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Alhamdulillah! Passant translated our manifesto to Arabic

“Egyptian Arabic is different from standard Arabic. Not many people speak standard Arabic in Egypt, but you have to learn it at school. That was the most difficult part about translating, that I think of the words in Egyptian Arabic and then I have to translate it to standard Arabic. It's almost like knowing two languages. The written form is only for standard Arabic, there is no written Egyptian Arabic.”

I didn’t know that! How many people around the world speak Arabic?
“It's one of the most spoken languages, I think. 313 million people speak Arabic. The most interesting thing about Arabic is that it’s very different depending on where you are. There are many countries in which people speak the same kind of Arabic, for example, in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine, there are subtle differences, but it's pretty much the same. And then there is Egyptian Arabic, which I speak, and Moroccan, Algerian, and Tunisian Arabic, but I don't understand that, quite frankly.”

Is Arabic also spoken in other parts of the world, like Indonesia and Malaysia?
“These countries have their own languages, but because a big portion of people are Muslims they learn Arabic because of the religion, but it's not an official language of Indonesia. In Turkey, it's the same.”

Is there anything else you want to tell us?
“Yes. When I came here, I wanted to keep practicing written Arabic. I have a friend here at CIS who is Turkish, and she wanted to learn Arabic, so I gave her lessons and taught her how to read and write Arabic, not speak it, she just wanted to read and write. That helps me keep up my Arabic as well. Egyptian Arabic is kind of close to Turkish in terms of vocab, there are many similar words because Turkey colonized Egypt back in history. I also speak Turkish.”

That’s a great way to learn from each other! But why do you speak Turkish?
“I just learnt it from watching Turkish TV shows.”

A big thank you to Passant from Grade 11 for translating our manifesto into Arabic, which is our school’s ninth most common language, spoken by 41 of our students.

Find out more about about our mother tongue project.