A Voice in Praise of Egyptian Dialect

Commenter Majnnunciatore wrote this reply to my last post:

I’ve got to give my kudos to Egyptians, and I spell my “kudos” with a kaff, never a qaf. I applaud them for being individuals. Just because a letter is there, why pronounce it? Why climb a mountain? “Because it’s there.” C’mon, walk like an Egyptian, be an individual. In addition, our Masri pals are doing a service for the Kaff. Ever look through an Arabic dictionary and find yourself shaking your head in dismay at how woefully underrepresented kaffs are? I’m sure you’re not alone. There are those who criticize the Arab world for its lack of free speech. To them, I say, look at what the Egyptians are doing. It takes true bravery to drop an easily pronounced and distinguishable letter out of the equation, allowing that non-sound to be confused with a hamza, or rendering thousands of other words that start with a qaf unclear, thus giving more nuance to the spoken word. I admire the Egyptians for their boldness. Mabruk! The only thing that would impress me more is if the folks in Qatar would cease using qafs. That would be a gutsy move.

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5 Comments

Filed under arabic, language

5 responses to “A Voice in Praise of Egyptian Dialect

  1. By the way, Egyptians have different ways to pronounce the “qaf”. Delta Fellahin and Cairenes pronounce it as a glottal stop, but Bedouins and Upper Egyptian Saidis pronounce it as a “g” and pronounce the “j” normally, not as a “g”. And it’s not just an Egyptian thing: in Syria I remember being told by a member of an old Damascene family that they called the regime “the government of the qaf” because it was full of “vulgar” Sunnis from the eastern provinces who actually pronounced the “qaf”.

  2. I didn’t know that.
    “Pronouncing the qaf–how vulgar.” *sniff*

  3. Shuaila

    In Jordan, you could tell the sophistication of a person by how they pronounced the qaf – the peasants pronounced it ‘g’, the upper class (and Palestinians) prounced it ‘a’, the foreigners prounounced it ‘q’ [like it’s supposed to be!], and the Bedu pronounced it ‘k’. That was a great educational experience my first month there! 🙂

  4. Michael

    No one (even Babylon Translations) has been able to assist me… Can you tell me wha “Mish izaac ta rooh menghary” means?

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