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Number (continued)

Masculine plural

There are other less frequent ways to make the plural, such as:

  • wəld, olad - boy, boys
  • naḥla, nḥal - bee, bees
  • raís, rwasá - president, presidents
  • baša, bašawat - mayor, mayors
  • ṭaləb, alaba - student, students
  • jatəm, jwatəm - ring, rings
  • kattəb, kottab - writer, writers

Feminine plural

In order to make feminine plural words, we add -t to the singular. Neologisms often add -at. And words ending in a vowel other than -a add -wat.

  • kəlba, kəlbat - female dog, female dogs
  • kamyun, kamyunat - truck, trucks
  • nibira, nibirat - fridge, fridges
  • radyo, radyowat - radio, radios
  • biro, birowat - office, offices

There are exceptions to this rule. Feminine singular words that end in a consonant (and are not neologisms) have irregular plurals.

  • bab, biban - door, doors
  • nafs, nofos - soul, souls
  • ḥarb, ḥorob - war, wars
  • dar, dyor - house, houses
  • bənt, bnat - girl, girls

Source: Herrero Muñoz-Cobo, Bárbara. Gramática de árabe marroquí para hispano-hablantes.

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Number (continued)

Masculine plural

Type e) ____a > [1][2]a[3]ə[4]

  • madrasa - school
  • mdarəs - schools
  • marba - divan
  • marəb - divans

Type f) [1]a[2] > [1]i[2]an

  • ŷar - neighbor
  • ŷiran - neighbors
  • kas - drinking-glass
  • kisan - drinking-glasses

Type g) ____a > [1][2]a[3]i

  • maqla - frying pan
  • mqali - frying pans
  • zarbiya - rug
  • zrabi - rugs

Type h) hispanicism ending in -o > singular + s

  • bolso - purse
  • bolsos - purses
  • lado - ice cream
  • lados - ice creams

Type i) professions; [1]ə[2][2]a[3] > [1]ə[2][2]a[3]a. The plural of these words can also be made following type b rules.

  • ŷŷar - carpenter
  • naŷŷara, naŷŷarin - carpenters
  • arraf - shoemaker
  • arrafa, arrafin - shoemakers

I’ll explain irregular masculine plurals and the feminine plural in the next post!

Source: Herrero Muñoz-Cobo, Bárbara. Gramática de árabe marroquí para hispano-hablantes.

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Moroccan Arabic has three numbers: singular, dual and plural.

The dual is used with units of measurement, quantity and time. It’s made by adding “ən” to masculine nouns, adjectives and participles, and “tən” to feminine ones.

  • šahr - month
  • šahrən - two months
  • sana - year
  • sanatən - two years

Making plurals is more complex. In order to explain the types of plural, we’ll asign numbers to each consonant in a word. For instance, in the word “ktab” (book), /k/ is consonant number 1, /t/ is number 2, and /b/ is number 3.

Masculine plural

These are the most common ways to make the masculine plural:

Type a) [1][2]a[3] > [1][2]o[3]a

  • dkar - man, male
  • dkora - men, males
  • ktab - book
  • ktoba - books

Type b) mo____ > mo____in

  • mo’alləm - teacher
  • mo’alləmin - teachers
  • momattil - actor
  • momattilin - actors

Type c) [1]vowel[2][3] > [1][2]o[3]

  • qalb - heart
  • qlob - hearts
  • dars - lesson
  • dros - lessons

Type d) [1]vowel[2][3]vowel[4] > [1][2]a[3]ə[4]

  • məftaḥ - key
  • mfatəḥ - keys
  • kabboṭ - coat
  • kbabə- coats

I’ll explain the rest of the types in the next post!

Source: Herrero Muñoz-Cobo, Bárbara. Gramática de árabe marroquí para hispano-hablantes.

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Marhaban bikum, and welcome to the queen of darija blog where we will be learning the Moroccan dialect of Arabic together in shaa’ allah.

