Pick up Some Moroccan Darija Travel Phrases for Your Next Trip to Morocco!
I’ve been to different countries, seen different cultures, faced different traditions and heard different languages. Experience taught me that it is essential to know at least a couple of words in the language of the country you are going to. Every time I travel I try to pick up some basic phrases to communicate with the locals. It may be very helpful and boost your experience
I also noticed that when I speak (or at least show some effort) in the locals’ language they perceive me in a different way and they are willing to help more and this may be a very, very useful skill when it comes to bargaining!
Darija, Moroccan dialect is an insane fusion of French, Berber languages, Arabic, and a touch of Spanish. The funny thing is that Moroccans do understand other Arab speakers. Other Arab speakers do not understand Moroccans.
If you have basic classical Arabic knowledge- no worries you will be easily understood in Morocco (but if they answer you in the local dialect Darija, you may be surprised how distinct those languages are…)
I thought I would help you out with the most commonly used Darija words in Morocco. Note that some words may vary in different regions, however the most common ones remain the same. Here we go:
- Salam – Hey/ Hello.
- Labass/ bekher? – How are you doing? (you may answer hamdoulillah – thanks God everything is ok)
- Kolshi mziane? – is everything ok? (you may answer “kolshi mziane”:) )
- B’slama – good bye
B’saha– a very grateful phrase which is said when you buy something new, when you get a gift, when you eat and even when you take a shower. It is pretty hard to find an equivalent in any other language. It means something like “na zdrowie” in Polish, “a votre sante” in French.
In English it is something like “enjoy” or “cheers”. The answer to this is Laatek saha. Meaning more or less “the same for you” or “bless you”
- Shoukran bzaff– Thanks a lot (bzaff means “a lot”)
- Shwiya– a little bit
- Zouin/zouina– beautiful or nice (male/female). Tourists will hear it a lot, get used to it, brace yourself! It can be said about anything.. weather, clothes, city…
- Wakha– OK/ deal/ I agree
- Sir bhalek– go away. When someone pisses you off you may say that with no regrets. Commonly used as a repellent towards beggars.
Except all the phrases above you’ll often hear “khouya” or “sahbi” which means something like “brother”. Moroccans abuse this word (in the positive sense). Whenever you go shopping or eating out you will hear it many times a day.
and the immortal, constantly used “inshallah“- literally “if God wills”. We may translate it as “hopefully” or “I hope”.
Enjoy your new Moroccan Darija vocabulary and inshallah the phrasebook will be useful;)
Greetings in Moroccan Darija
Drinks, food and Moroccan Dishes
- Coffee (with sugar / milk) kahwa b skar / b hlib
- Tea (without sugar) – atay bla skar
- Orange juice -asir limun
- Avocado juice -asir avocat
- Olives – zitoun
- Water -lma
- Vegetable tagine -tagine b khodra
- Beef tagine – tagine b lhem
- Chicken tagine – tagine b djaj
- Bread -khobz
- Omelette -omlette
- Dinner – laacha
- Breakfast – ftour
- Lunch – laghda
- Moroccan salad – salade marocaine
- Moroccan soup – harira
- lentils – edes
- white beans – loubya
- Omlette with shrimps – mqila
Spices in Moroccan Darija
- Cinnamon – karfa
- Saffron – zaafrane
- Cumin -kamun
- Salt -melha
- Sugar – skar
- Pepper – bzar
Days of the week in Moroccan Darija
- Saturday – ssabt
- Sunday – lhad
- Monday – tenin
- Tuesday – tlat
- Wednesday – larbaa
- Thursday – lakhmis
- Friday – jemaa
- Tomorrow – ghedda
- Today – lyoum
- Yesterday – lbareh
- Bus -bus
- Grand taxi station -mahattat dyal taxi kbira
- Bus station -mahattat dyal bus
- Desert – sahraa
- I need a bus ticket to … -bghit shi warqa l …
- I got lost. – tleft Or Twedert
- Gorge -gorges
- Road – T’rik
Compliments in Moroccan Darija
- You are beautiful. Nti zwina (nta zwin for a guy)
- I like you. Kataajebini ( kataajabni for a guy)
- I love you. Kanbghik
Written by: Monika Mizinska – Serial Polish expat. Freelance travel writer and blogger behind BewilderedinMorocco.com and BewilderedSlavica.com. Urbex lover, nature admirer. Professional ESL teacher, passionate event planner.