Moroccan Arabic Lesson: Changing Your Point of View

Today's clip is from the Moroccan web series "Wake up!" featuring Ilyas Sheikh Sar. This clip is taken from an episode explaining the importance of Prayer in Islam. In this section, Sheikh Sar explains that it's our perspective towards something that defines how much we enjoy it that thing. This clip features a lot of excellent vocabulary and phrases.

The language in this clip is as typically Moroccan as one can find. Try watching the video several times and repeating the sentences after Sheikh Sar has said them to try and pick up the rhythm of Moroccan speech.

If you like this post, be sure to share it with your friends and check out the rest of our Moroccan Arabic video lessons here!


Moroccan Arabic Lesson: Good Morning!

Today's clip is from the Moroccan film The Second Marriage (2011). The film portrays Habiba, a widow, as she adjusts to normal life after mourning her husbands' passing. In this clip, she wakes up her youngest son, Ghali, to ask him to accompany her on a walk along the beach. The video introduces us to important everyday vocabulary, like: "to wake up", "to sleep", "get up", "laundry", and "please".


Moroccan Arabic Lesson: Ramadan's Importance

Today's clip is from the Moroccan web series "Wake up!" featuring Sheikh Sar Ilyas. Sheikh Sar is a rapper and rising star among young, religiously conscious Moroccans. This clip is taken from the introductory episode of his web series which aired this past Ramadan. It features a nice discussion of the importance of Ramadan.

Sheikh Sar speaks clearly, and uses an accent and cadence that is typical to young Moroccans. Try listening to the video multiple times and repeat each sentence after him to try to pick up the rhythm of Moroccan speech.

Be sure to check out all of our Moroccan Arabic video tutorials and review lessons! Click here for a complete list.


Moroccan Arabic Lesson: What Moroccan Women Like in Men

In this news report by the Moroccan Internet TV station Chouf TV, Moroccan women talk about what they look for in men. This post introduces us to a lot of useful phrases related to personal qualities and description. Click here to watch its companion video, in which Moroccan men talk about what they look for in women.

Moroccan Arabic Lesson: What Moroccan Men Like in Women (VIDEO)

In this news report by the Moroccan Internet TV channel Chouf TV, Moroccan men talk about what they look for in Moroccan women. This clip gives us an interesting look into Moroccan male's differing standards of beauty, as well as introducing us to various personal qualities and descriptions.

This video also features many useful phrases like and includes many examples of how to say "I like" in Moroccan Arabic.

The background music in this clip is Egyptian singer Tamer Hosni's hit song, A7san 7aga, or "The Best Thing about you".


Moroccan Arabic Lesson: I love the smell of the rain

This clip is from a Moroccan film called The Five Seasons which depicts how the lives of three sisters change after the sudden death of their father. In this scene Hanan, the youngest sister, is sitting in the park in Casablanca when an older woman takes a seat next her. Hanan, who is blind, starts talking to her about how she uses her sense of smell to tell where she is and how the woman's smell reminds her of her grandmother.


The Difference Between Moroccan Dirhams and Riyals (VIDEO)

Photo by Martin Kalfatovic

There are two currency systems used in Morocco. One is that of the dirham, the official Moroccan currency that is printed on bills and coins. The other currency is the riyal, an old Moroccan currency which is no longer exists, but is still used by Moroccans to value purchases both small and large. 1 dirham is equal to 20 riyals. 

In other words, the riyal is to the dirham, as the nickel is to the dollar. Only, imagine that nickels no longer existed in reality, but stayed in our minds as a way to describe the prices of things. So, the money in your pocket would be dollars, and you would use dollars to buy everything, but you think of prices in nickels.

Understanding the relationship between dirhams and riyals is key to making sense of Morocco's marketplaces. Knowing that sometimes the prices you hear are riyals and not dirhams can save you both money and frustration.

Moroccan Arabic Video Lesson: You didn't tell me... (VIDEO)

For this lesson, we have a scene from the Moroccan romantic comedy Shlu7 bghaha Fassiyya, or "A Berber Guy who Loves a Fessi Girl." A cute movie, it uses a love story to explore some of the social tensions that arise between ethnically Berber and ethnically Arab Moroccans. The scene we'll study is when both characters start to reveal their affections for one another.

