Our Transliteration System

As you may have noticed, we have tried to put on our website www.speakmoroccan.com our own transliteration system. We have thought carefully about it before adopting it finally, and we wonder how do our readers find it. Unusual but practical? It doesn’t matter as long as you can get the idea? Not so practical?

Please let us know of any changes you wish to see done.

The system seems simple enough. I’m wondering why you capitalize the first letter of words, though.

Also, a more detailed pronunciation guide would be helpful. How does one even pronounce words like “lHdd” or “ssbt”? There must be a vowel sound in there somewhere!

Wikipedia says of Darija

“These clusters are never simplified; instead, consonants occurring between other consonants tend to syllabify, according to a sonorance hierarchy.”

How does that work exactly?

Why not capitalize them? Not sure I got what you meant.

There aren’t really vowels. What you quoted from wiki sounds like an answer to this. When words like lHdd or ssbt are in standard Arabic al-'aHad and assabt, all those vowels disappear when you’re speaking Darija. You just say that like two consonants follow each other in English words (SNow, GRow…), and some vocalization harmony makes it sounds just good.

Arabic does not use capital letters, so it seems unusual to capitalize words in your transliterations. It’s not a big deal. :slight_smile:

There must be at least one vowel sound in the words “lHdd” and “ssbt” surely? How do you say these words in isolation, if you don’t use vowel sounds? Wikipedia says that some consonants become syllabic, in other words, some consonants take on vowel-like properties. So what are the rules for when this happens?

Here it is another way: I assume that your transliteration is a letter-by-letter conversion from the written Moroccan Arabic. But how does the spelling differ from the pronunciation? How are the words actually pronounced?

But we didn’t write in Arabic letters, we capitalize some letters to let them be distuinguished from the others. Like “d” for dâl, and D for DâD. So you can’t assume that letters can’t be capitalized because they aren’t in Arabic.

That happenes implicitely when two more consonnants follow each other in a row. There aren’t explicit rules, nothing can make this clearer but hearing a native speaker prunouncing words, which is - I admit - one of our future plans. (not in the short term though).

But we didn’t write in Arabic letters, we capitalize some letters to let them be distuinguished from the others. Like “d” for dâl, and D for DâD. So you can’t assume that letters can’t be capitalized because they aren’t in Arabic.[/quote]
Yes, you use capital letters for the emphatic consonants H S D T. That makes sense. But you also capitalize the first letter in words, for instance on your Days and Time Expressions page, the first letter of all the words is capitalized. This makes it a bit confusing.

A quote from the “days and time expressions” page:

“These sounds will be written in bold capital letters, not to be confused with normal h/s/d/t in capital letters when at the beginning of a word/sentence”

I think that you missed that between the two tables.

ok, I guess there is no problem then. Thanks!

You’re welcome.
Welcome to the forums too, by the way.

I’m not an expert in Daarija and nowhere close to be. However, one of the differences I have noticed between Classical Arabic (CA) and Daarija (D) is precisely the “eating” of the vowels. One day I was asking my husband how something was said in CA and then to say the same in D and voila! I could pretty much pronouce it in CA but the consonant cluster made it rather difficult to pronounce it in D. :confused:

True. I always say that D is pretty close to CA, the only difference is the absence of vowels, which makes it a bit difficult even for native Arabic speakrs from other countries to understand.

i miss speakmoroccan.com so much. I havent visited it a long time ago as i was too busy. but i always introduce it to my foreigner friends, day by day they like it so much. I love to read about our Moroccan culture. It’s owesome !
Please, will you enclose audio files with the lessons? My friends find difficulties in reading some words. They often pronounce them in wrong ways.
BTW, I like the new style of the website. It’s so nice :ok:

Hello Amin. We actually have been thinking about that, and it sure is a great idea. We are left just with applying the idea itself!
Good to hear that you like the website’s new changes :).

What’s that? Chinese?!

And by the way, if you miss SpeakMoroccan, just stick around to the forum :^^:. You may notice that it’s been a little bit inactive lately, but many of us are still around, waiting for others to also start discussions and make some noise :D.

The phrase pages are SOOOOOOOOOooo great. thank you. i wish… there were sound bytes. its SO hard to learn how to pronounce without hearing it especially with my american english accent!!!

laila, there are people who find American-Darija accents quite cute!!! :] but yeah i agree that we need some more audio, our Moroccans are apparently too shy to volunteer :S

[color=#7f56a9]LallaAicha I am working on my fiance to try to get him to volunteer to do some audio. He’s very patient and speaks clearly. Something I’m finding many don’t do which confounds us learners to no end. This could take a few days or months to convince him but I’m working on it. :smiley: [/color]

[color=#7f56a9]I find the speed of the language to be intimidating along with the lack of vowels. I’m most interested in speaking it fluently, or at least so I can flub through daily needs. I can continue with my MSA to be able to read meaning I’m not looking for online chatting other than to practice Darija here. I have been working hard on building up vocabularly and his family and he are working with me diligently despite my 45 yr old brain damage :stuck_out_tongue: I’m SOOOOO SHY to speak! I had to ask his mother for sugar the other night (ummi, brit sukka?) and nearly passed out. She giggled at me and gave me some for atay. YEAH!!![/color]

[color=#7f56a9]HE SAID don’t worry and learn when you get here. Now I’m here and illiterate for the first time in my life since I was a baby. [/color]

[color=#7f56a9]THANK YOU ALLLLLLL for your patience, diligence and hard work for the love of Darija and sharing your Morocco with us. As an expat living happily in your country I’m eternally grateful.[/color]

:slight_smile: thanks for sharing with us iadiedee, all the best to you… and you’re so lucky to be right in the middle of everyday darija unlike us suckers who have to learn from translations :frowning:
:smiley: enjoy

[color=#8c52ac]LallaAicha I’m blessed and do definitely know it. :slight_smile: I do occasionally miss the washing/drying machines, large grocery stores and things NOT in plastic see-through 1 kilo measured bags without labels. :stuck_out_tongue: But I AM blessed!! and I DO love Morocco. [/color]

Lolll well it might be a good change for ya, and I can totally understand your situation, when I’m overseas I long for the weirdest things that I leave back at home like…tissue paper xD it’s a bit like when pregnant women crave for stuff they never liked during their pre-pregnancy period…xD
Anywho, I hope you have an amaaaaaaaazing time, you probably already are anyway but i hope you have an even better one. :^^: