Moroccan Arabic is So Different Than MSA and Other Arabic Dialects

The Arabic dialect in Morocco is called Moroccan Arabic or Moroccan Darija. It has been heavily influenced by the Berber languages (Amazigh) and to a lesser extent by French and Spanish.

Morocco was a French colony before, and because of it, most of the Moroccan people are fluent in French. French retains a major place in Morocco, as it is taught universally and serves as Morocco's primary language of commerce and economics, culture, sciences and medicine; it is also widely used in education and government. Morocco is also a member of the Francophonie.

First Time I Listened to Moroccan Arabic and I Felt Like... ๐Ÿคจ

A few weeks ago I heard Moroccan Arabic for the first time, I felt like I was hearing a completely different language... I've been using and studying Standard Arabic since I was a little child, I'm very familiar with it and plus, I speak 7 Middle Eastern languages including Egyptian Arabic and Syrian Arabic, so why could I not understand a single word of Moroccan Arabic? ย 

I kept thinking "is Moroccan Arabic really a dialect of Arabic?"

Moroccan Arabic doesn't sound like Arabic at all! All the other Arabic dialects that I heard before sounded a lot of more similar to Standard Arabic than this one. ย 

But the more I listen to Moroccan Arabic, the more familiar it became, especially after learning the basic differences with Standard Arabic.

As with most of the Arabic dialects, the biggest differences are in the most commonly used words, and the more difficult and complicated words tend to be the same with Standard Arabic.

3 Types of Words of Moroccan Arabic

After listening to Moroccan Arabic and comparing it to Standard Arabic, I categorize three different types of words of Moroccan Arabic.

Type 1: Same Words as Standard Arabic

Words that are almost exactly the same as Standard Arabic, such as:

English
Standard Arabic
Moroccan Arabic
near ู‚ูŽุฑูŠุจ Qarib ู‚ู’ุฑููŠุจู’ Qrib
book ูƒูุชุงุจ Kitaab ูƒู’ุชูŽุงุจู’ Ktaab
office ู…ูŽูƒู’ุชูŽุจ Maktab ู…ูƒุชุจ Mktab
friends ุฃูŽุตู’ุฏูู‚ูŽุงุกู’ Asdiqa ุฃูŽุตู’ุฏูู‚ูŽุงุก Asdiqa
here ู‡ูู†ุง Hona ู‡ู’ู†ูŽุง Hna
airport ู…ูŽุทูŽุงุฑ Matar ู…ูŽุทูŽุงุฑ Matar
the world ุงู„ุนูŽุงู„ูŽู… Al 'alam ุงู„ุนูŽุงู„ูŽู… Al 'alam
the news ุฃูŽุฎู’ุจุงุฑ Axbar ุฃูŽุฎู’ุจุงุฑ Axbar
vacation ุนูุทู„ูŽุฉ Otla ุนูุทู„ูŽุฉ Otla
school ู…ูŽุฏู’ุฑูŽุณูŽุฉ Madrasa ู…ูŽุฏู’ุฑูŽุณูŽุฉ Madrasa
coffee ู‚ูŽู‡ู’ูˆูŽุฉ Qahwa ู‚ูŽู‡ู’ูˆูŽุฉ Qahwa

Type 2: Similar Words to Standard Arabic or Recognizable

The second type of words are those that were similar to Standard Arabic or still recognizable: ย 

English
Standard Arabic
Moroccan Arabic
cost, price ุงู„ุซูŽู…ูŽู† ุงู„ุชู‘ูŽู…ูŽู†ู’
always ุฏูŽุงุฆูู…ู‹ุง ุฏููŠู…ูŽุง
fish ุงู„ุณูŽู…ูŽูƒู’ ุงู„ู’ุญููˆุชู’
It means "whale" in Standard Arabic.
light ุถูŽูˆู’ุก ุถููˆ
sky ุณูŽู…ุงุก ุณู…ุง
sun ุดูŽู…ู’ุณ ุดูŽู…ู’ุด
head ุฑูŽุฃุณ ุฑุงุณ
a woman ุงู…ุฑุฃุฉ ู…ุฑุง

Type 3: Completely Different Words Compared to Standard Arabic

The type 3 are the words that were very different, later I learned that these words were from Spanish, French and Amazigh language.

English
Standard Arabic
Moroccan Arabic
pen ุณู’ุชููŠู„ููˆ ู‚ูŽู„ูŽู…ู’
bus ุงู„ู’ุญูŽุงููู„ูŽุฉ ุทููˆุจููŠุณู’
kitchen ู…ูŽุทู’ุจูŽุฎ ุงู„ูƒููˆุฒููŠู†ูŽุฉ
good ุฌูŽูŠู‘ูุฏ ุฒู’ูˆูŠู†
accident ุงู„ู’ุญูŽุงุฏูุซ ุงู„ูƒู’ุณููŠุฏูŽุฉ
week ุฃูุณู’ุจููˆุน ุณููŠู…ูŽุงู†ุง
last week ุงู„ู’ุฃูุณู’ุจููˆุนูŽ ุงู„ู’ู…ูŽุงุถููŠ ุงู„ุณููŠู…ูŽุงู†ุง ุงู„ู„ููŠ ุฏูŽุงุฒู’ุช
car ุณู‘ูŽูŠู‘ูŽุงุฑูŽุฉ ุทูู…ูˆุจููŠู„ูŽุฉ
this ู‡ุฐุง ู‡ูŽุงุฏ
window ู†ุงููุฐูŽุฉ ุดูŽุฑู’ุฌู’ู…
bed ุณุฑููŠุฑ ู†ุงู…ููˆุณููŠู‘ูŽุฉ
late ู…ูุชูŽุฃูŽุฎูู‘ุฑ ู…ู’ุนูŽุทู‘ูŽู„
It means broken, out of order or idle in Standard Arabic.
bicycle ุงู„ุฏูŽู‘ุฑูŽู‘ุงุฌูŽุฉ ุงู„ู’ุจูŽุดูƒู„ููŠุท
Spanish: bicicleta
very ุฌูุฏู‘ู‹ุง ุจูุฒู‘ูŽุงู
hospital ู…ูุณุชูŽุดูู‰ ุณูŽุจููŠุทูŽุงุฑ
I don't want ู„ุง ุฃูุฑูŠุฏู ู…ูŽุง ุจู’ุบููŠุชูุดู’
coat ู…ูุนู’ุทูŽู ูƒูŽุจู‘ููˆุทู’
bag ุงู„ุญูŽู‚ููŠุจูŽุฉ ุงู„ุตู‘ูŽุงูƒู’
now ุงู„ุขู† ุฏูŽุงุจูŽุง
hat ู‚ูุจู‘ูŽุนูŽุฉ ูƒูŽุงุณู’ูƒููŠุทูŽุฉ
rain ู…ูŽุทูŽุฑ ุงู„ุดู’ุชูŽุง
It means "winter" in Standard Arabic.
pc, computer ุญุงุณูˆุจ ุจููŠุณู‘ููŠ
how much ูƒูŽู… ุดุญุงู„

Conclusion

I always say that a good knowledge of the Standard Arabic is crucial to learn the dialects a lot easier and a lot quicker. Itโ€™s the same for Moroccan Arabic, the majority of the words are similar to Standard Arabic with some variation in pronunciation and the loanwords from other languages like French, Spanish and
Amazigh.

I hope some of these tips guide you and help you learn this dialect a lot faster. And if you have any questions, let us know below in the comment section below.


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