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Moroccan Languages

Morocco is a conglomeration of languages. Go in your hanut and you might here workers speaking amongst themselves in a Berber dialect (le bes darek, menzakeen). On the street you will hear Moroccan Derija (hanee, hua hadek). Go into a wealthy part of the town and you will hear French (bon jour, ce vas). Speak with a man with long beard and traditional attire and you will hear Fossha (salaam allah alei kum). Add in with that a youth culture that has grown up on American movies and music and you will find many people speaking English (living it up at the Hotel California...). Its clear that French, Classical Arabic and English have lots of information on them and it is clear to see their influence in Morocco. What has less information available is Moroccan Derija and the Berber dialects.

Here is a guide for resources first on Moroccan Arabic and then on Berber.

Moroccan Arabic Resources:


  • DMG - DMG has branch schools located in Fes, Casablanca, Kenitra, Rabat, Tanger and Meknes. They were among the first to teach the local dialects of Morocco. They also offer special courses between half days and and a week for visitors of Morocco to learn more about Moroccan culture and language.
  • Alif Fes - They are located in Fes and have courses in Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Derija, as well as a Proverbs and Stories class.

Books For Learning Moroccan Arabic

  • Peace Corp Book on Moroccan Arabic -  Almost 200 pages put together by the Peace Corp. It covers the basics in Moroccan Arabic.
  • A Short Reference in Moroccan Arabic- A Georgetown publication. This is a very academic book and the best one available in the English language for linguistic study of Moroccan Arabic. It is a bit dated in its vocabulary use. It also teaches with transliteration of the Arabic script, not the script itself.
  • A Dictionary of Moroccan Arabic- From the same author as above. This is essential for the student of Moroccan Arabic. Again the vocabulary is a bit dated and it is transliterated, which is actually more confusing that just learning the Arabic alphabet, but it has an abundant lexicon.
Resources for Academic Research

Berber Resources

  • DMG (listed above) offers courses in Tamazight- again they have created textbooks/CDs to help students learn. They specialize in the Tamazight of central Morocco.
Books/Resources for Learning Berber
Websites/Articles of Interest