What language is spoken in Morocco? Spoken and official language
Different 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 we list each language spoken in Morocco by relatively large groups of people.
Arabic is the most spoken language throughout the country, especially in its variety of Moroccan Arabic (also called dārija). It is the language used by over 30 million inhabitants of Morocco and by Moroccans who have moved around the world, and has some substantial differences with the standard Arabic language as we will see later.
Berber is the mother tongue of many indigenous communities in Morocco and is still spoken in many parts of the country. Berber is a very ancient language and has different variations depending on the region in which it is spoken, and comes from the indigenous Berber people of North Africa who have inhabited the area for thousands of years. Some regional variants of the Berber language are, for example, 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 nowadays for international trade and for the tourism industry, so much so that it is mainly used in tourist resorts and large cities in the world.
French was introduced to Morocco during the French colonial period and after independence, so since 1956, it has remained an important language for commercial and diplomatic communication, as well as culture.
Spanish, on the other hand, is spoken mainly in the northern regions of the country, such as in the city of Tangier, due to the geographical proximity to Spain and the effects of Spanish rule.
There are also other minority languages spoken in Morocco such as Italian, which arrived during the period of Italian rule of neighboring Libya, and Portuguese, which was brought to the territory during Portugal's brief colonial period in North Africa. In any case, Morocco's linguistic diversity is a testament to its history and geographical location, which has made it a crossroads of different cultures and languages.
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Modern Standard Arabic is the official language in Morocco. This is the language used by the media, in the political and economic fields, as well as in official documents. However, as we said before, the most used variant of Arabic in daily life is Moroccan Arabic, which has some differences in pronunciation and grammar. In Moroccan Arabic there are influences from the Romance languages and the Berber language, some consonants are pronounced differently than in standard Arabic, tenses differ as well as some terms and expressions.
In Morocco the most important language after Arabic is Berber, which was recognized as an official language in 2011 together with Modern Standard Arabic. The Berber language has a long history behind it and is still used mainly by many indigenous communities in the country. According to some studies, there are around five million Berber speakers in Morocco
To understand which language is spoken in Morocco today and above all for what reason, it is important to talk about the history of this country and the various civilizations that have occurred within it over the years.
The area that is now Morocco, which is located in the northwest of the African continent, has been inhabited by different populations over the centuries. Among these we remember the Phoenicians from the XII century B.C. and the Romans from the 1st century, under whom there was a remarkable development in various fields such as agriculture, trade by land and sea, and architecture. After the Vandals and the Byzantines, it was the turn of the Arabs. In this period, the religion of Islam arrives in Morocco and various Islamic dynasties follow one another, such as the Almoravids and the Almohads, the Merinids and the Wattasids.
Subsequently, Morocco became an important commercial and cultural center thanks to its strategic position along the trade routes between Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The European peoples divided the Moroccan territories and the riches, until the birth of a French protectorate in the south and a Spanish one in the north. In 1956, however, Morocco gained independence becoming one of the first countries to free itself from the domination of European powers.
After independence, Morocco goes through various stages 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 progress in the field of economy, education and modernisation, however it continues to face challenges such as unemployment, poverty and economic inequality.
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