Daniele Calvani


Center for Migration and Refugee Studies

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Date



Cairo has become home to a high number of refugees, who – no matter how long they stay in the Egyptian capital – are very likely to remain as part of distinct immigrant communities. Their members’ country of origin, cultural and language background form the basis of cohesion. Their presence contributes to making Cairo linguistically dynamic. Since the significance of this has so far been greatly underestimated, there is need for research on language diversity in Cairo. This report partially fulfils this need, in that it begins to highlight the diversity of languages spoken by refugees in Cairo and alerts those who provide services to refugees how complicated is the process of interpretation of both language and culture. It includes a general analysis of language use, maintenance, and shift. The social and cultural dimension of language interpretation into English is also considered. General conclusions on communication through an interpreter are offered, particularly with reference to the necessity of training community interpreters. Another aim of the research is to provide a stimulus to other researchers to conducting further studies in order to contribute to filling the lacunae in socio-linguistic studies.

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