Tamazight, Central Atlas


A language of Morocco

Alternate Names
Central Shilha, Middle Atlas Berber, Moroccan Amazigh, Shilha, Tachelhit, Tamazight, Tmazight
Tmaziɣt, ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ‎ (Tamazight)

4,590,000 in Morocco (2016). 936,000 monolinguals. Total users in all countries: 4,740,000.


Widespread, especially Middle and east High Atlas Mountains, adjacent valleys to Taza, Rabat area.

Language Status

6b (Threatened).


Much dialect variety. May be more than 1 language.


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. Some young people, all adults. Also use Moroccan Spoken Arabic [ary], as L2.

Language Development

Literacy rate in L2: Men 25%, women 5%. Literature. Radio. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Texts. Bible portions: 1919–1981.


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.

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