Casablanca- I’ve been to different countries, seen different cultures, faced different traditions and heard different languages. Experience taught me that it is essential to know at least a couple of words in the language of the country you are going to. Every time I travel I try to pick up some basic phrases to communicate with the locals.
It may be very helpful and boost your experience. I also noticed that when you speak (or at least show some effort) in the locals’ language they perceive you in a different way and they are willing to help you. This may be a very, very useful skill when it comes to bargaining.
Darija, the Moroccan dialect is an insane fusion of French and Arabic. The funny thing is that Moroccans do understand other Arab speakers. Other Arab speakers do not understand Moroccans. If you have basic classical Arabic knowledge- no worries you will be easily understood. But if they answer you in the local dialect you may be surprised how distinct those languages are.
I thought I would help you out with the most commonly used words in Morocco. Note that some words may vary in different regions, however the most common ones remain the same. Here we go:
Salam – Hey/ Hello.
Labass/ bekher? – How are you doing? (you may answer hamdoulillah – thanks God everything is ok).
Kolshi mziane? – is everything ok? (you may answer “kolshi mziane”.
B’slama– good bye.
B’saha– a very grateful phrase, which is said when you buy something new, when you get a gift, when you eat and even when you take a shower. It is pretty hard to find an equivalent in any other language. It means something like “na zdrowie” in Polish, “a votre sante” in French. In English it is something like “enjoy your purchase/ meal/ whatever”. The answer to this is Laatek saha. Meaning more or less “the same for you” or “bless you”.
Shoukran bzaff– Thanks a lot (bzaff means “a lot”)
Shwiya– a little bit
Zouin/zouina– beautiful or nice (male/female). Tourists will hear it a lot. Get used to, brace yourselves. It can be said about anything.. weather, clothes, city, etc.
Wakha– OK/ deal/ I agree
Sir bhalek– go away. When someone upsets you, you may say that with no regrets. For more “advanced” curses.
Except all the phrases above you’ll often hear “khouya” or “sahbi“, which means something like “brother”. Moroccans abuse this word (in the positive sense). Whenever you go shopping, eating out, etc., you will hear it many times per day. And the immortal, constantly used “inshallah“- literally “if God wills”. We may translate it as “hopefully” or “I hope”.