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How to Speak Cairo's Taxi Language

posted on: Jul 6, 2021

How to Speak Cairo's Taxi Language

By Dani Meyer/Arab America Contributing Writer

Anyone who has ever visited Cairo knows that the city has an ever-present backdrop of honking cars. But, what you might not know is that these honks mean something. Taxi drivers in Cairo have been using different patterns of honks to convey different messages – anything from I love you to cursing. Instead of using hand gestures, drivers have created a sort of modified morse code to share things with other drivers as well as people on the streets. Most drivers know at least the basics of the language, and typically learn in local coffee shops. The car honking is a primarily male language; though there is an increasing number of female drivers on the roads in Cairo, the female drivers typically don’t use this honking language.

While most of the phrases are known only to the drivers themselves, here are 7 common phrases that will give you a great introduction to the secret taxi language of Cairo taxi drivers!

1. Two Short Beeps

Meaning: thank you!

2. Three Short Beeps

Meaning: I love you

3. One Long Beep

Meaning: Take care

4. Three Short Beeps, followed by Two Long Beeps

Meaning: F*** you

5. Four Short Beeps, followed by One Long Beep

Meaning: Open your eyes (directed at people who aren’t paying attention)

6. One Short Beep and One Long Beep

Meaning: You are no driver! You don’t know the street

7. Three Short Beeps, followed by One Long Beep

Meaning: Son of a b*****

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Sources:

https://www.carsifu.my/news/beeeeep-be-beep-how-to-speak-cairos-taxi-driver-horn-language

https://theculturetrip.com/africa/egypt/articles/this-secret-language-connects-strangers-in-cairo/

https://www.pri.org/stories/2012-09-21/cairo-cars-speak

https://globalvoices.org/2011/08/10/egypt-the-unspoken-languages-of-the-streets/

Edited by Nour: Missing an Introduction and Featured Image