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The Berber languages, also known as the Amazigh languages (Berber name: , ;
Neo-Tifinagh Tifinagh (; also written in the Berber Latin alphabet; Neo-Tifinaɣ: ; Tuareg Tifinagh: or ) is an abjad An abjad () is a type of writing system in which (in contrast to true alphabets) each symbol or glyph stands for a consonant, in effect ...
: ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ,
Tuareg The Tuareg people (; also spelt Twareg or Touareg; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify ...
Tifinagh Tifinagh (; also written in the Berber Latin alphabet; Neo-Tifinaɣ: ; Tuareg Tifinagh: or ) is an abjad An abjad () is a type of writing system in which (in contrast to true alphabets) each symbol or glyph stands for a consonant, in effect ...

Tifinagh
: ⵜⵎⵣⵗⵜ, , ), are a branch of the
Afroasiatic language family Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed lang ...
. They comprise a group of closely related languages spoken by the
Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, the Canary Islands, and to a lesser ...
, who are indigenous to
North Africa North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in the west, to Egypt's ...

North Africa
.Hayward, Richard J., chapter ''Afroasiatic'' in Heine, Bernd & Nurse, Derek, editors, ''African Languages: An Introduction'' Cambridge 2000. . The languages were traditionally written with the ancient
Libyco-Berber Tifinagh (; also written in the Berber Latin alphabet; Neo-Tifinaɣ: ; Tuareg Tifinagh: or ) is an abjad An abjad () is a type of writing system in which (in contrast to true alphabets) each symbol or glyph stands for a consonant, in effect ...
script, which now exists in the form of
Tifinagh Tifinagh (; also written in the Berber Latin alphabet; Neo-Tifinaɣ: ; Tuareg Tifinagh: or ) is an abjad An abjad () is a type of writing system in which (in contrast to true alphabets) each symbol or glyph stands for a consonant, in effect ...

Tifinagh
. Berber is spoken by large populations of
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A con ...

Morocco
,
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Othe ...
and
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, the ...

Libya
, by smaller populations of
Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in northern Africa , image_map2 = , capital = Tunis , largest_city = capital , coordinates = , official_languages = Arabic Translation by ...

Tunisia
, northern
Mali Mali (; ), officially the Republic of Mali (french: République du Mali; bm, ߡߊߟߌ ߞߊ ߝߊߛߏߖߊߡߊߣߊ, Mali ka Fasojamana, ff, 𞤈𞤫𞤲𞥆𞤣𞤢𞥄𞤲𞤣𞤭 𞤃𞤢𞥄𞤤𞤭, Renndaandi Maali), is a landlocked country ...

Mali
, western and northern
Niger ) , official_languages = French language, French , languages_type = National languages
, northern
Burkina Faso Burkina Faso (, ; ) is a landlocked country in West Africa that covers an area of around and is bordered by Mali to the northwest, Niger to the northeast, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and the Ivory Coast to the southwes ...
and
Mauritania Mauritania (; ar, موريتانيا, ', french: Mauritanie; Berber languages, Berber: ''Agawej'' or ''Cengit''; Pulaar language, Pulaar: ''Moritani''; Wolof language, Wolof: ''Gànnaar''; Soninke language, Soninke: ''Murutaane''), officially ...

Mauritania
and in the
Siwa Oasis The Siwa Oasis ( ar, واحة سيوة, ''Wāḥat Sīwah,'' ; ) is an urban oasis in Egypt between the Qattara Depression and the Great Sand Sea in the Western Desert (Egypt), Western Desert, 50 km (30 mi) east of the Libyan Egypt–Liby ...

Siwa Oasis
of
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identif ...
. Large Berber-speaking migrant communities, today numbering about 4 million, have been living in Western Europe, spanning over three generations, since the 1950s. The number of Berber people is much higher than the number of Berber speakers. Around 95% of the Berber-speaking population speak one of seven major varieties of Berber, each with at least 2 million speakers. They are, in order of number of speakers: Shilha (''Taclḥit''), Kabyle (''Taqbaylit''),
Central Atlas Tamazight Central Atlas Tamazight or Atlasic (also known as Central Morocco Tamazight, Middle Atlas Tamazight, Tamazight, Central Shilha and, rarely, Beraber or Braber; native name: ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ ''Tamazight'' ) is a Berber language The Berbe ...
(''Tamaziɣt''), Riffian (''Tarifit''), Shawiya (''Tacawit'') and
Tuareg The Tuareg people (; also spelt Twareg or Touareg; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify ...
(''Tamaceq/Tamajeq/Tamaheq''). The now extinct
Guanche language Guanche is an extinct language that was spoken by the Guanches The Guanches were the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Islas Canarias, ), also known informally as ''the Canaries'', is a Spanish archip ...
spoken on the
Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Islas Canarias, ), also known informally as ''the Canaries'', is a Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, in a region known as Macaronesia. At their closest point to the African mainland, they are west of Moroc ...
by the
Guanches The Guanches were the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Islas Canarias, ), also known informally as ''the Canaries'', is a Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, in a region known as Macaronesia. A ...
, as well as possibly the languages of the ancient
C-Group culture The C-Group culture is an archaeological culture found in Nubia, Lower Nubia, which dates from ca. 2400 BCE to ca. 1550 BCE. It was named by George A. Reisner. With no central site and no written evidence about what these people called themselves, ...
in today's southern Egypt and northern
Sudan Sudan (; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān), officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جمهورية السودان, link=no, Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is a country in Northeast Africa. It is bordered by Egypt to the Egypt–Sudan border, nort ...

Sudan
, are believed to have belonged to the Berber branch of the Afroasiatic family. The Berber languages and dialects have had a written tradition, on and off, for about 2,500 years, although the tradition has been frequently disrupted by cultural shifts and invasions. They were first written in the Libyco-Berber
abjad An abjad () is a type of writing system in which (in contrast to true alphabets) each symbol or glyph stands for a consonant, in effect leaving it to readers to infer or otherwise supply an appropriate vowel. The term is a neologism introduced i ...
, which is still used today by the
Tuareg The Tuareg people (; also spelt Twareg or Touareg; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify ...
in the form of Tifinagh. The oldest dated inscription is from the 3rd century BCE. Later, between about 1000 CE and 1500 CE, they were written in the Arabic script, and since the 20th century they have been written in the
Berber Latin alphabet The Berber Latin alphabet ( ber, Agemmay Amaziɣ Alatin) is the version of the Latin alphabet used to write the Berber languages. It was adopted in the 19th century, using varieties of letters. History The Berber languages were originally written u ...
, especially among the Kabyle and
Riffian
Riffian
communities of Morocco and Algeria. The Berber Latin alphabet was also used by most European and Berber linguists during the 19th and 20th centuries. A modernised form of the Tifinagh alphabet, called
Neo-Tifinagh Tifinagh (; also written in the Berber Latin alphabet; Neo-Tifinaɣ: ; Tuareg Tifinagh: or ) is an abjad An abjad () is a type of writing system in which (in contrast to true alphabets) each symbol or glyph stands for a consonant, in effect ...
, was adopted in Morocco in 2003 for writing Berber, but many Moroccan Berber publications still use the Berber Latin alphabet. Algerians mostly use the Berber Latin alphabet in Berber-language education at public schools, while Tifinagh is mostly used for artistic symbolism. Mali and Niger recognise a Tuareg Berber Latin alphabet customised to the Tuareg phonological system. However, traditional Tifinagh is still used in those countries. There is a cultural and political movement among speakers of the closely related varieties of Northern Berber to promote and unify them under a written
standard language A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety In sociolinguistics, a variety, also called an isolect or lect, is a specific form of a language or language cluster. This may include language ...
called ''Tamaziɣt'' (or ''Tamazight''). The name ''Tamaziɣt'' is the current native name of the Berber language in the Moroccan
Middle Atlas The Middle Atlas (Amazigh language, Amazigh: ⴰⵟⵍⴰⵙ ⴰⵏⴰⵎⵎⴰⵙ, ''Atlas Anammas'', Arabic language, Arabic: الأطلس المتوسط, ''al-Aṭlas al-Mutawassiṭ'') is a mountain range in Morocco. It is part of the Atlas Mou ...

