Much of recent Algerian history has been dominated by civil wars and subsequent warlordism. That said, the country is gradually restoring order and will prove an interesting – if difficult – destination.

The official language is Arabic, but be warned: Arabic spoken in the Maghreb Region (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) is quite different from the Arabic spoken in other parts of the Arab World, so don’t be surprised if you don’t understand anything said to you even if you are competent in standard Arabic. Algerian Arabic contains many French Words.

However, all Algerians who have been to school will be able to speak standard Arabic; if you don’t understand someone, ask just him to speak standard Arabic (al-arabiyya al-fus’ha). Egyptian Arabic is also widely understood because of the popularity of Egyptian cinema.

French, the colonial language, is still widely spoken and almost every local you meet will be bilingual in Arabic and French.

Generally, only the younger generations in Algeria can understand some English, but most people are able to communicate in French.

Some common phrases in Algerian Arabic :

  • Kifak – How are you ?
  • Mleh – Good
  • Shukran – Thank you
  • Sumuni …. – My Name is ….

(source: Wikitravel)


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