Typical Greetings, as found in “Sarah entre France et Maroc”

A major part of speaking any language is knowing the greeting rituals. If you’re just a tourist, just the usual السلام عليكم\و عليكم السلام should be more than sufficient, with perhaps the occasional لا باس (literally “no problems” — it’s used a bit like ça va? in French) thrown in by people excited to hear you speaking Arabic. If you are visiting/making friends/family, however, the typical greeting goes into some greater detail. I was delighted to find this exchange in the book Sarah entre France et Maroc between two old friends, Valérie and Farida:

فاليري! كِيدَايْرَا؟ : F

F : Valérie! How are you?

رَانِي لاباسْ، فَريدَة، انْتِ لابَاسْ عليكْ؟ : V

V : I’m fine, Farida, how are you? (lit. you no problems on you?)

الحمد لله رَاني لاباسْ، و كيفْ حِيَ صَحَّة عائِلْتَكْ في فْرَنْسا؟ : F

F : Thanks be to God I’m fine, and how is the health of your family in France?

كُلْهُمْ لاباسْ وَرَاهْ كَيْبَلْغُو لكْ السَّلامْ : V

V : Everyone is fine and sends you their greetings.

There is an expectation that you should ask how people’s family is and send your own family’s greetings. This short dialogue serves as an excellent outline for participating in these sorts of greetings.


Ouazzani-Joncoux, Valérie & Leïla Louhibi. Sarah entre France et Maroc. Jeunesse L’Harmattan, 2004.

Even more Darija resources!

Since I last wrote about what Darija resources I was using, I have added quiiiite a number of new books and sites to my rotation. (You’d think I’d be much further along then, wouldn’t you? But, of course, possessing things is not the same as making use of them.) In any case, here’s a rundown of what I’ve since come across:

Books (Instruction)

  • Abdel-Massih, Ernest T. Advanced Moroccan Arabic. MPublishing University of Michigan Library and Center for Near Eastern and North African Studies: University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, 2011. [Available for free from the University of Michigan library (link), it is a reprint of a 1974 edition. It contains over 30 texts with accompanying questions. It does, however, use its very own system of transcription. I’ve only used it a little bit, but I appreciate its existence greatly. I just wish it also contained Arabic script. ]
  • Alami, Wali A. Moroccan Arabic Intermediate Reader. Intensive Language Training Center Indiana University – Bloomington, 1969. [This is an amazing, free resource for those who have already mastered a fair amount of Darija and/or proficient MSA speakers. I wrote more about this resource here.]
  • Jalaly, Az Eddine. Initiation à l’arabe parlé au Maroc. L’Harmattan, 2012. [This French-language instruction book comes with a CD and is written purely in transcription. I’ve included a track from the CD for you to check out.]
  • Muñoz-Cobo, Bárbara Herrero. ¡Habla Árabe Marroquí!: Método para principiantes. Universidad de Almería, 2010. [A Spanish-language resource with a set of 3 CDs. It definitely uses the Northern Moroccan variant for grammar/vocabulary/accent, but is a great resource if you speak Spanish. It mostly uses its own transcription system, but all conversations are also written in Arabic script. I quite like the CDs, but the Spanish can throw me — I sometimes only understand the Spanish through the Darija…. Nevertheless, I think the audio exercises are excellent. I’ve included a track from the CD for you to check out.]
  • Muñoz-Cobo, Bárbara Herrero. Gramática de Árabe Marroquí para Hispano-hablantes. Universidad de Almería, 2010. [A grammar book for hispanophones — I haven’t really used this except for “fun” reading.]
  • Muñoz-Cobo, Bárbara Herrero. Vocabulario Español-Árabe Marroquí. Universidad de Almería, 2010. [Transcribed rather than written in Arabic script, I only use this as a last resort.]

Books (Non-Instructional)

  • García, Francisco Moscoso. Cuentos en dialecto árabe del Norte de Marruecos: Estudio lingüístico, textos y glosario. Universidad de Cádiz, 2007. [This academic book includes eight stories written in the Northern Moroccan dialect (in Arabic script and in transcription, with translations in Spanish). I can’t speak to the linguistic analysis in this as I don’t read Spanish well enough to attempt that. It includes a Darija – Spanish glossary in the back.]
  • Goscinny, René & Jean-Jacques Sempé. Le Petit Nicolas en arabe maghrébin IMAV éditions, 2013. [In Arabic script and a transcription (including a “tableau de transcription), this edition of Le Petit Nicolas includes 9 Petit Nicolas stories in Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian dialects (three stories in each dialect).]
  • نيكولا الصغير بالدارجة

  • Hallaq, Boutros & Yves Gonzales-Quijano. Nouvelles arabes du Maghreb. Langues pour tous, 2015. [This anthology includes two stories by Moroccans — [الشجرة المقدسة] by [محمد زفزاف] and [حكاية الرأس المقطوع] by [محمد برادة] with introductions, notes and translations in French. It also includes a short glossary in the back.]
  • Ouazzani-Joncoux, Valérie & Leïla Louhibi. Sarah entre France et Maroc Jeuness L’Harmattan, 2004. [Destined for children, this book includes vocalizations(!) on its Arabic script. It is a parallel Darija-French text with a few illustrations. It is fantastic for the beginner.]
  • Quitout, Michel. Dictionnaire bilingue des proverbes marocains. L’Harmattan, 1997. [Excellent resource! Moroccans love their proverbs and this is an extensive collection of them. Every entry includes the proverb in Arabic script, a transcription and a translation in French, with equivalent French proverbs where applicable.]


For videos, I really like the 2M channel. Really great, are the short videos Salwa wa Zoubir (سلوى والزبير) produced during Ramadan. They last just 2-3 minutes and feature a couple talking about everyday things. You can understand some things from context even if you don’t know many of the words.

الله مع الصابِرين
God is with the patient (those who are patient).

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!