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Recipe for Morocco: One cup English, French, Arabic, Spanish, and Berber - Blend on "High" for 500 Years

Here in Morocco, the official language is Moroccan Arabic, but because of all the different influences, you hear and read many different languages. Jasmine and I were visiting the waterfalls in the town of Ouzoud today, and I became very confused because the people all around us were speaking in Arabic, French, Spanish, English, and some of the Berber dialects. Our Moroccan friend Ali is teaching his sons to speak multiple languages, and sometimes they get English and French mixed up. His son will say, "Leave me seul ici," or, "I want some l'eau."

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Learning Arabic
We are staying in a small town with a friend of Ali named Khalid, and his family. Khalid only speaks Arabic and Berber, so I was trying to communicate with him using my Arabic phrasebook. But he didn't understand me because I was using an Egyptian Arabic phrasebook. Arabic is the official language of 23 different countries, but each country has different pronunciations and accents. Khalid didn't understand me because I was using Egyptian Arabic and he only understands Moroccan Arabic. Conversational Arabic sounds like cats purring. To see what Arabic sounds like, make deep, throaty noises and then say "gorsthkhalalman."

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Monica and Bouchra, Khalid's sister
However, even though there are more than 23 ways to speak Arabic, there are only two ways to write it, and they are both very similar. There is Classical Arabic, which comes from the Koran, the holy book of the Islam religion, and Modern Standard Written Arabic, which is the version people use to read and write every day.

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The Berber family we stayed with
Khalid wrote the Arabic alphabet for me and started teaching me. He started by spelling my name in Arabic. I really enjoyed learning. It doesn't matter what language you use every day, it is always neat to learn at least a few phrases of another language.
Some Arabic phrases

es salaem "alekum - "Peace upon you" or "Hello"

wa "alekum es salaem - "And hello to you"

sa"ida - "Greetings"

sabaH el kher - "Good morning"

sabaH el nur - "Good morning to you, too"

misae' el kher - "Good evening"

misae' el nur - "Good evening to you, too"

If you are studying another language right now and don't think it's worth it, think again. You'll be better prepared to trek the world yourself if you can speak an extra language or two. There are so many! Just take your pick: English, Spanish, French, Arabic, German, Italian, Portuguese, Hebrew, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese Chinese, Russian… the list goes on and on. Can you name some that I haven't named? As a group, the world trekkers were able to name 108 different languages.

Best wishes to you, and insha'allah (if God wills it) you'll tune in to the next dispatch from the world trek.


Team - Holy Flying Cow Carpets, Batman!

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