Learning Arabic from Egypt’s Revolution

When you move to another country as an adult, the language flows around you like a river. Perhaps a child can immediately abandon himself to the current, but most older people will begin by picking out the words and phrases that seem to matter most, which is what I did after my family moved to Cairo, in October of 2011. It was the first fall after the Arab Spring; Hosni Mubarak, the former President, had been forced to resign the previous February. Every weekday, my wife, Leslie, and I met with a tutor for two hours at a language school called Kalimat, where we studied Egyptian Arabic. At the end of each session, we made a vocabulary list. In early December, following the first round of the nation’s parliamentary elections, which had been dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, my language notebook read:


to prostrate oneself

salah (prayer)





forbiddenOn many days, I went to Tahrir Square, to report on the ongoing revolution. If I heard unfamiliar words or phrases, I brought them back to class. In January, after some protesters had become suspicious of my intentions as a journalist, the notebook had a new string of words:





JewThe following month, I learned “tear gas,” “slaughter,” and “Can you speak more slowly?” “Conspiracy theory” appeared in my notebook on the same day as “fried potatoes.” Sometimes I wondered about the strangeness of Tahrir-speak, and what my Arabic would have been like if I had arrived ten years earlier. But it would have been different at any time, in any place: you can never step into the same language twice. Even eternal phrases took on a new texture in the light of the revolution. After I could understand some of the radio talk shows that cabbies played, I realized that callers and hosts exchanged Islamic greetings for a full half minute before settling down to heated arguments about the new regime. Our textbook was entitled “Dardasha”—“Chatter”—and it outlined set conversations that I soon carried out with neighbors, using phrases that would never be touched by Tahrir:
“Peace be upon you.”

“May peace, mercy, and the blessings of God be upon you.”

“How are you?”

“May God grant you peace! Are you well?”

“Praise be to God.”

“Go with peace.”

“Go with peace.”

Middle Eastern Literature

In this course, the student will learn about modern Middle Eastern Literature. By first getting an introduction to Middle Eastern Literature with its history. And then by studying samples of Middle Eastern Literature such as short stories, novels, and poetry by the most famous writers (Taha Hussein, Naguib Mahfouz, Taoufik El Hakim, Youssef Edris …) and get to do critics, all in Arabic.

N.B. : Students need to have a certain level in Arabic to be able to apply to this course.

Islamic Culture Program

If you need an easy access to Islamic culture, it pleasures us to be your bridge via our teaching way which adopts the Holistic approach in teaching all aspects of the Arabic language.
We teach Arabic via Islamic content that enables the student to understand the main basics of Islam in pure Arabic without any translation. We teach a lot of commonly used Islamic vocabulary through selected Qur’anic verses, Prophetic sayings, original Islamic text and poetry.

Our program contains the four basic language skills, listenning, speaking, reading and writing with focusing on understanding standard Arabic.

Egyptian Colloquial Arabic (ECA)

The Egyptian Colloquial Arabic programme (ECA) aims to provide students with the skills to interact in the spoken form of Arabic used in Cairo. The ECA levels present and revise the essential grammar and morphology of ECA and activities are directed toward developing the skills and strategies for effective communication in the Egyptian culture. Structures and vocabulary are presented in the context of situations in which they are naturally used.

For more information, see ECA Course Details