Middle Atlas
and
Rif The Rif or Riff ( Berber: ''Arif'', ''Arrif'' or ''Nekkor'', ⴰⵔⵔⵉⴼ; Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by S ...

Rif
regions and the Libyan
Zuwarah Zuwarah, or Zuwara or Zwara (Berber language The Berber languages, also known as the Amazigh languages (Berber name: , ; Neo-Tifinagh: ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ, Tuareg Tifinagh: ⵜⵎⵣⵗⵜ, , ), are a branch of the Afroasiatic language fami ...
region. In other Berber-speaking areas, this name was lost. There is historical evidence from medieval Berber manuscripts that all indigenous North Africans from Libya to Morocco have at some point called their language ''Tamaziɣt''. The name ''Tamaziɣt'' is currently being used increasingly by educated Berbers to refer to the written Berber language, and even to Berber as a whole, including Tuareg. In 2001, Berber became a constitutional national language of Algeria, and in 2011 Berber became a constitutionally
official language An official language, also called state language, is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have ...

official language
of Morocco. In 2016, Berber became a constitutionally official language of Algeria alongside
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...
.


Terminology

File:French professor speaking fluent Amazigh.webm, An interview in
Central Atlas Tamazight Central Atlas Tamazight or Atlasic (also known as Central Morocco Tamazight, Middle Atlas Tamazight, Tamazight, Central Shilha and, rarely, Beraber or Braber; native name: ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ ''Tamazight'' ) is a Berber language The Berbe ...
language as spoken by a professor from France. The term ''Berber'' has been used in Europe since at least the 17th century and is still used today. It was borrowed from Latin ''wikt:barbari#Noun 3, barbari''. The Latin word is also found in the Arabic designation for these populations, البربر (''al-Barbar''); see
Names of the Berber people The ethnonym Berber dates to the 19th century, derived from ''Barbary The terms Barbary Coast, Barbary, Berbery or Berber Coast were used in English-language sources (similarly to equivalent terms in other languages) from the 16th century to t ...
. Etymologically, the Berber root ''M-Z-Ɣ'' ⵎ-ⵣ-ⵖ (''Mazigh'') (singular noun: ''Amazigh'', feminine: ''Tamazight'') means "free man", "noble man", or "defender". The feminine ''Tamazight'' traditionally referred specifically to the Riffian and
Central Atlas Tamazight Central Atlas Tamazight or Atlasic (also known as Central Morocco Tamazight, Middle Atlas Tamazight, Tamazight, Central Shilha and, rarely, Beraber or Braber; native name: ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ ''Tamazight'' ) is a Berber language The Berbe ...
languages. Many Berber linguists prefer to consider the term ''Tamazight'' as a pure Berber word to be used only in Berber text while using the European word "Berber/''Berbero''/''Berbère''" in European texts to follow the traditions of European writings about the Berbers. European languages distinguish between the words "Berber" and "
barbarian A barbarian is a human who is perceived to be either Civilization, uncivilized or primitive. The designation is usually applied as a generalization based on a popular stereotype; barbarians can be members of any nation judged by some to be less ...
", while Arabic has the same word ''al-Barbari'' for both meanings. Some other Berber writers, especially in Morocco, prefer to refer to Berber with ''Amazigh'' when writing about it in French or English. Traditionally, the term ''Tamazight'' (in various forms: ''Thamazighth'', ''Tamasheq'', ''Tamajaq'', ''Tamahaq'') was used by many Berber groups to refer to the language they spoke, including the
Middle Atlas The Middle Atlas (Amazigh language, Amazigh: ⴰⵟⵍⴰⵙ ⴰⵏⴰⵎⵎⴰⵙ, ''Atlas Anammas'', Arabic language, Arabic: الأطلس المتوسط, ''al-Aṭlas al-Mutawassiṭ'') is a mountain range in Morocco. It is part of the Atlas Mou ...
, the
Riffians Rifians (in Tarifit Irifiyen), or Riffians, and by others also known as Riyafa or Rwafa, are a Moroccan Berber-speaking ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attri ...

Riffians
, the Sened in Tunisia and the
Tuareg The Tuareg people (; also spelt Twareg or Touareg; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify ...
. However, other terms were used by other groups; for instance, some Berber populations of Algeria called their language ''Taznatit'' ( Zenati) or ''Shelha'', while the Kabyles called theirs ''Taqbaylit'', and the inhabitants of the
Siwa Oasis The Siwa Oasis ( ar, واحة سيوة, ''Wāḥat Sīwah,'' ; ) is an urban oasis in Egypt between the Qattara Depression and the Great Sand Sea in the Western Desert (Egypt), Western Desert, 50 km (30 mi) east of the Libyan Egypt–Liby ...

Siwa Oasis
called their language ''Siwi''. In Tunisia, the local Amazigh language is usually referred to as ''Shelha'', a term which has been observed in Morocco as well. One group, the
Linguasphere Observatory The Linguasphere Observatory (or "the Observatoire", based on its original French and legal title: ''Observatoire Linguistique'') is a non-profit transnational research network, devoted (alongside related programs) to the gathering, study, classif ...
, has attempted to introduce the
neologism A neologism (; from Greek νέο- ''néo-'', "new" and λόγος ''lógos'', "speech, utterance") is a relatively recent or isolated term, word, or phrase that may be in the process of entering common use, but that has not yet been fully accepted ...
"Tamazic languages" to refer to the Berber languages.


Origin

Berber is a branch of the
Afroasiatic Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed lang ...
language family. Since modern Berber languages are relatively homogeneous, the date of the
Proto-Berber language Proto-Berber or Proto-Libyan is the reconstructed proto-language from which the modern Berber languages descend. Proto-Berber was an Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language, and thus its descendant Berber languages are cousins to the Egyptian l ...
from which the modern group is derived was probably comparatively recent, comparable to the age of the
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
or
Romance Romance (from Vulgar Latin , "in the Roman language", i.e., "Latin") may refer to: Common meanings * Romance (love) Romance or Romantic love is an emotional feeling of love for, or a strong attraction towards another person, and the Court ...

Romance
subfamilies. In contrast, the split of the group from the other Afroasiatic sub-phyla is much earlier, and is therefore sometimes associated with the local Mesolithic
Capsian culture The Capsian culture was a Mesolithic The Mesolithic ( Greek: μέσος, ''mesos'' "middle"; λίθος, ''lithos'' "stone") is the Old World archaeological period between the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic The Neolithic period is th ...
. A number of extinct populations are believed to have spoken Afroasiatic languages of the Berber branch. According to Peter Behrens and Marianne Bechaus-Gerst, linguistic evidence suggests that the peoples of the
C-Group culture The C-Group culture is an archaeological culture found in Nubia, Lower Nubia, which dates from ca. 2400 BCE to ca. 1550 BCE. It was named by George A. Reisner. With no central site and no written evidence about what these people called themselves, ...
in present-day southern
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identif ...
and northern
Sudan Sudan (; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān), officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جمهورية السودان, link=no, Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is a country in Northeast Africa. It is bordered by Egypt to the Egypt–Sudan border, nort ...

Sudan
spoke Berber languages. The
Nilo-Saharan The Nilo-Saharan languages are a proposed family of African languages spoken by some 50–60 million people, mainly in the upper parts of the Chari and Nile rivers, including historic Nubia, north of where the two tributaries of the Nile meet. Th ...
Nobiin language Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian language The Nubian languages ( ar, لغات نوبية : lughāt nūbīyyah) are a group of related languages spoken by the Nubians. They form a branch of the Eastern Sudanic languages, which is part of ...
today contains a number of key pastoralism-related
loanword A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (lin ...
s that are of Berber origin, including the terms for sheep and water/
Nile The Nile ( ar, النيل, an-Nīl, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin: Áman Dawū) is a major north-flowing river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In som ...

