1 Classification 2 Geographic distribution 3 Dialects 4 Morocco 5 Algeria 6 Sounds 7 Writing system 8 References 9 Sources 10 External links
Riffian is a Zenati Berber language which consists of various
sub-dialects specific to each clan and of which a majority are spoken
Percent of Rif-Berber speakers in
Riffian is spoken mainly in the Moroccan
Distribution of Riffian dialects
Dialects include West-Riffian (Al Hoceima), Central-Riffian (Nador)
and East-Riffian (Berkan).
Iznasen (Iznacen, Beni Snassen) is counted as a dialect in Kossman
(1999), but Blench (2006) classifies it as one of the closely related
There is a large amount of dialectal variation in Riffian Berber; this
can easily be seen using the dialect Atlas (Lafkioui, 1997), however
Riffian compose a single language with its own phonetical innovations
distinct from other Berber languages. Majority of them are spoken in
Northern Morocco, this includes the varieties of Al Hoceima,
Temsamane, Nador, Ikbadene (including Iznasen) and the more southernly
variety in the
Linguistic map of western
A few Rifian dialects are or used to be in the western part of
Algeria, notably by the Beni Snouss tribe of the Tlemcen, as well in
/l/ in other dialects corresponds to ⟨ř⟩ in Riffian (example: ul (heart) → uř )
/ll/ (geminate /lː/) in other dialects corresponds to ⟨ǧǧ⟩ (/dː͡ʒ/) in Riffian (example: yelli (my daughter) → yeǧǧi ). /lt/ in other dialects corresponds to ⟨č⟩ (/t͡ʃ/) in Riffian (example: weltma (my sister) → wečma ).
These variations do not occur in the Riffian dialects of Ikebdanen and Iznasen.
Riffian letter Riffian word The word in other Berber dialects meaning in English
Ř ř uř ul heart
aɣyuř aɣyul donkey
awař awal speech / talk
Ǧ ǧ azeǧǧif / azedjif azellif head
yeǧǧa / yedja yella (he) is / (he) exists
ajeǧǧid / Ajedjid ajellid king
Č č wečma weltma my sister
tacemřač tacemlalt blonde / white
taɣyuč taɣyult female donkey (jenny)
postvocalic /r/ preceding a consonantal coda is dropped, as in taddart (house/home) → taddaat. Thus in tamara the /r/ is conserved because it precedes a vowel. Additionally, the initial masculine a- prefix is dropped in certain words, e.g., afus (hand) becomes fus, and afighar (snake) becomes fighar. This change, characteristic of Zenati Berber varieties, further distances Riffian from neighbouring dialects such as Atlas-Tamazight and Shilha.
"Tarifit" or "Tarifiyt" is by some tribes pronounced as [Tharifesht].
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Like other Berber languages, Riffian has been written with several
different systems over the years. Most recently (since 2003), Tifinagh
has become official throughout Morocco. The
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^ a b Riffian at
Biarnay, Samuel. 1911. Etude sur le dialecte des Bet't'ioua du
Vieil-Arzeu. Alger: Carbonel.
Biarnay, Samuel. 1917. Etude sur les dialectes berbères du Rif.
Cadi, Kaddour. 1987. Système verbal rifain. Forme et sens. Paris:
Colin, Georges Séraphin. 1929. "Le parler berbère des Gmara."
Hespéris 9: 43-58.
Kossmann, Maarten. 2000. Esquisse grammaticale du rifain oriental.
Lafkioui, Mena. 2007. Atlas linguistique des variétés berbères du
Rif. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe.
McClelland, Clive. The Interrelations of Syntax, Narrative Structure,
and Prosody in a Berber Language (Studies in Linguistics and
Semiotics, V. 8). Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2000.
(ISBN 0-7734-7740-3)*Renisio, A. 1932. Etude sur les dialectes
berbères des Beni Iznassen, du
Tarifiyt Berber Vocabulary List (from the World Loanword Database) INALCO report on Tarifit (fr)
v t e
Foqaha Sokna Tmessa
Ghadamès Jaghbub† Kufra Nafusi
Jadu Nalut Wazzin Yefren
Eastern Middle AtlasTA
Gurara Mozabite South Oranie and Figuig Tidikelt Tuwat Wad Righ Wargla
Central Riffian Eastern Moroccan Iznasen Snouss Western Riffian
Jerba Matmata Sened† Tataouine Zuwara
Gouraya Shelif Shenwa
Central Atlas Gharb† Ghomara Judeo-Berber Sanhaja de Srayr Shilha
Central-Eastern Central-Western Eastern Western
Tamahaq Tamashek Tawellemmet Tayart
AAAL (Algeria) HCA (Algeria) IRCAM (Morocco) DNAFLA (Mali) CRB (France)
Berber Academy World Amazigh Congress
TE Transitional to Eastern · TA Transitional to Atlas · † Extinct · R Reconstructed
v t e
Languages of Morocco
Northern Judeo-Moroccan Old Urban
Western Eastern Hassaniya
Central Atlas Tashelhit Judeo-Berber Sanhaja de Srair Ghomara Gharbi†
Tarifit Tabeldit Eastern Middle Atlas Eastern Morocco
Sabir† Haketia Spanish†,4
Main liturgical languages
Arabic1 2 Hebrew3
Main foreign languages
French Spanish4 English
1 Modern Standard Arabic 2 Classical Arabic 3 Medieval Hebrew 4 Formerly native to Moriscos, extinct as native in Morocco † Extinct
LCCN: sh85114051 GND: 4178142-9 BNF: cb1257