Bilmasri is a podcast and blog (www.bilmasri.com) dedicated to the Egyptian dialect. It is for learners of Arabic (ideally anywhere between lower intermediate to advanced level) who have so far been focusing on Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), who may or may not have some knowledge of another Arabic dialect, and who would like to understand how the Egyptian dialect works.
The starting point of most blog posts and podcast episodes is a text in Modern Standard Arabic – a news story, an excerpt from a work of fiction, or another form of text – which has been adapted into Egyptian Arabic.
In the first part of each podcast episode, I will slowly read out the Egyptian version of the text. In the second part, I will take you through (in English) one or more aspects of the language just heard: this could be the pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, idioms, etc., with a particular focus on the differences and similarities between Egyptian and MSA.
The blog post will contain both Egyptian Arabic and MSA versions of the text, followed by a brief summary of the podcast discussion. The blog’s tags will help you find any language-related topics you’re looking for, and the episodes they’re discussed in.
سيد درويش: الأغاني (2) – قوم يا مصري
In this 3rd episode on Sayyed Darwish, let's look at one of his most famous songs, قوم يا مصري, once again written by بديع خيري - a "patriotic" song with a difference. In it, Egypt talks to the Egyptians ahead of the 1919 revolution, reminding them of past glories, and reprimading them for what they have done to it in recent times.
The version we'll listen to excerpts from today is sung by Mohammed Mohsen (pictured). As usual, all verses are explained in English.
As you may know by now, Bilmasri is now on YouTube, so you can listen to this episode while reading the Arabic and English text on screen here, or alternatively, go the old pdf/ audio route, whichever works best for you!
Download pdf here
سيد درويش: الأغاني (1)
As I said in the only just published Episode 25 (on the life of Egyptian composer and singer Sayyed Darwish), I have now launched Bilmasri on YouTube, and I think this episode in particular is worth watching on there. That's not to say you should abandon the podcast!! But because this episode is about extracts of Sayyed Darwish songs, having the songs, the lyrics and the explanations all in one place in the video clip is particularly convenient, in my opinon.
In this episode, I play extracts from some of my favourite Sayyed Darwish songs, which are songs which he sings from the perspective of a working man - here, a builder and a waiter - addressing other workers and society in general. I find these songs and their lyrics quite exquisite. All three songs I picked for this episode (الحلوة دي, شد الحزام and الجرسونات were written by Badie Khairy.
As I said in the previous blogpost, this is probably the first of two such episodes, and in the next one, I intend to focus on some of Sayyed Darwish's love songs and patriotic songs.
As this is a new format, I look forward to hearing from you what you thought of it, and if you have any feedback or suggestions I can take on board for the next similar episodes. Should I do more song episodes? Let me know!
Download pdf here
Sayyed Darwish 1892-1923 - his Biography
With this episode, I'm very excited to be launching Bilmasri on YouTube! As I explain in the podcast, how and where you use Bilmasri is up to you (of course :)). Some may find it works best for them to listen to the podcast on the go, or to listen to it while reading the text in the blogpost, but others may find it more convenient to watch the YouTube clip where the text appears on the screen.
Anyway, as you see, I've worked on two episodes simultaneously - I was just too excited to get the YouTube channel populated! :)
In this episode, I read from my مصري version of a فصحى article on the life of Egyptian composer and singer Sayyed Darwish (1892-1923). It's a relatively short episode as I don't follow it with a discussion of the language. For one thing, because the language is relatively straightforward, and also, I added a glossary column to the text below this time.
Then in the next episode, which is already online, I play extracts from some of his songs and talk about the language in these. This is probably the first of two such episodes - so watch this space. As this is a new format, I look forward to hearing from you what you thought of it, and if you have any feedback or suggestions I can take on board for the next similar episodes. Should I do more song episodes? Let me know!
Download pdf from here
In this third episode dedicated to regional Egyptian accents, I chat with Moustafa Maghraby from the southern Egyptian city of Qena. Qena lies just to the north of Luxor, and as Moustafa explains, both accents are very similar (although the north of Qena bears more resemblance to the city of Sohag).
Thank you Moustafa for the informative chat!
As with previous chats on regional accents, I have to note that the conversation is conducted between two native speakers in their regular talking speed, so please note that these episodes are, I think, more suited for people who are already quite confident speakers of Egyptian Arabic.
