What Language Is Spoken In Morocco?
Is Morocco French or Spanish?
What language is spoken in Morocco? Spoken and official language Have you ever wondered what language is spoken in Morocco? Is there a language called “Moroccan”? On this page of our site you will find answers to these questions, as well as various information about the country and its history.
Different languages are spoken in Morocco, but the main one is Arabic. However, there are also other languages such as Berber, French and Spanish as well as English. Below we list each language spoken in Morocco by relatively large groups of people. Arabic is the most spoken language throughout the country, especially in its variety of Moroccan Arabic (also called dārija).
It is the language used by over 30 million inhabitants of Morocco and by Moroccans who have moved around the world, and has some substantial differences with the standard Arabic language as we will see later. Berber is the mother tongue of many indigenous communities in Morocco and is still spoken in many parts of the country.
- Berber is a very ancient language and has different variations depending on the region in which it is spoken, and comes from the indigenous Berber people of North Africa who have inhabited the area for thousands of years.
- Some regional variants of the Berber language are, for example, Tamazight in central Morocco, Tarifit in northern Morocco, and Tashelhit in southern Morocco.
Although Morocco was never a British colony, English has become an important language nowadays for international trade and for the tourism industry, so much so that it is mainly used in tourist resorts and large cities in the world. French was introduced to Morocco during the French colonial period and after independence, so since 1956, it has remained an important language for commercial and diplomatic communication, as well as culture.
- Spanish, on the other hand, is spoken mainly in the northern regions of the country, such as in the city of Tangier, due to the geographical proximity to Spain and the effects of Spanish rule.
- There are also other minority languages spoken in Morocco such as Italian, which arrived during the period of Italian rule of neighboring Libya, and Portuguese, which was brought to the territory during Portugal’s brief colonial period in North Africa.
In any case, Morocco’s linguistic diversity is a testament to its history and geographical location, which has made it a crossroads of different cultures and languages. Modern Standard Arabic is the official language in Morocco. This is the language used by the media, in the political and economic fields, as well as in official documents.
- However, as we said before, the most used variant of Arabic in daily life is Moroccan Arabic, which has some differences in pronunciation and grammar.
- In Moroccan Arabic there are influences from the Romance languages and the Berber language, some consonants are pronounced differently than in standard Arabic, tenses differ as well as some terms and expressions.
In Morocco the most important language after Arabic is Berber, which was recognized as an official language in 2011 together with Modern Standard Arabic. The Berber language has a long history behind it and is still used mainly by many indigenous communities in the country.
According to some studies, there are around five million Berber speakers in Morocco To understand which language is spoken in Morocco today and above all for what reason, it is important to talk about the history of this country and the various civilizations that have occurred within it over the years.
The area that is now Morocco, which is located in the northwest of the African continent, has been inhabited by different populations over the centuries. Among these we remember the Phoenicians from the XII century B.C. and the Romans from the 1st century, under whom there was a remarkable development in various fields such as agriculture, trade by land and sea, and architecture.
After the Vandals and the Byzantines, it was the turn of the Arabs. In this period, the religion of Islam arrives in Morocco and various Islamic dynasties follow one another, such as the Almoravids and the Almohads, the Merinids and the Wattasids. Subsequently, Morocco became an important commercial and cultural center thanks to its strategic position along the trade routes between Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
The European peoples divided the Moroccan territories and the riches, until the birth of a French protectorate in the south and a Spanish one in the north. In 1956, however, Morocco gained independence becoming one of the first countries to free itself from the domination of European powers.
After independence, Morocco goes through various stages of political and economic development but also of repression and wars against neighboring countries, with King Hassan II on the throne until 1999. In recent decades, Morocco has made great progress in the field of economy, education and modernisation, however it continues to face challenges such as unemployment, poverty and economic inequality.
With Sprachcaffe you can study a foreign language both from the comfort of your home, and by leaving and mixing with the locals. You can choose one of the different destinations available in our catalog and start learning a foreign language such as English, Spanish, German, French and Arabic, totally immersing yourself in the culture and daily life of the place.
Here at Sprachcaffe we also offer several accommodation options including host families, shared apartments and residence accommodation. This way you can choose the option that best suits your needs and budget. Do you want to go and learn Arabic in Morocco? Book a study holiday and experience Moroccan culture! Our language school in Rabat is ready to welcome you, as well as this colourful, cosmopolitan and dynamic city.
We at Sprachcaffe always here to help you and provide you with our advice and expert opinions. : What language is spoken in Morocco? Spoken and official language
What currency is used in Morocco?
Morocco Travel Information: Moroccan Currency, Buying Dirhams for Your Morocco Vacation The Moroccan currency is called the “dirham.” Although some travelers find Moroccan currency confusing, with a little effort it is easy to understand. The dirham is divided into one hundred centimes (c).
- Please be aware that centimes may also be referred to as francs or pesetas in certain parts of the country.
- Centimes exchange hands at market places more often than dirhams.
- This money is available in 10c, 20c, 50c, 1dh, 5dh, 10dh (all coins) and 10dh, 20dh, 50dh, 100dh and 200dh (all notes).
