Did you know that the government teaches people languages? Of course you did, I’m just behind the times as usual and only found that out recently. When a diplomat gets sent off to a foreign country, the government isn’t going to trust just any run of the mill language course designed for us mere mortals. Pish posh! Nay, they must design their own unique course to ensure the diplomat’s success in his or her or its or their language learning journey.
Why do I bring this up? Because these government institutions- Foreign Service Institute & Defense Language Institue – have new courses now and have released the old courses to the general public for free.
They have quite a decent amount of languages, including Arabic, but somewhat surprisingly they don’t only have Modern Standard Arabic, they actually have some spoken dialect courses as well, including Egyptian.
The courses are quite old, I think roughly from the 70s, so some of the language is a bit more formal than what is used today and especially more than what you would likely be using with friends. Honestly if your interest is MSA I would be venture to say there are likely way better options out there. However, for someone learning a spoken dialect the options are few and this can be a worthwhile addition to your resources.
The material is pretty boring and repetitive, but the focus seems to be more on speaking and common phrases than any overwhelming grammar studies, at least as far as I’ve gotten, and this is quite useful given that Egyptian is 39% idiomatic. You’re going to want to learn a lot of phrases. There’s lots of drills to get you speaking and exercises to help your listening. (For people who want grammar studies, there’s always All The Arabic You Never Learned The First Time Around, which is actually quite approachable and useful.)
You can find the courses available for download on the Yozhik Website. They have both PDFs of the books & mp3s of the audio.
You can find the Egyptian Dialect course specifically here.
You can also watch this video review by LangFocus to get a better idea of what you’re in for and how useful they are.