Sa'idi Arabic

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Sa'idi Arabic
Native to Egypt
Native speakers
19 million  (2006)[1]
Arabic alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3 aec
Glottolog said1239[2]
Linguasphere 12-AAC-eb[3]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Sa'idi Arabic (Sa'idi Arabic: صعيدى‎, locally: [sˤɑˈʕiːdi], Egyptian Arabic: [sˤeˈʕiːdi]; also known as Saidi Arabic[4] and Upper Egypt Arabic[5]) is the variety of Arabic spoken by Sa'idis south of Cairo, Egypt to the border of Sudan.[6] It shares linguistic features both with Egyptian Arabic, as well as Sudanese Arabic. Dialects include Middle and Upper Egyptian Arabic. Speakers of Egyptian Arabic do not always understand more conservative varieties of Sa'idi Arabic.[7]

Sa'idi Arabic carries little prestige nationally though it continues to be widely spoken, including in the north by rural migrants who have partially adapted to Egyptian Arabic. For example, the Sa'idi genitive exponent is usually replaced with Egyptian bitāʿ, but the realization of /q/ as [ɡ] is retained (normally realized in Egyptian Arabic as [ʔ]). Second and third-generation Sa'idi migrants are monolingual in Egyptian Arabic, but maintain cultural and family ties to the south.

Sa'idi consonants[edit]

Sa'idi Arabic has these consonants:[8]

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal Glottal
Plosive voiceless t k ʔ
voiced b d ɡ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ χ ħ h
voiced z ʁ ʕ
Affricate voiceless t͡ʃ
voiced d͡ʒ *
Nasal m n
Lateral l
Trill r
Semivowel w j
  • ^* /d͡ʒ/ may also be realized as [ʒ] or [d]. For the latter case, it collapses with /d/.


  1. ^ Sa'idi Arabic at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Saidi Arabic". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ "a". The Linguasphere Register. p. 128. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  4. ^ ISO 639-3 spelling
  5. ^ "Arabic, Sa’idi Spoken". Ethnologue. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Versteegh, p. 163
  7. ^ Raymond G. Gordon, Jr, ed. 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 15th edition. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
  8. ^ Khalafallah 1969


  • Khalafallah, Abdelghany A. 1969. A Descriptive Grammar of Sa'i:di Egyptian Colloquial Arabic. Janua Linguarum, Series Practica 32. The Hague: Mouton.
  • Versteegh, Kees (2001). The Arabic Language. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 0-7486-1436-2. 

External links[edit]