Shftksh!!!!

You know that feeling when you’re playing Scrabble and you turn over your letters and all seven of them are consonants? And you’re like… What am I supposed to do with this?!? Well, good news. Have I got a language for you! It’s called Darija, or Moroccan Arabic.

Start with Standard Arabic. Get rid of all of the vowels because vowels take too long to say and life is too short for vowels. Smush each word into a quick jumble of consonants. Stick “ka” on the beginning of your present tense verbs and “sh” at the end of all your negatives. Throw in a few French words here and there. Then talk really, really fast. Ta-da! You’re speaking Darija!

I’m sort of joking, but not entirely. The Darija phrase for “I didn’t see you” is “ma shftksh” (ما شفتكش).

Despite all that, I think Darija sounds truly beautiful when Moroccans speak it, and I am excited to get the chance to learn it. I unleashed my full Darija vocabulary (okay, like five phrases) on a taxi driver yesterday and managed to find out where in Morocco he was from, tell him I was an English teacher from America, and remark that there were “many people” out and about.

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