When speaking Moroccan Arabic there is a masculine and a feminine form for many words. Other languages, such as Spanish, share this similarity with Moroccan Arabic. For example, in Spanish, feminine words usually end in the letter “a” while masculine words usually end in the letter “o.” Therefore, a man would be addressed with words having the masculine ending “o” and females would be addressed with words having the feminine ending “a.” In the Moroccan language, the feminine form of a word sometimes end in “a” but the masculine form of the word is not so clear cut. Adding to the confusion is the fact that there are a substantial number of words that are both masculine and feminine and such words can be used to address both males and females.
Masculine and Feminine Forms of Words
As stated previously, in Moroccan Arabic the feminine form of a word generally ends in „a.“ However, this is not always the case. The masculine form of the word would generally be the word without the „a“ ending. However, this also is not always the case. As a matter of fact, sometimes the feminine and the masculine forms of a word are not even from the same root word. The examples below help illustrate these things.
grandfather – ljed
grandmother – ljeda
friend (masculine) – saheb
friend (feminine) – saheba
short (masculine) – qesir
short (feminine) – qesira
angry (masculine) – tale’ lih dem
angry (feminine) – tale’ liha dem
So far, the above words contain the same root, and the feminine has an „a“ ending. Now, take a look at the words below:
man – rajel
woman – mra
boy – weld
girl – bent
In the examples above, note how words, such as the words for „man“ and „woman,“ do not share the same root word and note that the feminine of the word for „woman“ did not end in „a.“ Also, note how the „a“ denoting the feminine form of the word „angry“ falls somewhere in the middle of the phrase for the feminine.
Take in consideration that there are words in Moroccan Arabic that are both masculine and feminine (gender neutral). These gender neutral words can also end in “a.”
In the next example, we see that the same word is used to address both males and females. This is sometimes the case in Moroccan Arabic. The word ‚peelote‘ is derived from French and is used to address both males and females. But, there are also words of Arabic origin in Moroccan which are used to address both males and females.
pilot (masculine) – peelote
pilot (feminine) – peelote
In the Moroccan Arabic dialect there is generally a masculine and a feminine way of addressing the genders. However, the masculine and feminine forms of words do not always follow strict rules. This is in part due,to the fact that Moroccan Arabic has many words that are derived from different languages.
Moroccan Arabic is a mixture of the Arabic language, the Tamazight language, and the French language. The best way to learn Moroccan Arabic is to memorize it.