In the clip, Rashid, the Berber guy, and Kenza, the Fessi girl, start to investigate the possibility of them getting married by asking about each other's family. They then continue with some small talk about visiting Rashid's family, when, at the end of the clip, Rashid makes his desire to marry Kenza clear.

Click below for a word by word translation of this video and an explanation of key vocabulary words.

Moroccan Arabic Lesson: Is Marriage Necessary? (VIDEO)

This video clip is from a documentary that aired on Moroccan television which interviewed several Moroccans in their 60s about life, society and their hopes for the future. In this segment we hear a woman speak about marriage and the question of whether marriage is necessary.

This video gives us an interesting look at the Moroccan view of marriage as well as featuring several important words and phrases for beginning Moroccan Arabic students.

Click below for a word by word translation of this video and an explanation of key vocabulary words.


Moroccan Arabic Lesson: What are you doing? (VIDEO)

Here is a clip from the Moroccan romantic comedy: A Berber Guy who Love a Fessi Girl. Here we see Rachid talk to Ma3allim 3ddi, an old builder, in his town. Rachid is an architect and doubts Ma3allim 3addi's credibility. Rachid's father appears towards the end of the clip to try to set his son straight.

This clip is a great example of conversational Moroccan Arabic, featuring good small talk and several useful phrases and vocabulary terms.

Click below for a word by word translation of this video and an explanation of key vocabulary words.

Moroccan Arabic Lesson: Is this the End? (VIDEO)

This clip is from a Documentary that interviewed Moroccans in their 60s about their views on life, society and politics. The video below comes from the end of the film when the interviewees are reflecting on their advanced age and what it means to be approaching the end of their lifetimes.

Click below for a word by word translation of this video and an explanation of key vocabulary words.

Moroccan Arabic Lesson: I'd love to... (VIDEO)

Here is a clip from a documentary featuring Moroccans in their 60s speaking about their views on life, society and the future. In this clip, a woman talks about money and what she'd like to do with hers in the future. This clip is good for beginning Moroccan Arabic students as it features verbs in the present tense and negation.

Click below for a word by word translation of this video and an explanation of key vocabulary words.


Moroccan Arabic Lesson: The Conditional Tense

The Conditional Tense

Like Standard Arabic, Moroccan Arabic has two conditional tenses. The first describes possible conditional actions and uses the particle ila - إلا - translated as "if". The second describes impossible conditional actions and uses the phrase lo kan - لو كان - translated as "if… were". 

Possible Conditional Actions

In English, conditional sentences have two parts: the "if" which is answered by a "then". The same is true in Moroccan Arabic. The particle ila is the "if" and should be followed immediately by a past tense verb. The "then" which responds to ila is a verbal phrase that can be in the past, present, future or imperative tenses:

إلا مشيتي ل البرة جيبني شي كادو
ila mshiti l lbrra, jibni shi cadeaux

If you go abroad, bring me a souvenir.

إلا بغيتي تشري شي زربية غنمشي معك
ila bghiti tshri shi zirbiyya, sir 3nd sa7bi

If you want to buy a carpet, I'll go with you.

إلا كنتي مريضة غنسوني الطبيب
ila kunti marida ghansone attabib

If you're sick, I'll call the doctor.

Impossible Conditional Actions

Impossible conditional actions follow the same two-part form, also like what we have in English. However, unlike ila, lo kan is used at the beginning of both parts of the sentence and is always followed by a past tense verb:

لو كان عرفت بلي أنت للي سنيتي عليّ لو كان جوّبتك
lo kan 3rft blli anta lli soniti 3lya lo kan jawwabtik

If I'd known it was you who was who called me, then I would have answered.

لو كان باغي يزورني لو كان زرني
lo kan baghi yzurni lo kan zarni  

If he had wanted to visit me, then he would have visited me.

لو كان كنت خدّام لو كان جمعت شي فلوس
lo kan kunt khaddam lo kan jma3t shi fulus

If I had been working I would have saved some money.


Want more? Click here for a list of all of our Moroccan Arabic lessons.

Moroccan Arabic Lesson: There is

"There is"

The word kayn كاين is used to mean "there is" and more generally to express something's existence or presence in a given situation, or lack thereof. This is the equivalent of fi في in other Arabic Dialects:

واش كاين شي خبز؟
wash kain shi khobz?

Is there any bread?

لا الخبز ماكاينش
la lkhobz makainsh 

No, there's no bread.

كاينة كنزة أو لا ماكايناش؟
kaina kenza o la makainash? 

