Learning Dariya

Shuia b shuia at the swimming pool with children with disabilities in Erfoud.

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  • Every Summer in Erfoud

María speaks Arabic, specifically Dariya, the local Morrocan Arabic dialect. Paula and Aina do not speak the language yet, but would like to learn.

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Aina: I know super basic Dariya [a Moroccan Arabic dialect] words. When you are there, sometimes you can understand each other with signs and using those few words you know, and it is true that I can’t communicate myself with the families properly, and that sometimes breeds frustration but you always find someone who knows a little bit of English, a little bit of French, and makes the communication a bit easier. The language is a barrier and a challenge, it has clearly made our work more difficult, but it hasn’t stopped us from working there.

Paula: For me it’s a big problem. I really want to learn Dariya because I feel very limited without knowing the language. I wish I can go to Morocco for a few months in the near future to learn Dariya.

María: Fortunately, we can communicate with the people who works with us, as some of them speak some English or Spanish or French; and in our team I don’t know French, for example, but Aina and Raquel know a little bit, Aina and Paula speak English… but if you want to get to know the families and the society in a deeper way, I think, like Paula said, it’s better if you know their language. I also agree with Aina that it is possible to work there without knowing the language.

Aina: If I could choose, I would definitely choose to speak Dariya. But you really need to spend a lot of time on it and make it a priority. I should do what María did and what Paula is planning to do: go to Morocco and live there for a while, because that’s how you really learn a language.