Home > Uncategorized > Fouhsa vs. Egyptian Colloquial, the Battle for my Mind:

Fouhsa vs. Egyptian Colloquial, the Battle for my Mind:

I’m starting to feel as though I’m studying two different languages over here.  Fouhsa, the language I studied at UVA and more or less while in Jordan, and Egyptian Colloquial, are very different.  It feels as though there are as many similarities between the two as there are between Spanish and Italian, yet just as many differences.  I’m exaggerating slightly here, but the differences between the two dialects are substantial.  Things such as the news or important political speeches are in Fouhsa here, as they are throughout the rest of the Arab world, but the differences between that and the common spoken language (which is used in most Egyptian media) is more substantial that I had expected it to be.  It’s pretty cool though.  It’s almost as though I’m learning how to talk to people as I learn more and more Colloquial and how to be an academic as I learn more and more Fouhsa.

The reason that I’ve been so taken aback by this is that the everyday spoken language (or ameea, as it’s called in Arabic) of Jordan, where I studied two years ago, is very close to the formal Fouhsa.  I knew it would be different here, but hadn’t expected the difference to be so pronounced.  It’s kind of welcomed though, as I’m finding Egyptian colloquial to be easier than Fouhsa, at least when it comes to grammar.  They still talk way to fast and push their words together way too frequently for me, but the relaxed grammar rules make effective communication easier.

All in all, I think that I’ve learned a lot so far, even if it’s only been a week.  I’ve been doing a lot of my talking in Arabic, and we’re going to have Arabic only Wednesdays here in the apartment.  I’ve received a handful of compliments about my Arabic, and a number of Egyptians have told me they think I’ll be in a really comfortable position by the time I’m done here if I keep asking questions and practicing like I’ve been doing.  Keep your fingers crossed for that, huh?

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Katie Plofchan
    September 5, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Hi Tommy,

    I’m sorry that I have been negligent in responding to these wonderful postings. I have really enjoyed reading about all of your adventures. I’m so impressed with the manner in which you have approached the challenges you have faced.

    We are excited to see the video but are perplexed as to why “MTV Cribs” would want to video your apartment. Obviously it is Abe’s connection, but we need more details on the whole “Mr. Hollywood” thing.

    I have other comments to make to your postings, but Aunt Joanie and Dad are making too much noise and being way to obnoxious for me to concentrate, so it will have to be later.

    I hope the first day of classes went well.

    Love you lots….can’t believe you have only been gone two weeks.



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