Managing in Arabic in Morocco – part 1

The question I’ve written about many times:

Do you  dedicate your limited Arabic learning resources to:  perfecting a dialect?  Or do you aim for a more general, heavily MSA-based, multi-purpose Arabic that enables you to operate in Arabic at a very high level wherever you go?

In 20 strategies for becoming a high-level Arabic speaker I suggested that students should focus on the latter. Unless you are 100% certain you are learning the language for use in one specific country, better to focus on speaking in a 60-40 or 70-30 combination of MSA and local Dialect(S) that maximizes your maneuverability.

This is the first of several posts where I walk through the transcripts on Morocco found at the Langmedia site.

Encounter with a Random Person


(1) Local Moroccan variation of the verb (يدير ) for “Do.”  Not exactly how it would be used elsewhere, but clearly MSA based on the almost two full pages of usages of the verb:


(2)  Work and Study – slight regional variations compared to Central Middle East. In other parts this  ( خدامة اولى كتقراي) would literally mean “serve” maybe in the military, or as a low-level servant, and to literally Read. Whereas in Morocco, and Algeria, it means “Work” as it would mean ( شغل ) in say, Egypt. Nothing major though or any different than variations between English in the US verses Australia or Canada.

(3) Local Moroccan Version of ( هذا )  =  ( هاد)

(4)  Exhibit # Too Many To Count on How Fusha = Ammiya.  ( اشنو)  is coming from the same “Fusha” roots that leads people 3,000 miles away in Syria or Lebanon to say ( شو). Literally the only different is that a thousand or so years ago, someone started pronouncing the words differently in different countries.

(5) New Moroccan word – TBD

(6) Different  word structure for saying one’s name than I’ve heard before, but the meaning is clear to anyone at an Intermediate level.

Talking About Personal Background


(7) Technical Verb Structure difference. In Morocco they appear to use a (ك ) when others would use a (ب). The first time I listed to this dialogue the K sound threw me off.  I listed to it twice, and read the accompanying Dialogue, and now I know that K letter equals the Present, ongoing.

( 8 ) The Moroccan Variation of (   كيف  )  = (فاش )  . It sounds like a huge difference, but it’s merely a matter of memorizing a slight technical difference. The usage is exactly the same.

(10) Should be understood to even a high beginner.

(11)  At first when I heard this verb I was confused. It seemed like something totally new. Then I looked closer and it’s simply a Colloquial Verb version of the Formal word for tomorrow.  Just another example of how Fusha is Amiya and Vice versa.



Talking About Your Daily Schedule


(13) See point 4. Nothing new here.

(14) Same verb pattern, with only technical changes that should be recognizable to anyone who has learned a Dialect elsewhere.

(15)  Still not sure of this one. Couldn’t find an exact meaning after spending 5 minutes or so looking through Hans Wehr. Then again, if you are going to Morocco, this is something that you can learn in 5 minutes from your tutor.

(16) ( فالدار ) = (  في البيت/المنزل) .

(18)  Slightly different ways of citing hours, but this paragraph should be understood fairly clearly by anyone at even low Intermediate level of Fusha.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s