Berber Languages

Berber or the Berber languages (Berber: Tamaziɣt or Tamazight, ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ, ) are a family of similar or closely related languages and dialects indigenous to North Africa. Berber is spoken by large populations of Algeria and Morocco, and by smaller populations in Libya, Tunisia, eastern Mali, western and northern Niger, northern Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and the Egyptian Siwa Oasis. Large Berber-speaking migrant communities have lived in Western Europe since the 1950s. In 2001, Berber became a national language of Algeria in the constitution, and in 2011, Berber became an official language of Morocco, in the new Moroccan constitution.

Berber constitutes a branch of the Hamito-Semitic language family, a.k.a., Afroasiatic language family and has been attested since ancient times. The number of ethnic Berbers (whether they speak Berber or not) is much higher than the current number of actual Berber speakers in North Africa. The bulk of the populations of the Maghreb countries are considered to have Berber ancestors. In Algeria, for example, a majority of the population consists of Arabized Berbers.

There is a movement among speakers of the closely related "Northern Berber" varieties to unite them into a single standard language. The name Tamazight, originally the native self-name of the Berber varieties of the Atlas and the Rif regions, is being increasingly used for this Standard Berber, and even for Berber as a whole.

There are six major Berber varieties spoken by nine-tenths of the Berber-speaking population. They are, in the order of demographic weight: Shilha (Tacelḥit), Kabyle (Taqbaylit), Central Atlas (Tamazight), Riffian (Tamazight/ Tarifit), Shawiya (Tacawit), Tuareg (Tamahaq/ Tamaceq) and Shenwa (Haqbaylit).

The Berber languages have had a written tradition, on and off, for over 2,200 years, although the tradition has been frequently disrupted by various invasions. It was first written in the Tifinagh alphabet, still used by the Tuareg; the oldest dated inscription is from about 200 BCE. Later, between about 1000 CE and 1500 CE, it was written in the Arabic script; since the 20th century, it has often been written in the Berber Latin alphabet, especially among the Kabyle people and Riffians and within the cultural and linguistic 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 modernized form of the Tifinagh alphabet was made official in Morocco in 2003, and a similar one is sparsely used in Algeria together with the Berber Latin alphabet. Mali and Niger recognized the "Tuareg Berber Latin alphabet" and customized it to the Tuareg phonological system. However, traditional Tifinagh is still used in those countries. Both Tifinagh and Berber-Latin scripts are being increasingly used in Morocco and parts of Algeria, while the Arabic script has been abandoned by Berber writers.

Read more about Berber LanguagesTerminology, Origin, Orthography, Status, Population, Grammar, Subclassification, Influence On Other Languages, Examples of Basic Berber Words

Other articles related to "languages, berber languages, berber, berbers, language":

Library Of Congress Classification:Class P, Subclass PJ -- Oriental Philology And Literature - Contents
1-489...General 1-195...Languages 306-489...Literature 601-995...Special groups 601-621...Christian Oriental 701-989...Mohammedan 991-995...Hamito-Semitic 1001-1989 ... Inscriptions 2001-2199...Coptic 2340-2399...Lybyco-Berber languages ... Berber languages 2353-2367...Libyan group 2369-2399...Berber languages 2401-2594...Cushitic languages 3001-3097...Semitic philology and literature 3101-4091...East Semitic ...
Central Atlas Tamazight - History
... See also Berber people and History of Morocco The Berbers have lived in North Africa between western Egypt and the Atlantic Ocean since before ... around the seventh century, prompting waves of Arab migration and Berber adoption of Islam ... regions of North Africa, the Middle Atlas continued to speak Berber ...
Central Atlas Tamazight - Classification
... Central Atlas Tamazight is one of the four most-spoken Berber languages, in addition to Kabyle, Shilha, and Riff, and rivals Shilha as the most-spoken Berber ... by the fact that speakers of other languages may also refer to their language as 'Tamazight' ... the feminine form of Amazigh, refers to the language ...
Berber People - Languages
... not cite any references or sources The Berber languages form a branch of Afro-Asiatic, and thus descend from the proto-Afro-Asiatic language ... the Capsian culture with speakers of languages ancestral to Berber and/or Chadic ... It is still disputed which branches of Afro-Asiatic are most closely related to Berber, but most linguists accept at least either Semitic or Chadic as among its closest relatives within the ...
Berber Languages - Examples of Basic Berber Words - Days of The Week
... English Berber Monday Aynas / ⴰⵢⵏⴰⵙ Tuesday Asinas / ⴰⵙⵉⵏⴰⵙ Wednesday Akṛas / ⴰⴽⵕⴰⵙ Thursday Akwas / ⴰⴽⵡⴰⵙ Friday Asimwas / ⴰⵙⵉⵎⵡⴰⵙ Saturday Asiḍyas ...

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