A guide to useful phrases in Morocco

Although French and Spanish are widely understood in Morocco, as well as English in most tourism hubs, picking up a little of the local lingo is always a wise choice. Moroccan Arabic features a few differences from its linguistic cousins further east, but don’t fret, it’s quite an easy task to pick up a few useful phrases to bandy about during your stay.

Although knowing some of the more local terminology will definitely distinguish you as a savvy holidaymaker, don’t be shy in breaking out any of the French you picked up in school or during your travels elsewhere. Moroccans grow up multilingual and French is one of the national languages of the country.

There are a few key differences in pronunciation and terminology of Arabic in Morocco. That’s because their unique position on the map, as well as cultural interactions with the French, Spanish and Portuguese in centuries past, has imbued this form of Arabic, known as Moroccan Darija, with its own individuality.

It even makes the language entirely distinct from the forms of Arabic used in nearby Tunisia and Algeria. Nevertheless, once you’ve got the basics under your belt, you’ll be surprised at how easily the Moroccan language flows through you. And with such friendly locals to lend a helping hand, you won’t be left wanting for linguistic buddies.

Common Moroccan phrases

Hello – Salam (Sal-am)
Goodbye – Beslama (Bess-lah-mah)
Nice to meet you – Tasharafna (Tash-ah-raff-nah)
Thank you – Shukran (Shuck-ran)
How are you? – Keef dayer? (Keef day-err)
I’m fine – Koulshi labas (Cool-shee lab-as)
What’s your name? – Ashno smytek? (Ash-no smy-teck)
My name’s… – Smyti… (Smy-tee)
Excuse me (to a male) – Smahli (Smah-lee)
Excuse me (to a female) – Smahaliya (Smah-ha-lee-yah)
Pardon me/Sorry – Smehlia (Smeh-lee-ah)
Yes – Naam (Na-am)
No – Laa (La-ah)
Do you understand? (to a male) – Fimt? (Fimt)
Do you understand? (to a female) – Fimti? (Fim-tee)
Please – Afak (Af-ack)


Zero – Zero/Sifr (Sif-ur)
One – Wahed (Wah-ed)
Two – Juj (Jooj)
Three – Tlaata (T-la-ah-ta)
Four – Arba (Ar-bah)
Five – Khamsa (Kam-sah)
Six – Setta (Set-tah)
Seven – Sebaa (Seb-aah)
Eight – Teminya (Tem-in-yah)
Nine – Ts’ud (Teh-suh-ud)
Ten – Ashraa (Ash-rah-ah)

Out and about

Here – Hna (Huh-nah)
There – Temma (Tem-mah)
Where is…? – Fayen ja (Fay-en jah)
Is it far? – Wash lblassa beaida? (Wash lub-lass-ah be-ah-idah)
What time is it? – Shehale fe saea? (Sheh-ah-leh feh sah-eh-ah)
Straight ahead – Nishan (Nish-ann)
Left – Sh-shmal (Shush-mal)
Right – L-limen (Lul-im-en)
Hotel – Hotel (Ho-tell)
House – Dar (Dar)

Eating out

May I see the menu? – Menu afak (Men-yoo aff-ack)
I’d like… – Bghit… (Bug-hit)
Do you have…? – Wash andek (Wash an-deck)
This one – Hada (Had-ah)
That one – Hadak (Had-ack)
Cheap – Rhkis (Rook-iss)
Expensive – Ghali (Guh-hali)
The bill – L-hsab (Le hss-ab)
To eat – Kol (Koll)
To drink – Shreb (Shreb)

Food and Drink terms

Water – Lmaa (Lum-aah)
Tea – Atay (At-ay)
Coffee – Qahwah (Qwah-wah)
Caffe latte – Noos-noos (Noos noos – literally means half and half)
Bread – Khobz (Cobs)
Salad – Shlada (Shh-lah-dah)
Fish – Hoot (Hoot)
Meat – Lhem (Luh-hem)
Lamb – Khroof (Kuh-roof)
Chicken – Djaaj (Duj-aah-jh)
Rice – Rooz (Rooz)
Egg – Beyd (Bayd)
Fruit – Fawakeh (Fah-wah-keh)
Vegetables – Khodra (Kho-dra)
Soup – Hrira (Hree-rah)