City view of Agadir, Morocco

Do People Speak French In Morocco?

Morocco is often described as a country in North Africa with a very interesting blend of cultures. Besides, the country is well known as the destination of at least one-weekend vacation for every international student studying in Spain. If you’ve never gone past the cliché of Morocco as “the area where Casablanca was filmed,” you’re sure losing out on a lot of interesting stuff. 

Morocco constitutes a multi-lingual State hosting twelve political regions as of today. The aspect of multi-languages is evident in the various native languages used by Moroccans, which sometimes makes inter-regional communication challenging. However, given that Morocco is a French colony, you might have questioned if Moroccans speak french. 

The short answer is Yes! They speak french in Morocco. Typically, Moroccans speak various languages, including Classical Arabic, Standard Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, and French. Nonetheless, Darijan (an oral dialect) and Tamazight (Berber) blended most of these Native languages making communication much easier.

This article provides all you need to know regarding the subject. So keep reading to learn more! 

Do they speak French in Morocco?

Yes! As stated above, french is among the many languages spoken in Morocco. 

After the French Colonization, the French language became the main language for Government Administration, Education, business, and the Media. The intention was to improve civilization through the French language and Culture. 

However, deciding to publish articles in French was quite controversial until Morocco gained independence. Does this imply they no longer speak french in Morocco? The answer is no! French is among the language spoken in Morocco. But typically, the french language ends up in the streets with little official recognition. It is a lingua franca for non-Moroccans and non-Arabs. It is a second language for approximately 33% of Moroccans.

What are the main languages spoken in Morocco?

After Moroccan independence in 1956, Modern Standard Arabic and Standard Moroccan Berber became the primary and official Languages.

Though other languages are also common in different parts of Morocco, these two are most common in communication. To foster economic growth and improve ties with Europe and Francophone Africa, the Moroccan government had to promote French in Morocco. 

Generally, Moroccan Arabic (Dirija) is the native vernacular. In its classical and modern forms, Arabic is considered the language of prestige alongside French. Outlined below is the list of Official, Native and Foreign Languages used by the Moroccan population.

  1. Official Languages
  • Modern Standard Arabic
  • Standard Moroccan Berber
  1. Native Languages
  •  Arabic dialects 92%
  •  Moroccan Arabic 91%
  •  Tamazight 26%
  •  Tashelhit, Judeo-Berber 14.1%
  •  Central Atlas Tamazight 7.9%
  •  Tarifit 4%
  •  Judeo-Moroccan Arabic and Hassaniya languages have less than 1% of the population using them for communication.

3. Foreign Languages

  •  French 33%
  •  Spanish 21%
  •  English 14%. 

What is the French Level in Morocco?

According to OIF statistics in 2007, 33% of Moroccans speak French, among which 13.5% are fully francophones while 19.5% are partial francophones. A 2012 research by the government of Spain declared that 63% of the population spoke French fluently.

Remarkably, french is more prevalent further South of Morocco, and this area stands out as one of the largest growing communities in Morocco. The language is spoken throughout the country by Moroccans of all age groups and gender.  

Do they teach French in schools?

In Primary schools, Arabic language lessons are dominant. French comes in only at the tertiary level of Education. However, because private schools permit French instruction before students enter universities, people from affluent and well-off families prefer sending their children there.

On the other hand, students whose parents cannot afford private Education find themselves stuck in the university because they do not understand French. Consequently, the government has proposed introducing French as a teaching-learning language in primary schools to teach science, mathematics, and technical subjects such as Computer Science.

Note!

French is very important in the Moroccan job market. Citizens who cannot speak French have limited employment opportunities. Employers prefer recruiting citizens who can communicate in French as it is considered the language best suited for business and administration. 

Do tourists need to speak French if visiting Morocco?

Yes! Tourists in Morocco need to speak French. This is because official Arabic is a more difficult language for tourists. Therefore knowing how to speak French will be very useful. 

However, if you can only speak English, you will equally find it easy to interact with people. Many touristic cities such as Marrakech, Fez, and Casablanca have people who are fluent in at least one of these foreign languages.

Can you live in Morocco if you just speak French?

Yes! It is possible to live in Morocco if french is your only language.

French is one of the most used languages in Morocco. If you are fluent in French, you can make your way out easily. Nevertheless, anyone who intends to stay for a longer time in Morocco will have to solicit the help of friends in learning Arabic. The reason is that, in the long run, you may have to interact with people who only speak Moroccan Arabic(Darija) or Berber.

How has the level of French changed over the years?

During the pre-colonization period, many native languages were the order of the day. Colonization introduced the French language and Culture in Morocco. Since then, the language has retained its position as a colonial legacy. Even though the official languages became a threat after Morocco gained independence, the changes were few.

Over time French has continually gained influence in the country, especially in the fields of Administration, Education, business, the media, and other vital sectors in Morocco. Particularly, the reforms in the education system have contributed to strengthening the French language as a language of prestige. The place of french in morocco is further strengthened because it is a language of modern science and international communication in Morocco.

Thinking about traveling to Morocco?

Morocco is a safe place to visit. Among other amazing characteristics, Morocco is known for its rich Culture and tradition. Its majestic cities and the medinas in Fez attract many tourists yearly. Here are some useful contacts you may want to keep in case you wish to travel to Morocco:

Moroccan Consulates Visa Section in London: 0207-581-5001.

For Mondial Assistance, you can call 05 22 97 47 47 (International travel insurance)

National airport office: 05 22 53 90 40 / 05 22 53 91 40. You can also visit  

www.onda.ma/onda/an for more information.

Bonus!

If you need a team to help you plan a perfect vacation in Morocco, dial UK 0207-112-0019.

Conclusion.

This far, we’ve learned that they do speak french in Morocco. Typically, under the treaty of Fez, signed in 1912, Morocco became a French protectorate. Apart from being a colony under France, Morocco retained other aspects of the French way of life. This includes adapting its language and Culture and setting up laws from France. 

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