Nile
. This in turn suggests that the C-Group population—which, along with the
Kerma culture The Kerma culture or Kerma kingdom was an early civilization centered in Kerma, Sudan Sudan (; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān), officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جمهورية السودان, link=no, Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is ...
, inhabited the Nile valley immediately before the arrival of the first Nubian speakers—spoke Afro-Asiatic languages.
Roger Blench Roger Marsh Blench (born 1953) is a British linguist, ethnomusicologist Ethnomusicology is the study of music from the cultural and social aspects of the people who make it. It encompasses distinct theoretical and methodical approaches that ...
has suggested that Proto-Berber speakers had spread from the Nile River valley to North Africa 4,000-5,000 years ago due to the spread of pastoralism, and experienced intense language leveling about 2,000 years ago.Blench, Roger. 2018
Reconciling archaeological and linguistic evidence for Berber prehistory
Hence, although Berber had split off from Afroasiatic several thousand years ago, Proto-Berber itself can only be reconstructed to a period as late as 200 A.D. Blench noted that Berber is considerably different from other Afroasiatic branches, but modern-day Berber languages display low internal diversity. The presence of
Punic The Punics, Carthaginians or Western Phoenicians, were a group of peoples in the Western Mediterranean who traced their origins to the Phoenicians. In modern scholarship, the term 'Punic' – the Latin equivalent of the Greek-derived term 'Phoen ...
borrowings in Proto-Berber points to the diversification of modern Berber language varieties subsequent to the fall of
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient Ancient Carthage, Carthaginian civilization, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now Tunisia. Carthage was one of the most important trading hubs of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of ...
in 146 B.C.; only Zenaga lacks Punic loanwords. Additionally,
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the ...
loanwords in Proto-Berber point to the breakup of Proto-Berber between 1 and 200 A.D. During this time period, Roman innovations including the ox-plough, camel, and orchard management were adopted by Berber communities along the ''
limes Lime or Limes primarily refers to: * Lime (fruit), a green citrus fruit * Lime (material), inorganic materials containing calcium, usually calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide * Lime (color), a color between yellow and green Lime or Limes may also re ...
'', or borders of the Roman Empire, as evidenced by the frequency of Latin loanwords from this period in these semantic domains. This resulted in a new trading culture involving the use of a
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect The term dialect (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a ...
which became Proto-Berber.


Orthography

Various orthographies have been used to transcribe the Berber languages. In antiquity, the
Libyco-Berber Tifinagh (; also written in the Berber Latin alphabet; Neo-Tifinaɣ: ; Tuareg Tifinagh: or ) is an abjad An abjad () is a type of writing system in which (in contrast to true alphabets) each symbol or glyph stands for a consonant, in effect ...
script (
Tifinagh Tifinagh (; also written in the Berber Latin alphabet; Neo-Tifinaɣ: ; Tuareg Tifinagh: or ) is an abjad An abjad () is a type of writing system in which (in contrast to true alphabets) each symbol or glyph stands for a consonant, in effect ...

Tifinagh
) was utilised to write the
Numidian language Numidian, also known as Old Libyan or Libyan, was a language spoken in ancient Numidia Numidia ( Berber: ''Inumiden''; 202–40 BC) was the ancient kingdom of the Numidians located in northwest Africa, initially originating from Algeria ) ...
, also called Old Libyan. Early uses of the script have been found on
rock art In archaeology, rock art is human-made markings placed on natural surfaces, typically vertical stone surfaces. A high proportion of surviving historic and prehistoric rock art is found in caves or partly enclosed rock shelters; this type also ma ...
and in various s. Among these are the 1,500-year-old monumental tomb of the Tuareg matriarch
Tin Hinan Tin Hinan was a 4th-century Tuareg queen. Her monumental tomb is located in the Sahara The Sahara (, ; ar, الصحراء الكبرى, ', 'the Greatest Desert') is a desert on the African continent. With an area of , it is the largest hot ...
, where vestiges of a Tifinagh inscription have been found on one of its walls. Following the spread of
Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pronounced , or (when the stress is on the first syllable) ( ...
, some Berber scholars also utilised the Arabic script. There are now three writing systems in use for Berber languages: Tifinagh, the Arabic script, and the
Berber Latin alphabet The Berber Latin alphabet ( ber, Agemmay Amaziɣ Alatin) is the version of the Latin alphabet used to write the Berber languages. It was adopted in the 19th century, using varieties of letters. History The Berber languages were originally written u ...
.


Status

After independence, all the
Maghreb The Maghreb (; ar, المغرب, al-Maghrib, lit=the west), also known as Northwest Africa, is the western part of North Africa and the Arab world. The region includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania (also considered part of West Africa), Morocco and ...

Maghreb
countries to varying degrees pursued a policy of Arabisation, aimed partly at displacing French from its colonial position as the dominant language of education and literacy. Under this policy the use of the Amazigh/Berber languages was suppressed or even banned. This state of affairs has been contested by Berbers in Morocco and Algeria—especially
Kabylie Kabylia ('','' meaning "Land of the Tribes", ''Kabyle language, Kabyle: Tamurt n Leqbayel'' or ''Iqbayliyen'', meaning "Land of Kabyles") is a Cultural region, cultural, natural region, natural and historical region in northern Algeria and the ...

Kabylie
—and was addressed in both countries by affording the language official status and introducing it in some schools. The 2011 constitution of Morocco makes "Amazigh" an official language alongside Arabic. Morocco is a country with several competing linguistically different languages, including French,
Modern Standard Arabic Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), or Modern Written Arabic (shortened to MWA), is a term used mostly by Western linguists to refer to the variety of standardized, literary Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also u ...
,
Moroccan Arabic Moroccan Arabic ( ar, اللهجة المغربية, ), known as Darija in Morocco, is a form of vernacular Arabic spoken in Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in n ...

Moroccan Arabic
and Amazigh. As the higher status of Modern Standard Arabic grew, so did the relation between the male population and the language, as well as the female population and the lower status language Amazigh. Women became the main carriers of the Amazigh language as the lower-status language in the country. On 17 June 2011 King announced in a speech of new constitutional reform that "Tamazight" became an official language of Morocco alongside Arabic and will be used in all the administrations in the future. On 30 April 2012 Fatima Chahou, alias ''Tabaamrant'', member of the Moroccan House of Representatives and former singer, became the first person to ask questions and discuss the minister's answer in Tamazight inside the
Parliament of Morocco The Parliament of Morocco (; ; ) is the bicameral legislature located in Rabat, the capital of Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: ...

Parliament of Morocco
. Algeria recognized Berber as a " national language" in 2002, though not as an
official An official is someone who holds an office (function or mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual working space with it) in an organization or government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized com ...

official
one. However, on 7 February 2016 the Algerian parliament recognised Berber languages as having official status along with Arabic. Although regional councils in Libya's
Nafusa Mountains The Nafusa Mountains (Berber language, Berber: ''Adrar n Infusen'' (Nafusa Mountain), ar, [جبل نفوسة (Western mountain)) are a mountain range in the western Tripolitania region of northwestern Libya. It also includes their regions around t ...
affiliated with the National Transitional Council reportedly use the Berber language of Nafusi language, Nafusi and have called for it to be granted co-official status with Arabic in a prospective new constitution, it does not have official status in Libya as in Morocco and Algeria. As areas of Libya south and west of
Tripoli Tripoli (; ar, طرابلس, ; ber, ⵜⵔⵢⴱⵓⵍⵙ) is the capital city, capital and largest city of Libya, with a population of about three million people in 2019. It is located in the northwest of Libya on the edge of the desert, on a ...

Tripoli
such as the Nafusa Mountains were taken from the control of
Gaddafi Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, Modern Standard . Due to the lack of standardization of transcribing written and regionally pronounced Arabic, Gaddafi's name has been romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Lin ...
government forces in early summer 2011, Berber workshops and exhibitions sprang up to share and spread the Tamazight culture and language. In Mali and Niger, there are a few schools that teach partially in
Tuareg languages The Tuareg () languages constitute a group of closely related Berber languages and dialects. They are spoken by the Tuareg people, Tuareg Berbers in large parts of Mali, Niger, Algeria, Libya and Burkina Faso, with a few speakers, the ''Kinnin'', i ...
.


