From the most distant past to the modern day, some things never change—including words. The modern Egyptian Arabic dialect is one of the most distinctive in the Arabic-speaking world precisely because of its illustrious heritage from the country’s ancient past. Ahmad Abdel-Hamid Youssef spends a day in the Egyptian countryside, taking note of the many expressions that once fell from the lips of the ancient Egyptians and that continue to be heard on the tongues of the modern Egyptians in their everyday speech. His charming tale of Bayoumi, a farmer, his wife Sawsan, and their baby provides the backdrop for tracing the persistence of these words and phrases. What these average Egyptians do, what tools they use, what they eat, how they organize their life, even how they interact—all can be described with words that hark back to the age of the pharaohs. In telling his story, Dr. Youssef integrates the ancestry of these common expressions, with the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and Coptic and Arabic words appearing alongside transliterations and translations into English. Both entertaining and instructive, this volume includes a series of glossaries in Egyptian, Coptic, and Arabic. With an introduction by Fayza Haikal, an Egyptologist who specializes in Egyptian language, and illustrations by cartoonist Golo, this book is sure to appeal to anyone who has an interest in Egypt, ancient or modern.
From Pharaoh’s Lips
Ancient Egyptian Language in the Arabic of Today
From the most distant past to the modern day, some things never change—including words. The modern Egyptian Arabic dialect is one of the most distin
Ahmad Abdel-Hamid Youssef is professor of Egyptology at al-Azhar University in Cairo. He has served as director-general of the Center of Documentation on Ancient Egypt and as vice-president of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization. Fayza Haikal is professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo and former president of the International Association of Egyptologists. Golo is a leading cartoonist whose drawings appear in both newspapers and art galleries. He illustrated Whatever Happened to the Egyptians? by Galal Amin (AUC Press, 2000).