Judeo-Moroccan Arabic

Judeo-Moroccan Arabic
Native to Israel, Morocco, France, Algeria
Native speakers
ca. 260,000 (1992)[1]
Hebrew alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3 aju
Glottolog jude1265[2]

Judeo-Moroccan Arabic is a variety of the Arabic Language spoken by Jewish people living or formerly living in Morocco and Algeria. Speakers of the language are usually older adults.[3]

The vast majority of Moroccan Jews and Algerian Jews have relocated to Israel and have switched to using Hebrew in as their home language. Those in France typically use French as their first language, while the few still left in Morocco and Algeria tend to use either French, Moroccan or Algerian 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, 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,[4] 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 עליך šlāma ʿlik
Goodbye: בשלמה bšlāma / בשלמה עליך bšlāma ʿlik
Thanks: מרסי mersi
Yes: ייוה ēywa
No: לא lā
How are you?: אשכברך? āš iḫbark?
Fine, thank you: לבש, מרסי lābas, mersi
Fine / No problems: לבש lābas


  1. Judeo-Moroccan Arabic at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Judeo-Moroccan Arabic". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Raymond G. Gordon, Jr, ed. 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 15th edition. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
  4. http://www.ejpress.org/article/58013


External links

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