Only a few months left till the Moroccan Escapade, so it’s about time to brush up on your Moroccan Arabic, also called Darija. It differs significantly from Modern Standard Arabic, even more than most other Arabic dialects, thanks to the big influence of the Berber languages, some Latin as well as French and Spanish. That’s why we’ve put together the most important phrases in Moroccan Arabic for you.
If you get your vocabulary from a phrasebook for Modern Standard Arabic, people will most likely understand you, but you won’t get a word they say. Modern Standard Arabic is a language that is basically only used in very formal situations and in books, newspapers and administration, but which is hardly ever spoken in daily life.
Moroccan Darija on the other side is spoken as first language by about 50% 75% of Morocco’s population. The other ones call one of the Berber languages (Tamazight languages) their mother tongue, but many also speak some basic Darija. So you’ll have a pretty decent chance to be understood with our important phrases in Moroccan Arabic.
Some Basic Politeness
Because a little bit of politeness can get you quite far.
Hello – salaam or salaam alaikum – Literally: Peace or peace be upon you – a common greeting
Good morning -sabah al khair – kh being the German hissing sound made at the back of your throat – like in Bach
Reply to good morning – sabah al noor (literally: morning of light)
Good evening – massa al khair – kh being the German hissing sound made at the back of your throat – like in Bach
Reply to good evening – massa al noor – reply to good evening (literally: evening of light)
Goodbye – bs-lama
Thank you (very much) – shoukran (bezaf)
Please – afek
Yes – ah/na’am
No – la
No, thank you – la shoukran
How are you? – labass
Reply to labass, literally sth. along the lines of “it’s going good, thank god” – hamdoulillah
I am sorry – smeh-lia
No problem – meshi mushkil
Do you speak English? – katehdr belinglizya?
A Visit to the Market
Because shopping is fun.
How much is it? – beshhal hadīk?
It is too expensive! – ghali bezaf!
I’m just looking around. – ghir tan chouf
Finding Your Way
Because you WILL get lost.
Straight – nichan
Left – lissar
Right – limeen
North – shamal
South – janoub
East – shark
West – gharb
Where is …? – fayne ?
How can I get to …? – kif nemchi li… ?
I’m lost – jlit rassi
Some Things Food
Because food is life.
Vegetable tagine –tagine b khodra
Beef tagine – tagine b lhem
Chicken tagine – tagine b djaj
Bread – khobz
Coffee (with sugar / milk) – kahwa (b skar / b hlib)
Tea (without sugar) – atay (bla skar)
Orange juice –asir limun
Bon appetit /Have a nice meal – bsseha
It was delicious – lay i atik saha !
Last But Not Least
Inshallah – You can say inshallah pretty much whenever you like, especially when you don’t want to commit to sth, and you will hear it a lot. Literally: “If God wills”