Learn the Moroccan Arabic Language

Darija is the language spoken in North Africa. Darija is spoken in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya. The words Moroccan Arabic and Darija are often used interchangeably. One interesting thing to note is that the Darija spoken in North Africa can be understood by other North Africans but other Arabic speakers, in countries outside North Africa, sometimes have difficulty in understanding Darija. In other words, Darija speakers from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya usually have no problem understanding each other but an Arabic speaker who does not live in one of these countries, and who has not been exposed to Darija, will most likely have difficulty understanding spoken Darija. You should keep this is mind when you learn the Moroccan language.

Another interesting and noteworthy point about Darija is the pronunciation. The pronunciation is what partly makes it difficult for a non-North African to understand. The pronunciation is distinct. One quick example is the Arabic sound represented by the letters “sh.” Arabic speakers outside North Africa would pronounce “sh” as “sheen” whereas in Morocco “sh” is pronounced as “ch.” Of course this is not the only reason why Darija is different from Standard Arabic. Another factor is the large number of foreign words used in Moroccan Arabic (Darija). Many of these words are originally from the Tamazight language (also spoken in North Africa). Many Tamazight words such as “mzyan” which means “good” and “khezzou” which means carrot, are frequently used in the Moroccan language. French is also a language which has contributed many loadwords to the Moroccan Arabic language. Words such as “peelote” which means “pilot” and “tobis” which means “bus” were borrowed from French. There are many such examples of Tamazight and French words that are used in Darija.

A student wanting to learn the Moroccan Arabic language will undoubtedly learn Arabic, Tamazight and French words. The more Moroccan you study and learn, the more you should understand and in time be able to have a conversation in the Moroccan Arabic language.