What language is spoken in Morocco?
Several 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 is a list of the languages spoken in Morocco by relatively large groups of people.
Arabic is the most widely spoken language throughout the country, particularly in its Moroccan Arabic variety (also known as dārija). It is the language used by over 30 million Moroccans and by Moroccans who have moved to other parts of the world, and has substantial differences from standard Arabic, as we shall see below.
The Berber is the mother tongue of many of Morocco’s indigenous communities, and is still spoken in many parts of the country. Berber is a very old language, with different variants depending on the region where it is spoken, and has its origins in the indigenous Berber populations of North Africa, who inhabited the territory for thousands of years. Regional variants of the Berber language include 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 for international trade and the tourism industry, so much so that it is mainly used in the country’s tourist resorts and major cities.
Both during the French colonial era and after independence, French was introduced to Morocco. Since 1956, it has remained an important language for commercial and diplomatic communication, as well as for culture.
Spanish is mainly spoken in the northern regions of the country, such as Tangier, due to its geographical proximity to Spain and the effects of Spanish domination.
Other minority languages are also spoken in Morocco, such as Italian, which arrived during the period of Italian domination of neighboring Libya, and Portuguese, introduced to the territory during Portugal’s brief colonial period in North Africa. Whatever the case, Morocco’s linguistic diversity bears witness to its history and geographical location, which have made it a crossroads of different cultures and languages.
Official languages in Morocco
Morocco has Modern Standard Arabic as its official language. It is the language used in the media, in politics and business, and in official documents. As mentioned above, the variant of Arabic most widely used in everyday life is Moroccan Arabic, which has some differences in pronunciation and grammar. Moroccan Arabic is influenced by Romance languages and Berber, some consonants are pronounced differently from standard Arabic, verb tenses are different, as are certain terms and expressions.
In Morocco, the most important language after Arabic is Berber, which was recognized as an official language in 2011, alongside modern standard Arabic. The Berber language has a long history behind it and is still mainly used by many of the country’s indigenous communities. According to studies, there are around five million Berber speakers in Morocco.
Morocco: a brief history:
To understand which language is spoken in Morocco today, and especially why, it’s important to talk about the country’s history and the different civilizations that have succeeded one another over time.
Today’s Morocco, located in the north-west of the African continent, has been inhabited by various peoples over the centuries. Among them, the Phoenicians from the 12th century BC and the Romans from the 1st century, who developed fields as varied as agriculture, land and sea trade, and architecture. After the Vandals and Byzantines came the Arabs. During this period, the religion of Islam arrived in Morocco, and several Islamic dynasties succeeded one another, such as the Almoravids and Almohads, the Marinids and Wattasids.
What language is spoken in Morocco?
Morocco subsequently became an important commercial and cultural center, thanks to its strategic location along the trade routes between Africa, Europe and the Middle East. European peoples shared Morocco’s territories and wealth, until the establishment of a French protectorate in the south and a Spanish protectorate in the north. However, in 1956, Morocco gained independence, becoming one of the first countries to free itself from the domination of European powers.
After independence, Morocco went through several phases 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 strides in the fields of economics, education and modernization, but it still faces challenges such as unemployment, poverty and economic inequality.
Study new languages:
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