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10 Words You Should Know: Tashelheit

You might be surprised to learn that French isn’t the most widely spoken second language in Morocco. The language(s) that is/are the Amazigh languages of Tamazight, Tashelheit, and Riffian. These languages were once outlawed but were made official again in the Moroccan constitution in 2001. Tashelheit is widely spoken around the Marrakech area, in fact in my neighborhood, knowing a few words in Tashelheit will go further than French. If you plan to visit rural Morocco, it might be helpful to learn a few words. I’ve asked one of our friends who is a native speaker to translate a few things that might come in handy.
  • Hello : azul flak (Said to one person) or azul flawn (to many people) although It is not used by the majority, more used are salam,salam alaicom, akkiaawn rabbi agma (may God help you brother) etc.
  • Thank you: tanmmirt nak or tanmmirt nrabbi (Allah yirham lwalidin) may God have mercy on your parents is more common and is an Arabie expression.
  • You’re welcome: assourf, walo makhef, we also say marhaba
  • Good bye: artufat, Allah ihannikon, abrid n ighudayn (Nice trip or safe road) though everybody would say bessalam or Allah yisahal (may God make It easy)
  • Please: ir astoufit (you’ll hear as well aafak coming from the arabic word aafwan)
  • Can you help me?: gad affous (give a hand) or aawnyi irabbi (help me for god’s sake)
  • I am sorry: samhiyi (we use ssurfi to mean the same)
  • Excuse me: ssurfi, ssurfid
  • Nice to meet you: s waddour tusnank,
  • My name is …..:   nikki gikh ……,or isminou …….
  • Numbers:
  • 1 yan
  • 2 sin
  • 3 krad
  • 4 koz
  • 5 smous
  • 6 sdis
  • 7 sa
  • 8 tam
  • 9 tza
  • 10 mraw

 

These are just a few words that can help you make your way in places where Tashelheit are spoken. I’ve found that Berber women (especially those over 40) rarely speak more than a few words in Arabic and usually speak no French. Being able to at least give a greeting and say a few words has gone a long way in breaking the ice!

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