Phonology

Although the sound system of the different Berber languages displays basic similarities, the reconstruction of the Proto-Berber sound inventory is made difficult by sound changes that are hard to retrace and a downright bewildering diversity of allophones. One characteristic of the Berber languages, as well as of other Afroasiatic languages, is the presence of consonants. The existence of phonemic gemination, accompanied by fortis articulation, is typically Afroasiatic, too. However, some caution is advised in making such parallels, since the influence of Arabic on Berber must not be underestimated. Thus, the
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
s //, and , three typically Afroasiatic consonants, were borrowed from Arabic and can't be reconstructed for Proto-Berber. The following consonant phonemes are postulated for Proto-Berber by Maarten Kossmann (in Kossmann's transcription): Most consonant phonemes could also occur as geminates, and the place and manner of ariculation of the geminate allophone partially diverged. For example, ‘’qq’’ was the geminated version of ''γ''. Most northern Berber languages have the four vowels ''a'', ''i'', ''u'' and ''ə'', but the last one has partially subphonemic status, since it is predictable based on the syllable structure in certain languages. Vowel length and stress are generally not phonemic there. Tuareg and Ghadames, however, have both the long vowels ''a'', ''i'', ''u'', ''e'', ''o'' and the short vowels ''ə'' and ''ă'' (also transcribed as ''ä''/''æ''). For Proto-Berber, the short vowels /a/, /i/, /u/ and the long vowels /aa/, /ii/, /uu/, /ee/ are reconstructed, whereas /oo/ probably doesn’t go back to the protolanguages. Of
syllable A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. It is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels a ...

syllable
structures, Tuareg permits almost only V, VC, CV, CVC, but many northern dialects may have more complex consonant clusters as well. The accent is so far underresearched, as the only detailed analysis is the one offered by Heath 2005 for Tuareg.


Morphology

The
morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of astronomical objects such as nebulae, galaxies ...
of Berber is fusional, which is reflected especially in the frequent use of
apophony In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis inclu ...
. The base is the ''root'', which consists of a sequence of mostly three, less frequently one, two or four consonants. It contains exclusively lexical information, whereas grammatical information is provided to a significant degree by their vocalisation.


Nominal morphology

The Berber noun distinguishes a masculine and a feminine
grammatical gender In linguistics, grammatical gender is a specific form of noun class system in which the division of noun classes forms an agreement (linguistics), agreement system with another aspect of the language, such as adjectives, articles, pronouns, or v ...
and the
grammatical number In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category A grammatical category or grammatical feature is a property of items within the grammar In linguistics, the grammar (from Ancient Greek ''grammatikḗ'') of a natural language is ...
s singular and plural. Similarly to the case system of other languages, the Berber noun has two so-called statuses: '' Status absolutus'' and ''Status annexus''. These are sometimes also called 'accusative case' (or 'absolutive case') and 'nominative case' respectively. Number, gender and status are marked in most nouns by prefixes, which have the following forms in Kabyle: Status absolutus is used as a citation form and extracted topic, as well as a direct object, somewhat similarly to the
absolutive case In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as wel ...
of other languages. Status annexus is used as the subject of a verbal clause and as the object of a preposition (for more information see the section on syntax). This type of system is sometimes also referred to as a
marked nominative In linguistic typology Linguistic typology (or language typology) is a field of linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods fo ...
system. It is present in most Berber languages, although some peripheral varieties ( Eastern Berber, Western Berber, some Zenati languages) have recently lost the nominative and thereby the status distinction. Attributive relations between noun phrases are expressed with the preposition ‘’n’’ (Kabyle:) ''afus n wə-rgaz'' “the hand of the man “. ''N'' is often used with personal pronouns as well: ''akal-n-sən'' “your land“. The feminine can be additionally marked by a suffix ''’t'': Shilha ''a-ɣyul'' “donkey“ – ''ta-ɣyul-t'' “she-donkey“. Plural forms have additional possibilities of expression. Besides the suffix -''ăn''/-''ən'' (Kabyle ''a-rgaz'' “man“ – ''i-rgaz-ən'' “men“), apophony plays a role as well. The last vowel of a word is changed to ''a'', the first one sometimes to ''u'' (Kabyle ''a-ɣɣul'' “donkey“ (singular) – ''i-ɣɣal'' “donkey“ (Plural)).


Pronominal morphology

The
personal pronoun Personal pronouns are pronoun In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas ...
s of Berber can be divided into two main groups: free forms and
clitic In morphology and syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of Sentence (linguistics), sentences (sentence structure) in a given Natural language, language, usually including word ...
s, the latter being further classified according to their syntactic function. The following example forms are taken from Tahaggart, a dialect of Tuareg. Especially the plural of the absolutive pronouns can be very different in the other languages: Absolutive pronouns are used emphatically and occur especially clause-initially. The object pronouns appear as clitics in verbal complexes (see below). Besides objects (e.g. Kabyle: ''iuɣa-t'' "he brought him"), they can express the subjects of existential predicates (Kabyle: ''hat-t'' "he is here") and of some predicative adjectives like 'be good' and 'be bad' (Kabyle: ''d ir-it wəɣru-agi'', "this bread is bad").Satzinger, Helmut. 2005. On the assumed ergativity of the Berber language(s). Proceedings of the 10th Meeting of Hamito-Semitic (Afroasiatic) Linguistics (Florence, 18–20 April 2001).
/ref> This, along with the use of nouns in the absolutive status in the same constructions (Tamazight: ''hak argaz'' "here is the man"), has been described by some linguists as an element of Split-S alignment and is found in all Berber languages except for the isolated Eastern Berber. The “prepositional“ pronouns are suffixed to prepositions as their objects: ''ɣur-i'' “with me“. They can occur with certain restrictions as suffixed possessive pronouns, for example Tuareg ''ma-s'' “his/her mother“, Kabyle ''aḫḫam-is'' “his/her house“. However, they are mostly connected – just like nouns – by means of the preposition ''n'', cf. Kabyle ''akal-n-sən'' “their land“.


Verbal morphology


Stem formation

From the verbal root, which consists mostly of two or three consonants, different stems can be derived, on the one hand, for the purposes of
conjugation Conjugation or conjugate may refer to: Linguistics * Grammatical conjugation, the modification of a verb from its basic form * Emotive conjugation or Russell's conjugation, the use of loaded language Mathematics * Complex conjugation, the change ...
, and on the other for
derivation Derivation may refer to: * Derivation (differential algebra), a unary function satisfying the Leibniz product law * Derivation (linguistics) * Formal proof or derivation, a sequence of sentences each of which is an axiom or follows from the precedi ...
. Most Berber languages have four stems, which express different
aspect Aspect or Aspects may refer to: Entertainment * ''Aspect magazine ASPECT Volume 9: Performance ''ASPECT'' was a biannual DVD The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital optical disc data stor ...
s: * ''
aorist Aorist (; abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; for examp ...
'' * ''intensive aorist'' (has
frequentative In grammar In linguistics, the grammar (from Ancient Greek ''grammatikḗ'') of a natural language is its set of structure, structural constraints on speakers' or writers' composition of clause (linguistics), clauses, phrases, and words. The ...
and durative meaning) * ''
perfect Perfect commonly refers to: * Perfection, a philosophical concept * Perfect (grammar), a grammatical category in certain languages Perfect may also refer to: Film * Perfect (1985 film), ''Perfect'' (1985 film), a romantic drama * Perfect (2018 ...
'' * ''negative perfect'' (negated form of the perfect) In different dialects of Tuareg, there are more stems, whose number varies between the dialects. The following two stems are present in all forms of Tuareg: * ''resultative perfect'' (expresses the results of a past action) * ''negative intensive aorist'' (negated form of the intensive aorist) The stems are formed mostly by apophony only, as shown by the following examples from Shawiya: In certain verbs, vowel alternation occurs within the same aspect: uf''i''-ɣ “I found“ beside y-uf''a'' “he found“. Apart from that, the Berber languages have a system of verbal derivation inherited from the Proto-Afroasiatic, mostly operating with
affix In linguistics, an affix is a morpheme that is attached to a word stem (linguistics), stem to form a new word or word form. Affixes may be Morphological derivation, derivational, like English language, English ''-ness'' and ''pre-'', or inflectiona ...
es (examples from Tuareg):


Conjugation

The conjugation of the verb takes place principally via personal prefixes, partly supplemented by suffixes. The personal affixes are identical for all verb stems - the aspects are distinguished exclusively by the verb stem. The conjugation of the aorist stem of ''əkkəs'' “remove“ in Tuareg is as follows: In Kabyle and Tuareg, the perfect of verbs that express a quality is conjugated with suffixes: By means of pre- or postverbal clitics, more temporal or modal differences can be expressed (examples from Shilha): * Present with ''ar'': ''ur-ar-yaf'' non-present-he finds “he doesn’t find“ * Perfect with ''əlli'': ''ríɣ-əlli'' “I wanted“ The imperative corresponds in singular to the verbal stem of the aorist and therefore functions as the citation form of the verb: ''əkkəs'' “remove“ (Tuareg). Besides, an imperative of the intensive stem can be formed. In the plural, the imperative contains an affix, which agrees with the gender of the addressee: ''əkkəs-ăt'' “remove“ (masculine), ''əkkəs-măt'' “remove“ (feminine). Active participles can be formed from several aspect stems and partly inflect in number and gender. This is mostly achieved as the conjugational form of the corresponding of the third person is provided with suffixes; in Tuareg, additional apophonic markers occur. The participles are used in relative clauses, whose subject is identical to the external antecedent: Kabyle ''ikšəm wərgaz'' “the man has entered“ (normal verb clause) > ''argaz ikšəm-ən'' “the man that has entered“ (relative clause).


