Do People Speak English in Morocco?

While English may not be the most widely spoken language, it is becoming increasingly popular. In urban areas and tourist destinations, you’ll find that many Moroccans can speak some English, especially among the younger generation. However, the proficiency levels may vary, and you might still encounter communication barriers.

What Is the English Proficiency Level in Morocco?

The English proficiency level in Morocco is considered low, according to the EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI). In the 2022 edition of the EF EPI, Morocco ranked 76th out of 111 countries, placing it in the “low proficiency” category. It’s worth noting that proficiency levels can vary significantly from one region to another and may be higher in major cities and tourist areas.

RankCountryEF EPI ScoreProficiency Band

Table 1: Morocco’s ranking in the EF English Proficiency Index 2022 (Source: EF EPI 2022)

What Is the Official Language of Morocco?

The official languages of Morocco are Arabic and Amazigh (Berber). Arabic is the most widely spoken language, while Amazigh is spoken by the Berber people, who make up a significant portion of the population. In addition to these languages, French is also very common, as it was the language of administration during the French colonial period. Spanish is spoken in the northern regions of the country, due to their proximity to Spain and historical ties.

How Has the English Level Progressed Over the Years in Morocco?

Over the past few decades, English has gained traction in Morocco, particularly among younger generations. This can be attributed to several factors, including globalization, the internet, and Morocco’s growing ties with English-speaking countries.

In recent years, the Moroccan government has also recognized the importance of English in global communication and has been working to improve its citizens’ proficiency in the language. As a result, English is now being introduced earlier in the Moroccan education system, and more Moroccan students are choosing to study it as a foreign language.

Is English Taught in Schools in Morocco?

Yes, English is taught in schools in Morocco. Traditionally, French was the primary foreign language taught in Moroccan schools. However, English has become increasingly popular over the past few decades, and many schools now offer English classes starting from primary education.

In 2018, the Moroccan Ministry of Education announced a plan to further emphasize English in the country’s education system. Under this plan, English is now being introduced earlier in the curriculum, and students are exposed to the language from a younger age.

Can You Get By Speaking Only English in Morocco?

While it is possible to get by speaking only English in Morocco, it may be challenging in some situations, particularly in rural areas or less touristy regions. In major cities like Casablanca, Marrakech, and Rabat, as well as popular tourist destinations, you’ll likely find that many people, especially those working in the hospitality and tourism industries, can speak at least some English.

However, to fully appreciate and navigate the Moroccan culture and daily life, it’s a good idea to learn some basic phrases in Arabic or French. Not only will this help you communicate more effectively, but it will also show respect for the local culture and likely lead to more

Learning Basic Phrases for Your Trip to Morocco

When traveling to Morocco, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with some essential phrases in Arabic and French. Even though you may be able to get by with English in most situations, knowing basic greetings and common expressions will demonstrate your respect for the local culture and enhance your overall experience. Here are some phrases to get you started:

  • Hello: “Salam” (Arabic) or “Bonjour” (French)
  • Goodbye: “Ma’a salama” (Arabic) or “Au revoir” (French)
  • Please: “Min fadlak” (Arabic) or “S’il vous plaît” (French)
  • Thank you: “Shukran” (Arabic) or “Merci” (French)
  • Yes: “Na’am” (Arabic) or “Oui” (French)
  • No: “La” (Arabic) or “Non” (French)

Tips for Communicating in English in Morocco

To maximize your chances of effective communication in English while in Morocco, consider the following tips:

  1. Speak slowly and clearly: Moroccans who speak English may not be fluent, so it’s essential to speak at a slower pace and enunciate your words.
  2. Use simple language: Opt for simple words and phrases, avoiding idiomatic expressions or complex vocabulary that may be difficult for non-native speakers to understand.
  3. Be patient and understanding: Keep in mind that English is not the first language for many Moroccans, so be patient and understanding if communication barriers arise.
  4. Carry a translation app or phrasebook: Having a translation app on your smartphone or a small phrasebook can help bridge any communication gaps that may occur during your trip.
  5. Learn some basic Arabic or French: As mentioned earlier, learning some essential phrases in the local languages can go a long way in improving your overall experience and communication.

Wrapping Up

While English is not the most widely spoken language in Morocco, its popularity is on the rise, particularly in urban areas and tourist destinations. With moderate proficiency levels, you may be able to get by speaking only English in certain parts of the country, but learning some basic phrases in Arabic or French will enhance your travel experience and demonstrate respect for the local culture. Overall, Morocco’s linguistic diversity is a testament to its rich history and cultural heritage, making it a fascinating destination for travellers.

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