Morocco is a country with great diversity at all levels. The official languages of Morocco are Arabic, which is spoken by the majority of the citizens, and Tamazight, the language of the country’s indigenous people. The latter is spoken mostly by people living in rural areas.
Moroccan Arabic, also known as Darija, is a dialect of Arabic spoken in Morocco, where it is spoken by more than half of the population. It is a member of the Maghreb Arabic language family, which includes Algerian and Tunisian Arabic and is mostly mutually intelligible. In this article, we will see the most common Moroccan Arabic phrases and expressions.
Fun facts about Moroccan Arabic and its phrases:
- Moroccan Arabic is very different from other Arabic dialects in the region. It is regarded as the most complex for Arabs in the Middle East to comprehend.
- Moroccans borrow from Spanish and use several French words in their everyday speech. “Kitchen” is “kuzina” (كوزينة) from the Spanish “cocina”. “Week” is “simana” (سيمانا) from the Spanish “semana”.
- Vowels are very short and are often excluded: “land”, which is pronounced “balad” (بلد), becomes “blad” or “bled”.
During your stay in the Kingdom of Morocco, knowing Moroccan Arabic phrases and common sentences is very important to facilitate communication. Below are some expressions that will help you to communicate well with the Moroccans.
Greeting & farewell:
- Marhaba – Welcome.
- Sabah al kher – Good morning.
- Sabah al nuur – Good morning.
- Salam aleikum – Peace be upon you.
- Alhamdullilah – Thank God/God be with you/God be praised – in response to Good Morning or How are you…
- Labas or labas aalik? – How are you?
- Kulschi bekher, or hania- all is well.
- Laila saida – Good night.
- Beslama – goodbye.
Ask & thank:
- Shukran – Thank you.
- Affak – Please.
- Mabrook – Congratulations, after a purchase/acquisition/examination, etc.
- Baraka allah ufik – Thank you very much.
- La shukra alla wajib – you are welcome.
Phrases & idioms:
- Naam – Yes.
- La -No.
- Safi – All clear.
- Baraka – Like safi, but a little clearer, also Stop!
- Wakha – Agreed/all right.
- Makayn mushkil – No problem.
- Insha-allah – God willing.
- Yallah – go ahead.
- Ma brit walu – I do not want anything.
Words that would help:
- Fin kain l’hotel? Where is the hotel ?
- Kankalab alla medina – I am looking for the old town.
- Ana bari kahwa – I want a coffee.
- Brit nakull – I want to eat.
- Brit nemshi – I want to go.
- Fhemtini? – do you understand me?
- Hada taman mzian – this is a good price.
- Aji lhna – come here.
The most important questions:
- Kidair? – how are you? (ask a man).
- Kidaira? – how are you? (ask a woman).
- Shnu hada? – what is it?
- Naasti mzyan? – Did you sleep well?
- Wash aandak …..? Do you have….?
- Kain…… ? – Is there……?
- Fin temma….? Where is there…..?
- khasni ….- I need ….
- Ashnu hadda? – What is it?
- Shehal hada? – How much is it?
- Ana kankalab alla – I am looking for.
The most important question words:
- Shkun? – who?
- Maa men? – with whom?
- Fin? – where?
- Aalash? – why?
- Imta? – when?
- Kifash? – how?
- Shal taman? – how much?
- Ach britti? – what do you want?
In the Bazaar/souk:
- Esh hal hada? – How much is it?
- Hada rali bezzaf – That is too expensive.
- Taman diali houwa… – My price is…
- La, hadshi bezzaf – No that is too much.
- Radi narjaa radda – I will come back tomorrow.
Time & date:
- Lyum – today.
- Radda – tomorrow.
- L`bareh – yesterday.
- Daba – now.
Numbers & counting:
- Wahad – one.
- Jooj – two.
- Tlata – three.
- Arbaa – four.
- Khamsa – five.
- Setta – six.
- Sebaa – seven.
- Tmenia – eight.
- Tessuud – nine.
- Aashra – ten.
- Aashrin – twenty.
- Miia – one hundred.
The first conversation:
- Marhaba – Welcome.
- Salam aleikum – Hello/ Peace be upon you.
- Shnu esmek nta – What is your name?
- Esmi……. – my name is …..
- Menin enta? – Where are you from?
- Wach nta marrakshi? – Are you from Marrakesh?
- Ana Miricani – I am American.
- Fin kateskon ? – where do you live?
- Shal f omrek ? – how old are you?
- Fin katekhdem ? or fin Khedam – what is your profession?
- Aji lhna – come here.
- Ana jay – I am coming.
- Shkuun? – when someone knocks on the door you ask like this.
- Hdar blati, or hdar bshwia – speak slowly.
- Bret nsarraf fluss – I want to change money.
- Mabritsh – I do not want.
- Bezaff – a lot.
- Shuwia – little.
- Kbir – big.
- Srir – small.
- Hani mshit – I am going.
- Hani jay – I am coming.
- Kanbrik – I love you.
- Bard – it is cold.
- Kiff al hall? – how are you?
Order food in Morocco? No problem anymore!
So, that should be enough for a start. Now you know the basics and you will be understood throughout Morocco. For example, you can now order food in Moroccan restaurants like the delicious couscous, the typical Moroccan chicken with salty lemon, or a lentil soup. Feel confident, Moroccans are very helpful people and even if the pronunciation is not 100% they will be able to interpret your request.
In addition to Moroccan Arabic also known as Darija, French is spoken by a big part of Moroccans . The Spanish language is also spoken in the north of Morocco.
In addition to these major language communities, There is also the Berber language known also as Tamazight. It groups three dialects: Tachlhit, Tarifit, and Tassoussit.
- Tachlhit is spoken in the High and Anti Atlas, in Draa and Dadestal, and in Souss.
- Tassoussit is spoken in the region of Souss.
- The Rif Berbers speak Tarifit.