Morocco's official languages are Arabic and the Amazigh language (standardized version of the three Moroccan Berber languages). Most people actually speak Berber or Moroccan Arabic (referred to as Darija) as a mother tongue. There are 15 to 18 million Berber speakers which is about 50 to 65 percent of the population. There are 3 different Berber dialects: Tarifit, Tashelhit and Central Atlas Tamazight. French is Morocco's unofficial second language and is taught universally. Spanish is popular in the north, but the number of English speakers is growing.
Speaking the dominant local language is an important step to integrating into a new culture. Language schools are a great option for learning the language. There are full-time and part-time courses. Most offer sample lessons or let you sit-in for free before signing up. Shop around before choosing.
Private lessons are another option. More expensive than language courses, these can be very effective. You can search for opportunities in a local newspapers, on message boards at pubs, copy centers, supermarkets, universities, and cafes, or on online boards such as EasyExpat's classified or Job Listings for tutors and classes. You can also find friends on the forum to work on language exchange.
An exchange partner is an excellent resource for practicing a new language with a native speaker. As an added bonus, language exchange partners can help you understand the culture of the area and inform you of local happenings. Questions about gift giving, festivals, nightlife, and greetings can be addressed without worry. In the best case sceneries, an exchange partner is not only your ambassador, but a friend.
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