Tamazight, Central Atlas


A language of Morocco

Alternate Names
Central Shilha, Middle Atlas Berber, Moroccan Amazigh, Shilha, Tachelhit

2,340,000 in Morocco (2004 census). Population total all countries: 2,490,000. 936,000 monolinguals.


Widespread, especially Middle and east High Atlas Mountains, adjacent valleys to Taza, Rabat area; 1,200,000 in rural areas between Taza, Khemisset, Azilal, Errachidia; 100,000 outside the language area.

Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


Much dialect variety. May be more than 1 language.


VSO (for Berber).

Language Use

A major Berber language. Many children, adolescents, and younger adults; all older adults and elderly. Others use Arabic [ary] as L2.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: Men 25%, women 5%. Poetry. New media. Radio programs. Films. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible portions: 1919–1981.

Arabic script [Arab]. Latin script [Latn]. Tifinagh (Berber) script [Tfng], developed in 2003, official usage.

Other Comments

65% live in rural areas, 10% live outside the traditional area. Muslim.