Colors

شنو حدا؟ ليمون

Moroccan Arabic being “non-standard” and non-standardized has a certain amount of variation in its lexicon. Here you can find a table containing different translations for the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, brown, black, and white from five different Darija books in their masculine, singular form, as well as the MSA (Modern Standard Arabic) words for each. To see how they change according to gender and case, I recommend looking at the Peace Corps Moroccan Arabic Textbook, page 85. I have included recordings of my resident Moroccan Arabic speaker saying each color in the most common form.

It is worth noting that the Chekayri book seems to keep the MSA spelling where the Darija word comes directly from MSA. The transcriptions in the book, however, were closer to the spellings of the other books (e.g. though red is written احمر in the Arabic script, its transcription was حmer rather than aحmer).

Additionally, here are some interesting (to me) facts about the names for purple:
*”حمامي” comes from the word for pigeon, referring to the purple color often found on their breast.
*”مْنِيّل” is now almost exclusively used in the deep South. It refers to the powder used to dye cloth.
*”مدادي” comes from the word for ink.

Color MSA Chekayri (2011) Peace Corps (2011) Sakulich (2011) Muñoz-Cabo (2009) Harrell (1963)
Red أحمر احمر حمر حمر حْمَر حْمَر
🎶
Orange برتقال ليموني ليموني، لتشيني رَنْجِ
🎶
Yellow أصفر اصفر صفر صفر (in Tetouan حميسي) صْفَر صْفَر
🎶
Green أخضر اخضر خضر خضر خْضَر خْضَر
🎶
Blue أزرق ازرق زرق زرق زْرَق زْرَق
🎶
Purple بنفسجي مدادي حجري، مدادي مدادي، حمامي، موڤ حْمَمِ مْنِيّل
🎶
Pink زهري وردي وردي وردي، حميسي وَرْدي وَرْدي، فَنِدِ
🎶
Brown بنّيّ قهوي قهوي قهوي قَهْوي صْمَر، قَهْوي
🎶
Black أسود اكحل كحل كحل كْحَل كْحَل
🎶
White أبيض ابيض بيض بيض بْيَض بْيَض
🎶

Sources:

Bahhadi, Myriem, Laïla Gadouar, Farid Aitsiselmi & Lahsen Taibi. Parler l’arabe en voyage. Harrap’s, 2014.

Chekayri, Abdellah. An Introduction to Moroccan Arabic and Culture. Georgetown University Press, 2011.

Harrell, Richard S. A Dictionary of Moroccan Arabic: English-Moroccan. Georgetown University Press, 1963.

Muñoz-Cobo, Bárbara Herrero. Vocabulario Español-Árabe Marroquí. Universidad de Almería, 2009.

Peace Corps Morocco. Moroccan Arabic Textbook. 2011.

Sakulich, Aaron. Moroccan Arabic: Shnoo the Hell is Going on H’naa?. Collaborative Media International, 2011.

Listening & Reading Practice: Moroccan Arabic Intermediate Reader

I recently discovered the Moroccan Arabic Intermediate Reader by Wali A. Alami and published by the Intensive Language Training Center of Indiana University – Bloomington in 1969. It is now provided (for free!) through various government agencies, including through ERIC. The reader comes in two volumes — the first with transcription, the second with (handwritten) Arabic script. Volume 1 is the story of Rashid and includes pre-listening drills, notes and translations of the drills. Volume 2 first includes the pre-listening drills of Volume 1 written in Arabic script and then a new series of texts. Despite being from 1969, the recordings are still appropriate for today (and clear and easy to understand).

Volume 1 is available here through ERIC: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED031698
Volume 2 is available here through ERIC: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED031713

Or you can download everything, including recordings through archive.org: https://archive.org/details/MoroccanArabicIntermediateReaderVol.1/

The Arabic script can be… difficult to read. Not only is it handwritten, but it’s written in a veeeery classic script. The ق is written with only one dot up top, the ف is written with one dot underneath and… well… you’ll see.

To get you started, I’ve rewritten the first pre-listening exercises, with their translations.


قالو لي رشيد تبارك الله حصّل على الباكالورية هدا العام
I’ve heard that Rachid was successful in the baccalaureate this year.


ايّه، نجح و راه فرحان، لا هو ولا ابّاه
Yes, indeed, his success made him and his father very happy.


شغدى يعمل دبة؟
What is he going to do now?


اِوا، سمعت باللّي غدى يدخل لقسم البضاغجي،… وقيلة بغى يولي اُستاد
I was told he is going to register in the school of education and become a teacher.


مشي قبيح. شحال فى عمرو دبة؟
That’s not bad.* How old is he now?
*According to my resident Darija speaker, this expression is not used very often anymore, but rather مَشي خايِب, recording at the end


تمنطاش لعام بالضّبط
He is exactly eighteen.


وليّد نجيب تبارك الله، و دكي
A resourceful boy, and intelligent too.


الله يا ودّي
There’s no doubt of that.


خلاق حداي غير البارح؛ الدنيا بحال المنام
I’ve known him since he was born; it seems to me a very short time ago.

And to finish, two extra recordings:


مَشي خايِب
Not bad!


تَنْتَمْنى ليك التَّوفيق
Good luck!