Egyptians - Languages

Languages

The official language of Egypt today is Arabic. The spoken vernacular is known as Egyptian Arabic, while Modern Standard Arabic is reserved for more formal contexts.

The recorded history of Egyptian Arabic as a separate dialect begins in Ottoman Egypt with a document by a 17th century author writing about the peculiarities of the speech of the Egyptian people. This suggests that the language by then was spoken by the majority of Egyptians. It is represented in a body of vernacular literature comprising novels, plays and poetry published over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Classical Arabic is also a significant cultural element in Egyptian culture, as Egyptian novelists and poets were among the first to experiment with modern styles of Arabic literature, and the forms they developed have been widely imitated.

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