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What are the most common languages spoken in Cairo?

six local experts

Are residents of Cairo typically multilingual? What languages are most common? Here's what six local experts had to say about language in Cairo.

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Cairo is a strategically placed city. As we say in Arabic, it was built by a candy maker. Visiting the country of Egypt as a historical tourist means that you have to start with Cairo. The Nile and its river boat trips “Feluka”, the pyramids and the Sphinx, old Cairo “Fustat” with its pottery shops and the Egyptian museum are the main attractions to be covered. If you are looking for cultural attractions, you will find an event every single night of the week. Eating out is specially enticing and a fest for your taste buds. I just love my beautiful Cairo.

Haajar, says: 2020

Someone moving here should know it could possibly have the most dangerous roads on Earth. He/she should also know that haggling is a necessity to get the best possible price for any product. He/she must also know that some areas are just not suited to cater for foreigners due to the lack of English speaking or foreign speaking nationals in the working class. One should also consider living in a place like Maadi, where there are a large proportion of English speakers.

Cairo is an incredible city, but an especially challenging place to manage for the lone foreigner. The main language used in daily affairs is Arabic, so it would be useful to have an electronic means of translation available. Also, traffic is horrendous, so don’t expect to arrive anywhere on time, or for others to be punctual either.

Mohamed, says: 2020

Any foreigner should know the weather and climate in Cairo. Also, I would not recommend learning the standard Arabic language but instead learn the local Egyptian version of Arabic, as it’s drastically different from the standard version. Asking an Egyptian friend to teach them the most helpful Egyptian phrases would be very useful.

She or he has to know the weather is frankly hot in Summer and that we have traffic jams a lot. They also need to learn Arabic and know how to communicate with people. Prices also differ from a store to another just like anywhere else; there are more than one way to arrive anywhere, so you don’t need to worry about what means of transportation you will be taking.

Cairo is a huge city. Depending on where you are coming from, it can be very difficult to adjust. A newcomer should be able to speak some Arabic (Egyptian dialect is better) to complete daily tasks and maintain some sense of independence. One should be very patient, as it can take time adjusting to any new city. One should also bring their favorite earplugs, as most areas in central Cairo are very loud.

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