Ethnologue > Web version > Country index > Africa > Libya > Nafusi


A language of Libya

ISO 639-3jbn

Population  184,000 in Libya (2006). Population total all countries: 210,000.
Region  West, Jabal Nafusah region, Tripolitania, Nalut and Yafran area isolated; Zuara coast, west of Tripoli. Also in Tunisia.
Language map  Egypt and Libya
Alternate names   Djerbi, Jabal Nafusi, Jbel Nafusi, Jebel Nefusi, Nefusi
Dialects  Zuara (Zouara, Zuwarah, Zwara, Zuraa), Tamezret (Duwinna), Jerbi (Jerba). Zuara dialect well known in Jebel Nafusa area and in Jerba Tunisia. Some visit Zuara, but not vice versa. Matmata and Tatawine area less well understood by speakers in Jerba or Zuara. Speakers in Zuara and Jebel areas understand Jerba dialect stories well.
Classification  Afro-Asiatic, Berber, Northern, Zenati, East
Language use  All domains. All ages. Positive attitude. Preschool children are monolingual in Nafusi.
Writing system  Arabic script.
Comments  Most live apart from Arabized inhabitants of the region. Dam builders; agriculturalists. Muslim (Ibadi).

Also spoken in:


Language name   Shilha
Population  26,000 in Tunisia (1998).
Region  Southeast, Mediterranean islands (Jerba), isolated villages south of Jerba; Pacha, old Medina, and Bab Souika streets in Tunis (Tamezret); Tamezret village near Zeraoua and Taoujjout, south of Gabès (Tamezret).
Language map  Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Western Sahara
Alternate names  Djerbi, Jabal Nafusi, Nafusi, Tunisian Berber
Dialects  Jbali-Tamezret (Duwinna), Jerba (Djerbi, Guelili).
Language use  Only in the home.
Comments  ‘Shilha’ also used as cover term for Berber languages in Morocco and Tunisia. Many sell newspapers in Tunis. Muslim.
Contact us