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


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.

Websites for learning Moroccan Arabic

To get started, here is a round-up of some of the Moroccan Arabic resources currently available online (both free and paid content).

Learning Darija in English:

Speak Moroccan Arabic
This site has great vocabulary lists and short phrase-based lessons. There is a forum, but seems to no longer be in use (as of January 2016, the last post was from 2014).

The Armchair Arabist
Amazing resource with transcribed and translated videos of naturally spoken Darija.

The Mazyan Bizaf Show
A fantastic new podcast which includes linguistic discussion of Darija in both English and Darija!

The Peace Corps Moroccan Arabic Textbook
Pretty much the best developed free Moroccan Arabic lessons available.

LangMedia Resources for World Languages
This is a wonderful resource of transcribed and translated videos discussing the culture of the speakers (there is material from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya).

Loecsen Free Moroccan Arabic Lessons
Illustrated phrasebook with sound.

Talk in Arabic
This relatively new website offers content in many different Arabic dialects. I cannot speak to the quality of the site, as I have not bought a membership. They do, however, offer some free content, including this song in Moroccan Arabic with transcription/translation.

Arabic Pod 101
I have a yearlong subscription to Arabic Pod 101 and, I have to say, I regret this somewhat. The site/app is highly frustrating due to its lack of clarity as to which materials are available in which dialects. The Absolute Beginner > Survival Phrases are supposed to be focussed on Moroccan Arabic and the Absolute Beginner > Newbie Season 1 also has Moroccan Arabic versions available for every lesson.

Learning Darija in French:

Speak Moroccan Arabic
French version of the Speak Moroccan Arabic site.

Loecsen cours d’arabe marocain
French version of the Loecsen site.