Before starting to learn any of the words, I will introduce you to the transcription system that we will use for the Arabic equivalent. There are several ways of transcribing the Arabic letters into its Latin equivalents, but this particular one is a standard one, used by the American Peace Corps in their textbooks. 

  • a
  • b the normal English sound /b/
  • d the normal English sound /d/
  • e the short “e” sound /e/ as in “met” (this transcription character is not used often, only when confusion would be caused by using the transcription character “a”)
  • f the normal English sound /f/
  • g the normal English sound /g/ as in “go”
  • h the normal English sound /h/ as in “hi.”
  • i the long “ee” sound /ē/ as in “meet”
  • j the /zh/ sound represented by the „s‟ in “pleasure”
  • k the normal English sound /k/
  • l the normal English sound /l/
  • m the normal English sound /m/
  • n the normal English sound /n/
  • o the long “o” sound /ō/ as in “bone” (this transcription character is not used often, mainly for French words that have entered Moroccan Arabic)
  • p the normal English sound /p/
  • r this is not the normal English “r,” but a “flap” similar to the Spanish “r” 
  • s the normal English sound /s/
  • t the normal English sound /t/
  • u the long “oo” sound /ü/ as in “food”
  • v the normal English sound /v/
  • w the normal English sound /w/
  • y the normal English sound /y/
  • z the normal English sound /z/
  • š the normal English sound /sh/ as in “she”
  • Some vowel combinations
  • ay the “ay” as in “say”
  • au the “ow” as in “cow”
  • iu the “ee you” as in “see you later”
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About me - in Darija

[For those who want to read a short and simple text in Darija to learn some basic vocabulary or to simply see how it is different from Fusha, here is an introduction I wrote about myself for my dialect class. I included vocabulary that might be useful at the end of the text. Corrections welcome!]


smiti alcantrez, 3andi wahid ou 3echrine 3am ou ana men medina sghira hda Karlsruhe f janoub dial almanya. Walkin jit l’Marburg hda Frankfurt hadi 3amayn hit kont bghit nqra ladab l3rabi tmmak. Jouj marat f ch’har kansafer l’medina diali hit bghit nzor 3aila diali. 3andi ghir akh wahed, smitu John ou 3andu tmentach 3am. Houa talib f lmedressa ou bgha yqra 3oloum dial seyasa moura l’medressa. Hit key3jebnj nsafer bzaff safert l Nouvelle Zélande moura lmedressa ou bqit tmmak l’3am kamel ou khedmat ou safert. Walkin hta kat3jebni lmakla lmaghrebia bzaff ou Hamdoulillah kanqra daba f lmaghreb ou ghadi nebqa hna l’3am kamel hit ghadi nqra Darija ou arabia Fusha hna f Rabat. Hna key3jebni nachrab qahwa m3a sshabi f Agdal ou hta mchit l’bhar m3oum semana lli fatet. ou hta bghit nsafer bzaff f l’maghreb hit houa zween bzaff ou inchallah ghadi nemchi lbzaff dial lmodon. Ou ghadi nsafer hta l Tiznit f ljanoub hit sshabi kamlin men tmmak.


Smit - name

Hda - near

Dial - of

3ndi…. 3am - I am … years old

Walkin- but

Hadi 3amayn - two years ago

Hit kont bghit nqra - because I wanted to study

Qrit/kanqra - I studied/ study

Tmmak - there

Ghir - only

Moura lmedressa - after school

Bzaff - a lot

Key3jebni - I like him/it (lit. He/it pleases me)

Bqit/kanebqa- I stayed/stay

3am kamel - an entire year

Khedmat/kankhadem - I worked/work

Hta - too, as well, also (hta ana- me too)

lmakla lmaghrebia - Moroccan food

Daba - now

Ghadi nebqa - I will stay

Sshabi - my friends

Semana lli fatet - last week (lit. The week that has passed)

Zween - nice, beautiful

Sshabi kamlin - all my friends

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