Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Maghreb arabic is a dialect of Arabic spoken in the Maghreb, including Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya. It is only used as a spoken language; the news and other media are in Modern Classical Arabic. Speakers of Maghreb Arabic call their language Derija, which means "dialect." Derija is characterized by many borrowings from the languages of the colonizers of North Africa, including France and Spain. It frequently combines French and Spanish roots with Arabic endings to form words; since it is not written, there is no standard and it is free to change quickly and to rapidly pick up new vocabulary from neighboring languages. This is similar to what happened in England when the Normans invaded: Middle English was free to evolve since it did not have a written standard, and it was not the language of the aristocracy but rather of the people.
For several centuries after the Islamic conquest, Arabic was only spoken in cities in the Maghreb. It was only hundreds of years later that it entered the countryside and nomadic areas at the expense of the Berber languages, but these languages coexist to this day.
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