The Beginner’s Guide to Moroccan Arabic (Darija) – With Basic Words And Phrases

Moroccan Arabic (Darija) is known to be one of the hardest Arabic dialects for even Arabic speakers of the Middle East, but I know many non arabic speakers that speak Darija well without even knowing Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), so that’s why a native Darija speaker (me) asked some of his foreign friends who are interested in Moroccan Arabic for help to make this beginner’s guide.

all about moroccan arabic darija

Getting Started: Your First Darija Words And Phrases:

Due to the geolocation of Morocco and its interaction with many countries, Darija got a good amount of loan words coming from French, Spanish, and Amazigh (the native language), this makes the dialect richer, and you may recognize some words as you go through this guide.

Also, we will be using the Latin alphabet alongside the Arabic one, so both those who know the Arabic alphabet and those who don’t, will benefit from this guide adding to that some numbers to represent some special Arabic letters:

  • 9 for ق
  • 3 for ع
  • 7 for ح
  • 5 (or kh) for خ

Basic Darija Greetings

To greet someone in Darija you would say assalam 3alikum (peace be upon you السلام عليكم), to answer it use wa 3alikum assalam و عليكم السلام, you can also greet with ahlan (hello أهلا), and simply say it back if it’s said to you, you won’t find anyone in Morocco saying only Assalam 3alikum or ahlan without asking about you:

Kidayer? (how are you? كيداير؟)

Labas 3lik? (how are you? لباس عليك؟)

Bikhir? (bi5ir) good? بخير؟

Kolshi mzyan? (is everything alright? كلشي مزيان؟)

Some will tell you the whole Kidayer labas 3lik bikhir kolshi mzyan? as a way of saying (how are you?) wow haha.

Don’t be surprised if someone asks you about your health and parents too lol:

Kidayra s7i7a? (how’s health? كيدايرا الصحيحة؟)

Kidayrin lwalidin? (how are your parents? كيدايرين الوالدين؟)

Kib9aw walidik? (how are your parents right now? if you knew they were sick كيبقاو والديك؟)

Lwlidat? (the kids? لوليدات؟)

Mwalin dar bikhir? (are the house owners well? house owner: basically everyone living in your house موالين الدار بخير؟)

Now how to answer: ana bikhir/ labas (I’m good أنا بخير/ لباس) or simply bikhir/labas, and to be polite ask back: wnta/wnti? (and you? wnta if you’re addressing a male, wnti for female ونتا/ونتي)

If you want to say “not that good”: shwiya شوية (literally means “a little”)

Aaaand in any case, good or bad, Moroccans say lhamdulillah الحمد لله (literally: thank God)

You can end a conversation with Bslama (see you later بسلامة) and add T’halla/T’hallay frasek (take care of yourself, for male and female in order تهلا/تهلاي فراسك), to respond, just say it back.

Can you imagine that this is a discussion in Darija, using only one word?:

  • Labas?
  • Labas, labas?
  • Labas, labas
Instagram will load in the frontend.

Now let’s see if you can understand this short dialogue:

1 – assalam 3alikum, kidayer labas 3lik? السلام عليكم، كيداير لباس عليك؟

2 – wa 3alikum salam, lhamdulillah labas wnta bikhir? kolshi mzyan? وعليكم السلام، الحمد لله لباس ونتا بخير؟ كلشي مزيان؟

3 – lhamdulillah kolshi mzyan, kib9aw walidik? الحمد لله كلشي مزيان، كيبقاو والديك؟

4 – shwiya lhamdulillah شوية الحمد لله

5 – Bslama

6 – Bslama, thalla frasek

See you’re greeting in Darija already! congratulations! how about celebrating with a cup of tea with mint? Kas datay b n3na3 كاس دآتاي بالنعناع.

Introducing Yourself

Now that we have greeted each other and had our first kas datay, it’s time to tell me about yourself, you can do this using the following sentences:

Smiti…. (my name is ….. سميتي)

Ana men ….. ( I’m from….. أنا من)

Shnu smitek? (What’s your name? شنو سميتك؟)

Mnin nta/nti? (where are you from? منين نتا/نتي؟) nta/nti: for male/female

Here are some countries in Darija (if you don’t find your country tell me in the comments, more about countries and nationalities here in this post, you can also use the word in English, just don’t stop!)

  • Maghrib (Morocco المغرب)
  • Holanda (The Netherlands هولندا)
  • Almanya (Germany ألمانيا)
  • Beljika (Belgium بلجيكا)
  • Fransa (France فرنسا)
  • Spanya (Spain سبانيا)
  • Merikan (USA ميريكان)
  • Canada (Canada كندا)
  • Swisra (Switzerland سويسرا)
  • Brazil (Brazil البرازيل)
  • Rusya (Russia روسيا)
  • Chinwa (China الشينوا)
  • Iran (Iran إيران)
  • Italya (Italy إيطاليا)
  • Ngliz (England النجليز)
  • Turkya (Turkey تركيا)

So, I would introduce myself as:

Smiti Oualid, ana men maghrib, I can also say: Ana Oualid (Ana is the pronoun I أنا) notice that we didn’t use the verb “to be”?

