Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Favicon of Wikipedia Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia
Type of site
Internet encyclopedia project
Available inEgyptian Arabic (Articles are written mainly using the Arabic alphabet but a few are written using the Latin alphabet)[1]
OwnerWikimedia Foundation Edit this at Wikidata
Launched24 November 2008; 14 years ago (2008-11-24)

The Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia (Egyptian Arabic: ويكيبيديا مصرى  [wikiˈbedjæ ˈmɑsˤɾi, wikiˈpidjæ], ⟨wykybydya mṣry⟩) is the Egyptian Arabic version of Wikipedia, a free, open-content encyclopedia. This Wikipedia primarily acts as an alternative to the Arabic Wikipedia in favor of speakers of the Egyptian dialect.[2] Until 2020, it was the only Wikipedia written in a localised dialect of Arabic.[3][4] The second one is Moroccan Wikipedia, which was approved and created in July 2020.

This edition of Wikipedia has 1,617,141 articles and 206,077 registered users, including 7 administrators.

In December 2022, it was the third most visited language Wikipedia in Egypt with 2 million page views.[5] It ranked below the Arabic Wikipedia (43 million[6]) and the English Wikipedia (18 million[7]).


The Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia was proposed on 30 March 2008 and started as a developing project on 2 April 2008 in the Wikimedia Incubator.[3] A Wikipedian with the username Ghaly was the founder of the Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia.[8] Dr. Ivan Panović, the author of "The Beginnings of Wikipedia Masry," described Ghaly as the spiritus movens of the Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia.[9] Florence Devouard, the former president of the Wikimedia Foundation, stated that the foundation wanted Wikipedians to participate in their native languages.[2]

The proposal was accepted in July 2008,[3] and the announcement was made on the first day of Wikimania 2008 in Alexandria.[2][10] On 24 November 2008, the Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia was officially launched,[3] and the Incubator articles were transferred to the new domain.

In 2009, the project had 4,000 articles, and Wikipedians participating came from within and outside Egypt.[2] By 2010 the Masry Wikipedia had almost 6,000 articles. That year, Panović wrote that "The number of active contributors is still rather small, yet their entries seem to be growing."[3] At the time many of the articles were very short articles, or "stubs".[3] Panović wrote that editors of the Masry Wikipedia had a tendency of creating new articles "just for the sake of increasing their number in hopes of expanding them later."[11]

As of September 2018, 60% of Wikipedia views in Egypt were directed at Arabic Wikipedia, 33% to English Wikipedia, 3% to Russian Wikipedia and 2% to Egyptian Arabic one.[12] About 35% of Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia views come from Egypt, about 11% from the United States and Saudi Arabia, and about 5% from Morocco, Algeria and Iraq.[13]


The origin of the proposal for the Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia is based on the active interest of some Egyptian Wikipedians in contributing articles, especially on the Arabic Wikipedia,[14] as they constitute large group of the serious contributors in that Wikipedia.[2]

The idea behind the creation of the Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia is to have an encyclopedia that is written in the language that Egyptians use in their everyday lives.[15] It is hoped this will be much easier for Egyptians to read and encourage more Egyptians to contribute to Wikipedia.[2]

Panović stated that "it is clear that Masry Wikipedians are the proponents of Egyptian territorial nationalism of a kind that sets itself apart from Arab or Islamic nationalism, seeking to carve out a specifically Egyptian identity" and he argued that therefore there was an "ease" in which the Egyptian Arabic Wikipedians "seem to embrace and promote some radical and even erroneous ideas about language."[16] Ghaly is a Christian, and Panović stated that "judging by their contributions and/or user pages" several of those involved are also Christian; Panović stated that minority groups tend to be more active in identity politics.[9]


The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) classification of Egyptian Arabic under the language code arz is one of the arguments used by Egyptian Arabic Wikipedians for considering Masry an independent language.[17] The project uses the Cairene-style Egyptian Arabic.[18]

Ghaly, in the Wikimedia Foundation proposal page for the Egyptian Wikipedia, stated that his view of the Masry Wikipedia was that it would be "written in layperson terms and a mixture between Egyptian slang and simple Arabic", conveying "the information to speakers of Egyptian Arabic in a way similar to what Wikipedia Simple English is doing currently in comparison to Wikipedia English."[17] In response some Wikipedians criticized the proposal stating that it would be a Simple Arabic Wikipedia. Ghaly responded, arguing that he did not intend to actually start a simple Arabic Wikipedia.[17]

As of August 2019, the Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia has over 20,000 articles and continues to grow. In addition, there is a project to develop an Egyptian Arabic Wiktionary, which is in the development phase as a project on Wikimedia incubator.[19] On 28 July 2020 Wikipedia Masry became the eighteenth Wikipedia to have more than one million articles.[20]


The Egyptian variant of Wikipedia was controversially received; supporters pointed to the number of Wikipedias written in regional languages and argued that Egyptian Arabic was a widely spoken variant of Arabic, while opponents perceived the creation of the Egyptian-language Wikipedia as an attack on the Arabic Wikipedia and argued that Standard Arabic was the standard language for media, and the use of a regional-language version was anachronistic.[2][10][15][21]

The Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia has been subject to controversy from the start, causing arguments between supporters and opponents.[22] There have been lengthy discussions before the approval of the proposal. Also, there were discussions on other websites apart from meta.wikimedia.[23][24][25] This was also based on the differences in definition of a language and a dialect.[26] This is a result of diglossia in Egypt, where the written language is a different dialect than the language used daily,[27] which is not frequently written, although a certain amount of literature (particularly plays and poetry) exists written in the Egyptian dialect in Egypt.[28][29][30] As the project developed it was seen occasionally as a manifestation of triglossia of standard Arabic, vernaculars, and a western language in the Arabic section of the cyberspace[31]


Amira Samir of the Al-Ahram Hebdo reported that some Egyptians on the internet did not have a problem with the project, arguing that the Wikimedia Foundation was an independent body and therefore the Egyptian government could not force the inclusion or exclusion of any particular dialect.[2]


Discussions and criticism has occurred in some Facebook groups and several blogs and forums.[9] Samir stated that many online users believed that the Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia was an attack on the Arabic language.[2] The primary criticism of the Wikipedia Masry involves the belief that a "degradation" of Arabic occurred when someone writes in a dialect. Panović argues that the criticism is "grounded in folk belief about language" and therefore it is a "futile task" to examine the arguments from a linguistic point of view.[9] According to Panović, many of the critics took note that many involved with the Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia were Christian and that they perceived the project to be antagonistic against the Arab identity and Islam.[9] Panović wrote that "It almost goes without saying there are also those who see in Wikipedia Masry yet another Jewish plot."[9] Others see it as an attempt to divide the Arabs by emphasizing dialects.[4] According to Samir, some critics argued that the Egyptian Arabic language has a lack of rules and variations of meanings in words, and so it is an unsuitable language for an encyclopedia.[2]

Opposition to this version of Wikipedia has been strong during the proposal stage; opposition continued after the project officially launched[32][33] including campaigns on Facebook.[citation needed] Some of these campaigns encouraged users to vandalize the Egyptian Wikipedia. The main point which the opposition focuses on is that Egyptian Arabic is not a language,[34][citation needed] suggesting that the effort should be directed to development of Arabic Wikipedia.[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wikipedia Masry rules of writing
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Samir, Amira (December 2009). "Le masri est-il contre l'arabe ?" [Is Masri contrary to Arabic?] (in French). Al-Ahram Hebdo. Archived from the original on 31 January 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2010. () "explique Florence Devouard, ex-présidente de la fondation Wikipedia. Et d’ajouter : " [...] Il est question pour nous de choisir dix langues natales, parce qu’on veut vraiment que les gens participent dans leur langue maternelle "." and "Certains internautes égyptiens ou non-ne voient donc pas de problèmes à avoir une Wikipedia en masri,[...]" and "Mais pour d’autres, c’est une catastrophe et une affaire politique. Pour eux, c’est la guerre "en ligne" contre la langue arabe." and "D’autres sont plus logiques. Ils s’opposent à la rédaction d’une encyclopédie dans une langue maternelle parce qu’elle n’a pas de règles, ce qui veut dire qu’un mot peut avoir plusieurs orthographes. Et puis un même mot peut avoir plusieurs sens différents d’un endroit à l’autre et d’une génération à l’autre."
  3. ^ a b c d e f Panović, p. 94.
  4. ^ a b A.V. "The rise and fall of Egyptian Arabic". The Economist. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  5. ^ "Wikistats - Statistics For Wikimedia Projects". Retrieved 1 January 2023.
  6. ^ "Wikistats - Statistics For Wikimedia Projects". Retrieved 1 January 2023.
  7. ^ "Wikistats - Statistics For Wikimedia Projects". Retrieved 1 January 2023.
  8. ^ Panović, p. 101.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Panović, p. 95.
  10. ^ a b (In French) Lesdebate, Syndrome identitaire, Le masri langue Wikipedienne Archived 4 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Panović, p. 94-95.
  12. ^ "Wikimedia Traffic Analysis Report - Wikipedia Page Views Per Country - Breakdown". 25 October 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2023.
  13. ^ "Wikimedia Traffic Analysis Report - Page Views Per Wikipedia Language - Breakdown". 25 October 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2023.
  14. ^ Cohen, Noam (21 July 2008). "In Egypt, Wikipedia is more than hobby". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 14 December 2008. (Archive)
  15. ^ a b Mennasat Archived 14 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Panović, p. 99.
  17. ^ a b c Panović, p. 96.
  18. ^ Panović, p. 97.
  19. ^ ARZ wiktionary project
  20. ^ Meta News July 2020
  21. ^ Middle Esat online Archived 14 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ جدل بين مدونين مصريين حول ويكيبيديا المصرية [Debate between the Egyptian bloggers on the Egyptian Wikipedia] (in Arabic). Shorouk News. 24 January 2009. Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  23. ^ Archived 3 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Egypt: Egyptian Dialect Wikipedia Archived 13 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Approval of a Wikipedia in Egyptian Arabic (Masry) ignites debate over the difference between a language and a dialect". Page F30. 11 June 2009. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  27. ^ Abed, Shukri B. (2006). Focus on Contemporary Arabic (Conversations with Native Speakers). Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-10948-1.
  28. ^ Language helpers Archived 4 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ الوكالة العربية للأخبار العلمية
  30. ^ Archived 13 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ The Arabic Language: A Latin of Modernity?
  32. ^ Archived 7 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ المصريون Archived 23 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ Why you should boycott the Egyptian Wikipedia[dead link]
  35. ^ Archived 22 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine


External links[edit]