Is Kenza there [or is she not]?


Want more? Click here for a list of all of our Moroccan Arabic lessons.

Moroccan Arabic Lesson: "I need to", "I should"

"I need to", "I should" ... 

The verb khass خصّ expresses "to need", "should", or "must". It is always in the past tense and is negated by the ma prefix and sh suffix: 

I need khassni - خصّني
You (m.) need khassik - خصّك
You (f.) need khassik - خصّك
She needs khassha - خصّها
He needs khasso - خصّو
We need khassna - خصّنا
You (pl.) need khasskom - خصّكم 
They need khasshom - خصّهم

خصّك تسوني ماماك
khassik tsone mamak

You should call your mother.

غير خصّو شي شوية ديال فلوس باش يبدأ مشروع ديالو
ghair khasso shi shwiya diyal fulus bash ybda mashru3 diyalo. 

He only needs a little money so he can start his project.

ماخصّكش تقول داكشي
makhassiksh tgol dakshi

You shouldn't say that.

Using kan before khass places it in the past tense:

كان خصّني نمشي ل المدرسة اليوما
kan khassni nimshi li lmadrasa lyoma 

I should have gone to school today.


Want more? Click here for a list of all of our Moroccan Arabic lessons.

Moroccan Arabic Lesson: I've Never

"I've never…"

The preposition 3mmer with pronoun suffix and used with a past tense verb means "ever" and it's negative form means "never". It is negated just with ma. This is similar to 3mri ma عمري ما as used in other Arabic Dialects:

I've ever 3mmerni - عمّرني
You've (m.) ever 3mmrek - عمّرك
You've (f.) ever 3mmrek - عمّرك
She's ever 3mmerha - عمّرها
He's ever 3mmro - عمّرو
We've ever 3mmerna - عمّرنا
You've (pl.) ever 3mmerkom - عمّركم 
They've ever 3mmerhom - عمّرهم

واش عمّرك مشيتي فاس؟
wash 3mmerik mshiti fes? 

Have you ever been to Fes?

When negated, 3mmer expresses never having done something:

ما عمّرني كليت الحوت
ma3mmerni klit l7ot. 

I've never eaten fish.


Want more? Click here for a list of all of our Moroccan Arabic lessons.

Moroccan Arabic Lesson: To have

To Have

Like Standard Arabic, the preposition 3nd عند means "to have" in Moroccan Arabic:

I have 3ndi - عندي
You (m.) have 3ndik - عندك
You (f.) have 3ndik - عندك
She has 3ndha - عندها
He has 3ndho - عنده
We have 3ndna - عندنا
You (pl.) have 3ndkom - عندكم
They have 3ndhom - عندهم

عندي جوج خوتي
3ndi jouj khoti 

I have two brothers.

ماعندكمش داكشي للي بغيت
ma3ndkomsh dakshi lli bghit 

You (pl.) don't have what I want.


Want more? Click here for a list of all of our Moroccan Arabic lessons.

Moroccan Arabic Review: Present Tense Verbs

Grammar Review: The Present Tense

Verb conjugation in Moroccan Arabic is almost identical to Standard Arabic, with a notable exceptions. 

The first is that present tense verbs have two prefixes. One is either the letter ta - ت - or ka - ك . Both are interchangeable and their usage irregular. This prefix is always at the beginning of the verb, before the subject prefixes. These letters are like the ba used in Egyptian Arabic.

The subject prefixes are the letters we all know that indicate the subject of the present tense verb. These are all identical to those in Standard Arabic, except for the First Person which uses n - ن - instead of alif. 

Regular Verbs

Regular verbs are verbs that have three consonant letters as their root. Here is a chart showing the present tense conjugation using the verb safara - سافر - "to travel". 

I travel: ana kansafr - أنا كنسافر
You (m.) travel: anta katsafr - أنت كتسافر
You (f.) travel: anti katsafri - أنت كتسافري
She travels: hiya katsafr - هي كتسافر
He travels: howa kaysafr - هو كيسافر
We travel: 7na kansafro - حنا كنسافرو
You (pl.) travel: antuma katsafro - أنتما كتسافرو
They travel: homa kaysafro - هما كيسافرو

As mentioned above, you could also use ta in the place of ka.

All regular verbs are conjugated along these lines.

