The word ‘Egyptians’ is one of the more popular names for African countries, but a lot of people in the Middle East don’t use it.
This is according to an expert who’s working to try and change the language, and a new project called The Egyptian Language Project aims to change the way people say ‘Egypt’.
In the video above, a team of Arabic linguists is learning the Arabic language by hearing people say it and using their own words to tell the difference.
The project aims to be the world’s first Arabic-speaking project to use native speakers to teach Arabic.
‘It was a real challenge to get these people to use our own words,’ said Ali Boussou, the project’s head, during a Skype interview with The Guardian.
The first challenge was finding an Arabic-medium speaker who understood the language.
‘I think it was a really, really difficult conversation, to find a person who understood Arabic, who had experience in this language and had a lot in common with us,’ he said.
‘The second challenge was actually trying to get them to understand what we were saying, to understand how to say it, and how to translate it.’
The Egyptian language project aims, according to the BBC, to ‘build an Arabic community for the Egyptian people in Egypt’.
Bousstou and his team are currently trying to find local speakers who have spoken Arabic for 30 years or more, and then to find speakers who can translate the recordings into Arabic.
Their first target is Abu al-Qader, a local resident in the northern city of Luxor.
‘Abu al-Saed, one of our speakers, started to speak Arabic five years ago, when he was living in a house with his mother and father in the desert, and he started to understand Arabic a lot,’ Bousso said.
Al-Sael said he is currently learning the language for the first time.
‘There’s not a single word I haven’t heard in my life,’ he told The Guardian, ‘so that’s really exciting.’
The project will take two years to complete, and the project hopes to launch by 2019.
Al Saed has already started to learn the Arabic-language, and is now learning to say ‘Sana’, which means ‘hello’.
‘He was so excited,’ Boulous said, ‘he said, “I’ve been learning Arabic for the last five years!”‘
Boussolet, the first of the project members, said the project aims ‘to provide an Arabic alternative to English in the Arab world’, as well as help the region’s people to speak English.
‘Arabic is the language of the Arab people,’ he added.
‘This project is really about helping the Arab community to speak their own language.’
He added that ‘we have to keep this language alive in the world’.
Boulouse told The Independent that the project is ‘an example of the kind of initiatives that need to happen to help the Arab population in the region.’
He also pointed out that ‘the Arabic language is very important for the Arab-speaking world in the West and in the East.
We can’t just be happy with this one project, because it is not an English project.
It’s not an Arabic project.’
The BBC’s Alastair Leithead in Cairo contributed to this report.