Interview with Dr. Maarten Kossmann about the Berber language
Learn the Berber language
تعلم اللغة الأمازيغية
Ɛli Xeddawi (Ali Khadaoui)
Berber or the Berber language and its dialects (Berber name: Tamaziɣt, or Tamazight) is a language indigenous to North Africa. Berber is spoken by large populations in Morocco and Algeria, and by smaller populations in Libya, Tunisia, northern Mali, western and northern Niger, northern Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and in the Siwa oasis of Egypt.
Large Berber-speaking migrant communities have been living in Western Europe since the 1950s. In 2001, Berber became a constitutional national language of Algeria, and in 2011 Berber became a constitutionally official language of Morocco, and in 2016 Berber became a constitutionally official language of Algeria.
Berber constitutes a branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family, and has been attested since ancient times. The number of ethnic Berbers is much higher than the number of Berber speakers. The bulk of the populations of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania are considered to have Berber ancestors.
There is a movement among speakers of the closely related dialects of the Berber language to unite them under one standard written language for education and media.
About 90% of the Berber-speaking population speak one of six major dialects of Berber, each with at least two million speakers or more. They are, in the order of demographic weight: Tashelhit Berber (Tacelḥit), Kabylian Berber (Taqbaylit), Atlas Berber (Tamaziɣt), Riffian Berber (Tamaziɣt), Shawi Berber (Tacawit), Tuareg Berber (Tamahaq/Tamaceq/Tamajeq).
The Berber language has had a written tradition, on and off, for over 2,200 years, although the tradition has been frequently disrupted by invasions and foreign new religions. Berber was first written in the Libyco-Berber script, still used by some Saharan Tuareg Berbers as the "Tifinagh script". The oldest dated inscription of Libyco-Berber is from about 200 BCE.
Later, between about 1000 CE and 1500 CE, the Berber language was written in the Arabic script, and since the 20th century Berber started to be widely written in the Berber Latin alphabet, especially among the Algerian Kabylian and Moroccan Riffian writers. The Berber Latin alphabet was also used by most European and Berber linguists studying Berber during the 19th and 20th centuries.
The 35 Berber Latin alphabet letters are as follows:
Imaziɣen ttuɣa ssizwilen tamurt tayemmat nsen es yizewlan (ismawen, isnawen) am “tamurt nneɣ”, “amur”, “tamazirt”, “aɣlan”, ...atg.
Yezmer ad ilin Yimaziɣen imezwura la llan qqaṛen (ttinin) i tmurt nsen “Tamurt Imaziɣen”. Maca wer nessin tidett nican. Nessen belli Imaziɣen imezwuren ttuɣa ttinin i tutlayt nsen “Awal Amaziɣ”. Ayad (manaya) yella di tira tizaykutin en Sus (Muḥemmed Awzal, Ḥemmu Eṭṭaleb, Brahim Aẓnag, ...atg).
Ẓer adlis "The Berber literary tradition of the Sous", Nico van den Boogert, 1995, Leiden, Timura Yudaren (Holanda).
Ẓer altu adlis "Introduction à la littérature berbère", Abdellah Bounfour, 1999, Paris, Fṛansa.
Tutlayt Tamaziɣt ttuɣa qqaṛen as es Tlatint “Lingua Mazicana”, niɣ “Lingua Barbarica” niɣ “Lingua Libica”. Deg wezyen wiss sin en tmiḍi tiss 20t, yeffeɣ-dd wawal amynu “Tamazɣa” ed wawal “Amaḍal Amaziɣ” ɣef ufus en Umussu Adelsan Amaziɣ (M.D.M.).
||Agemmay Amaziɣ Alatin
A a - B b - C c - Č č - D d - Ḍ ḍ - E e - Ɛ ɛ - F f
G g - Ǧ ǧ - Ɣ ɣ - H h - Ḥ ḥ - I i - J j - K k - L l
M m - N n - O o - Q q - R r - Ř ř - Ṛ ṛ - S s - Ṣ ṣ
T t - Ṭ ṭ - U u - W w - X x - Y y - Z z - Ẓ ẓ
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