Deverbal nouns

Deverbal nouns can be formed by the superimposition of a series vowel on the consonant root, as shown by the following examples from Tuareg: * ''əddăh'' “pound“ – ''t-idhăw-t'' “pounding“ * ''əggəš'' “enter“ – ''ugəš'' “entering“ * ''sarad'' “wash“ − ''asirəd'' “washing“ * ''ibhaw'' “be grey“ − ''abhaw'' “grey“ * ''durhən'' “to desire“ − ''derhan'' “a desire“ Prefixes can also participate in the formation of deverbal nouns. The prefix ''am-'', ''em-'' occurs very often with that function: * ''em-ăsăww'' “drinker; source“ – ''əsəw'' “to drink“ * ''am-idi'' “friend“ – ''idaw'' “accompany“ * ''em-ăls'' “clothing“ − ''əls'' “wear (clothing)“


Numerals

Modern northern Berber languages use mostly
numeral A numeral is a figure, symbol, or group of figures or symbols denoting a number. It may refer to: * Numeral system used in mathematics * Numeral (linguistics), a part of speech denoting numbers (e.g. ''one'' and ''first'' in English) * Numerical di ...
s borrowed from Arabic, whereas the originally Berber forms are being replaced. In Shilha, they are as follows: They agree in gender with their antecedent; the feminine forms are derived with the suffix -''t'': ''ya-t'' “one (fem.)“, sn-at “two (fem.)“, smmus-t “five (fem.)“. There are deviations from that system in different Berber languages; the most important one is the system based on the numeral “five“ of e.g. Nafusi: ''ufəs'' “hand; five“, ''ufəs d sən'' “a hand and two“ = “seven“, ''okkos n ifəssən'' “four hands“ = “twenty“.


Syntax


Verbal clause


Word order

Clauses whose
predicate Predicate or predication may refer to: Computer science *Syntactic predicate (in parser technology) guidelines the parser process Linguistics *Predicate (grammar), a grammatical component of a sentence Philosophy and logic * Predication (philo ...
is a finite verb form usually have the word order Verb – Subject
Object Object may refer to: General meanings * Object (philosophy), a thing, being, or concept ** Entity, something that is tangible and within the grasp of the senses ** Object (abstract), an object which does not exist at any particular time or pl ...
(VSO): All constituents besides the predicate can be placed in the beginning of the sentence as topics; in such cases, they are represented in the sentence through
resumptive pronounA resumptive pronoun is a personal pronoun Personal pronouns are pronouns that are associated primarily with a particular grammatical person – first person (as ''I''), second person (as ''you''), or third person (as ''he'', ''she'', ''it'', ''th ...
s. In thematised position, nouns are in status absolutus and personal pronouns are in the absolutive form:


Verbal clitics

Before or after the conjugated verb, a chain of several clitics can occur. The following morphemes can occur in it: * Negation particle ''wăr'', ''wər'', ''ur'' (depending on the language) * different aspectual or modal particles such as ''ad'', ''a'' (depending on the language) * Object pronouns in the order ''indirect object pronouns'' – ''direct object pronouns'' * Distance morphemes The directional morphemes ''d'' and ''n'' represent a special feature of Berber. Whereas ''d'' expresses proximity or direction towards the speaker ( ventive), ''n'' stands for distance or movement away from the speaker. Examples of verbal complexes from Tuareg:


Nominal sentence

Noun A noun () is a word that functions as the name of a specific object or set of objects, such as living creatures, places, actions, qualities, states of existence, or ideas.Example nouns for: * Organism, Living creatures (including people, alive, de ...
and
prepositional Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in English, simply prepositions), are a class of words used to express spatial or temporal relations (''in'', ''under'', ''towards'', ''before'') or mark various semantic ...
phrases can form the predicate of a clause in the Berber languages, e.g. (Tamazight) ''ism-ns Muha'' “his name is Muha“, (Kabyle) ''ɣur-i lbhaim'' “with me is livestock“ = “I have livestock“. In certain dialects, however, the use of the copula ''d'' is obligatory: Kabyle ''ntta d aqbaili.'' “He is a Kabyle“. In nominal sentences, the subject, too, is in status absolutus.


Lexicon

Above all in the area of basic lexicon, the Berber languages are very similar. However, especially the household-related vocabulary in sedentary tribes is different from the one found in nomadic ones: whereas Tahaggart has only two or three designations for species of palm tree, other languages may have as many as 200 similar words. In contrast, Tahaggart has a rich vocabulary for the description of camels. Above all the northern Berber languages have replaced a great part of the inherited vocabulary with Arabic loans. On the one hand, the words and expressions connected to Islam were borrowed, e.g. Shilha ''bismillah'' “in the name of
Allah Allah (; ar, الله, translit=Allāh, ) is the Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in coll ...

Allah
“ < Classical Arabic ''bi-smi-llāhi'', Tuareg ''ta-mejjīda'' “mosque“ (Arabic ''masǧid''); on the other, Berber adopted cultural concepts such as Kabyle ''ssuq'' “market“ from Arabic ''as-sūq'', ''tamdint'' “town“ < Arabisch ''madīna''. Even expressions such as the Arabic greeting ''as-salāmu ʿalaikum'' “Peace be upon you!“ were adopted (Tuareg ''salāmu ɣlīkum''). The Berber languages often have original Berber designations besides the Arabic loans; for instance, both the inherited word ''ataram'' and the loan ''lɣərb'' (Arabic ''al-ġarb'') coexist in Kabyle. In more recent times, European languages have also had some influence on Berber, so that words such as “internet“ were adopted in it (Kabyle ''intərnət'').


