Morocco has more Spanish speakers than any other non-Spanish speaking country except the US.
Rabat – Spain’s Instituto Cervantes found that 1.7 million Moroccans have mastered Spanish.
In a new 2018 report, the Spanish non-profit cultural institution ranks Morocco second only to the United States in the number of Spanish speakers for a non-Spanish speaking country.
The number includes Moroccans who received professional training in Spanish, those who learned Spanish in primary school, and others who pursued studies at Cervantes centers across Morocco.
More than 22,000 Moroccan Spanish speakers live in Morocco’s southern provinces, which Spain colonized from 1884 to 1975.
The study emphasized that Spanish is the fourth most-spoken language in the world with 577 million Spanish speakers, including 480 million who speak it as their mother tongue.
On a global scale, Spanish ranks only behind English, Mandarin Chinese, and French. Arabic is the fifth most spoken language.
Instituto Cervantes asserted that it had spent two years gathering the data and noted the lack of attention that Moroccan universities pay to Spanish compared to other foreign languages used in the country such as French and English.
In Morocco, French remains the dominant foreign language, owing to 44 years of French rule from 1912 to 1956.
The two official languages in Morocco are Arabic and Tamazight (Berber).
When it comes to the mastery of the English language, Morocco’s proficiency is considered “very low” according to Education First’s (EF) 2018 English Proficiency Index.
Morocco ranked 60th out of 88 countries with a score of 48.10.
Morocco’s score of 48.10 represents an incremental improvement from the EF’s 2017 report, which scored the country with 47.91. Women who were tested in Morocco scored 50.50 on average, whereas their male counterparts scored 46.44.