Posted by & filed under How to learn languages with songs and the media.

Rather than describe the many beauties of Morocco, I’ll show photos.

 

Dressing like a local

 

There are many more beautiful Moroccan clothes that I didn’t have the opportunity to photograph, try on or buy.

Moroccan gandoura
Moroccan gandoura

Language in Morocco 

 

There are many languages spoken in Morocco. It is a wonderful place for a linguaphile! The official language is Arabic but most signs are in Arabic and French.

When I arrived in Morocco, I thought that I would be returning to my good, loyal, sometimes close, and sometimes not-so-close friend, the French language. I was surprised to find that several of the young people I met in the tourism industry actually preferred to speak to me in English rather than French. 

 

Arabic

 

In schools, Moroccans learn both Classical Arabic (Fusha) and their dialect, Darija.
Chefchaouen
Arabic sign in the Chefchaouen, Morocco’s Blue City 

French

 

Morocco was under French rule for many years and the French language is commonly spoken throughout the country. In Casablanca, I saw more signs in French than French-Arabic or Arabic-only signs. In some fancy restaurants in Casablanca, I didn’t hear Moroccan Arabic spoken at all.

french herb signs
French herb signs, Medina in Essaouira, Morocco

Le saveur du poisson, Tangiers, Morocco

Le saveur de poisson, Tangiers, Morocco

Spanish

 

Parts of Northern Spain were a Spanish protectorate until the 1950s. Given the Spanish history in the north and the many Spanish tourists who travel to Morocco, you can still find people who speak Spanish in places such as Tangiers and Chefchaouen. (I didn’t visit other parts of the north.)
buen gusto tangiers

Buen Gusto Cafe, Tangiers

Sign in Arabic, English and Spanish for the communal oven to bake bread, Chefchaouen


Hotel Madrid in Chefchaouen



The signs on this bus were in Catalan because the buses were donations from Catalunya, Spain

Berber (Amazigh or Tamazight)


The Berbers are the indigenous people of Northern Africa. There are different Berber languages. I saw some Berber signs on government buildings in Morocco.

Berber sign, Morocco

Berber sign, Morocco

The title is in Berber, Arabic and French, but there is no Berber language description for this Islamic School in Fes, Morocco

 

Hebrew

 

Morocco used to have a large Jewish population that lived in the Mellah neighborhoods in various cities. Most of the population has left the country, but there are still signs in Hebrew, French and Arabic for Jewish synagogues and museums.

Hebrew in Morocco

Synagogue in the Mellah, Essaouira, Morocco

 

Judeo-Spanish (Haketia)

 

Some segments of the Jewish communities in Morocco are descendants of the Spanish Jews expelled from Spain during the Inquisition. They speak Haketia, a form of Spanish from the 15th century mixed with Arabic and Hebrew words. I did a presentation about the Judeo-Spanish language and the film Saved by Language at the Cervantes Institute in Casablanca, Morocco.

 

An original letter in Haketia from Tangier, written in 1832.

An original letter in Haketia from Tangier, written in 1832. (Source: Wikipedia

 

Some of the foods

cheese in palm leaves

Cheese in palm leaves

 

Moroccan herbs

Moroccan herbs

I watched the CNN Parts Unknown show about Tangier, Morocco several years before going to Morocco. Le saveur de poisson is a fish restaurant that Anthony Bourdain had visited in the show. One of the only reasons I went to Tangiers was to eat in this restaurant.

(When Mr. Bourdain ended his life in June 2018, I was deeply saddened for several days. He had shown parts of the world that I, along with millions of viewers, had never seen and may never have the opportunity to visit. I liked how he showed how normal (not rich) people lived in various parts of the world and was willing to be frank with his thoughts. I would not have gone to this restaurant and eaten the wonderful fish if it hadn’t been for his show.)

 

Moroccan fish restaurant

Moroccan fish restaurant, Le saveur de poisson, Tangiers, Morocco, featured in Anthony Bourdain’s show, Parts Unknown 

Moroccan mint tea

Essaouira orange juice stand

Fresh pomegranate and orange juice stand 

There is still so much of the country that I did not see. I very much want to return. The people were extremely friendly and went out of their way to help when needed.