Irregular Verbs

There are three types of irregular verbs in Moroccan Arabic: verbs that end in a long vowel, verbs whose middle letter is an alif, and verbs with two letters with shedda.

Group 1

The long vowel of verbs in this group, like qra - قرى - "to study", msha - مشى - "to go", and shra - شرى - "to buy", it becomes either an alif - ا - or ya - ي - in all singular verb forms. These differences can be learn through practice. In the plural forms - "we", "you all", "they" - the long vowel is merged with waw - و :

msha - مشى - "to go" 

I go: ana kanimshi - أنا كنمشي
You (m.) go: anta katimshi - أنتَ كتمشي
You (f.) go: anti katimshi - أنتِ كتمشي
She goes: hiya katimshi - هي كتمشي
He goes: howa kayimshi - هو كيمشي
We go: 7na kanimshiaw - حنا كنمشيو
You (pl.) go: antuma katimshiaw - أنتما كتمشيو
They go: homa kayimshiaw - هما كيمشيو

Group 2

The alif in these verbs becomes either a waw - و , ya - ي , or remains an alif - ا. This corresponds to the short vowels used in these verbs' past tense forms. These differences can be learned through practice:

shaf - شاف - "to see"

I see: ana kanshuf - أنا كنشوف
You (m.) see: anta katshuf - أنتَ كتشوف
You (f.) see: anti katshufi - أنتِ كتشوفي
She sees: hiya katshuf - هي كتشوف
He sees: howa kayshuf - هو كيشوف
We see: 7na kanshufo - حنا كنشوفو
You (pl.) see: antuma katshufo - أنتما كتشوفو
They see: homa kayshufo - هما كيشوفو

Group 3

Verbs with a doubled last letter - shedda - behave like regular verbs in the present tense:

7ass - ّحس - "To feel"

I feel: ana kan7ass - أنا كنحس
You (m.) feel: anta kat7ass - أنتَ كتحس
You (f.) feel: anti kat7assi - أنتِ كتحسي
She feels: hiya kat7ass - هي كتحس
He feels: howa kay7ass - هو كيحس
We feel: 7na kan7asso - حنا كنحسو
You (pl.) feel: antuma kat7asso - أنتما كتحسو
They feel: homa kay7asso - هما كيحسو

The Subjunctive Mood

Present tense verbs go into the subjunctive when they come after certain prepositions, like bash, particles, or come after other verbs. In the subjunctive (and sometimes elsewhere), the ta or ka prefix is dropped:

بغيت ناكل دبا
bghit nakol dba

I want to eat now.

غنسوني عليك باش نتعرف عليك
ghansone 3laik bash nt3rraf 3laik

I'm going to call you so we can get to know each other.


Want more? Click here for a list of all of our Moroccan Arabic lessons.

Moroccan Arabic Lesson: Past Tense Verbs

The past tense in Moroccan Arabic is almost identical to the past tense in Standard Arabic with these exceptions:

  • The first person - "I" - ending is silentThe 3rd person male - "he" - ending is also silent.
  • Both the male and female 2nd person - "you" - endings have a long sound. So in the 2nd person, verbs are conjugated the same for both men and women.
  • The 3rd person male - "he" - ending is also silent.
  • The plural "you" ending - "you all" - is too.
Regular Verbs

Here is the regular verb safara - سافر - conjugated in the past tense:

I traveled: ana safart - أنا سافرتْ
You (m.) traveled: anta safarti - أنتَ سافرتِ
You (f.) traveled: anti safarti - أنتِ سافرتِ
She traveled: hiya safarat - هي سافرت 
He traveled: howa safar - هو سافر
We traveled: 7na safarna - حنا سافرنا 
You (pl.) traveled: antuma safarto - أنتما سافرتو 
They traveled: homa safaro - هما سافرو

All regular verbs are conjugated along these lines. Regular verbs are verbs that have three consonant letters as their root.

Irregular Verbs

There are three types of irregular verbs in Moroccan Arabic: verbs that end in a long vowel, verbs whose middle letter is an alif, and verbs with two letters with shedda.

