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Arabic Vs Moroccan Arabic

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High Wycombe...
posts: 21
reviews: 57
Arabic Vs Moroccan Arabic

Hi everyone,

In anticipation of my first trip to Morocco I've been brushing up on my French and also trying to learn basic Arabic. This was going well until I read recently that Moroccan Arabic is a dialect so distinct that other arabic speakers often can't understand it.

Which brings me to my question- will my basic 'standard' Arabic be understood, or should I focus all my attention on improving my (admittedly terrible) French?

Would appreciate any advice- and please don't just say 'They'll speak English, don't worry'- I'm not a great linguist by any means but I do prefer to make an effort to speak at least some of the local language...


20 replies to this topic
Destination Expert
for Marrakech
posts: 3,400
11. Re: Arabic Vs Moroccan Arabic

Post 5 was originally posted as a separate thread, and I corrected a number of the errors on that thread.

Tangier, Morocco
Destination Expert
for Tangier
posts: 455
reviews: 11
12. Re: Arabic Vs Moroccan Arabic

I can highly recommend the following book (which I purchased from a well-known online bookseller):

Title: MOROCCAN ARABIC/Shnoo the Hell is Going on H'naa?/A Practical Guide to Learning Moroccan Darija the Arabic Dialect of Morocco

Author: Aaron Sakulich

ISBN: 978-0-9824409-3-3

It is both informative and amusing. I have purchased several books on learning Darija, but this is the best yet.

posts: 104
reviews: 19
13. Re: Arabic Vs Moroccan Arabic

I spent nearly 2 years brushing up on my basic Arabic by using audio tapes from the library. They varied so much on phrases and pronounciation it was like learning 4 languages. I tried learning Darija from a book with virtually no success. Funny, I remembered quite a bit of my French classes from the 5th grade--mind you I am now 60 years old. On both my trips to Morocco it was enough to get by and appreciated by the locals. There were a few grand taxi drivers who spoke no English, uncomfortale at the beginning of hours long trips, but ended up very enjoyable when we "patchworked" to language we both understood, and had many laughs at our attempts.

14. Re: Arabic Vs Moroccan Arabic

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15. Re: Arabic Vs Moroccan Arabic

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High Wycombe...
posts: 21
reviews: 57
16. Re: Arabic Vs Moroccan Arabic

Thanks so much for all your messages!

Kralendijk, Bonaire
posts: 2
17. Re: Arabic Vs Moroccan Arabic

in morocco only in nador they have a stange dialect but in other place in morocco they can understand you very good and they speak the same arabic as every other arab country

Kralendijk, Bonaire
posts: 2
18. Re: Arabic Vs Moroccan Arabic

in morocco only in nador they have a stange dialect but in other place in morocco they can understand you very good and they speak the same arabic as every other arab country

Marrakech, Morocco
posts: 4,324
reviews: 55
19. Re: Arabic Vs Moroccan Arabic

No they don't! My Saudi friend was barely understood in Syria, Moroccans have a problem with the Libyan dialect and my Moroccan friends here think that I learnt Arabic in Egypt!

London, United...
Destination Expert
for Morocco
posts: 5,396
reviews: 36
20. Re: Arabic Vs Moroccan Arabic

Amina D: welcome to the forum. However, I'm sorry but you are wrong. Modern Standard Arabic (fus'ha) is standard across the Arab world, a bit like Latin was common across Europe. But in the same way that vulgar Latin transmogrified into Italian, French and Spanish, so local dialects of Arabic came into use.

Darija (Moroccan Colloquial Arabic) has much of the vowel-shortening of the Berber language and has many load words from Spanish and French, eg semana for week, ristora for restaurant. Indeed Spanish has many loan words from Darija from the time of the Moorish occupation.

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