In this first of hopefully a series of episodes, I wanted to introduce you (and myself!!) to a number of regional Egyptian dialects. Because - let's face it - Bilmasri isn't really bilmasri if it stays as Cairo-centric as I am!
And so I'm teaming up with Egyptians from across the country to talk about their dialects/ accents, and how their sounds, words and structures differ from the Cairene. But at all times we want to emphasise that the similarities remain much greater than the differences.
In the first of this series of episodes, I am chatting with Fatema Shokr* a freelance Arabic teacher from Alexandria. We talk about how, being a large city, there are regional variations within it, how Fatema's accent changes depending on whether she is talking to her family and friends or to her students, and how it changes when she loses her nerves! :) She then takes me through a number of interesting features of the Alexandrian dialect/ accent.
In the table below, I have broken down our conversation, giving you the timestamp of the topics we discussed, and the an overview of the main features of Alexandrian masri compared to Cairene masri.
Please let me know what you think of the episode and its format!
*If you want to find Fatema, this is her "Fatema's Arabic Class" Facebook page, through which she remotely teaches Arabic to non-native speakers. My sincere thanks to Fatema for this very enjoyable interview!
PS: This is a fun and clever song shared with me earlier, set to the tune of "Let's call the whole thing off" (the potayto-potahto song), but between an Alexandrian gentleman and a Cairene lady. They mention some words that we haven't addressed in the podcast, and so I've added these to the end of the table in the overview below!