Population

The exact population of Berber speakers is hard to ascertain, since most North African countries do not record language data in their censuses.
Ethnologue ''Ethnologue: Languages of the World'' (stylized as Ethnoloɠue) is an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living languages of the world. It was first issued in 1951, and is now ...
provides a useful academic starting point; however, its bibliographic references are very inadequate, and it rates its own accuracy at only B-C for the area. Early colonial censuses may provide better documented figures for some countries; however, these are also very much out of date. : ''Few census figures are available; all countries (Algeria and Morocco included) do not count Berber languages. The 1972 Niger census reported Tuareg, with other languages, at 127,000 speakers. Population shifts in location and number, effects of urbanization and education in other languages, etc., make estimates difficult. In 1952, André Basset (LLB.4) estimated the number of Berberophones at 5,500,000. Between 1968 and 1978 estimates ranged from eight to thirteen million (as reported by Galand, LELB 56, pp. 107, 123–25); Voegelin and Voegelin (1977, p. 297) call eight million a conservative estimate. In 2006, Salem Chaker estimated that the Berberophone populations of Kabylie and the three Moroccan groups numbered more than one million each; and that in Algeria, 9,650,000, or one out of five Algerians, speak a Berber language (Chaker 1984, pp. 8–9).'' * Morocco: In 1952, André Basset ("La langue berbère", ''Handbook of African Languages'', Part I, Oxford) estimated that a "small majority" of Morocco's population spoke Berber. The 1960 census claimed that 34 percent of Moroccans spoke Berber, including bi-, tri- and quadrilingual people. In 2000, Karl Prasse cited "more than a third" in an interview conducted by Brahim Karada at Tawalt.com. A 2007 estimate put the number of Amazigh speakers in Morocco at 7.5 million. According to
Ethnologue ''Ethnologue: Languages of the World'' (stylized as Ethnoloɠue) is an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living languages of the world. It was first issued in 1951, and is now ...
(by deduction from its Moroccan Arabic figures), the Berber-speaking population should be estimated at 35 percent or around 10.5 million speakers. However, the figures it gives for individual languages only add up to 7.5 million, divided into three languages: ** Riffian: 3 million ** Shilha: 8 million **
Central Atlas Tamazight Central Atlas Tamazight or Atlasic (also known as Central Morocco Tamazight, Middle Atlas Tamazight, Tamazight, Central Shilha and, rarely, Beraber or Braber; native name: ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ ''Tamazight'' ) is a Berber language The Berbe ...
: 4–5 million A survey included in the official Moroccan census of 2004 and published by several Moroccan newspapers gave the following figures: 34 percent of people in rural regions spoke a Berber language and 21 percent in urban zones did; the national average would be 28.4 percent or 8.52 million. It is possible, however, that the survey asked for the language "used in daily life", which would result in figures lower than those of native speakers, as the language is not recognised for official purposes and many Berbers who live in a Darija-Arabic-speaking area cannot use Berber as a working language in some work environments like schools and administration; also, the use of Berber as a communication language in government institutions was usually frowned upon or even ridiculed as "peasant speech" until recent times which may have affected the results of the survey. Adding up the population (according to the official census of 2004) of the Berber-speaking regions as shown on a 1973 map from the
CIA The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA; ), known informally as "The Agency" and "The Company", is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States The federal government of the United States (U.S. ...
results in at least 10 million speakers, not counting the numerous Berber population which lives outside these regions in the bigger cities. Moroccan
linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing ...
Mohamed Chafik Mohamed Chafik (; ), born 17 September 1926, is a leading figure in the Amazigh (also known as Berber) cultural movement. An original author of the Amazigh Manifesto, he was later appointed as the first Rector of the Royal Institute of the Ama ...
claims that 80 percent of
Moroccans Moroccans ( ''al-Maġāriba'', Berber: ''Imɣṛabiyen''), ancient names and and ''The Moorish '' of Alfonso X, c. 1285 The term Moor is an Endonym and exonym, exonym first used by Christian Europeans to designate the Muslims, Muslim ...
are Berbers. It is not clear, however, whether he means "speakers of Berber languages" or "people of Berber descent". The division of Moroccan Berber languages into three groups, as used by Ethnologue, is common in linguistic publications, but is significantly complicated by the presence of local differences: Shilha is subdivided into Shilha of the
Draa River :''Dra is also the abbreviation for the constellation Draco (constellation), Draco.'' The Draa ( ber, Asif en Dra, ⴰⵙⵉⴼ ⴻⵏ ⴷⵔⴰ, ary, واد درعة, wad dərʿa; also spelled Dra or Drâa, in older sources mostly Darha or Dara ...
valley, Tasusit (the language of the
Sous The Sous region (also spelt Sus, Suss, Souss or Sousse) ( ar, سوس, sūs, ber, ⵙⵓⵙ, sus) is a region in mid-southern Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in ...

Sous
s) and several other mountain languages. Moreover, linguistic boundaries are blurred, such that certain languages cannot accurately be described as either Central Morocco Tamazight (spoken in the central and eastern
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area) or Shilha. * Algeria: In 1906, the total population speaking Berber languages in Algeria (excluding the thinly populated Sahara region) was estimated at 1,305,730 out of 4,447,149, i.e. 29 percent. (Doutté & Gautier, ''Enquête sur la dispersion de la langue berbère en Algérie, faite par l'ordre de M. le Gouverneur Général'', Alger 1913.) The 1911 census, however, found 1,084,702 speakers out of 4,740,526, i.e. 23 percent; Doutté & Gautier suggest that this was the result of a serious undercounting of Shawiya in areas of widespread
bilingualism in Seattle labeled in four languages: English language, English, Chinese characters, Chinese, Vietnamese language, Vietnamese, and Spanish language, Spanish (Tagalog language, Tagalog also uses the Spanish word). Multilingualism is the use of ...
. A trend was noted for Berber groups surrounded by Arabic (as in the city of
Blida Blida ( ar, البليدة; Berber languages, Tamazight: Leblida) is a city in Algeria. It is the capital of Blida Province, and it is located about 45 km south-west of Algiers, the national capital. The name ''Blida'', i.e. ''bulaydah'', ...
) to adopt Arabic, while Arabic speakers surrounded by Berber (as in Sikh ou Meddour near the city of
Tizi Ouzou Tizi Ouzou or Thizi Wezzu (Berber language: Tizi Wezzu) is a city in north central Algeria. It is among the largest cities in Algeria and is the capital and largest city of Tizi Ouzou Province. It is the second most populous city in the Kabylie, ...
) tended to adopt Berber. In 1952, André Basset estimated that about a third of Algeria's population spoke Berber. According to historian Charles-Robert Ageron in 1886, Algeria had around 1.2 million Berber speakers and 1.1 million Arab speakers. The Algerian census of 1966 found 2,297,997 out of 12,096,347 Algerians, or 19 percent, to speak "Berber". In 1980, Salem Chaker estimated that "in Algeria, 3,650,000, or one out of five Algerians, speak a Berber language" (Chaker 1984, pp. 8–9). According to Ethnologue, more recent estimates include 14 percent (corresponding to the total figures it gives for each Berber language added together, 4 million) and (by deduction from its Algerian Arabic figures) 29 percent (Hunter 1996). Most of these are accounted for by three languages (percentages based on historical population data from appropriate dates): :* Kabyle: 2,540,000 or 9 percent (Ethnologue, 1995); 6,000,000 or 20 percent (Ethnologue, 1998). Mainly in
Algiers Algiers ( ; ar, الجزائر; Berber language, Berber: ''Dzayer;'' French language, French'': Alger'') is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Algeria. The city's population at the 2008 Census was 2,988,145Census 14 April 2008: Offi ...
,
Béjaïa Béjaïa (; ar, بِجَايَة, ''Bijayah''; ber, Bgayet, Bgayeth), formerly Bougie and Bugia, is a Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, ...
,
Tizi Ouzou Tizi Ouzou or Thizi Wezzu (Berber language: Tizi Wezzu) is a city in north central Algeria. It is among the largest cities in Algeria and is the capital and largest city of Tizi Ouzou Province. It is the second most populous city in the Kabylie, ...
, Bouïra,
Sétif Sétif ( ar, سطيف, ber, Sṭif) is an Algerian city and the capital of the Sétif Province. It is one of the most important cities of eastern Algeria and the country as a whole, since it is considered the trade capital of the country. It is an ...
and Boumerdès. :* Shawiya: ~2 million or 8.5 percent of the population as of 2005. Mainly in
Batna In negotiation theory, the best alternative to a negotiated agreement or BATNA (no deal option) refers to the most advantageous alternative course of action a party can take if negotiations fail and an agreement cannot be reached. The exact opposit ...
,
Khenchela Khenchela ancient Mascula (Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Afr ...

Khenchela
, Sétif,
Souk Ahras Souk Ahras ( Berber: ''Tagast''; ancient name: ''Thagast''; ar, سوق أهراس) is a municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or j ...