Also as before, the overview includes timestamps of the topics and words/ expressions we talk about. I end our conversation with Moustafa's recording of his own poem لحظة التلاقي - the text of which is at the bottom of the overview.
Enjoy, and let me know if you have any comments or questions!
On an unrelated note: I've been bringing out a bit more episodes than usual since the start of the year - this is to make up for quieter/ busier times past and future - and one such busy time is coming up, from now until the end-ish of June. I may not disappear completely during that time but it will get a bit quieter around here. I have a lot more planned though so watch this space! :D
Download file here
The Little Prince
Today's episode is another collaboration, and this time I was delighted to team up with Hector Fahmy, a fellow "Masri" enthusiast who runs the العالم بالمصري Facebook page, which aims to bring the world to the Egyptian reader (so you could say, the reverse of the direction Bilmasri operates in!) by translating a variety of content -texts, music etc.- into Masri. Hector is in the process of translating a number of literary works as well, and he has already published a Masri version of Le Petit Prince/ The Little Prince - الأمير الصغير, and so of course I jumped at the opportunity to have a Bilmasri episode featuring an extract from this delightful little book. Hector kindly agreed to cooperate and has provided his reading of the small chapters 2 and 3 (with me imposing myself on the role of the little prince! :) )
Update: The Kindle version of الأمير الصغيّر is now available here
In the overview below, I put the Masri version alongside the English translation. Obviously, Hector translated from the French original, but it made more sense to use the English version here instead. After the reading, I say a little something about the words highlighted in yellow below.
I hope you enjoy the episode! As usual, feedback, comments and questions are very welcome.
PS: A couple of notes I wanted to add after uploading the podcast episode:
* Which words can we start with a ت when preceded by a number from 3-10?In the text, we hear the words تمن تيّام for 8 days, and I explain that in only a small number of plural words beginning with alif, a ت appears at the start of the word when preceded by a number (3-10), which is a remnant from the فصحى - where we would say, for example أربعة أيام (arba'at ayyam) --> أربع تيّامI should have mentioned a few more words that are treated the same way. Here is a small non-comprehensive list - I'm sure there's more!:آلاف: أربع تلاف، خمس تلاف (of all the words in this list, I'd say this is the only one where the ت is "compulsory")أيام: أربع تيام، خمس تيامأشهر: تمت تُشهر (months)أدوار: خمس تدوار (in the sense of floors in a building)أنفار: سبع تنفار (individuals)أجواز: أربع تجواز (pairs)As I said, if you're not sure, its safer to drop the ت - better than putting ت where it's not expected. However if you say خمس آلاف for 5,000 it will sound odd, so make sure you add a ت there always!* Which word to use for "which"?Oh. my. God. This is quite embarrassing. A question that I received (in the comments below) alerted me that perhaps the word that I said I use for "which...?" - namely, آني - is not as common as I thought it was. And so I did two things: I asked in my family group chat if they said أنهي or آني and everyone confirmed that they say آني. Then I went on Twitter and asked any Egyptians out there what they say. You can see the result below. Zero for آني. So in conclusion: it's a word that my family invented, or so it seems! It's basically a simplification of أنهي. So please ignore anything I said about آني for "which". I don't want anyone to laugh at you because of me! :D
In this second episode dedicated to regional Egyptian accents, I chat with Taha Seweidy from the northeastern Egyptian city/ governorate of Domyat (Damietta), who is currently working as a doctor in Brighton.
Taha, who also has his own book review podcast كتاب في الخمسينة talks us through the various features of the Domyati accent, while giving us a good idea of when and where you are most likely to encounter such features.
Thanks to Taha for the pleasant and informative chat!
In the overview below, as with our last Alexandria episode, I have broken down our conversation, giving you the timestamp of the topics we discussed, and the main features of Domyati masri compared to Cairene masri.
Enjoy, and let me know if you have any comments or questions!
Download here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_eOZZgmBdIo6TcL8L2S0dtyixe_4dQbZ/view?usp=sharing
The construction of these lessons is amazing. The material is relevant and I love the questions afterwards. The podcasts with speakers from different parts of Egypt are so fun! I would recommend this as a resource to Arabic learners of all levels, everybody can gain something from this podcast
Thank you so much for doing this. My Arabic is intermediate because I grew up in America but I’m learning a lot from this podcast
Wonderful podcast for intermediate-advanced Egyptian Arabic learners! I love listening and I learn something new every episode.