Due to the varied historical influences on the people of Morocco, there is a large variety of different languages and dialects spoken across the country.

There are 11 most commonly spoken languages in Morocco. The official language of Morocco is Moroccan Arabic, which is somewhat different from most other types of Arabic. Most Moroccans can understand standard Arabic, however. Other variants of the Arabic language spoken in Morocco include Hassaniyya Arabic, Judeo-Moroccan Arabic and Standard Arabic. Hassaniyya Arabic is also known as Moor, and over 40,000 people in Southern Morocco speak this variant of Arabic. Judeo-Moroccan Arabic is spoken by less than 9,000 people, as it is generally confined to certain smaller areas of Morocco. Standard Arabic can be understood by most Moroccans given that this form of Arabic is spoken and written throughout most of the Middle East and North Africa regions, and most Arabic television programs are in Standard Arabic.

Moroccan Sign Language is used by a large number of deaf people in the city of Oujda. Most people who use MSL cannot read or write Arabic. MSL is also significantly different from American Sign Language.

Other languages found in Morocco include Spanish, which is spoken by over 20,000 people in Morocco. The Spanish influence on Moroccan culture and language is a result of Spain having acted as a protectorate of Morocco for a period of time after 1912. Tachelhit, a form of Berber, is spoken by 3 to 4 million people of Morocco. Furthermore, Central Atlas Tamazight, which is another dialect of Berber, is spoken by around 3 million people in Morocco, and Tarifit, which is a lesser used dialect of the Berber language with about 1.5 million speakers in Morocco.

Most Moroccans also speak more than just one of their native languages, with at least half of the country’s population being capable of speaking French. This is a result of the strong French influence in Morocco during the period of 1912 to 1956. Furthermore, many of those working in the tourism sector are capable of speaking English and some other foreign languages as well.

Languages which used to be spoken in Morocco but are now considered extinct include two Berber dialects: Ghomara and Senhaja de Srair.


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