In Morocco, the most spoken language in daily life is Moroccan Darija or Moroccan Arabic, which is spoken by some 19 million people in the country. Modern Standard Arabic is used for official communications by the government and other public bodies but is not spoken socially. Moroccan Darija has a strong presence on television, social media, entertainment, cinema, and commercial advertising.
Darija is a language derived from a variety of Arabic dialects spoken in Morocco and belongs to the Maghrebi Arabic language continuum. It is mutually intelligible, to some extent, with Algerian Arabic and to a lesser extent with Tunisian Arabic. It shows a very strong historical and linguistic Berber, French, and Spanish influence.
Several of the Darija dialects belong to two genetically different groups: the pre-Hilalian and Hilalian dialects.
Pre-Hilalian dialects are a consequence of the early Arabization phases of the Maghreb, (which means West in Arabic and comprises much of the region of northern West Africa), from the 7th to the 12th centuries, concerning the main urban settlements, the harbors, the religious centers (zaouias), and the main trade routes.
Hilalian, or Bedouin, dialects were introduced to Morocco following the Hilalian Invasion. The origin of this language goes back to over 3000 years, being a singular evolution of the Punic language spoken by the Carthaginians under Amazigh influence. Moroccan Darija is characterized by a strong Amazigh stratum.