Moroccan Arabic: 8 Essential Things You Need to Know About it

Are you trying to learn Moroccan Arabic, but finding it hard to where to start? Don’t worry; you have come to the right place because here you will learn Moroccan Arabic in detail, by the time we end the session, you will be able to speak and write Moroccan Arabic fluently. Over the years, I have spent meeting a lot of Tunisians and Moroccans, and interacting with them helped me learn about their communicating skills. But before you start the course, let’s take a look at some of the essential things that you need to know:

What is Moroccan Arabic?

Moroccan Darija

Moroccan Arabic is one of the Maghrebi Arabic language continuums spoken in Morocco. I noticed that this language has various regional dialects and accents. The mainstream dialect is common in Fas, Rabat, and Casablanca. It is spoken as a first language by more than 50 to 70% of the Moroccan population. Apart from its Arabic roots, and also has influences from European and African languages. Moroccan Arabic reflects its rich cultural heritage through the language. Moroccans are usually poly-glottal people. They always try to accommodate guests. There are three variants of this language: Western, Eastern, and Northern.

Is Moroccan Arabic a language or a dialect?

Moroccan Arabic is undoubtedly a language. However, as already mentioned, it has its own dialect. It shares a lot of similarities with other Arabic dialects, and that is why many people believe that it is a dialect and not a language. But that is not true. Morocco has three dialects: Amazigh, Arabic, and Moroccan. Moroccan dialect resembles the Arabic dialect. Those who are new to Arabic dialects may find it difficult to understand Moroccan Arabic, but since there are similarities with the Arabic language, you can learn it quickly. I faced a few difficulties understanding the dialect, but as I kept listening to how the locals speak the language, I picked up the accent and understood what they were trying to say.

Can You Understand Moroccan Arabic Easily?

When I heard Moroccan Arabic for the first time, I was very disappointed. Everything sounded the same, and I was only able to understand a handful of words and expressions. I was far from deciphering this language because most of the letters didn’t sound familiar. You may feel the same way when you hear it initially. But what I realized after a few hours of continuous listening is like every Arabic dialect variation, the Moroccan Arabic to has significant vowel shifts. This usually makes it difficult to understand a common Arabic word unrecognizable in the first attempt. For example, “Kalb” is often pronounced as “kelb,” “keleb,” or even “kilb.” Although it is the same word, the difference in the vowels changes the pronunciation of the world completely.

Moreover, when you hear this type of word spoken in a sentence at normal speed along with several other words, you hardly understand anything. It all seems gibberish. But if you focus on the vowels and consonants carefully, you will learn the language eventually. You may not pick up the words fast, but the language is not impossible to learn.

How Moroccan Arabic is Different?

Although Moroccan Arabic has many similarities with other forms of Arabic, there are many differences too. Some of the significant differences are related to context, grammar, pronunciation, syntax, and vocabulary. While much of the Moroccan Arabic vocabulary is derived from Amazigh and Arabic, there are several words that are also used in Spanish, French, and various other languages. Some of the words have been left untouched while many have changed a lot. Plus, many Arabic words are used in Moroccan Arabic, but in a different context than what is usually used within MSA. Moreover, there are many words from classical Arabic that are not used in MSA but are used in Moroccan Arabic.

Where Can I learn Moroccan Arabic?

Many institutions offer Moroccan Arabic classes, but if you want to learn fast and become a pro in this language, you should follow this website. There are other websites too offering online Moroccan Arabic classes. However, I provide the lessons at a very affordable price. You can also follow me on other language tutoring platforms like Italki and Preply. I understand how nervous students can be when they decide to learn a new language. But I can assure you that once you join my classes, you will understand this language quickly, and also read and write fluently after the completion of the course.

How To learn Moroccan Arabic?

Vowel shifts make Moroccan Arabic hard to learn initially. You tend to mistake a similar word for something different. But as you keep hearing the same sentence and differentiate the vowels and the consonants, you can understand how they are used during pronunciation. It is essential to make a mental adjustment while learning Moroccan Arabic. The odd consonant cluster and the short vowels dropping out of words make a word sound different. For example, “balad” may sound “bled” in Moroccan Arabic.

The short vowel that exists in the first syllable literally disappears meaning that the context of the full sentence sounds different because of a couple of words. Some of the words like “enta” sounds like “enti”, or “nta” sounds like “nti.” The number nine in Moroccan Arabic written as tisa3 usually becomes tsa3. I encountered several problems like these while learning the language, but my mental adjustment to the consonant clutters caused by dropping short vowels make it trickier to understand Moroccan Arabic. You can also follow my rule while learning, and after a few times of listening to some of the common words, you will notice the differences quickly. It is all about training your ears to listen to the familiar consonants.

Why learn Moroccan Arabic?

Many people ask whether learning Moroccan Arabic is essential since only a single country speaks it. But if you see how the international community treats Morocco, you will be surprised by the amount of respect they have for this country. They consider it as a strong and stable nation in MENA affairs. Morocco has a strategic location and the natural resources are plenty here. As these resources continue to rise, the nation’s significance and influence will only increase in the coming years. Moroccans love to see foreigners trying to speak the local language. Even if you don’t speak fluently after reaching Morocco, the locals will help you communicate.

The Difference between Moroccan Arabic and standard Arabic

The linguistic differences related to vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar keep Moroccan Arabic in a slightly better position than standard Arabic because most Moroccans will understand the dialect of the Arabian Peninsula, but the reverse is not always true. Moroccan Arabic is very similar to the language spoken in Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia.

Many words from the Darija or Moroccan Arabic come from Amazigh and Arabic, and some of them are also used in other languages. Usually, Moroccan Arabic words pose everyday questions like “What do you want?” Someone who speaks standard Arabic will interpret the question slightly differently with a deeper and stronger meaning, for example, “What do you desire?” Pronunciation is another factor that differentiates the standard Arabic and Moroccan Arabic. In many words, the significant vowel changes in Moroccan Arabic shorten the vowel sounds. In standard Arabic, the words starting with vowels at the start of the word have a prolonged pronunciation.

Although there are numerous rules in the Moroccan Arabic language, learning it with my help will not be a challenge. Join my courses now and become a pro-Moroccan Arabic speaker soon.

About the Author Simo

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