Tamazight, Central Atlas


A language of Morocco

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

2,340,000 in Morocco (2004 census). 40% monolingual. Population total all countries: 2,490,000.


Middle Atlas, 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. Also in France.

Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


Much dialect variety. May be more than 1 language.


VSO (for Berber)

Language Use

A major Berber language. 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. Bible portions: 1919–1981.
Arabic script. Latin script. Tifinagh (Berber) script, developed in 2003, official usage.
Other Comments

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