Judeo-Moroccan Arabic
Native toIsrael, Morocco, France, Morocco
Native speakers
(ca. 260,000 cited 1992)[1]
Hebrew alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3aju
ELPJudeo-Moroccan Arabic

Judeo-Moroccan Arabic is a variety of the Arabic Language spoken by many Jews living or formerly living in Morocco . Speakers of the language are usually older adults.[2] The young generation of the Jews of Morocco who studied at schools of the Alliance Israelite Universelle under the French protectorate made French their mother tongue.

The vast majority of Moroccan Jews have relocated to Israel and have switched to using Hebrew as their home language. Those who immigrated to metropolitan France typically use French as their first language, while the few still left in Morocco tend to use either French, Moroccan or Judeo-Moroccan Arabic in their everyday lives.

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 (which, like Judeo-Moroccan Arabic, are associated with Maghrebi 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,[3] most of the younger generations speak French as their first language,[citation needed] 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 in 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: שלום עליכם, Shalom ˁaleykhem[citation needed]
Goodbye: בסלמא b'shlaama / בסלמא עליך b'shlaama ˁleek
Thanks: מרסי mersi
Yes: אה, 'ēh
No: לא laa
How are you?: אש כבארך? aas khbaark?
Fine, thank you: לא באס, מרסי laa baas, mersi
Fine / No problems: לא באס laa baas


  1. ^ Judeo-Moroccan Arabic at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Raymond G. Gordon Jr., ed. 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 15th edition. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
  3. ^ "EJP | News | France | Jewish pilgrims flock to Morocco to honour celebrated rabbis". Archived from the original on 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2012-05-17.