I’m planning a trip to Morocco next April, but I’m not sure whether I should learn French or Arabic – does anyone know which is more widely spoken? Or do I need to learn both?
It’s always nice to be able to talk to people in their own language! Good on you for making the effort. If English is your first language you will find French easier than Arabic because its from the same language group and shares a lot of vocabulary. It also uses the same alphabet. You can supplement your French with a few key words in Arabic, e.g. shukran, merhaba etc. Having said that, unless you are planning an immersion course between now and April, you should be realistic about the amount of French (or Arabic) you will learn between now and then.
Good luck et bonnes vacances !
A bit of Amazigh is also worth learning. The majority of Morocco consists of Mazigh speaking people.
Arabic, albeit a Moroccan dialect, is the most widely spoken, with French a little way behind that. French also tends to be the default language for commerce, economics, education etc while Arabic is more a home and daily life language. I think Arabic might be more useful overall, but you’re likely to find most menus and signs written in both languages, and if you’re mostly staying in big cities you should be able to get by with English and just basic French and/or Arabic if necessary.
Also, kudos for going to the effort of learning the language of the country you’re visiting! Even just a little can make your trip much easier, for both you and the people you interact with…
Hope this helps!
I agree with Robin’s comment above.
In Marrakesh & the major cities – I’d say French.
I bought an arabic phrasebook only to discover all the Souk vendors, restaurant & tour operators spoke French.
It’s worth learning some key Arabic words for those that don’t.
If you’re planning your budget for Morocco. This guide on the cost of Morocco may help.