Egyptian Arabic

The previous article showed the phonology of the Arabic language. It is phonology of MSA (Modern Standard Arabic) and Classical Arabic but there are many Arabic dialects, and everyone has its own phonological and spoken grammatical traits, because Arabic itself is the language of the big territory of the Northern Africa. This article shows the Modern Egyptian dialect. It is shown on the base of differences between it and MSA and Classical Arabic because MSA is the modern used language and Classical is a base of it.

At first, the Egyptian dialect has more consonant sounds than MSA. They are

— “m”, “p”, “b”, “v” (Labisl sounds),

— “d”, “r”, “i” (Alveolar group),

— “ʒ” (Palatal),

— “q” (Uvular),

The nine modified are shown sounds of the Egyptian dialect (they are given with their simplified pronunciations) here. These sounds are similar to the Arabic sounds, except the “p” sound because ʒ sound is similar to the sound of ش. The only sound isn’t be gotten with the Arabic alphabet is the sound “p” that could be borrowed.

Next analyze of these sounds are shown below.

  • “m” – emphatic Labial – Nasal,
  • “p” – voiceless Stop – plain Labial,
  • “b” – voiced Stop – emphatic Labial,
  • “v” – voiced Fricative – plain Labial,
  • “d” – voiced Stop – emphatic Alveolar,
  • “r” – Tap/trill – emphatic Alveolar,
  • “l” – Approximant – emphatic Alveolar,
  • “ʒ” – voiced Fricative – Palatal,
  • “q” – voiceless Stop – Uvular.

These sounds are similar to the sounds in MSA, the next chain shifts are my own observations, and they can be unproved. Special sounds of the Classical Arabic are shown in brackets and special MSA’s without them. The Egyptian sounds are written as transcriptions.

  • م -> “m”, plain Labial -> emphatic Labial,
  • ب -> “p”,  voiced Stop -> voiceless Stop,
  • ف -> “v”, voiceless Fricative -> voiced Fricative,
  • د -> “d”, emphatic Dental-Alveolar -> emphatic Alveolar,
  • ر-> “r”, plain Dental-Alveolar -> emphatic Alveolar,
  • ل -> “l”, plain -> emphatic Alveolar,
  • ش (?)-> “ʒ”, voiceless Fricative -> voiced Fricative,
  • ك\ق (?) -> “q”, Velar -> Uvular.

Some common transitions are the next,

  • plain -> emphatic.
  • voiced -> voiceless (and vise versa, voiceless -> voiced).

Conclusion is shown above and also, the transition ب -> “p” appeared in Grimm’s Law. These shifts of Classical -> Egyptian appeared in many languages of the PIE group.

This article was written by Ilya Duchanin.

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