|Native to||Israel, Morocco, France|
|ca. 260,000 (1992)|
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.
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, 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
- 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