Linguistic Variation in Morocco
Morocco’s geographical location as a bridge between Europe and Africa, and as a home for Arab, Amazigh, Andalusian, African and Jewish cultures, make of the country a place of considerable linguistic diversity. In this article, this diversity will be approached from a personal perspective, inspiringly as a result of reading Chapter 7 “Language in Society” in “Introduction to Language”.
Geographically speaking, spoken all over Morocco, there are tens of dialects descendents of Arabic and Amazigh languages. The Arabic dialects range from the Hassani dialect spoken in the Southern Saharian Regions, through the different colloquial Arabic dialects of regions like Marrakesh and Fez, to the Arabic spoken in the Northern Regions close to Spain. Similarly, Amazigh language gives rise to many dialects and sub dialects, specifically Tashelhit in the Souss Region, Tamazight in the High Atlas and Tarifit in the North. These regional dialects do not have definite boundaries (isoglosses) among them, but certainly overlap to form a dialect continuum. Moroccans speakers of all this disparity of dialects seem to reach a minimum of mutual intelligibility. In cases where they fail to, they resort to the modern Moroccan Colloquial Arabic (Dareeja) as their lingua franca.
Importantly these regional dialects exhibit linguistic differences on different levels. At the phonological level there is a vowel deletion in the Hassani dialect for verbs following pronoun “you”. Klit (you have eaten) or jiit (you have come) are uttered as kliti and jiiti in other dilects of Arabic. At the Phonetic level, the Arabic speakers of the North uses q; while that of the middle regions use g as in qul (say) and gul respectively. At the lexical level, Tashelhit and other Amazigh dialects show many disparities. Head in Tashelhit is said agayyu, akhsas in Tamazight and aqryu in Tarifit. Besides the aforementioned dialects, most Moroccans use French and...
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