Spoken languages in Morocco, Part 2

Mohamed Baghdadi
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Morocco languages French is another language spoken by educated people in Morocco. Most educated Moroccans switch from Moroccan Arabic to French in their daily conversation but some of them, mostly from upper middle and upper class prefer to use only French for communication with their friends and family. They consider Arabic as not important and therefore resort to French, which they consider as the language of science and technology. These people try hard to distinguish themselves from others who speak only Moroccan Arabic or Tamazight. Some of them go too far and “identify” themselves with the French, encouraging their kids to use French as their only means of communication in their homes and outside.

French is also one of the dominant languages in Morocco for businesses, in most governmental institutions and in the media. The switch from French to Moroccan Arabic is widely spread in transactions in banks and in many administrative institutions. Our Radio and TV channels often broadcast the news, some films, documentaries and even debates in French, although only a very limited minority of Moroccans can understand it. If we are targeting the majority of the population, broadcasting any theme, film or topic should take into consideration the following questions:

1. What we want to broadcast
2. To whom we want to broadcast
3. Why we want to broadcast this topic or theme
4. How we want to convey the information

How can we provide information or debate a serious topic in French if illiteracy is more than 50% in our country? There was recently a very good discussion related to road accidents in Morocco on one of the TV channels, but all the discussion was in French! The discussion of such topic in French deprived of course the majority of the population who do not speak French from understanding and benefiting from the discussion.

We need to re think the status of local languages in our society and promote positive attitude towards them from early age. Patriotism and nationalism can never be enhanced if we consider that Moroccan Arabic and Tamazight we speak are inferior to French and to Modern Standard Arabic. Tamazight and Moroccan Arabic are the two languages that our ancestors had used and preserved for centuries. Let us not ignore nor underestimate our heritage. If we do so, we are undermining our culture, since language and culture are inseparable.

Learn more: Moroccan languages, Part I