This is an introductory course in Egyptian Arabic (EA) or masri, the most widely spoken of the Arabic vernaculars. The language of everyday life – of conversation, romance, music and gossip – masri also has an increasingly significant role to play in the “formal” settings traditionally claimed by Modern Standard Arabic – e.g. politics, religion, literature and even scholarship. It is, in addition, familiar far beyond the borders of Egypt, given the proliferation of Egyptian television serials, films, music, and literature throughout the Arab World. For these reasons, masri is essential to achieving full linguistic and cultural competency in Arabic.
The course is dedicated to developing the students’ skills in speaking, listening, writing and reading, with an eye to future study in Egypt. In addition to the textbook (see below), students will encounter the language through a variety of contemporary media forms such as blogs, music videos, advertisements, comics, and films. The class time will be dedicated exclusively to communicative activities, exclusively in masri, while grammatical structures will be reinforced through the homework. Contingent upon student interest, an additional semester of the course will be offered.