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Spanish vs French in Tetouan

2 posts
Spanish vs French in Tetouan

Should I brush up my Spanish or my French to prepare for a long visit in Tetouan? Someone told me that French is not that widely spoken as it is in other areas of Morocco but my French is much better than my Spanish. Arabic is just too hard for me to learn beyond the very basic greetings.

6 replies to this topic
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3,412 posts
40 reviews
1. Re: Spanish vs French in Tetouan

I have been to tetouan a few times and I did hear some of the old people speaking some Spanish. Most spoke french, Berber, Or moroccan arabic.

2 posts
2. Re: Spanish vs French in Tetouan

Thanks! That is very helpful to know that aside from older people, it is the same as other areas.

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1,431 posts
3. Re: Spanish vs French in Tetouan

I've been to Tetouan several times, as well as Tangier. In this part of Morocco, Spanish is spoken more widely than French. In fact Tetouan used to be the capital of the Spanish protectorate in Morocco, so it's definitely a place for speaking Spanish, not French.

The older generation who are at least 40 years old tend to speak some Spanish. The younger generation under 30 years old are less likely to speak Spanish because they were born long after the Spanish left the area. They do not speak much French either.

Your French will not do much good in Tetouan. The language everyone speaks there is Darija, which is the Moroccan dialect, a modified version of Arabic. Some of them speak Amazigh which is a Berber language.

The main cinema in Tetouan shows movies in Spanish, not French. I even saw some signs and storefront labeled in Spanish. This is definitely NOT like Rabat or Casablanca where French is widely spoken. Aside from a few highly educated people, few Tetouanis know any French at all.

Edited: 17 March 2018, 08:41
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1,431 posts
4. Re: Spanish vs French in Tetouan

This is not surprising. Casablanca and Rabat used to be part of the French protectorate. The very north of Morocco including Tangier, Tetouan, Asilah and Chefchaouen where under Spanish control, so naturally a lot more people there know Spanish instead of French. (although Tangier itself was part of an International Zone, Tetouan was the capital of the Spanish protectorate in Morocco)

Edited: 17 March 2018, 08:43
Castril De La Pena...
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for Morocco
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12,169 posts
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5. Re: Spanish vs French in Tetouan

Going back in history, Tanger was British. It was given as a dowry by the Portuguese crown in the 1660s on the marriage of Catherine of Braganza to King Charles II. The Tanger Regiment of Foot was raised to protect the enclave and there's a memorial to this on Wimbledon Common.

This was way before Gibraltar was ceded to Britain in the Treaty of Utrecht (1700s) so the territory was out on a limb and the British rule only lasted 20-odd years.

12 posts
6. Re: Spanish vs French in Tetouan

The people in tetouan can speak three languages Spanish,French and Arabic, but the local language is Arabic and It's better for you to ask young people around 18 to 25 years old maybe they are better in speaking other languages.

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