Here are some other words to help you say longer sentences:

  • Mdina (City مدينة)
  • Blasa (Place بلاصة)
  • Dawla (Country دولة)
  • F (In فْ)
  • Zwina (beautiful زوينة)

Smiti Oualid, ana men Nador, mdina zwina fel maghrib (My name is Oualid, I’m from Nador, a beautiful city in Morocco سميتي وليد، أنا من الناظور، مدينة زوينة فالمغرب)

Useful Darija Words

This list is provided with the help of my Swiss friend Zofia (Shukran!):

Besse7a (bon appetite! بالصحة)

Allah y3tik sa7a (Lit. God give you health, response to besse7a الله يعطيك الصحة)

Lyoum (today اليوم)

Daba (Now دابا)

Atay (tea أتاي)

Atay msha7ar (very well done tea أتاي مشحر)

Shuf (look شوف)

Ana (I/me أنا)

Nta (you/male نتا)

Nti (you/female نتي)

Huma (they هوما)

7na (we/us حنا)

Shi (something شي)

Ta7t (below تحت)

Fo9 (above فوق)

Hna (here هنا)

Lmakla (the food الماكلة)

Finek? ( where are you? فينك؟)

Imta ghadin? (when are we going? إمتا غادين؟)

Safi/Baraka (enough! صافي/بركة)

3afak (please عافاك)

Bezzaf (a lot/many بزاف) actually we use this word literally Bezzaf!

Fhemt (I understand فهمت)

Mafhemtch (I didn’t understand مافهمتش)

Shwiya (a little bit شوية)

Sghir/sghira (small صغير)

Kbir/kbira (big كبير)

Sma7li (excuse me سمحلي)

Walakin (but ولكن)

7it (because حيت)

Ymken (possibly يمكن)

Hakka (like this هكا)

Fo9ash/imta? (when? فوقاش/إمتا؟)

Kifash? (how? كيفاش؟)

3lash? (why? علاش؟)

Fin? (where? فين؟)

Shukran (thank you شكرا)

3lash la (why not علاش لا)

Aji (come آجي)

Sir (go سير)

Mal hada/hadi? (what’s wrong with him/her? مال هدا/هدي؟)

3aref/3arfa (I know عارف/عارفة)

Dyali (mine ديالي)

Dyalek (yours ديالك)

Wah (yes واه)

La (no لا)

Mashi daba (not now ماشي دابا)

Wakha (okay واخا)

Related: most common nouns in Darija

Basic Darija Survival Phrases

Here are a few Darija survival phrases to help you express yourself:

Fiya ju3 (I’m hungry فيا الجوع)

Fiya l3tash (I’m thirsty فيا العطش)

Mafhemtsh (I don’t understand مافهمتش)

T9der t3awed shnu gelti? (can you repeat what you said? تقدر تعاود شنو قلتي؟)

Kathder b zerba (you’re speaking quickly كاتهضر بالزربة)

T9der tahdar b shwiya 3afak? (can you speak slowly please? تقدر تهضر بشوية عافاك؟)

Daba fhemtek (now I understand you دابا فهمتك)

Fin toilette? (where is the bathroom? فين الطواليط؟)

Sh7al hadi? (how much is this? شحال هادي؟)

Sh7al sa3a? (what time is it? شحال الساعة؟)

Katahdar ngliziya? (do you speak English? كاتهضر الانجليزية؟)

Kanehder shwiya dyal darija (I speak a little bit of darija كانهضر شوية ديال الدارجة؟)

Makanhdersh fransawiya (I don’t speak French ماكنهضرش الفرنساوية؟)

Shnu hiya …..? (what is …..? شنو هيا…….؟)

Numbers

One (1)  Wah7ed واحد

Two (2) juj جوج

Three (3) tlata تلاتة

Four (4) rb3a ربعة

Five (5) 5msa (khmsa) خمسة

Six (6) setta ستة

Seven (7) sb3a سبعة

Eight (8) tmnya تمنية

Nine (9) ts3a تسعة

Ten (10) 3shra عشرة

Eleven (11) 7dash حداش

Twelve (12) tnash طناش

Thirteen ( 13) tlattash تلطاش

Fourteen (14) rb3tach ربعطاش

Fifteen (15) 5mstash (khmstash) خمسطاش

Sixteen (16) settash سطاش

Seventeen (17) sb3tash سبعطاش

Eighteen (18) tmntash تمنطاش

Nineteen (19) ts3tash تسعطاش

Twenty (20) 3shrin عشرين

From now on, you’ll find that things are similar to German, as we say (one and twenty) wa7ed w 3shrin to say 21, the only difference here is that for 22, we don’t say (juj w 3shrin) but we use tnin instead of juj: tnin w 3shrin, same will apply to the others (e.g 32: tnin w tlatin)

Twenty one (21) wa7ed w3shrin واحد و عشرين

Twenty two (22) tnin w 3shrin تنين و عشرين

Twenty three (23) tlata w 3shrin تلاتة و عشرين

Thirty (30) tlatin تلاتين

Fourty (40) rb3in ربعين

Fifty (50) 5msin خمسين

Sixty (60) settin ستين

Seventy (70) sb3in سبعين

Eighty (80) tmanin تمانين

Ninety (90) ts3in تسعين

One hundred (100) mya مية

Now try saying your age in Darija in the comments below, don’t cheat lol.

More about numbers in this detailed post.

W daba?

Now that you speak some Darija, using this friendly guide to Moroccan Arabic, you can celebrate yourself, surprise your Moroccan friends, and try to use language exchange apps to practice with Moroccans, you will find people who are learning your language for sure, or wait! you can always connect with me through my social and tell me about your progress, you’re more than welcome!

More Darija content is coming! Keep learning!

This is an introductory post about Moroccan Arabic, continue learning it with us here.

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