Souk Ahras
, Oum El Bouaghi and Tébessa. :* Shenwa: 56,300 speakers according to an estimate, in the Dahra Range region, more precisely Mount Chenoua, just west of Algiers in the Provinces of Algeria, provinces of Tipaza Province, Tipaza, Chlef Province, Chlef and Aïn Defla Province, Aïn Defla. Two main languages: Beni Menacer, west and south of the Mount Chenoua area and in the Mount Chenoua area, with 55,250 speakers. : A fourth group, despite a very small population, accounts for most of the land area where Berber is spoken: :*
Tuareg The Tuareg people (; also spelt Twareg or Touareg; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify ...
: 25,000 in Algeria (Ethnologue, 1987), mainly in the Hoggar Mountains of the Sahara. Most Tuareg live in Mali and Niger (see below). Other Berber languages spoken in Algeria include: the Tamazight of
Blida Blida ( ar, البليدة; Berber languages, Tamazight: Leblida) is a city in Algeria. It is the capital of Blida Province, and it is located about 45 km south-west of Algiers, the national capital. The name ''Blida'', i.e. ''bulaydah'', ...
, the languages of the Beni Snouss and Beni Boussaid villages in the province of Tlemcen Province, Tlemcen, the Matmata Berber spoken in the Ouarsenis region, the Mozabite language spoken in the region of the province of Mzab and the language of the Ouargla oasis. * Tunisia: Basset (1952) estimated about 1 percent, as did Penchoen (1968). According to Ethnologue, there are only 26,000 speakers (1998) of a Berber language it calls "Jerba Berber, Djerbi", but which Tunisians call "Shelha", in Tunisia, all in the south around Djerba and Matmata, Tunisia, Matmata. The more northerly enclave of Sened (town), Sened no longer speaks Berber. This would make 0.3 percent of the population. Chenini is also one of the rare remaining berber-speaking villages in Tunisia. * Libya: According to Ethnologue (by deduction from its combined Libyan Arabic and Egyptian Arabic figures) the non-Arabic-speaking population, most of which would be Berber, is estimated at 4 percent (1991, 1996). However, the individual language figures it gives add up to 162,000, i.e. about 3 percent. This is mostly accounted for by the languages: ** Nafusi language, Nafusi in the
Nafusa Mountains The Nafusa Mountains (Berber language, Berber: ''Adrar n Infusen'' (Nafusa Mountain), ar, [جبل نفوسة (Western mountain)) are a mountain range in the western Tripolitania region of northwestern Libya. It also includes their regions around t ...
and Zuwara Berber in the city of
Zuwarah Zuwarah, or Zuwara or Zwara (Berber language The Berber languages, also known as the Amazigh languages (Berber name: , ; Neo-Tifinagh: ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ, Tuareg Tifinagh: ⵜⵎⵣⵗⵜ, , ), are a branch of the Afroasiatic language fami ...
in the Tripolitania region: 184,000. ** Tamahaq language, Tahaggart (Tamahaq) language of the Tuareg languages, Tuareg branch of the town of Ghat, Libya, Ghat: 17,000 (Johnstone 1993). * Egypt: The oasis of Siwa Oasis, Siwa near the Egypt–Libya border, Libyan border speaks a Berber language; according to Ethnologue, there are 5,000 speakers there (1995). Its population in 1907 was 3,884 (according to the 1911 ''Encyclopædia Britannica''). * Mauritania: According to Ethnologue, only 200 to 300 speakers of Zenaga remain (1998). It also mentions Tamasheq, but does not provide a population figure for it. Most non-Arabic speakers in Mauritania speak Niger–Congo languages. * Mali: Ethnologue counts 440,000
Tuareg The Tuareg people (; also spelt Twareg or Touareg; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify ...
(1991) speaking: :: Tamasheq: 250,000 :: Tawallammat Tamajaq language, Tamajaq: 190,000 * Niger: Ethnologue counts 720,000
Tuareg The Tuareg people (; also spelt Twareg or Touareg; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify ...
(1998) speaking: :: Tawallamat Tamajaq: 450,000 :: Tayart Tamajeq: 250,000 :: Tamahaq language, Tamahaq: 20,000 * Burkina Faso: Ethnologue counts 20,000 to 30,000
Tuareg The Tuareg people (; also spelt Twareg or Touareg; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify ...
(SIL International 1991), speaking Kel Tamasheq. However Ethnologue is very inaccurate here, appearing to miss the largest group of Tamasheq in Burkina in the province of Oudalan Province, Oudalan. The Tamasheq-speaking population of Burkina is nearer to 100,000 (2005), with around 70,000 Tamasheq speakers in the province of Oudalan, the rest mainly in Seno, Soum, Yagha, Yatenga and Kadiogo provinces. About 10 percent of Burkina Tamasheq speak a version of the Tawallamat language. * Nigeria: Ethnologue notes the presence of a "few"
Tuareg The Tuareg people (; also spelt Twareg or Touareg; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify ...
, speaking Tawallamat Tamajaq. * France: Ethnologue lists 860,000 speakers for Riffian and 537,000 speakers for Kabyle and 400,000 for Shilha and 150,000 for Central Morocco Tamazight . For the rest of Europe, it has no figures. * Spain: Tamazight is spoken amongst Melilla's 80,000 inhabitants, but there has been no census as to the percentage of its speakers. A minority of Ceuta's inhabitants speak Berber. * Israel: Around two thousand mostly elderly Moroccan-born Israelis of Berber Jews, Berber Jewish descent use Judeo-Berber languages (as opposed to Moroccan Jews who trace descent from Spanish-speaking Sephardi Jews Alhambra decree, expelled from Spain, or Arabic-speaking Moroccan Jews). Thus, the total number of speakers of Berber languages in the
Maghreb The Maghreb (; ar, المغرب, al-Maghrib, lit=the west), also known as Northwest Africa, is the western part of North Africa and the Arab world. The region includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania (also considered part of West Africa), Morocco and ...

Maghreb
proper appears to lie anywhere between 16 and 25 million, depending on which estimate is accepted; if we take Basset's estimate, it could be as high as 30 million. The vast majority are concentrated in Morocco and Algeria. The Tuareg of the Sahel adds another million or so to the total.


Subclassification

Image:Berber-map.png, 450px, Modern Berber branches: Western Berber:Northern Berber languages, Northern Berber:
Tuareg The Tuareg people (; also spelt Twareg or Touareg; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify ...
: Eastern Berber: A listing of the other Berber languages is complicated by their closeness; there is little distinction between language and dialect. The primary difficulty of subclassification, however, lies in the eastern Berber languages, where there is little agreement. Otherwise there is consensus on the outlines of the family: * Eastern Berber (scope debated) * Northern Berber languages, Northern Berber ** Zenati (incl. Riffian and Shawiya) ** Kabyle ** Atlas languages, Atlas (incl. Shilha and Central Atlas Tamazight) *
Tuareg The Tuareg people (; also spelt Twareg or Touareg; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify ...
* Western Berber The various classifications differ primarily in what they consider to be Eastern Berber, and in how many varieties they recognise as distinct languages. There is so little data available on Guanche language, Guanche that any classification is necessarily uncertain; however, it is almost universally acknowledged as Afro-Asiatic on the basis of the surviving glosses, and widely suspected to be Berber. Much the same can be said of the language, sometimes called "Numidian language, Numidian", used in the Libyan or Libyco-Berber inscriptions around the turn of the Common Era, whose alphabet is the ancestor of
Tifinagh Tifinagh (; also written in the Berber Latin alphabet; Neo-Tifinaɣ: ; Tuareg Tifinagh: or ) is an abjad An abjad () is a type of writing system in which (in contrast to true alphabets) each symbol or glyph stands for a consonant, in effect ...

Tifinagh
.


Kossmann (1999)

Maarten Kossmann (1999) describes Berber as two dialect continuum, dialect continua, * Northern Berber languages, Northern Berber and *
Tuareg The Tuareg people (; also spelt Twareg or Touareg; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify ...
plus a few peripheral languages, spoken in isolated pockets largely surrounded by Arabic, that fall outside these continua, namely * Zenaga and * Eastern Berber languages, the Libyan and Egyptian varieties. Within Northern Berber, however, he recognises a break in the continuum between Zenati and their non-Zenati neighbours; and in the east, he recognises a division between Ghadamès language, Ghadamès and Awjila language, Awjila on the one hand and Sokna language, Sokna (Fuqaha, Libya), Siwa language, Siwa and Nafusi language, Djebel Nefusa on the other. The implied tree is: * Nafusi language, Nafusi–Siwa language, Siwi (including Sokna) * Ghadamès language, Ghadamès–Awjila language, Awjila * Northern Berber languages, Northern Berber ** Zenati ** Kabyle and Atlas languages, Atlas *
Tuareg The Tuareg people (; also spelt Twareg or Touareg; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify ...
* Zenaga


''Ethnologue''

Ethnologue ''Ethnologue: Languages of the World'' (stylized as Ethnoloɠue) is an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living languages of the world. It was first issued in 1951, and is now ...
, mostly following Alexandra Aikhenvald, Aikhenvald and Alexander Militarev, Militarev (1991), treats the eastern varieties differently: * Guanche language, Guanche * Eastern Berber ** Siwa language, Siwa ** Eastern Berber ("Awjila–Sokna") * Northern Berber languages, Northern Berber (including Nafusi and Ghadames within Zenati) *
Tuareg The Tuareg people (; also spelt Twareg or Touareg; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify ...
* Zenaga


