea what it was. the word i use and the word i've always heard is "fiin" (i don't know if that's the right transliteration, sorry). I'd never say "ayna yaa mama", it's "yaa mama fiin" (and occaisionally "fiin yaa mama").

    and like Abusaf said about the al-jazeera show, i'm very much like that. i understand anything you ask me, but i can't always respond in Arabic. i can hold a basic conversation (although i have the tiniest bit more under my belt now after studying), but a good bulk of things need to be said in English. My reading and writing's a little on the atrocious side. I wrote a card for my grandparents in Arabic, they both thought my ک was a ع in the initial form. :p I stick to speaking what i can.

    okay, now to respond to other things :p
    1. haha, thanks for the welcome!! Fursa sayiid to all <3
    2. MarcB; yeah, definately northern Egyptian, (the "th" to "t" is definately true) i'll take a look at those sites, thanks so much!!
    3. Cerine; I do occaisionally watch Arabic TV, if im with my relatives, not so much in my own household though. The music is a definate- i got into Alabina (well, Ishtar now) really heavily, but thanks for the names, I'll look those ones up, because I do have Arabic music, but I don't know enough artists to actually listen as much as English or any other music I listen.

    thanks for all the info guys, i sooo appreciate it ^^ I really want to get to a good level with my Arabic, because i really don't know as much as i should at this point. and with the Arabic culture just growing more and more of an influence, it'll open a lot of doors. my guidence counselor at school actually said that it would look amazing on a college transcript if i could make it happen.

    well yeah, thanks!!! ^^
  12. abusaf Senior Member

    I agree. I think that when people who have some dialectial skills from their families start to learn formal Arabic, they might be expecting a quite easy ride, only to find out it really is like learning a whole new language.

    However such a person does have some advantage when it comes to understanding, just like I, a European, have some advantage when learning French, in that so many words are similiar to their counterpart in my own native language.


    I would recommend listening alot to Arabic internetradio, like the one on BBCArabic and having it on in the background. This is after all how most Arabs growing up in Arabic societies learn to understand and somewhat speak MSA, by always being exposed to it in one way or another.
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