Expats, Which Language Should You Speak In Morocco

Written By: Expat challenger

Expats, which language should you speak in Morocco?

When I first moved to Morocco, I was hearing so many languages ​​around me that I did not know where to start: the waiter ordered in French at the restaurant, colleagues wrote emails in English at work, taxidrivers Darija And the TV program to present spoke inclassical Arabic ... I was even forced to babble with Spanish at the time when I traveled to Tangier last time and our guide spoke Berber when I went hiking in the Atlas Mountains.

Question: Do I have to speak as many languages ​​as the general secretary to be able to live my life there?

Here are a few tips / hints on what you should do when considering a language when moving to Morocco.

First tip, you should NOT stick to English only . This is not even an option. Let's make it clear, Moroccans are used to speaking different languages ​​- that's a fact. But English is not a common language in daily life: shopping in English is not a good idea since you will have a perfect target for "foreign hunters" who will double or triple the standard prices so that you will have to fight every time you Are Buying a kilo of potatoes. But beyond that, you will have the impression to live aside or develop a self-protection attitude (I am afraid because I do not understand people around me) and get isolated. This is one of the best places to stay in Morocco. So keep your English only for your professional activities. If you want to feel like you're living in the country.


Life will be okay for you if you learn French . Why? Casablanca, Rabat or Marrakech for instance, it is the minimum language that you need to make your life "normal":

  • If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail us at. Not to mention developing a network or attending meeting / conferences.By Lucyin - Personal work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
  • Interactive with people you meet everyday: grocer, nanny, taxi driver, waiter and even the administration folks. They all understand enough for you to communicate with them. Not mentioning the upper class society folks who - for most of them - speak and write better. So this language is essential to develop a social life here.
  • Understand what is going on around you: road signs are usually in 2 languages ​​(French and Arabic) and even 3 sometimes (Berber). The press is divided between Arabic newspapers and French ones. Same for most of the media as you can always catch radio broadcasting shows in French during the day.


Should you learn Arabic? YES , this is a great idea. But having said that it will depend on your capacity and the investment time you want to make.

Make sure to choose the right Arabic before you start because you have 2 different options:

1. First one is to learn "classical" Arabic . Arabic speaking country - you have 26 countries in the world for which it is the official language. To start with Classical Arabic, you will learn to write and read, which is good if you want to get in the country culture because you will have access to more material (press, books, law texts, etc.).

However, Moroccans speak to each other. So it's the best way to understand the country's cultural roots, a good value to have on your CV for future opportunities and a smart way to prepare a move to Arabic country. But it is not a matter of time, but it does not matter.

2. Second option is to dive directly into the Darija world .

What is it? Darija is the Moroccan dialect, derived from Arabic and Berber (and bit of some other languages). Here are the best reasons to learn Darija when you arrive in Morocco:

  • Quick return on investment. Why? Because Darija is only a spoken language. Within a few weeks, you will learn some useful sentences that you can use daily.
  • Acquire local respect. As for every country in the world, local people like that foreigners make efforts to learn their language. From your colleagues, Moroccan friends to your housemaid, they will all encourage you and appreciate that you try to get integrated in the local environment. And do not forget that a solid value in Morocco.
  • Live like a local. Darija, you will be able to make 75% of your daily activities easily: buy food, manage your team, capture what's going on in the street, listen to talk shows on TV Try)
  • Cultural awareness. You will open a lot of subtleties that will accelerate the way you understand the Moroc c an and Arabic culture. Lots of Darija words or sentences are taken from different origins and can enlighten some of the interpretations you were always looking for.
  • Last but not least ... impress your friends and families when you're getting back in your country. Arabic (because they do not make the difference with Darija) so you can have huge impact back home! Even your father-in-law will think that you are an intellectual guy now and that you have really changed. Great return on investment.

What about the other languages? Well you can probably start learning Berber when you master Arabic perfectly and still have some energy and time left. If you can not find what you're looking for, click here.

As a bonus and to encourage you, below is a short Darija glossary to start your partner before you move to Morocco.

And after, well you can check airXpat's Xperts in language tra i ning; They are very good and have a proven track record to help you: Asmae , Rajae or Deborah .

  • Share
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Google plus
  • Twitter
Individual Moroccan Arabic Language lessons
  • All profile
  • EN, FR, AR
  • Social & Professional Integration
300 €
30 € / session

I have been teaching Moroccan Arabic to expatriates for more than 12 years....

{ }