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Introduction to Egyption Colloquial


Admission requirements

Having successfully completed Arabic Grammar 3 and Arabic Texts 1 & 2, or a comparable level – to be endorsed by the examination committee.


This course aims at introducing students who have successfully completed one year of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) to Egyptian Colloquial Arabic (ECA), prior to their stay in Cairo during the second semester. The course provides students with vocabulary and expressions related to topics of everyday life while also focusing on grammatical features of ECA, contrasting them with MSA structures. Audiovisual material further familiarizes students with Egyptian culture and socio-political ongoing issues.

Course Objectives

Students are expected to reach level A2 of the CEFR. Combining MSA background and ECA training, they will be able to handle conversations related to basic topics (Introducing themselves, use polite greetings and formal expressions, deal with most relevant scenarios from everyday life, discuss simple political and social issues). They will also acquire a basic understanding of standard audiovisual Egyptian speech and original ECA texts (series, songs, cartoons, street art). In addition, they will master some rules of ECA grammar, to be built on during their study in Cairo.

Mode of instruction

There is an attendance requirement for the seminars: Students are expected to attend all seminars. Absence must be notified in advance to determine how missed lectures or, unlikely, exams can be overtaken. Students who fail to meet this requirement are will receive incomplete credits for participation

Course load

To be announced.

Assessment method

Students will be graded as following:

  • Weekly Assignments: 20%

  • Class Participation: 15%

  • Mid-term (Writing and Oral): 20%

  • Final (Writing and Oral): 45%

Kindly note that any further efforts by the students (project, presentation… etc.) will be taken into consideration. Another important component of your grade, which will be closely monitored, is your progress in the course.




  • Additional materials and Audio-Visual materials will be provided by the instructor during the semester.

  • Mandatory: Manfred Woidich & Rabha Heinen- Nasr, Kullu tamām. Inleiding tot de Egyptische omgangstaal (Amsterdam: Bulaaq 2008: 5e druk) .

  • Optional: El-Said Badawi & Martin Hinds, A Dictionary of Egyptian Arabic. Arabic-English (Beiroet: Librairie du Liban 1986).

  • Clive Holes, Modern Arabic. Structures, Functions and Varieties (Washington DC: Georgetown University Press 2004, revised edition) (available on Blackboard).

  • Manfred Woidich, “Cairo Arabic”, in Kees Versteegh (general editor), Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, Vol. I A-Ed (Leiden/Boston: Brill 2006), pp. 323-333 (available on Blackboard).

  • Audiovisual material available on Blackboard.


Registration in uSis.


Academic Integrity
Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. You can check the following links: (English) (Dutch)
Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, I assume that work is your own and that all sources are indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).

Note on the teaching language

Since students in this class have completed one Arabic year, they are expected at the end of the semester, hopefully, to deal with a fully Arabic Class; this will help you improve your language.
For that reason, the main language in this course is the Egyptian Colloquial. We will refer to MSA to get the idea more clear or to make connection between MSA and Colloquial. When needed, English is used in order to ensure your totally understanding.