Group 1

Verbs in this group, like qra - قرى - "to study", msha - مشى - "to go", and shra - شرى - "to buy", 'lose' their final long vowel in 1st and 2nd person past tense forms, where it becomes a ya - ي :

msha - مشى - "to go" 

I went: ana mshit - أنا مشيت
You (m.) went: anta mshiti - أنتَ مشيتِ
You (f.) went: anti mshiti - أنتِ مشيتِ
She went: hiya mshat - هي مشات
He went: howa msha - هو مشى
We went: 7na mshina - حنا مشينا
You (pl.) went: antuma mshito - أنتما مشيتو
They went: homa msho - هما مشو

Group 2

Verbs in this group, like shaf - شاف - "to see" and khaf - خاف - "to be afraid", lose their alif in the 1st and 2nd person past tense forms. The alif becomes either a short a, i, or u sound depending on the verb. These differences can be learned through practice.

In the verb shaf, the long vowel becomes a short :

shaf - شاف - "to see"

I saw: ana shuft - أنا شُفت
You (m.) saw: anta shufti - أنتَ شُفتِ
You (f.) saw: anti shufti - أنتِ شُفتِ
She saw: hiya shaft - هي شافت
He saw: howa shaf - هو شاف
We saw: 7na shufna - حنا شُفنا
You (pl.) saw: antuma shufto - أنتما شُفتو
They saw: homa shafo - هما شافو

Whereas, with khaf it becomes a short :

khaf - - "to be afraid"

I was afraid: ana khift - أنا خِفت
You (m.) were afraid: anta khifti - أنتَ خِفتِ
You (f.) were afraid: anti khifti - أنتِ خِفتِ
She was afraid: hiya khaft - هي خافت
He was afraid: howa khaf - هو خاف
We were afraid: 7na khifna - حنا خِفنا
You (pl.) were afraid: antuma khifto - أنتما خِفتو
They were afraid: homa khafo - هما خافو

Group 3

Verbs in this group have two of the same letters 'joined' by shedda, like dhanna - ظنّ - "to think (i.e. to believe)" and 7ass - حسّ - "to feel". Unlike Standard Arabic, in Moroccan Arabic the shedda is maintained in the past tense and a long ya - ي - is added before the 1st and 2nd person verb endings:

7ass - حسّ - "to feel"

I felt: ana 7ssit - أنا حسّيت
You (m.) felt: anta 7ssiti - أنتَ حسّيتِ
You (f.) felt: anti 7ssiti - أنتِ حسّيتِ
She felt: hiya 7ssat - هي حسّات
He felt: howa 7ass - ّهو حس
We felt: 7na 7ssina - حسّينا
You (pl.) felt: antuma 7ssito - انتما حسّيتو
They felt: homa 7asso - هما حسّو


Want more? Click here for a list of all of our Moroccan Arabic lessons.

Moroccan Arabic Lesson: Negation

Grammar Review: Negation

In Moroccan Arabic, words are negated by the particle mashi - ماشي - which is used by itself sometimes but mostly is used as a contraction as we see in mataybqash - ماتيبقاش

When mashi is used by itself, it typically precedes what it negates:

ماشي أنا للي كليت الخبز    
mashi ana lli klit lkhobz 
It wasn't me who ate the bread.
When used as a contraction, mashi is broken up into ma - ما - and sh - شma is added to the beginning of the word and sh is added to the end. Sometimes this can lead to very strange sounding phrases:

فيّا جوع والله ماتغدّيتش اليوما
fiyya ju3... wallahi mataghadditsh lyoma  

I'm hungry... I swear, I didn't have lunch today!

In the case of a double negative, the sh is dropped:

مسكين ماعندو حتى ريال
meskin ma3ndo 7ta riyal 

Poor guy, he doesn't even have a riyal (old Moroccan currency with little value).


Want more? Click here for a list of all of our Moroccan Arabic lessons.

Moroccan Arabic Lesson: Yours, Mine and Ours

Possession: Yours, Mine and Ours

In Moroccan Arabic, possession is usually expressed using the word diyal - ديال. The person who is the possessor is indicated by the pronoun suffix attached to diyal:

Mine: diyali - ديالي
Yours (m.): diyalik - ديالك
Yours (f.): diyalik - ديالك
Hers: diyalha - ديالها
*His: diyalo - ديالو
Ours: diyalna - ديالنا
Yours (pl.): diyalkom - ديالكم
Theirs: diyalhom - ديالهم

Diyal can be used on its own or with subject pronouns, and functions like the idafa in Classical Arabic:

ها هو كتاب ديالي
ha howa kitab diyali

This is my book.

مايعجبنيش داكشي ديال بسالة للي عندك
may3jbnish dakshi diyal bsala lli 3ndak

I don't like your silliness.

