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languages-in-morocco

tamazight map

Tamazight – a variant of Berber – is spoken in these regions. Credit: The Linguist List.

Morocco is a multi-lingual country with 3 official languages and many more unofficial ones. To make things more complicated, there are many local dialects and variants. For example, the Arabic spoken in Morocco (sometimes called Darija) varies significantly in vocabulary and pronunciation depending on which region of Morocco you are in. Darija is quite different to the Arabic spoken in other Arabic countries. However, Standard Arabic is used by the government and for official communications.

Berber is the second of Morocco’s 3 official languages, and is highly influenced by Darija, French and Spanish. Berber is not just spoken in Morocco, but many parts of North Africa, including Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Mali. Berber has many local variants and dialects, so like Darija, the Berber spoken in Northern Morocco is very different to the Berber spoken in the south of the country.

The final official language of Morocco is French, which is used alongside Darija in many official communications and is taught in most schools. Morocco has many business links with France due to the history and common language between the two countries, so French is also the usual language of business. French is widely understood but not all Moroccans are fluent, especially in the North of the country. Here, Spanish is well spoken and understood due to the proximity with Spain.

By Fobos92 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33083552

Berber Languages Map By Fobos92 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33083552

Since Morocco is a linguistically-diverse country, it is possible to hear interesting combinations of languages in one conversation. If you understand French or Spanish, you may recognise words or even phrases from these languages in a Berber conversation on the street, because some Berber variants are heavily influenced by these languages.

English is spoken by some Moroccans but it is less widely-spoken than Dajila, Berber, French or Spanish. English is becoming more popular as it is now taught in some schools, and there are many English language academies in major cities such as Tangier and Casablanca.

What language should I use when visiting Morocco?

If you don’t already know some Dajila or Berber words, then French or Spanish are the best options for communicating on a trip to Morocco. Spanish may be more useful in the North of Morocco, especially near the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, but French will be more useful in the major cities like Casablanca and Rabat. Most of the signs and menus in restaurants can be found in French too, so it’s worthwhile learning a few words before the trip.

We are a team of professional drivers who can speak English, Spanish, French and Arabic between us. When making a booking with us, you can select your preferred language in the form. We offer Marrakech day trips in the south of Morocco, as well as transportation services in Casablanca and other cities.

For more information and details about our Morocco tours, just visit our main website.