Languages of Morocco

Arabic Languages of Morocco

The Arabic language is spoken throughout the Middle East and across North Africa, but the variety of Arabic spoken differs from one country to the next, and even from one region to another within the same country. Besides Modern Standard Arabic, there are two Arabic languages spoken in Morocco: Moroccan Arabic in the north, and Hassaniya in the south. Worldwide there are over 24 major Arabic dialects.

 

Language map (Arabic)

Arabic languages of North Africa
 

A - Hassaniya  B - Moroccan Arabic C - Algerian Arabic
D - Tunisian Arabic E - Western Libyan Arabic F - Eastern Libyan Arabic

 

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Modern Standard Arabic  is the language of education and the media.
There are several translations of the Bible into Modern Standard Arabic. The True Meaning translation is particularly intended to communicate well to Muslims. The New Testament in pdf format and audio recordings are available on the Prophet Stories website. Also recommended is the Sharif Bible. The Book of Life (Kitaab al-Hayaat), Today’s Arabic Version and the New Arabic Version are also good modern translations, particularly for Arabic-speaking Christians.
The Sharif Bible, and the Kitaab al-Hayaat are available as audio recordings from Faith Comes by Hearing on Bible.is.


Moroccan Arabic, also known as Darija, is spoken by the majority of the inhabitants of Morocco, either as a first language or as a second language in addition to one of the Berber languages. It is very different from Arabic as used in the Middle East and sometimes cannot be understood well by Arabic speakers from outside of North Africa. The New Testament in Moroccan Arabic is available at the Asdika website (https://www.asdika.org/mab/matt/ ), along with Moroccan Arabic worship music, testimonies in video and audio form, and an active discussion forum. Scripture portions may be accessed online or may be downloaded for offline use. On Google Play store an app for mobile phones containing the Moroccan Arabic New Testament in text and audio form is available. The Jesus Film and Magdalena, a film about the story of Jesus as seen through the eyes of Mary Magdalene, are available in Moroccan Arabic at jesusfilm.org/search.html?q=moroccan+arabic. A series of Biblical stories in Moroccan Arabic is available for listening and downloading at the website of the OneStory Partnership. These stories provide a condensed, chronological presentation of the redemption story drawn from Scripture. The Gospel Recordings website hosts additional Scripture materials in Moroccan Arabic.


Hassaniya is the variety of Arabic originally spoken by the Beni Ḥassān Bedouin tribes, who extended their authority over most of Mauritania and the western Sahara between the 15th and 17th centuries. Hassaniya is relatively distant from other North African varieties of Arabic. Today, Hassaniya is spoken in Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Senegal. The audio version of the New Testament in Hassaniya Arabic is available at  kutubhassaniya.org. Scripture portions may be played online or downloaded for offline use. The Jesus Film is available in Hassaniya Arabic at jesusfilm.org/search.html?q=Arabic,%20Hassaniya. The Gospel Recordings website hosts additional Scripture materials in Hassaniya Arabic.

 

Berber Languages of Morocco

Language map (Berber) 

Berber Languages of North Africa
 

A - Tachelhit  B - Tamazight  C - Riffi Tamazight (Tarifit)
D - Kabyle  E - Tasahlit F - Chaoui 
G - Touareg H - East Zenati I - Nafusi

 


Tachelhit - Of the Berber languages of Morocco, Tachelhit has the greatest number of speakers. It is spoken mainly in the south-central part of the country in an area bounded by the High Atlas mountain range to the north, the Atlantic coast on the west and the Algerian border on the east. Principal cities where Tachelhit is spoken include Agadir and Marrakech.
The New Testament in Arabic script, in Latin script and in the traditional Berber script can be found at tachelhit.info. This site also includes selected Psalms, and audio testimonies.
Audio recordings of the Tachelhit New Testament are available at the Talking Bibles website and at the Bible.is site operated by Faith Comes by Hearing and Jesus Film.
The New Testament in Tachelhit can be found in an alternate translation at call-of-hope.com). This site also includes audio recordings and numerous Christian tracts in Tachelhit.
Along with the Jesus Film in Tachelhit, jesusfilm.org/search.html?q=tachelhit includes a Tachelhit version of Magdelena, a film about the story of Jesus as seen through the eyes of Mary Magdalene.
Amsiggel is a story in Tachelhit intended for pre-evangelistic use (similar to the Pilgrim’s Progress). Available in multiple scripts, it has illustrations inspired by scenery in Tachelhit-speaking area.
The Gospel Recordings website hosts additional Scripture based materials in Tachelhit.


Riffi Tamazight (Tarifit) is spoken in northwest Morocco. It is one of the many Berber languages of North Africa. There are around 1.5 to 2 million mother-tongue speakers of Riffi in Morocco and in European countries such as Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. There are two main web sites where Riffi materials can be found.
One is Awar n Arebbi "The Word of God" which has a series of oral stories and some written materials from the Old Testament as well as video clips of six psalms. Most of the New Testament is also available there in text and audio formats. This web site is in Arabic, Riffi (Latin and Arabic scripts), French, Spanish, Dutch, German and English.
The other site is Abrid n Arrif "The Riffi Road". It has many of the same materials as Awar n Arebbi as well as additional videos, praise songs and Bible lessons. It is in Arabic, Riffi (Latin and Arabic scripts), French, Spanish, and English.
An app for mobile phones containing portions of the Tarifit New Testament (in Arabic script or Latin script) in text and audio form is available from Google Play store.
A Tarifit version the Jesus Film and of Magdelena, a film about the story of Jesus as seen through the eyes of Mary Magdalene, are available at jesusfilm.org/search.html?q=tarifit.
There is also a Tarifit YouTube channel which contains several film clips in that language.
The Gospel Recordings website hosts additional Scripture-based materials in Tarifit.


Tamazight   of the middle/central Atlas is spoken in the central part of Morocco. The main towns are Meknès, Azrou, Khenifra, Béni Mellal, Azilal, Imilchil, Tinghir, Rissani, Midelt, Talsinnt, Tazaa, Sefrou…). It is one of the many Berber languages of North Africa. There is not a specific name for this language, since all Berber languages are called Tamazight. It is often easier to identify speakers of this Tamazight by asking them if they are Riffi or Tachelhit speakers. If they deny, they are most likely speakers of Middle Atlas Berber. There are around 3 to 4 million mother-tongue speakers of this language in Morocco and in European countries such as Spain, France, Italy and Germany. There is a main web site (tamazight.info/) where materials can be found in audio, video and text formats. In addition to Biblical materials this site also hosts many Scripture-based stories, music, radio messages, historical documentaries, and a free download page.
On Google Play store an app for mobile phones containing portions of the Tamazight Old and New Testament (in Arabic script) in text and audio form is available. Go to Google Play store and type “Tamazight Bible”.
Along with the Jesus Film in Tamazight, jesusfilm.org/search.html?q=Tamazight+Central+Atlas includes a Tamazight version of Magdelena, a film about the story of Jesus as seen through the eyes of Mary Magdalene.>
There is a Tamazight YouTube channel which contains several film clips of Bible stories in that language.
Tamazight speakers are also active on Facebook (facebook.com/injil.tamazight) and Twitter (@tamazightophone) and love to interact with speakers of their language.


Other Berber Languages of Morocco : There are several smaller Berber languages spoken in Morocco, but as yet there are no known Biblical materials available in them. These languages include Ghomara and Senhaja in the north, and the Berber of Figuig in the east.

 

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