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Yassine | ياسين
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Moroccan Arabic or Moroccan Darija الدارجة

Moroccan Arabic or Moroccan Darija الدارجة is a member of the Maghrebi Arabic language continuumspoken in Morocco. It is mutually intelligible to some extent with Algerian Arabic and to a lesser extent with Tunisian Arabic. It has been heavily influenced by BerberLatin (African Romance), French, and Spanish.

While Standard Arabic language is not spoken in daily life and is used for official communications by the government and other public bodies, Darija has a strong presence in Moroccan television entertainment, cinema and commercial advertising and is the most commonly spoken language in daily life.

It is spoken as a first language by approximately half of Morocco's population. The other half speaks one of the three Berber languages (either Tarifit, Tachelhit or Tamazight) and Moroccan Arabic as a second language.

Mar 8, 2018 1:01 PM
Comments · 1

Arabs outside the Maghreb can sometimes understand Maghrebi dialects. I find that the biggest obstacle is speed and enunciation. When a Maghrebi slows down and enunciates their words, I can usually understand the gist of what they're saying. I was watching an Algerian TV show the other day, and I understood the general idea of what they were saying, even though I didn't understand every word.

I've found that there are many words in the Maghrebi dialects that are also in the Khaleeji (Gulf) dialects, with a difference in pronunciation. For example, شنو is used in both regions, but in the Gulf it's pronounced "shinoo", and in the Maghreb, "shnoo". This is in line with the Maghrebi practice of omitting vowel sounds, which, in my opinion, is one of the biggest obstacles to understanding the Maghrebi dialects for non-Maghrebi Arabs.

There are a lot of words that somehow ended up in the Maghreb despite skipping the Levant and Egypt. I don't really know how that happened, but my guess is that perhaps bedouins carried them along with them from the Arabian Peninsula to North Africa. I've noticed that the bedouin dialects in many regions (even the Levant) sound quite Khaleeji, which makes sense, but somehow in the Maghreb those words were integrated into the urban dialects as well.
March 8, 2018
Yassine | ياسين
Language Skills
Arabic, Arabic (Maghrebi), English, French, Spanish, Berber (Tamazight)
Learning Language
English, French, Spanish