Egypt - Languages
The language of most of the population is Arabic, a Semitic tongue; the 1971 constitution declares Arabic to be Egypt's official language. Dialects vary from region to region and even from town to town. English and French are spoken by most educated Egyptians and by shopkeepers and others. The ancient language of Pharaonic Egypt, a Hamitic tongue, survives vestigially in the liturgy of the Copts, a sizable Christian sect dating back to the 5th century AD . The Nubians of Upper Egypt speak at least seven dialects of their own unwritten language. There are a small number of Berber-speaking villagers in the western oases.