Koineization trends in Spoken Arabic across three Moroccan towns

  • Jacopo Falchetta University of Bergamo
  • Jairo Guerrero Aix-Marseille University


This paper presents a comparative study of the linguistic data collected during fieldwork in three Arabic-speaking towns in Morocco: Larache, in the north; Temara, on the central Atlantic coast; and Berkane, in the east. The goal of the article is twofold: first of all, it aims at highlighting the new dialectological findings made by analysing the three corpora separately; secondly, it attempts to clarify, by means of a comparative analysis, if there is evidence of a modern koine spreading from the urban areas in Central Morocco to other regions of the country. To these purposes, seven variables pertaining to the levels of phonetics, verbal and nominal morphology are selected for cross-analysis among the three corpora. Previous dialectological data on the same and other Moroccan areas are then taken into account to advance hypotheses on the spread and the ancientness of the identified phenomena of linguistic variation, and their more or less likely connection to the modern koine. The results show that, while there is indeed a certain degree of convergence among the three towns (with Berkane being the least involved in the converging trend), some of the phenomena identified could be explained as accommodation to other varieties having common features with the inter-urban koine, while others could be the result of mutual rather than one-way convergence. More sociolinguistic data are needed to clarify the doubts raised by the analysis.


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Author Biographies

Jacopo Falchetta, University of Bergamo

Jacopo Falchetta is a postdoctoral researcher in Arabic Sociolinguistics and Dialectology at the Faculty of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures of the University of Bergamo, Italy. He is currently carrying out research on linguistic variation, indexicalities and media use of colloquial Moroccan Arabic. He previously worked as a Moroccan Arabic lecturer at INALCO, Paris, France, and as an Arabic lecturer at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, and at the University of Bergamo. His publications deal with issues in linguistic (phonetic, phonologic and morphologic) variation in diatopy and diastratia, language contact and standardisation with reference to Moroccan Arabic.

Jacopo can be contacted at: jacopo.falchetta@gmail.com

Jairo Guerrero, Aix-Marseille University

Jairo Guerrero holds the position of Associate Professor of Modern Arabic Language and Culture at Aix-Marseille University. He has previously taught both standard and colloquial Arabic at the University of Granada. His research interests encompass Arabic linguistics and dialectology, Historical linguistics and Phonetics. He has published various articles on the Arabic dialects of Larache, Berkane (Morocco), Oran and Annaba (Algeria). His published research also explores phonetic variation in Maghrebi varieties and the presence of Arabic dialectal features in historical sources.

Jairo can be contacted at: jairo.guerrero-parrado@univ-amu.fr