- If you are bargaining for an item when traveling to Morocco, it is usually best to find out exactly how many dirhams or centimes the seller is marketing his goods for.
While foreign currency is accepted you will get the best exchange rate using the dirham. If you hear the term rials or reales used don’t be concerned as these terms are another often used to discussion the currency and are broken down from centimes. The rial is used as a monetary expression mainly by those living in traditional Berber villages rather than a monetary unit and therefore has no set standard.Prior to the dirham being utilized the rial was the Moroccan currency in villages.
In most regions of Morocco, twenty rials make up one dirham, however, in Tangier and the Rif, only two rials are needed to make a Dirham. Buying Moroccan Dirhams For Your Morocco Vacation You will not experience any problems when changing money during your travels in Morocco since the banks all operate with equal exchange rates and without commission.
Exchange rates are set around midday on Fridays. In Morocco- places to purchase dirhams include the airports, most major seaport stations and ATM machines, Another option is to exchange money at a travel agency in Morocco. If you do this make sure to shop around as some agents offer better rates than others.
- Outside Morocco- you can pre-order dirhams at your bank, before embarking at your country’s airport, or if you are traveling from Algeciras or Gibraltar Spain there are places to purchase Moroccan dirhams there.
- Travelers Checks In Morocco Traveler’s checks in Morocco are discouraged in case things go wrong because they can only be exchanged at a bank when it is open.
Since you never know where or what time of the day an emergency can strike, travelers checks are not highly recommended when traveling within Morocco. Credit Cards & Debit Cards In Morocco, For Your Morocco Vacation Credit card companies or your bank (if you use a debit card) should be notified to the dates of your travels to Morocco so your card will not be declined abroad.
It’s also a good idea to make sure that your pin number will work abroad in Morocco. You may also want to photo copy any credit cards you will take on your trip and leave copies of them with a friend or family member as well as find out an international calling number for your bank in case your credit cards get stolen.
Line of Credit In Morocco In order to get a line of credit from your credit card you will need to have a secret pin number created. If an emergency line of credit is something you want access to, you must contact your credit card company within at least a few weeks prior to your trip and request they send you a pin number.
Since your pin number can only be sent to your home, you must be able to receive mail or have someone communicate the secret number to you. Check Currency & Exchange Rates In Morocco Although Morocco’s economy is relatively stable, it is a good idea to check the exchange rate before you go. As of October 1 st 2008, the International exchange rates were: US $1 = 9.40 dirhams 100 dirhams = US $15.00 CAD $1 = 7.10 dirhams 100 dirhams = CAD $14.07 € 1= 11.27 dirhams 100 dirhams =€ 8.87 £ 1 = 17.7 dirhams 100 dirham = £ 7.05 To determine the latest exchange rate between your country’s currency and Morocco’s dirham visit http://www.xe.com/ucc/ Currency: Money and Banks In Morocco The unit of currency is the Moroccan Dirham (DH) divided into 100 centimes,
There are 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 DH notes; 1, 5 and 10 DH coins and 5, 10, 20 and 50 centime coins. You can only obtain Dirhams in Morocco or ( Spain ) and Gibraltar, and can usually change foreign notes on arrival at major sea- and airports. It can be difficult to change travelers’ checks anywhere but a bank.
- Travelers’ cheques incur a 10.70dh commission except at the state-run Bank al-Maghrib.
- Do not change money in the streets, it is illegal.
- The best place to change it is at a bank or approved exchange office (indicated by a golden sign).
- For exchange purposes, the most useful and efficient chain of banks is the BMCE (Banque Marocaine du Commerce Extérieur).
No commission is charged and you will be given a slip which will be required at the end of your stay to change any remaining Dirhams back into the original currency. Post offices will also change cash. You can withdraw money in banks with a credit card and a check book, or directly from a cash dispenser in some large towns.
- Credit cards are generally accepted in major hotels, shops and restaurants, and sometimes even in the souks.
- Many banks give cash advances on credit cards, which can also be used in tourist hotels (but not cheap unclassified ones) and the ATMs of major banks.
- Banking hours are: summer Mon– Fri 8am–2pm; winter Mon– Thurs 8.15–11.30am & 2.15–4.30pm, Fri 8.15–11.15am & 2.45–4.45pm.
During the holy month of Ramadan, banks open Mon– Fri 9am–2pm. Morocco is inexpensive and relatively poor therefore tips can make a lot of difference; it’s customary to tip café waiters a dirham or two. Moroccan Currency Before traveling to Morocco it is important to know how money is exchanged there and what the value of your countries currency is worth.
If you arrive unprepared, it will be easy for shop keepers, taxi drivers and others who deal with tourists on a regular basis to take advantage and not charge you the standard cost for things you will want to purchase during your trip. One way to become familiar with Moroccan money (dirham or DH) before arriving in Morocco is to request an order of dirham from your local bank or check the currency convertor on a major search engine like Google or Yahoo which offers updated daily bank rates.
Keep in mind when choosing this route; you will be viewing the rate purchased by the banks not the rate at which you will purchase. The difference is often minimal. You do not need to arrive with Moroccan dirhams because all airports, banks and exchange places in all major cities are open from 8:30am – 4:00pm and there are also ATM machines available.
