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How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
The embassy provides language training for free to employees and EFMs. Modern Standard Arabic is understood, but you won't understand the local dialect, Darija, with it. This dialect doesn't seem too hard to learn (my husband picked up the Arabic alphabet within a few hours and has learned enough to get by with minimal study within a few months). French is very useful and will get you through almost every interaction - taxis don't always understand in-depth instructions, but simple directions are fine. - Oct 24, 2017
It is essential to have "taxi and restaurant" Arabic or French. Very few people in Rabat speak English, and even fewer in the smaller towns and cities, unless you're in a touristy part.
Darija, the local dialect of Arabic, is tricky to understand if you speak classical Arabic. It takes a while to get used to. As a Caucasian Westerner, even when I spoke MSA or Darija to locals, I usually got French in reply. However, if you have some French and some Arabic, you can definitely get by using a mix of the two.
Berlitz is good for French, and Qalam wa Lawh is the go-to Arabic language school. - Oct 23, 2017
Basic French definitely helps. - Aug 29, 2017
Darija (Moroccan Arabic) is the most important though in the cities French will go along way. English is useless outside of the expat/Diplomatic communities. - Jul 20, 2014
English is not widespread. Almost all signs and packaging are bilingual, so if you know some survival French that should be okay. That being said, it isn't like the average taxi-driver or store clerk is fluent in French. You might face some difficulties. Standard Arabic speakers have problems as the local dialect is very different, and, unfortunately, in a way that makes it hard to comprehend (words are shortened and vowels cut out; much vocabulary comes from Berber/Amazigh or French or Spanish). - Nov 17, 2011
I had none and got by. - Nov 16, 2011
It is good to have some French. - Sep 18, 2011
Even basic French would be a huge help! Some families have no prior languge training, and routine tasks can be tough at first. - Apr 8, 2010
It helps to know French or the Moroccan dialect of Arabic. I've slowly picked up some French but wish I would have had classes prior to my arrival. - Jun 3, 2008