NALRC Language Map of Africa


Morocco has been inhabited by Berbers since the second millennium B.C., It became part of the Roman empire in A.D. 46. Vandals took control the 5th century. Arabs overran in about 685 and introduced Islam. The Alawite dynasty took control on 1660 and has ruled Morocco up to the present day. Over the centuries Portugal, Spain and France have sought to control Morocco. France and Spain finally recognized the independence Morocco in 1956.

French and Spanish occupation of morocco began in 1912 with the Spanish control of a small part of the northern country because of its interest in the Mediterranean Sea. During this period, the French controlled the rest of Morocco. Before 1912, Arabic coexisted with various local languages collectively known as Berber. Further linguistic diversity came with the introduction of the French language as the literary language during the colonial period. After 44 years of Franco-Spanish rule, Morocco gained its independence in 1956 after which the monarchy that was ruling before colonialism continued with its reign. Despite the French influence in Morocco, today, Arabic is the official language while the Berber dialects and French are generally the languages of business, government, and commerce.

Languages spoken

  • Berber
  • Darija (Moroccan Arabic)


Approximately 12 million Moroccans speak Berber — which exists in Morocco in three different dialects (Tarifit, Tashelhit, and Tamazight) — either as a first language or bilingually with the spoken Arabic dialect.


The languages of Morocco are classical Arabic as an official language (it is the "classical" Arabic of the Qur'an, literature and news media), also the country has a distinctive dialect of Arabic known as Moroccan Arabic or Darija.


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