Possessive subject pronouns are also used as suffixes with verbs and with some nouns, like we find in Classical Arabic:

داري دارك
dari darik

My house is your house.


Want more? Click here for a list of all of our Moroccan Arabic lessons.

"That which" and "Those who"

"That which", "He who", etc.

In Moroccan Arabic the pronoun lli للي is the relative pronoun and is the same for male, female, singular and plural nouns. It is identical to illi as found in other Arabic dialects. 

واش هو للي شفتيه البارح؟
wash howa lli shoftiho lbari7? 

Is he the one you saw yesterday?

كاينين للي هما مزيانين و كاينين للي هما خيبين
kainin lli homa mzianin w kainin lli homa khaibin

There are those who are good and there are those who are bad.

كان باغي يشري القميص للي شافه البارح
kan baghi yshri lqamis lli shafho lbari7

He wanted to buy the shirt he saw yesterday.


Want more? Click here for a list of all of our Moroccan Arabic lessons.

Moroccan Arabic Lesson: The, This and That


Like Standard Arabic, "the" in Moroccan Arabic is expressed using the definite article al ال. This is pronounced like a plain l:

مشى ل المدينة اليوما
msha li lmedina lyoma 

He went to town today.

شرات الخبز من محمد
shrat lkhobz mn Mohammed 

She bought bread from Mohammed.

سد الباب عفاك
sidd lbab 3fak. 

Close the door, please.

This and That

Here are Moroccan Arabic's demonstrative pronouns:

this (m) hada - هدا
this (f) hadi - هدي
these hado - هدو
that (m) hadak - هداك 
that (f) hadik - هديك 
those hadok - هدوك 

هدوك للي كيغوّتو في الشوارع مساخيط
hadok lli kayghawwato fi lshwari3 masakhit

Those who yell in the streets are rascals.

When used as adjectives along with nouns, these are shortened:

this (m) had - هد
this (f) hadi - هدي
these hado - هدو
that (m) dak -  داك
that (f)  dik ديك

those dok -  دوك

هد الكتاب ديالو
had lkitab dialo

This book is his


Want more? Click here for a list of all of our Moroccan Arabic lessons.

Moroccan Arabic Lesson: The Future Tense

The Future Tense

In Moroccan Arabic future actions are expressed using the particle ghadi - غادي - or the prefix gha-غ-These are always used with present verbs, causing them to lose their t or k prefix:

غادي نشري شي بلغة قبل ما نمشي في حالي
ghadi nshri shi belgha qbl ma nimshi f 7ali

I'm going to buy some belgha (Moroccan leather slippers) before I leave [the country].

غندوز عند صحبي مر العصر
ghandouz 3nd sa7bi murr la3sr

I'm going to visit my friend after 'Asr prayer.

There are two ways to negate the future tense. If you use ghadi, just negate it with ma and sh:

ماغاديش نسمعك
maghadish nsma3k

I'm not going to listen to you.

If you use gha as a prefix, then you must negate it and the verb it's attached too:


I'm not going to pay you.

The Future Perfect

The Future Perfect describes an action that will occur in the future for a certain period of time. This is expressed using ghadi, kana in the present tense and the verb describing the intended action in the past tense:

غادي نكون عايطت له قبل ما تشوفه
ghadi nkon 3ayyitt lo qbl ma tshofo

I will have called him before you see him.

To convey a progressive future action place the final verb in the present tense:

غادي نكون نحضر معك ل ساعتين بعد شي شويا
ghadi nkon nhdr ma3k l sa3atain ba3d shi shwiya

I will have been talking to you for two hours in a short while.


Want more? Click here for a list of all of our Moroccan Arabic lessons.

Moroccan Arabic Lesson: The Past Progressive and Past Perfect Tenses

The Past Progressive and Past Perfect Tenses

The Past Progressive describes actions that happen in the past for a period of time. In Moroccan Arabic this is expressed with kan + the present tense (without k or t) or the active participle.

 ملي شفتها كنت نمشي ل الخدمة
melli shuftha kunt nimshi li lkhidma

When I saw her, I was going to work.

هو ضربني و كنت ناعس
kunt na3s w howa drbni 

He hit me when I was sleeping.

The Past Progressive can also expressed actions that used to occur in the past:

ملي كنت طفل كنت نقرى بزاف
mlli kunt tifl kunt nqra bzaf

When I was a kid, I used to read a lot.

