Without speaking a word of Moroccan Arabic, also known as Darija, I arrived in Rabat. Perceiving the language as rather difficult, I thought communicating with Moroccans would be impossible. Nonetheless, after my first days in Morocco I learned some basic words that would help me to navigate my way in this country.
I was really happy when I finally had my first Darija class at NIMAR, and I was hopeful learning some more. However, soon I realised that Darija – very basic communication set aside – is actually a really hard language to learn. The classes have taught me some of the basics of Darija, but incorporating the language into daily practice remains difficult.
During the course I found out that much of Dutch slang consists of words coming from Darija. So without being aware of it, I already knew some “cool” Moroccan Arabic words. Moreover, I made some Moroccan friends that have taught me Moroccan slang, which comes in very handy on the streets of Rabat, and also when I will be back in The Netherlands. Still, my Darija skills are far from being intermediate. Nevertheless, I feel that even by knowing a little Darija people still appreciate my attempts to speak in their mother tongue. And especially when bargaining over food prices at the market I make the vendors smile. Some even try to help me, and spontaneously start to the explain grammar thoroughly. Their enthusiasm makes me appreciate the language more, and every day I learn new words from them.
Next week I will have my Darija exam and in order to pass it I intend to only speak in Darija when talking to Moroccans. I hope this will help me to receive a good grade, inshallah!