Tamazight, Central Atlas

Print

A language of Morocco

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

2,340,000 in Morocco (2004 census). No monolinguals. Total users in all countries: 2,490,000.

Location

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).

Dialects

Much dialect variety. May be more than 1 language.

Typology

VSO; prepositions; noun head initial; gender (masculine/feminine); verb affixes mark person, number, gender of subject; passives; causatives; 34 consonants and 3 vowels; non-tonal.

Language Use

A major Berber language. Many children, adolescents, and younger adults; all older adults and elderly. Also use Moroccan Spoken Arabic [ary].

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

Arabic script, Naskh variant [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.