Egyptian Arabic Absolute Beginner's Workshop
4.7 (111 ratings)
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362 students enrolled

Egyptian Arabic Absolute Beginner's Workshop

Interact in Egyptian Arabic by learning key communicative expressions and phrases
4.7 (111 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
362 students enrolled
Created by Andrew Dempsey
Last updated 6/2016
Current price: $27.99 Original price: $39.99 Discount: 30% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 1 article
  • 147 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Interact in Egyptian Arabic on an introductory level, using key expressions and words
  • Speak and understand greetings, goodbyes, and polite exchanges such as “please”, “thank you”, etc.
  • Build respect and rapport by choosing formal or informal words to address people, depending on the context
  • Ask questions such as "who?", "what?", "when?", "where?", "why?", and "how?"
  • Refer to people and things using correct pronouns (him, her, it, you, this, that, etc.)
  • Count from one to one hundred in Egyptian Arabic
  • Use helpful borrowed words (“cognates”) from other languages that are part of Egyptian Arabic
  • Students need to be able to understand English, the language of instruction
  • Knowledge of the Arabic alphabet is not needed for this course
  • No special materials or software are required

Egyptian Arabic is a spoken language that is highly interactive, and the best way to master it is by actually interacting with people. This course aims to give you key expressions and phrases that you can use to immediately begin communicating. You will learn how to engage in simple, friendly conversations that signal respect for the person and the culture, and an eagerness to learn.

Start learning Egyptian Arabic by mastering the interactive, relational building blocks given in this course.

  • Vocabulary that lets you greet people, say goodbye, engage in polite exchanges and ask key questions
  • Information about when to use formal or informal variations, depending on who you're talking to
  • Useful functional words and expressions that you'll need for your next steps, including numbers, pronouns, questions, and requests

Communicate from Day 1 to accelerate your learning of Egyptian Arabic

This course will focus on giving you initial tools that you can use to interact, right away. These are not randomly chosen vocabulary items. They are foundational words and expressions that will allow you to begin to interact in Egyptian Arabic. You will learn the initial Arabic you need to start connecting relationally with Egyptians.

The vocabulary that you will use, once you have completed the course, will immediately signal to the people with whom you are speaking that you appreciate and respect them, you enjoy their language and culture, and that you want to learn more. It will position you to take advantage of the friendliness and outgoingness of most Egyptians, as you interact with them in an open, friendly, interested way.

Who this course is for:
  • This course is designed for absolute beginners in Egyptian Arabic. It can also serve as an excellent refresher course for people who learned Egyptian Arabic in the past, but have been out of practice. It is also helpful for students of Modern Standard Arabic who want to explore the most-spoken dialect in the Arab world. This course is probably not for you if you're looking to learn more advanced and complex Egyptian Arabic.
Course content
Expand all 19 lectures 02:08:53
+ Introduction
2 lectures 04:40

Welcome to the Egyptian Arabic Absolute Beginner's Workshop! Here I introduce myself to you, tell you a bit about the course, and launch us into our journey together.

Summary of the lecture

Our focus is on building relational connections.

The vocabulary in this course will focus on interaction and communication.

Using the vocabulary taught will:

  • Communicate appreciation and respect
  • Make your listeners feel appreciated
  • Show that you want to learn more

I (Andrew) have lived in Egypt 25 years, and am functionally fluent in Egyptian Arabic.

A non-native speaker teaching Arabic works because:

  • I’ve been there and know what it’s like to learn Arabic
  • It shows that you can learn Arabic
Preview 02:39

This lecture covers the overall goals of the course, the specific objectives and learning outcomes, and the format we'll follow for each lesson.


  1. Build relational connections in Egyptian Arabic
  2. Communicate in a friendly and respectful way
  3. Learn to interact confidently in Arabic


  • Master simple expressions and phrases
  • Understand different contexts
  • Greetings and goodbyes
  • How are you?
  • Yes and no
  • Pronouns
  • Numbers
  • Polite exchanges
  • Cognates


  • Basic video lesson
  • Audio resources
  • Flashcards
  • Quizzes

Don’t be passive. What you get out of the workshop will be what you put into it.

Goals, objectives and format
+ Quick Start - Greetings
2 lectures 12:41

In this lesson, we look at greetings to use in the morning and evening. Each greeting consists of an initial word spoken, and a correct response.

Lesson Notes

Different contexts call for different expressions when greeting people.

In Egyptian Arabic, greetings usually have a formulaic response. The person greeting says the first part of the greeting formula, and the person being greeted responds with a different but related response.

Time of Day: Morning

Greeting: SabaaH il-kheer صَبَاح الخِير

Response: SabaaH in-nour صَبَاح النُور

Time of Day: Evening

Greeting: mesaa’ il-kheer مَسَاء الخِير

Response: mesaa’ in-nour مَسَاء النُور

Preview 06:49

Following on the previous lesson, we look at two other contexts in which we might use an Islamic greeting, and a casual greeting.

Lesson Notes

Context: Religious

Greeting: is-salaamu 3alaykum السَلاَمُ عَلَيْكُم

Response: w’3alaykum is-salaam وَ عَلَيْكُم السَلاَم

Context: Casual, between friends

Greeting: sa3eeda سَعِيدَة

Response: sa3eeda سَعِيدَة

Greetings Part 2
+ Foundations for Learning
4 lectures 15:38

Your mindset makes all the difference in whether or not you successfully learn Arabic. Many Arabic learners approach the language with a secret feeling that they will never be able to really use the language effectively, that it's too difficult of a language. Here, we dispel that myth!

Focus + interaction + enjoyment = a mindset to learn Arabic

Mindset, motivation, “unstoppableness”, persistence make the difference.

Mindset shift: You really can learn Arabic

It's important that we approach Egyptian Arabic the way that it's actually used and not the way that we or other people think that it should be used. Arabic has traditionally been taught with a focus on using the "proper" language, but in this workshop we will focus instead on what most Egyptians say on a day to day basis.

Prescriptive approach to language: How a language “should” be spoken

Descriptive approach: How a language is actually spoken

In this workshop we will take a descriptive approach. We will look at how the language is actually used, as well as what the typical contexts are.

We will also look at pronunciation, meaning, and context of words.

Egyptian Arabic - the way it's actually used

Another myth about learning Arabic is that the sounds are impossible for non-native speakers to make. This lesson dispels that myth, as it goes through the sounds of Egyptian Arabic.

Great news for English speakers learning Arabic

1. There are no new vowels to learn

a i u aa ii uu ei

2. 16 consonant sounds are the same as in English

b t g d z s sh f k l m n h w y r

3. No big consonant clusters

No more than 2 consonants side by side in native Arabic words

4. 4 consonants are almost the same

S D T Z (dark consonants produced farther back in your mouth than in English)

5. 2 sounds in Egyptian Arabic are well known in French and German

kh gh

6. Only 4 sounds are really new

3 (ain) H ‘ q

Sounds used in Egyptian Arabic

This short lesson will show you the Egyptian Arabic alphabet, written both in transliteration (Latin letters), as well as in Arabic script.

Preview 03:35

This quiz will check that you have mastered the key concepts of the Foundations section, before moving on to actually begin speaking Egyptian Arabic.

Foundations for Learning Quiz
3 questions
+ First interactions - Goodbyes (completing our Quick Start section)
2 lectures 12:49

This lesson covers how to say goodbye, and which form to use when addressing a male or a female.

Lesson Notes

Just like with greetings, different good-byes are used for different contexts (normal, religious, casual). Also like with greetings, there is usually a specific formulaic response to each good-bye.

Context: Normal (any time of day)

Good-bye: Ma3a is-salaama مَعَ السَلَامَة

Response: Allah yisallimak الله يِسَلِّمَك (if speaking to a male)

Response: Allah yisallimik الله يِسَلِّمِك (if speaking to a female)

The suffix at the end of the word changes, depending on whether you are speaking to a male or a female.

-ak (ـَك) = male

-ik (ـِك) = female

yisallim + ak = speaking to a male (يِسَلِّمَك)

yisallim + ik = speaking to a female(يِسَلِّمِك)

Goodbye Part 1

This lesson follows up on the previous one by adding a religious goodbye, and a casual goodbye.

Lesson Notes

Context: Religious

Good-bye: is-salaamu 3alaykum السَلَامُ عَلَيْكُم

Response (typical): ma3a is-salaama مَعَ السَلَامَة

Response (formal): w’3alaykum is-salaam وَ عَلَيْكُمْ السَلَام

Context: Casual, between friends

Good-bye: baay بَاي

Response: baay بَاي

Goodbye part 2

This quiz is to be completed after you have worked through the material presented in the Greetings lessons.

Greetings and Goodbyes Quiz
4 questions
+ Engaging in small conversations
3 lectures 32:15

By the end of this lesson, you will know how to ask the question "How are you?" to a male, a female, or a group. You will understand the context in which to use a more formal/respectful version of the question, and when to use the informal.

Lesson Notes

In this lesson, we learn two different ways in which we can talk to someone: informal, and respectful. In Egyptian Arabic, it is important to use a respectful tone when the situation or relationship calls for it.

We also will learn the different form that many words take when you are addressing a male, a female, or a group.

Male: -ak ـَك

Female: -ik ـِك

Group: -uuku ـُوكُو

Informal: How are you?

Addressing a male: izzaayak? إِزَّايَك؟

Addressing a female: izzaayik? إِزَّايِك؟

Addressing a group: izzaayuuku? إِزَّايُوكُو؟

Respectful: How are you?

Addressing a male: izzaay HaDritak? إِزَّاي حَضْرِتَك؟

Addressing a female: izzaay HaDritik? إِزَّاي حَضْرِتِك؟

Preview 09:40

Having learned in the previous lesson how to ask "How are you?", this lesson will enable you to respond to the question with culturally appropriate responses.

Lesson Notes

Like in English or many other languages, the question ‘How are you’ is often answered with a standard answer that is not necessarily reflective of the actual state of the person answering.

A standard answer to ‘How are you’ is:

al-Hamdu li-lleh الحَمْدُ لله

It means “Praise God”. It can be used for religious contexts, but is also a standard answer used in non-religious contexts. It always takes this form, whether spoken by males, females, or groups.

The word for good is:

Male: kwaayyis كوَايِّس

Female: kwaayyesa كوَايِّسَة

Group: kwayyiseen كوَايِّسِين

Kwayyis كوَايِّس can be combined with al-Hamdu li-lleh الحَمْدُ لله to give the rough equivalent of “Fine, praise God”.

Responses to 'How are you?'

In this lesson you will learn how to use "please" and "thank you", as well as make polite requests. You will be able to apologize, ask someone their name in a polite or casual way, and tell people what your name is.

Lesson Notes

The goal of learning key polite expressions is to be able to, with a few words, communicate a readiness to interact with the Egyptian Arabic speaker with whom you are speaking. This is normally received in a very positive, friendly way.

Thank you

shukran شُكْراً

You’re welcome

3afwan عَفْواً


Speaking to a male: min faDlak مِنْ فَضْلَك

Speaking to a female: min faDlik مِنْ فَضْلِك

Speaking to a group: min faDluuku مِنْ فَضْلُكُو

May I?

mumkin? مُمْكِن؟

I’m sorry:

A male speaking: ana aasif أَنَا آسِف

A female speaking: ana asfa أَنَا آسْفَة

What is your name?

Speaking to a male, informal: ismak eeh? اِسْمَك إِيهْ؟

Speaking to a female, informal: ismik eeh? اِسْمِك إِيهْ؟

Speaking to a male, respectful: ism HaDritak eeh? اِسْم حَضْرِتَك إِيهْ؟

Speaking to a female, respectful: ism HaDritik eeh? اِسْم حَضْرِتِك إِيهْ؟

My name is…

ismii… اِسْمِي

Polite expressions that engage people

This quiz is to be completed after you have worked through the material presented in the Engaging in small conversations lessons.

Engaging In Small Conversations Quiz
4 questions
+ Expanding your interactions in Egyptian Arabic
5 lectures 48:54

This lesson is packed with useful vocabulary, including "yes" and "no, and the question words "who?", "what?", "when?", "where?", "why?", and "how?". It explains the well-known Egyptian Arabic expressions "In shaa' Allah" (God willing), and "ya3ni", as well as expanding your understanding of the many possible shades of meaning of "al-Hamdu li-lleh".

