Morocco has a rich, multi-layer, and very diverse cultural heritage. This diversity also is reflected in de numerous languages spoken throughout the country.
Moroccan Arabic (known as Darija)
This is the official language of Morocco. Though it is somewhat different from most other types of Arabic, most Moroccans can understand conventional Arabic.
Moroccans learn Standard Arabic as a language. It is not spoken at home or on the streets. Standard Arabic is frequently used in administrative offices, mosques, and schools. Most Moroccans can understand this form of Arabic which is spoken and written much throughout the rest of the Middle East and North Africa. Most Arabic television programs are in this form of Arabic.
Also known as Moor. Over 40 000 in Southern Morocco people speak this form of Arabic.
Only about 8 925 people speak this form of Arabic. It is generally confined to certain small areas in Morocco.
3 to 4 million of the people of Morocco speak this form of Berber.
Central Atlas Tamazight
This is also spoken by roughly 3 million of the inhabitants of Morocco. It is a dialect of Berber.
A lesser used dialect of the Berber language. It is spoken by about 1.5 million people in Morocco.
This was a dialect of Berber which is generally considered to no longer be in use.
Senhaja de Srair
This is the fifth dialect of Berber which has also unfortunately fallen into disuse.
Though not seen as an indigenous language in Morocco, at least half of the population is capable of speaking it. This is due to the strong French influence during the period of 1912 to 1956, which has also left a large amount of French architecture in parts of Morocco.
Over 20 000 people in Morocco are capable of speaking Spanish. Besides being only a short distance away, Spain also acted as a protectorate of Morocco for a while after 1912. This resulted in Spanish influence in culture and language.
English, while still far behind French and Spanish in terms of the number of speakers, is rapidly becoming the second foreign language of choice among educated youth, after French. As a result of national education reforms entering into force in late 2002, English will be taught in all public schools from the fourth year on. English is spoken sporadically in the business, science and education sectors but its usage and learning have grown over the last decade, especially since 2002, when English instruction was introduced from the 7th grade in public schools.
Amazigh populations speak one of three languages: Tashelhit (High Atlas and Anti-Atlas regions), Tamazight (Mgoun Massif and Middle Atlas), and Tarifit (Rif Mountains region). The first two can communicate relatively easily with each other, whereas Tarafit isn’t understood by the latter. Picking up a few words of Tashelhit to use along your trek is recommended and can be a great icebreaker to further conversation and even invitations to Berber households and festivities.