One of the many things I have to laugh about and except is that I am going to be spoken to in French the entire time I'm here. I can see why it would help to know french. Not because I can't communicate in darija (Moroccan Arabic) but that people will assume when they see me that I am french, or understand french. I completely understand, considering Morocco's past connection to France, and continued tourism from France. Even other westerners who visit Morocco are likely to know French over darija any day. Let's face it, I look like a "westerner" of European descent. It is only polite to address me in "my" language, french!
Of course, this confounds my darija learning. Particularly in the beginning, nothing would take my confidence away like going up to the shopkeeper and being told prices and such in french. Sometimes I'm still not sure if someone is just saying something in darija I don't understand or if they are trying to talk to me in french. I've gotten much better at understanding the difference though, which I think means progress!
Another reoccurring instance is where someone will see me and greet me in french. I will greet them in darija. They will try to speak to me in french. I let them know I don't understand and that I know a little arabic. They will speak arabic for some time, have trouble getting me to understand what they are saying then start speaking to me in french again. What hurts the whole process is that sometimes there are words in french that sound similar to english, so occasionally I do understand the french better than the darija. This perpetuates the idea that english and french are basically the same language.
All in all, I have to keep a sense of humor about this, because it isn't going to go away as I will always be meeting someone new who assumes I speak french. Eventually I may cave and learn some basic french (once I have more darija down), thus perpetuating the stereotype.
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