Lesson Notes

This lesson lays the foundation for asking and answering questions by giving 6 question words and 5 answer expressions.


meen? مِين؟


eeh? إِيهْ؟


imta? إِمْتَى؟


feen? فِينْ؟


leeh? لِيهْ؟


izzaay? إِزَّاي؟


aiwa أَيْوَهْ


laa لَا

God willing

in shaa’ Allah إِنْ شَاء الله

Praise God

al-Hamdu lilleh الحَمْدُ لله

Kind of

ya3ni يَعْنِي

Yes and no, and questions

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to refer to people and things using correct pronouns (him, her, it, you, this, that, etc.)

Lesson Notes

In this lesson we learn the pronouns that are used for people and things.


ana أَنَا

You (singular, male)

inta إِنْتَ

You (singular, female)

inti إِنْتِ


huwwa هُوَّ


hiyya هِيَّ


Same as ‘him’ or ‘her’, depending on whether object is masculine or feminine


iHna إِحْنَا

You (plural)

intu إِنْتُو


humma هُمَّ


dah / dii / dool دَهْ / دِي / دُول

People and things (pronouns)

Ready to expand your Egyptian Arabic by 100 new words? This lesson will teach you to count to from one to ten, as the foundation for our next lesson where we will learn 11-100.

Lesson Notes

1. waaHid وَاحِد

2. itneen إتْنِين

3. talaata تَلَاتَة

4. arba3a أَرْبَعَة

5. khamsa خَمْسَة

6. sitta سِتَّة

7. sab3a سَبْعَة

8. tamania تَمَنْيَة

9. tis3a تِسْعَة

10. 3ashara عَشَرَة

Preview 05:33

In this lesson we will learn to count from 11-20, using the numbers 1-10 as building blocks. We will then add the numbers 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, and then learn patterns that allow us to combine our numbers to create any number between 21 and 99.

Lesson Notes

11. Hedashar حَدَشَر

12. itnashar إِتْنَشَر

13. talatashar تَلَتَشَر

14. arba3tashar أَرْبَعْتَشَر

15. khamastashar خَمَسْتَشَر

16. sittashar سِتَّشَر

17. sab3atashar سَبْعَتَشَر

18. tamantashar تَمَنْتَشَر

19. tis3atashar تِسْعَتَشَر

20. 3ashriin عَشْرِين

21. waaHid wi 3ashriin وَاحِد وِ عَشْرِين

22. itneen wi 3ashriin إِتْنِين وِ عَشْرِين

23. talaata wi 3ashriin تَلَاتَة وِ عَشْرِين

24. arba3a wi 3ashriin أَرْبَعَة وِ عَشْرِين

25. khamsa wi 3ashriin خَمْسَة وِ عَشْرِين

26. sitta wi 3ashriin سِتَّة وِ عَشْرِين

27. sab3a wi 3ashriin سَبْعَة وِ عَشْرِين

28. tamania wi 3ashriin تَمَنْيَة وِ عَشْرِين

29. tis3a wi 3ashriin تِسْعَة وِ عَشْرِين

30. talatiin تَلَاتِين

40. arba3iin أَرْبَعِين

50. khamsiin خَمْسِين

60. sittiin سِتِّين

70. sab3iin سَبْعِين

80. tamaniin تَمَنِين

90. tis3iin تِسْعِين

100. miyya مِيَّه

Counting from 11 to 100

Language learning experts agree that learning cognates (words whose origins are in other languages, making them familiar to people who know those languages) is a helpful way to increase your vocabulary. In this lesson we will look at 10 cognates related to interactions, financial transactions, technology, and more.

Lesson Notes


baay بَاي


soori سُورِي


uukiy أُوكِي

Thank you:

mirsii مِرْسِي

Egyptian pound (guinea):

gineeh خِنِيهْ


taaks تَاكْسْ

The internet:

in-net اِلنِت

Mobile/cell phone:

muubaayl مُوبَايْل


fees buuk فِيس بُوك


iimiil إِيْمِيل

Cognates - fast forwarding your vocabulary

This quiz will test you on the vocabulary from Section 5.

Expanding Your Interactions Quiz
6 questions
+ Next Steps
1 lecture 01:56

Congratulations! You have completed the workshop! What are some next steps that you can take as you move toward your goal of mastering Egyptian Arabic?

1. Keep your positive mindset and momentum

2. Use the Egyptian Arabic that you already have

3. Consider taking another course (

4. Subscribe to my Egyptian Arabic email list, or send me an email (

BONUS LECTURE: Your next steps to mastering Egyptian Arabic