Moroccan languages: an overview about the most spoken languages in Morocco

Mohamed Baghdadi
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Moroccan languages

Morocco’s rich history and its unique geographical location have contributed a lot to enhancing language and cultural diversity in the country. This diversity, which some anthropological researchers recognize as complex and yet enriching, is what attracts foreigners from all different facets of society to visit and/or undertake research in Morocco.

There are two main languages spoken in Morocco: Moroccan Arabic and Tamazight referred to as Berber. Moroccan Arabic, often known as Darija, is the mother tongue of most Moroccan and is widely spoken by Arab and Amazigh Moroccans with slight accent change from one region to another. Tamazight, on the other hand, is spoken in some villages and towns in the North, the Middle Atlas and the South. In distant and isolated Amazigh areas, Tamazight is the only means of communication.

Despite the fact that these two languages are day-to-day means of communication in Morocco, it is unfortunate that they are not used as the languages of instruction in our schools. Tamazight has been recently recognized as an official language beside Modern Standard Arabic, but there is still resistance to give it the place it deserves in our society.

Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is a modern version of classical Arabic, which is the language of the Quran and pre-Islamic poetry. According to some historians, Modern Standard Arabic was introduced in Morocco at the end of the seventh and the beginning of the eighth centuries. It holds a great value because it’s considered as the language of Islam, the “unifying” language of the Arab world (al-umma al-Arabya) and the Muslim world (al-umma al-Islamya). In fact, Standard Arabic in Arab countries is seen as a symbol of identity and pride.
Standard Arabic is used in many socio-cultural sectors especially the mass media, education, and governmental administrations and religion.

Learn more: Spoken languages in Morocco, Part 2

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