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Lesson Transcript


Hi everybody! Nora here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Arabic questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: How different is MSA from dialects? And how different are dialects from each other?
Greetings are one of the things we learn first when learning a new language. But how different are greetings for example, from Modern Standard Arabic to other Arabic dialects? and from one dialect of Arabic to the other?
Let's see some examples of the difference in some greetings.
“Hello. How are you?”
Modern Standard Arabic: marḥaban, kayfa ḥalk?
مرحباً, كيف حالك؟
Egyptian Arabic: Hi, ezzayyak?
هاي, إزيك؟
Levantine Arabic: marhaba, kifak?
مرحبا, كيفك؟
MSA: biḫayr.
EGA: kuwayyes.
LVA: mniḥ.
Now let's see an example of a sentence, like "What's your name?" in MSA and in different dialects.
“What's your name?”
MSA: mā ismuk?
ما اسمك؟
EGA: esmak eeh?
اسمك إيه؟
LVA: šū ismak?
شو اسمك؟
Here’s another example sentence:
"How old are you?"
MSA: kam ʿumruk?
كم عمرك؟
EGA: ʿandak kām sanah?
عندك كام سنة؟
LVA: addeeš ʿumrak?
اديش عمرك؟
To change a noun from indefinite to definite, you add an article that is basically like "the" in English. There’s a difference in its pronunciation in different Arabic dialects:
Let's take the word "the love" as an example.
MSA: al-ḥub.
EGA: el-ḥub.
LVA: el-ḥub.
Notice the difference between Al and El. These are basic examples of differences between Modern Standard Arabic and two different Arabic dialects.


Did you know that on our website ArabicPod101.com, you can learn Modern standard Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, and Moroccan Arabic? Check out our website for more information!
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
And I’ll see you in the next episode!
Bye! Salam!


Please to leave a comment.
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ArabicPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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What Arabic learning question do you have?

Wednesday at 06:00 AM
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Hi Kylie,

That is the case to a large extent, but there are many irregularities of course :).


Team ArabicPod101.com

Wednesday at 03:17 AM
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Hi Nora, it seems from this lesson that the sentence structure of Levantine dialect and MSA are similar, but Egyptian is structured differently. Is that true most of the time, or only in these examples?

ArabicPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 02:40 AM
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Hi Gordon,

That is a very good question. I usually advise learning one dialect at a time. As for the dialect of each series, you will find it in the description in the beginning of each series.

Also if you're ever unsure please leave a comment and we will help you :)

Good luck!


Team ArabicPod101.com

Friday at 12:40 AM
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I have understood there is a difference between dialects but would like to know if I sign up to follow one of your courses in arabic whether you would screen out the bits I don't want i.e. if I want to follow MSA would you remove the Egyptian and Moroccan from the lessons you give me so that I am not confused. Or are you saying I would have to learn the variations all together????