The oldest language that has so far been spoken in Morocco, as in other regions of northern Africa, and which was generally used by the indigenous population in the first period of its history, is Berber, which even in remote times must have appeared subdivided into a number of related dialects. The only traces of this period are the names of places and people cited from classical sources and explainable with Berber roots or morphology; and some brief Libyan inscriptions found in the neighborhood of Tetuán, Casablanca, etc. It is very likely, however, that during the Roman domination Latin was widespread, as a language of culture, especially in urban centers, and it also had some influence on the parlors of the countryside, as can be seen from some words still preserved in the Berber dialects, among which are the names of the months of the Julian calendar. The Arab conquest and the consequent Islamization and further relations with the Muslim world gradually changed this state of affairs, introducing on the one hand literary Arabic as a written language and thus determining the formation of an educated and partly learned class in the an Arab sense, which had important centers, such as Fez, Morocco, etc., and made notable contributions especially to the Muslim religious sciences; and on the other hand by spreading dialects spoken not only by Arab people who have settled at various times, albeit in small numbers, in Morocco, but also among the original Berber populations, some of which have been completely Arabized, others, while retaining their national language, they use Arabic as a second language.
Some large blocks of Berber speakers, which are commonly classified into three groups, namely that of the Rif in the north, that of the Berabers in the Middle Atlas, the eastern High Atlas and the neighboring Saharan areas; and that of the Shleuh in the area of the western High Atlas and the Anti Atlas. Others, however, taking into account some characteristics common to the 2nd and 3rd, make two fundamental groups: the one to the north, which includes the Rif and neighboring regions (language generally called tam ā z ī kht), and the southern one, which in turn, it is divided into two types, one that includes people who speak the language called pure tam ā z ī kht between Meknès (Miknās) and the High Atlas; and the other of the speakers of the tashelh ī t, that is the Berber of the Shleuh of the Anti Atlas and of a good part of the Sous, and of the other residents of the High Atlas.
Then there are Arabic dialects that can be grouped, due to their origin and phonetic characteristics, in two main types, the city-mountain one, which includes a series of cities, such as Rabat, Salé (Sla), Fez, Taza, al-QaŞr al-Kabīr, Tetuán, etc., the mountainous area of northwest Morocco, known as the Yebala, and the region between Ouezzane and Taza; these dialects date back to the first phase of Arabization, that is to the period of the conquest, to the foundation of Fez which became a center of radiation of Arab culture, and to contacts with Spain. The other type is that of the Bedouin dialects spoken in the large flat areas along the Atlantic, and also in the Moulouya valley and in the Saharan regions of south-eastern Morocco; were introduced at the end of the century.
There are bilingual populations, who use both Berber and Arabic, and are usually found in the margins of large Berber-speaking groups. Some linguistic peculiarities present the Jews, some of whom speak Spanish, others Berber or Arabic, or are bilingual.
The distribution of languages is not yet known precisely: according to one of the calculations made, the Berber speakers would be 60% of the population, that is about 3,200,000, while the Arabic speakers would be 2,200,000; according to another calculation, the former would not exceed 40%. In any case, in Morocco there are a written language of foreign origin, that is literary Arabic, understood by a small class, of the Arabic dialects spoken by a part of the population, and the Berber ones that can be called more properly national and which correspond to the ethnic and social features of the country as a whole. This lack of unity of language has given rise to the so-called Moroccan linguistic problem, variously discussed by scholars, some of whom would like to generalize the use of literary Arabic. For Morocco religion and languages, please check ezinereligion.com.