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Arabic Language for Travelers


Arabic is the language spoken in Egypt, as well as the rest of the Arab World. The spoken language, the Aami (or the colloquial), differs a lot from what is written in newspapers, the classical Arabic.
The Egyptian dialect also differs from its Arab counterpart, but it is indisputable the most famous of them and the most understood among Arabs.
Arabic uses letters not pronounced by many languages. If you succeeded to utter these, that's good. If not, don't panic, you can still be understood. But at least you should imitate the intonation.
We are here covering words and phrases that a traveler can use in Egypt. Make sure to read the transliteration rules found at the bottom of this page before going further. In each page you will find sound attached to each word/phrase. There is also a PDF-format file that you can print. This contains the Arabic text and its English equivalents for those who would like to print them as cards to take them on his tour.

Pronouns, D. Adj & Prepositions Basic Words Numbers
Colors Time, Days & Weather Common Expressions
Places Money & Shopping Directions & Getting Around
Accommodation Food & Beverages Health & Urgencies
Family, Friends & Others Adverbs & Adjectives Travel Related
Transliteration Rules

Following is the transliteration rules of Arabic used in this section. There is no conventional way for transliteration but here we used an easy and simple method. If a letter doesn't have an equivilant in some Western languages, particulariy Englsih, you'll find a prounciation attached to it.
As a typescript, we used captialization and special letters for illustrating these special pronounced letters.

Constants
b as the 'b' in 'boy'
d as the 'd' in 'dad'
D
as the 'd' in 'dawn' (This is harder sound than the normal 'd'.
Example: Dar = 'harmful'
f as the 'f' in 'father'
g as the 'g' in 'god'. NEVER as the 'g' in 'gem'
h as the 'h' in 'hat'
k as the 'k' in 'kind'
l as the 'l' in 'look'
m as the 'm' in 'man'
n as the 'n' in 'knife'
q as the 'q' in 'Qatar' or 'c' in 'car' (a hard guttural sound)
r
as the 'r' in rain. This is a rolling 'r' as in Spanish.
Example: ragel = 'man'
s
as the 's' in 'sand'. NEVER as the 's' in 'wise'
S
as the 's' in 'sun'. This is harder voice than the normal 's'.
Example: Sura = 'photo'
t
as the 't' in 'table'
T
as the 't' in 'top'. Also this is harder than the normal 't'.
Example: Toub = 'bricks'
w as the 'w' in 'web'
y as the 'y' in 'yes'
z as the 'z' in 'zeal'
sh
as the 'sh' in 'shower'.
Example: shorba = 'soup'
Vowels
a as the 'a' in 'bad'
â as the 'a' in 'bar'
e as the 'e' in 'bed'
i as the 'i' in 'his'
o as the 'o' in 'boy'
u as the 'ou' in 'you'

Combinations
ei
ai
as 'ei' in 'their' and 'ei' in eight
oa as 'oa' in 'boat'
ie as 'ie' in 'brief' and 'ee' in 'beef'
ay as 'ye' in 'bye'

Special characters
'
a glottal stop pronounced by briefly closing the wind pipe.
Example: ra'y = 'opinion'
A

a strong guttural sound featuring a throat contraction without closing (A pharyngeal fricative voice).
Example: Aein = 'eye'

kh
like 'ch' in Scottish 'loch'. This is a velar fricative sound producing a gurgling voice.
Example: khatem = 'ring'
H
strong glottal sound pronounced using a voiceless contraction of the throat. Simply pronounce as 'h' in 'hat' if it's difficult to you.
Example: Hobb = 'love'
gh
like the French 'r'. (a growling voice)
Example: ghani = 'rich'

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