An Introduction to Egyptian Arabic Voices

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What is Egyptian Arabic Voices?

Egyptian Arabic Voices is designed to help you improve your comprehension of Egyptian Arabic by using its audio component (available to download or stream for free) alongside the guided exercises in the book.

Six native speakers from the greater Cairo region have each contirbuted six “audio essays” on various topics, which in total make up the 36 segments fouond in this book. The contributors spoke naturally and spontaneously, without reading prepared texts. The audio essays were then transcribed in Arabic script and phonemic transcription and translated into English. Studying these texts is a unique opportunity to better understand the patterns, usage, and idiosyncrasies of Arabic as spoken by Egyptians today.

How can this book help me?

You will hear the speakers in Egyptian Arabic Voices occasionally make what you are sure are mistakes; you’re likely right. Words may be mispronounced or misused; grammatical rules may not always be followed; sentences may be left unfinished if the speaker decides to rephrase what he or she is saying. This poses an extra challenge for listening. However, it is also very insightful to hear natural, spoken Arabic at various speeds by several native speakers. This is something, unfortunately, most course books lack, in favor of carefully prepared, unnaturally slow and perfect listenings. It is hoped that Egyptian Arabic Voices fills that gap and provides some refreshingly natural, challenging opportunities for improving listening skills.

Can I benefit from this book at my level of Arabic?

This book is best suited for intermediate and more advanced learners. However, even lower-level students can reap some benefits from listening to and studying the segments. Just keep in mind that the goal is not to understand 100%. The first time you listen, depending on your level, you may understand, say, 1%, 10%, 50%, or 90% of what you hear in a segment. If, after going through the exercises and studying the text while relistening several times, you are able to increase the percentage you can understand, you’ve made progress and are successfully developing your skills and pushing your level up. If this mindset is adopted, the material in Egyptian Arabic Voices can be useful to learners at a wide range of levels.

This article was adapted from the Introduction of the book Egyptian Arabic Voices.