Is Morocco an African or Arab?
Image source, Reuters In our series of letters from African journalists, Magdi Abdelhadi looks at how football ignited a row about Moroccan identity. It is fair to say that the World Cup in Qatar this year has been defined by controversy like no other tournament before.
From the controversial decision to grant Qatar the privilege of hosting the event despite its poor human rights record to the very last moment when the Emir of Qatar put an Arab cloak on the shoulders of the Argentinian football legend, Lionel Messi, as he was about to lift the trophy on Sunday. But there is one controversy that attracted little or no attention outside North Africa.
It started with the simple question: how do you describe the Moroccan team, the Atlas Lions, which stunned the whole world by its sterling performance – defying the odds to beat heavyweights such as Spain and Portugal? The “first Arab” or “African” team to reach the semi-final? Culturally many Moroccans see themselves more as Arabs than Africans – and some sub-Saharan Africans in Morocco complain that racist attitudes are never far from the surface.
- But comments by Moroccan winger Sofiane Boufal after their World Cup victory over Spain brought the debate about the country’s continental identity to the fore.
- He thanked “all Moroccans all over the world for their support, to all Arab people, and to all Muslim people.
- This win belongs to you.” After a social media backlash, he took to Instagram to apologise for not mentioning the African continent’s backing of the team – expressed at one stage by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari when he said Morocco had “made the entire continent proud with their grit and dexterity”.
Image source, AFP Image caption, Morocco garnered support from the rest of Africa – including from this crowd in Senegal – as they took on France Chastened, Boufal posted: “I also dedicate the victory to you of course. We are proud to represent all our brothers on the continent.
- TOGETHER.” The furore reflects recent efforts by the monarch to encourage closer ties with the rest of the African continent.
- Africa is my home, and I am coming back home,” King Mohammed VI said in 2017 as Morocco was re-admitted to the Africa Union after a 30-year absence in a row over the disputed territory of Western Sahara,
This rapprochement has allowed business links to flourish, especially with West Africa. But Morocco is also a member of the Arab League – so officially belongs to both cultural spheres. While the adjective “African” to describe Morocco is a geographical fact, the use of “Arab” has also alienated many Moroccans who do not identify as such.
One major Amazigh language – Tamazight – is now recognised as an official language alongside Arabic. But this was a controversy long time in the making. Immediately after Qatar was awarded the right to host the 2022 World Cup, its media framed the event as a “Victory for Islam and pan-Arabism”, as a headline put it back in 2010.
As the tournament got under way, the vocabulary of pan-Arabism and Islamism crept back to the front. In the conflict over the ban on alcohol or the use of the OneLove armband of the LGBTQ, advocates of Islamism and pan-Arabism came to the defence of Qatar, Islam and traditional values against “the imperialist West”.
Image source, Getty Images Image caption, The Amazigh are the indigenous people of North Africa But the initial framing of the event by the Qatari media as an “Islamic or Arab Conquest”, which had gone largely unnoticed, provoked an angry reaction when it became part of the language of running commentary on the games.
- So, when the Atlas Lions made history by becoming the first men’s team from Africa and the Middle East to qualify for the World Cup semi-final, it was hailed as a victory for the Muslim and Arab nations.
- After other teams from the region – Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Qatar – were eliminated early in the race, it was only natural that football lovers in neighbouring countries would rally behind Morocco.
But some vocal groups sought to portray the Moroccan success as something much larger, more ideological and political. Consequently, the Moroccan team was assigned the role of the standard-bearer of Islam and pan-Arabism. This argument was strengthened when some of the Moroccan team’s players celebrated their successes by unfurling a Palestinian flag on the pitch.
What do Moroccans say before eating?
Above: Image courtesy of Tijen Erol, Flickr Creative Commons The Moroccans eat three meals a day, the main meal being around mid-day. Eating with your hands is a time-honoured tradition. Rule number one: eat with your right hand only, using the thumb and first two fingers.
- Using more is a sign of gluttony.
- The left hand may only be used for picking up bread or passing dishes on to other people.
- Never help yourself to bread, wait until it is given to you.
- If more than one person apportions the bread at the table, the house will be beset by quarrelling.
- Use the bread to mop up sauces and clean you plate.
Do not lick your fingers until the end of the meal. In the meantime wipe them on the bread or a napkin, if you have to. Washing is very important – clean your hands before every meal usually with rose or orange scented water. When at home with a Moroccan family the women may not eat with the family, allowances are made when female visitors are there for lunch. If offered a gift when invited into a Moroccan home do not refuse – it’s very uncouth to turn down a charitable moment. Be careful not to admire something in the house as they may give it to you to take away. This is the Arab fear of the ‘evil eye’ – the envied object is given away to deter jealousy.
In the same way do not refuse food when offered. The host will always offer food when you enter his home. Three glasses of mint tea and a meal is acceptable. The best portions will be served to you. If you don’t like it – just taste a little of it. At the end of a meal a significant portion of food must remain.
Honour the host. Conversation must be entertaining and praising of the food.