Society

What Lanuages Are Spoken In Morocco?

A number of languages are spoken in the North African country of Morocco. Arabic and Berber are the official languages of the country.

Morocco is a North African country located in the Maghreb. Its inhabitants include Berbers, Arabs, Moors, and Gnawa, with Arabs and Berbers being the majority (together being 99.1% of the entire population). As a result of these demographics, Morocco’s official and main languages are Arabic and Berber. Berbers are indigenous and have over time become Arabized. Morocco’s Arabs first came in the 8th Century when they conquered the Maghreb, bringing in Islam and the Arabic language. While adopting Islam, the Berbers retained their traditional laws. Other languages spoken in Morocco include the dialects of Arabic and Berber languages, and foreign languages such as French, Spanish, and English

Official Languages Spoken In Morocco

Arabic

One of the two official languages of Morocco, Arabic is spoken by 80 to 90% of Moroccans, including many Berber speakers. There are three variants of the Arabic language used in the country: the Moroccan Darija Arabic, Standard Arabic, and Classical Arabic. Moroccans do not use Standard Arabic for conversation in informal environments such as at home or on the streets; rather, its use is confined to schools, mosques, and administrative offices. Classical Arabic has its function in the literary and cultural aspects of the country, as well as informal traditional speeches, and in religious discussions.

Berber

In the rural areas, Berber is the primary vernacular language. With Moroccan Arabic, it is the language most spoken in informal settings. As such, Berber is not used in writing, being a native language. Many Moroccans do not place it on an equal footing with Arabic, and as such it lacks prestigious status. The fact that Berber has several dialects, which reduces the domain of each variant of the language, contributes to this low esteem. Berber is spoken by 60 to 80% of Moroccans.

Native Languages Spoken In Morocco

Dialectal Arabic

Moroccan Arabic, also known as Moroccan Darija, is, with the Berber language, a native vernacular language spoken in the informal settings both at home and in the street, and is likewise not used in writing. Moroccan Arabic is used mostly in spoken discourse and in casual conversation. Many Berbers are fluent in Moroccan Arabic, using it as a lingua franca; this is because the Berber language has too many versions, making it difficult for people from different places to understand one another in Berber. Another Arabic dialect is Hassanic Arabic, also known as Hassānīya, which is spoken by 0.7% of Moroccans.

Berber Dialects

Berber Dialects include the Riffian dialect, which is used in the Rif area, north of Morocco, and has the least number of speakers. Among the Berber dialects are the Tachlhit dialect, which is used in Souss-Massa- Drâa, in Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz, in Tadla-Azilal, and has the most number of speakers among the Berber Dialects. In Central Morocco, Tamazight dialect is common and is the second Berber dialect in the country. Other Berber dialects include the Senhaja de Srair, the Ghomara, the Figuig Shilha, and the Eastern Zenati dialects.

Main Foreign Languages Spoken In Morocco

The main foreign languages spoken in Morocco are French, Spanish, and English. French, which is spoken by 33 to 39% of Moroccans, is second after Arabic as the prestigious language in Morocco, with usage being mainly in government, business, and diplomacy? Spanish is spoken by 21% of Moroccans, with usage being mostly in the North, where Spain had once occupied territories. English is spoken by 14% of Moroccans, with usage being mainly by educated young people.

Moroccan Sign Language

Developed by Peace Corps volunteers from the US in the city of Tetouan in 1987, Moroccan Sign Language is used by deaf people in Tetouan and other cities in the country. Usage of the language is not Countrywide, and some large cities like Rabat, Casablanca, and Tangier do not use it. For instance, Algerian sign language is used in Oujda, a city near the Algerian border.

Multilingualism

A number of languages are spoken in the North African country of Morocco. Arabic and Berber are the official languages of the country. Statistics show that most people in Morocco are multi-lingual. The presence of several dialects, as evidenced in the existence of Classical Arabic, Standard Arabic, and Moroccan Arabic, in addition to the various Berber dialects has contributed to linguistic complexity in the country. Other foreign languages spoken in the country include French which is a prestigious language while English is an international language used by the educated youth of Morocco.

What Lanuages Are Spoken In Morocco?

RankCategoryLanguages
1Official languagesArabic (80–90%) Berber (60–80%)
2VernacularsArabic dialects Berber dialects
3Main foreign languagesFrench (33–39%) Spanish (21%) English (14%)
4Sign languagesMSL

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