Blench (2006)

Roger Blench, Blench (ms, 2006) has the following classification: * Guanche language, Guanche† * East Numidian language, East Numidian (Old Libyan)† * Berber and within Berber, * Eastern Berber languages ** Siwa language, Siwa ** Awjila language, Awjila ** Sokna language, Sokna† ** Ghadamès language, Ghadames * Northern Berber languages, Northern Berber (including Nafusi within Zenati) *
Tuareg The Tuareg people (; also spelt Twareg or Touareg; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify ...
* Zenaga


Influence on other languages

The Berber languages have influenced Maghrebi Arabic languages, such as Moroccan, Algerian, Libyan and Tunisian Arabic. Their influence is also seen in some languages in West Africa. F. W. H. Migeod pointed to strong resemblances between Berber and Hausa language, Hausa in such words and phrases as these: Berber: obanis; Hausa ''obansa'' (his father); Berber: a bat; Hausa ''ya bata'' (he was lost); Berber: eghare; Hausa ''ya kirra'' (he called). In addition he notes that the genitive in both languages is formed with n = "of".Migeod, F. W. H., ''The Languages of West Africa''. Kegan, Paul, Trench & Trübner, London 1913. pages 232, 233.


Extinct languages

A number of extinct populations are believed to have spoken Afro-Asiatic languages of the Berber branch. According to Peter Behrens (1981) and Marianne Bechaus-Gerst (2000), linguistic evidence suggests that the peoples of the
C-Group culture The C-Group culture is an archaeological culture found in Nubia, Lower Nubia, which dates from ca. 2400 BCE to ca. 1550 BCE. It was named by George A. Reisner. With no central site and no written evidence about what these people called themselves, ...
in present-day southern
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identif ...
and northern
Sudan Sudan (; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān), officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جمهورية السودان, link=no, Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is a country in Northeast Africa. It is bordered by Egypt to the Egypt–Sudan border, nort ...

Sudan
spoke Berber languages. The
Nilo-Saharan The Nilo-Saharan languages are a proposed family of African languages spoken by some 50–60 million people, mainly in the upper parts of the Chari and Nile rivers, including historic Nubia, north of where the two tributaries of the Nile meet. Th ...
Nobiin language Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian language The Nubian languages ( ar, لغات نوبية : lughāt nūbīyyah) are a group of related languages spoken by the Nubians. They form a branch of the Eastern Sudanic languages, which is part of ...
today contains a number of key pastoralism related
loanword A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (lin ...
s that are of Berber origin, including the terms for sheep and water/
Nile The Nile ( ar, النيل, an-Nīl, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin: Áman Dawū) is a major north-flowing river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In som ...

Nile
. This in turn suggests that the C-Group population—which, along with the
Kerma culture The Kerma culture or Kerma kingdom was an early civilization centered in Kerma, Sudan Sudan (; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān), officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جمهورية السودان, link=no, Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is ...
, inhabited the Nile valley immediately before the arrival of the first Nubian speakers—spoke Afro-Asiatic languages. Additionally, historical linguistics indicate that the
Guanche language Guanche is an extinct language that was spoken by the Guanches The Guanches were the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Islas Canarias, ), also known informally as ''the Canaries'', is a Spanish archip ...
, which was spoken on the
Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Islas Canarias, ), also known informally as ''the Canaries'', is a Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, in a region known as Macaronesia. At their closest point to the African mainland, they are west of Moroc ...
by the ancient
Guanches The Guanches were the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Islas Canarias, ), also known informally as ''the Canaries'', is a Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, in a region known as Macaronesia. A ...
, likely belonged to the Berber branch of the Afro-Asiatic family.Richard Hayward, 2000, "Afroasiatic", in Heine & Nurse eds, ''African Languages,'' Cambridge University Press


See also

* Amazigh Cultural Association in America


Notes


References

* Medieval Berber Orthography, Boogert, Leiden University]
PDF
* Brett, Michael; & Fentress, Elizabeth (1997). ''The Berbers (The Peoples of Africa)''. . (Pbk). * Abdel-Masish, Ernest T. 1971. ''A Reference Grammar of Tamazight (Middle Atlas Berber)''. Ann Arbor: Center for Near Eastern and North African Studies, The University of Michigan * Basset, André. 1952. ''La langue berbère''. Handbook of African Languages 1, ser. ed. Daryll Forde. London: Oxford University Press * Chaker, Salem. 1995. ''Linguistique berbère: Études de syntaxe et de diachronie''. M. S.—Ussun amaziɣ 8, ser. ed. Salem Chaker. Paris and Leuven: Uitgeverij Peeters * Dallet, Jean-Marie. 1982. ''Dictionnaire kabyle–français, parler des At Mangellet, Algérie''. Études etholinguistiques Maghreb–Sahara 1, ser. eds. Salem Chaker, and Marceau Gast. Paris: Société d’études linguistiques et anthropologiques de France * Charles de Foucauld, de Foucauld, Charles Eugène. 1951. ''Dictionnaire touareg–français, dialecte de l’Ahaggar''. 4 vols. [Paris]: Imprimerie nationale de France * Delheure, Jean. 1984. ''Aǧraw n yiwalen: tumẓabt t-tfransist, Dictionnaire mozabite–français, langue berbère parlée du Mzab, Sahara septentrional, Algérie''. Études etholinguistiques Maghreb–Sahara 2, ser. eds. Salem Chaker, and Marceau Gast. Paris: Société d’études linguistiques et anthropologiques de France * ———. 1987. ''Agerraw n iwalen: teggargrent–taṛumit, Dictionnaire ouargli–français, langue parlée à Oaurgla et Ngoussa, oasis du Sahara septentrinal, Algérie''. Études etholinguistiques Maghreb–Sahara 5, ser. eds. Salem Chaker, and Marceau Gast. Paris: Société d’études linguistiques et anthropologiques de France * Kossmann, Maarten G. 1999. ''Essai sur la phonologie du proto-berbère''. Grammatische Analysen afrikanischer Sprachen 12, ser. eds. Wilhelm J. G. Möhlig, and Bernd Heine. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag * Kossmann, Maarten G., and Hendrikus Joseph Stroomer. 1997. "Berber Phonology". In ''Phonologies of Asia and Africa (Including the Caucasus)'', edited by Alan S. Kaye. 2 vols. Vol. 1. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns. 461–475 * Naït-Zerrad, Kamal. 1998. ''Dictionarrie des racines berbères (formes attestées)''. Paris and Leuven: Centre de Recherche Berbère and Uitgeverij Peeters * Karl-Gottfried Prasse, Ghubăyd ăgg-Ălăwžəli, and Ghăbdəwan əg-Muxămmăd. 1998. ''Asăggălalaf: Tămaẓəq–Tăfrăsist – Lexique touareg–français''. 2nd ed. Carsten Niebuhr Institute Publications 24, ser. eds. Paul John Frandsen, Daniel T. Potts, and Aage Westenholz. København: Museum Tusculanum Press * Quitout, Michel. 1997. ''Grammaire berbère (rifain, tamazight, chleuh, kabyle)''. Paris and Montréal: Éditions l’Harmattan * Rössler, Otto. 1958. "Die Sprache Numidiens". In ''Sybaris: Festschrift Hans Krahe zum 60. Geburtstag am 7. February 1958, dargebracht von Freunden, Schülern und Kollegen''. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz * Sadiqi, Fatima. 1997. ''Grammaire du berbère''. Paris and Montréal: Éditions l’Harmattan.


External links


"What does Berber sound like?" (Thamazight poems as text & MP3)



The Tamazight Language Profile

Etymology of "Berber"

Etymology of "Amazigh"

Early Christian history of Berbers





Imyura Kabyle site about literature

Amawal: The online open source Berber dictionary
{{DEFAULTSORT:Berber Languages Berber languages, Afroasiatic languages Maghreb Languages of Algeria Languages of Morocco Languages of Mali Languages of Niger Languages of Mauritania Languages of Tunisia Languages of Gibraltar Languages of Sicily Languages of Western Sahara