The Past Progressive can also express actions that were going to happen in the past but never occured. This is expressed with kan + the future tense:

كنت غادي نسكن في فاس و لكن لقيت شي خدمة في مكناس
kunt ghadi nskun f Fes w lakin laqit shi khidma f Meknes 

I was going to live in Fes but I found a job in Meknes.

The Past Perfect expressed actions that occurred in the past, and we completed before another action happened. In Moroccan Arabic this expressed using kan + the past tense:

كنّا صلينا قبل ما جيتي
kunna sallina qbl ma jiti 

We had prayed before you came.

كنت كليت قبل ما مشيت ل الحفلة
kunt klit qbl ma mshit li l7afla 

I'd eaten before I went to the party

The Present Perfect Progressive

The Present Perfect Progressive tense describes actions that began in the past and have continued until the present. This is expressed used the phrase sh7al hadi - شحال هادي - and the present tense:

شحال هادي و أنت كتقري العربية؟
sh7al hadi w anta katqri al-3rabiyya? 

How long have you been studying Arabic?

And the response follows this form:

هادي عامين و أنا كنقرى العربية
hadi 3amain w ana kanqra al-3rabiyya

I've been studying Arabic for two years.


Want more? Click here for a list of all of our Moroccan Arabic lessons.


Nizar Qabbani and the English Language

The poem, "A Day with Come", by Nizar Qabbani. (Flickr: tsweden)
Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani is one of the most beloved literary figures in the Arab World.

Born in Damascus in the 1920s, Qabbani published his first collection of poems in 1944 while a student at Damascus University. He went on to publish many more collections during and after his service in the Syrian Foreign Ministry. Qabbani died in 1998.

Qabbani is known for the simplicity and beauty of his language, which elegantly touches on themes as diverse as love and Arab Nationalism. Additionally, he is referred to as 'the Women's Poet' for his romanticism and championing of Arab women.

Today's post is a translation of a portion of Qabbani's memoirs where he discusses the differences between Arabic and English, and the latter's impact on his poetry.

This segment gives us a master's appraisal of the linguistic and artistic value of these two languages as well as an interesting view of some of the issues that have been raised about Arabic in the contemporary world, by Arabs and non-Arabs alike.

I hope you enjoy!


13th Century Advice for Students

Recently, I discovered a fantastic quote from 13th century historian Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi in George Makdisi's The Rise of Colleges

The quote contains advice to students, ranging from practical matters of study to spiritual and moral counsel.

First, Al-Baghdadi's language is absolutely beautiful, as we see here:
"[L]earning leaves a trail and a scent proclaiming its possessor; a ray of light and brightness shining on him, pointing him out; like the musk merchant whose location cannot be hidden."
This text also gives us a fantastic and comprehensive appraisal of the utmost concerns for Medieval Muslim students and teachers alike, and the hardships they should expect on their path to acquire knowledge.



Movie Review: Saladin the Victor

Ahmed Mazhar as Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi in Yusef Shaheen's: Saladin the Victor
Egypt is the Hollywood of the Middle East. From the 1950s onward, Egypt established itself as the Arab film industry's home and earned the favor of Arab cinema goers for its multitude of quality productions. As the Arab Pop Culture landscape has changed in the past 15 years with the rise of satellite television networks and growing popularity of television soap operas, مسلسلات, Egypt remains a huge producer of films.

Among the classic works of Egyptian cinema is the historical epic الناصر صلاح الدين Saladin the Victor released in 1963 by Producer-Director يوسف شاهين Yusef Shaheen and starring أحمد مظهر Ahmed Mazhar as Salah al-Din Al-Ayyubi.


Rihla and the Islamic Sciences

Dear Readers,

I know it's been more than a long time since I've posted on here, but I assure you I have been keeping myself busy during this absences. My Arabic study program has been very good and I've learned a lot in Qatar this year.

Recently, I traveled back to America to interview at Princeton University for their PhD in Near Eastern Studies. It was a true privilege to be among Princeton's short-listed PhD candidates and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to return home and visit Princeton, while also having the chance to spend some time with my family.

During the interviews, each of us had to present a 10 minute presentation on a particular topic. I presented on rihla and it's role in Classical Islamic scholarship. I'm sharing this with you guys because I think it's an interesting topic that deserves more attention.

I hope you enjoy!