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Judeo-Moroccan Arabic

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Title: Judeo-Moroccan Arabic  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Saharan Arabic, Varieties of Arabic, Berber languages
Collection: Jews and Judaism in Morocco, Judeo-Arabic Languages, Languages of Israel
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Judeo-Moroccan Arabic

Judeo-Moroccan Arabic
Native to Israel, Morocco, France
Native speakers
ca. 260,000  (1992)[1]
Hebrew alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3 aju
Glottolog jude1265[2]

Judeo-Moroccan Arabic is a variety of Arabic spoken by Jews living or formerly living in Morocco. The vast majority of all current speakers now live in France and Israel. The few speakers remaining in Morocco are usually older adults.[3]


  • History and composition 1
    • Historically 1.1
    • Today 1.2
  • Daily phrases in Judeo-Moroccan 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

History and composition


Widely used in the Jewish community during its long history there, the Moroccan dialect of Judeo-Arabic has many influences from languages other than Arabic, including Spanish (due to the close proximity of Spain), Haketia or Moroccan Judeo-Spanish, due to the influx of Sephardic refugees from Spain after the 1492 expulsion, and French (due to the period in which Morocco was colonized by France), and, of course, the inclusion of many Hebrew loanwords and phrases (a feature of all Jewish languages). The dialect has considerable mutual intelligibility with Judeo-Tunisian Arabic, and some with Judeo-Tripolitanian Arabic, but almost none with Judeo-Iraqi Arabic.


The vast majority of Morocco's 265,000 Jews emigrated to Israel after 1948, with significant emigration to Europe (mainly France) and North America as well. Although about 3,000 Jews remain in Morocco today,[4] most of the younger generations speak French as their first language, rather than Arabic, and their Arabic is more akin to Moroccan Arabic than to Judeo-Arabic. There are estimated to be 8,925 speakers in Morocco, mostly Casablanca and Fes, and 250,000 in Israel (where speakers reported bilingualism with Hebrew). Most speakers, in both countries, are elderly. There is a Judeo-Arabic radio program on Israeli radio.

Daily phrases in Judeo-Moroccan

Hello: שלמה šlāma / שלמה עליכ šlāma ʿlik
Goodbye: בשלמה bšlāma / בשלמה עליכ bšlāma ʿlik
Thanks: מרסי mersi
Yes: ייוה ēywa
No: לא lā
How are you?: אשכברכ? āš iḫbark?
Fine, thank you: לבש, מרסי lābaš, mersi
Fine / No problems: לבש lābaš


  1. ^ Judeo-Moroccan Arabic at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Judeo-Moroccan Arabic". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Raymond G. Gordon, Jr, ed. 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 15th edition. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
  4. ^


  • Jewish Language Research Website: Judeo-Arabic
  • Heath, Jeffrey, Jewish and Muslim dialects of Moroccan Arabic (Routledge Curzon Arabic linguistics series): London, New York, 2002.
  • Stories in Judeo-Arabic by David Bensoussan

External links

  • Reka Kol Israel radio station broadcasting a daily program in Judeo-Moroccan (Mugrabian)
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