Modern Standard Arabic/Moroccan Arabic (Darija) help? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 11-05-2012, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
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First off, hi and thanks for taking the time to read this :)


My father is Moroccan, but he was deported when I was young. Even before then, he wasn't much of a dad (although I worshipped him when I was young...another story entirely). He taught me no Arabic or French. I was raised by my English-speaking mother. As a teen, I asked my dad via letter if I should start learning Arabic. He told me it was "too hard" and not to "waste my time."


My father is a jerk. He was abusive to my mother physically and has been verbally abusive to me since we restarted a very long distance relationship when I was 16. I have no desire to rekindle our relationship.


However, as a mixed race (dad is Afro-Arab muslim, mom is European non-practicing Jew) woman, I've struggled with feeling a lack of connection to my roots and want to both connect with my heritage and raise DD with the same connection. My husband (ethnically European Jew, American) is decent with Hebrew, thanks to living in Israel in his early adulthood. I would like to eventually teach DD (who is currently 12 weeks old) darija, but as I understand, it's mutually unintelligible with MSA, which is all that is available via local classes. I've found a very few, spare internet resources, but I'm not sure how much I'll be able to glean from them.


Another question: I plan on studying Arabic in school (I'm going back in January), but will trying to learn MSA and darija at the same time make it only harder to learn darija? 


Also, if anyone has any Moroccan/darija resources, that'd be great. I'm almost considering rekindling a relationship with my father just to have someone to practice with (even if it's arguing).

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#2 of 4 Old 11-10-2012, 06:26 AM
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As someone who lives in the amazing Fez Medina for eight years, I suggest that Darija is the best option. You are correct in thinking that MSA is not as easily understood in Morocco. There are some superb Darija text books now such as the one available from the Peace Corps. Better still would be to visit Fez and do an intensive Darija course at the American Language Center or private lessons with one of the smaller Darija schools for foreigners. 


I have been learning Darija mostly "on the street" but now have had some formal lessons and it is very easy! There is no need to learn writing, simply conversation. I also suggest you keep up to date with Moroccan culture via The View from Fez which is in English and the most widely read source of more than 3600 stories on Morocco and with links to 3700 plus photos. 


We wish you the best,


The View from Fez team

Fez Medina


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#3 of 4 Old 11-10-2012, 01:02 PM
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i'm moroccan, i want to learn english, and i can teatch you Darija, i can also tell you about Morroco culture.


this is my email:


for learning arabic i want to tell that i belive that if you want you can

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#4 of 4 Old 12-29-2012, 08:54 AM
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Hi Zoe,

I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. My dh is Moroccan(-American). I learned darija as a PCV and still use it with some of my ILs. I am now living in the Gulf region, and trying to learn MSA. It's funny; I am having a hard time learning MSA, and my darija was quite good after two years in Morocco. When people here learn that I can speak and understand Moroccan, they are amazed--they all say it's so difficult. I had exposure to French and Spanish before darija, which certainly helped. I lived in a Berber region, which meant learning some words in both darija and Berber.

If Peace Corps makes their materials available to non-PCVs, they really, really are good. Their language trainers were phenomenal.

I don't think learning MSA will make darija harder to learn, necessarily. You could set yourself up to study vocab in tandem. For me, learning verb conjugation in MSA has been mystifying, because I learned first in darija. So my comprehension of Khaleeji is far beyond my ability to communicate in it. Frustrating. Also, by studying MSA you might just be able to network with a Moroccan who would be willing to help you learn darija.

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