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Tamazight, Kabyle, Tachawit, Tachelhit, Tarifit, Tamashek, ...
"The Berber branch of the Afro-Asiatic (Hamito-Semitic) language family, usually considered as a single language with many dialects, is for purposes of language learning (and by sociolinguistic criteria) more conveniently treated as a number of distinct languages, each with mutually intelligible dialects. (Jeanette Harries 1986)" (Webbook)
"The term 'Berber' is disliked by many modern Berbers, because it comes from the Greek barbaric. Nonetheless, it is used in Western languages by many Berber writers, such as the Kabyle Professor Salem Chaker of INALCO in Paris, Werner Vycichl, and Maarten Kossmann and Harry Stroomer of Leiden University. The term Tamazight is often substituted, particularly to refer to Northern Berber languages; in Western languages, this term can also (somewhat misleadingly) be used specifically to refer to the language of the Middle Atlas mountains in Morocco, closely related to Tashelhiyt. Etymologically, it means 'language of the free' or 'of the noblemen.' Traditionally, the term 'tamazight' (in various forms: 'thamazighth', 'tamasheq', 'tamajeq', 'tamahaq') was used by many Berber groups to refer to the language they spoke, including the Middle Atlas, the Rif, Sened in Tunisia, and the Tuareg. However, other terms were used by other groups; for instance, many parts of western Algeria called their language 'taznatit' or Zenati, while the Kabyles called theirs 'thaqvaylith', the inhabitants of Siwa 'tasiwit', and the Zenaga 'Tuddhungiya' [http://www.rosettaproject.org/live/search/showpages?ethnocode=ZEN&doctype=detail&version=0&scale=six]. Around the turn of the century, it was reported that the Zenata of the Rif called their language 'Zenatia' specifically to distinguish it from the 'Tamazight' spoken by the rest of the Rif. One group, the Linguasphere Observatory, has attempted to introduce the neologism 'Tamazic languages' to refer to the Berber languages." (Wikipedia)
"They are spoken by minority groups in at least eleven countries of northern and western Africa, from the Mediterranean to beyond the River Niger: in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania (and perhaps still in Senegal), Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and Chad. (Jeanette Harries 1986)" (Webbook)
Some of the main dialects of North Africa have significant numbers of speakers in western Europe.
According to information compiled from Ethnologue:
Ethnologue lists the following varieties (those in bold have more that 1 million speakers in that country):
SIL International considers "Tamashek" to be a "macrolanguage" grouping four of the tongues listed above: Tamasheq, Tahaggart Tamahaq, Tayart Tamajeq, and Tawallammat Tamajaq.
Web Resources (Maho) states:
"There are at least 6 Berber languages, all of which are spoken in northern and western Africa (cfr Wolff 1981):
* Atlas Berber -- large dialect chain spoken in Morocco and northern Algeria * Nefusi -- spoken in western Libya * Siwi -- spoken in Egypt * Tuareg -- large dialect chain spoken predominantly in southern Algeria, Mali and Niger * Zenaga -- spoken in the south-western tip of Mauritania * Zenati Berber -- large dialect chain spoken in north-eastern Algeria, Tunisia, and north-western Libya"
Usage and official status varies by location. See the Webbook and Wikipedia references below for detailed discussion.
"There is a strong movement among Berbers to unify the closely related northern Berber languages into a single standard, Tamazight." [seeking updated URL]
"After independence, all the Maghreb countries to varying degrees pursued a policy of 'Arabization', aimed primarily at displacing French from its colonial position as the dominant language of education and literacy, but under which teaching, and use in certain highly public spheres, of both Berber languages and Maghrebi Arabic dialect have been suppressed as well. This state of affairs was protested by Berbers in Morocco and Algeria - especially Kabylie - and is now being addressed in both countries by introducing Berber language education and by recognizing Berber as a 'national language', though not necessarily an official one. No such measures have been taken in the other Maghreb countries, whose Berber populations are much smaller. In Mali and Niger, there are a few schools that teach partially in Tamasheq." (Wikipedia)
Tifinagh is the original script of these languages but they have also been transcribed using the Arabic script and in more recent history with modified Latin scripts. In practice, which varies by locality, three scripts have to one degree or another been and are used. (see: Souag, Writing Berber Languages; Savage 2008)
A variant of the Tifinagh alphabet was recently made official in Morocco, while the Latin alphabet is official in Algeria, Mali, and Niger; however, both Tifinagh and Arabic are still widely used in Mali and Niger, while Latin and Arabic are still widely used in Morocco. (Wikipedia)
"Tamazight has been a written language, on and off, for almost 3000 years; however, this tradition has been frequently disrupted by various invasions. It was first written in the Tifinagh alphabet, still used by the Tuareg; the oldest dated inscription is from about 200 BC. Later between about 1000 AD and 1500 AD, it was written in the Arabic alphabet (particularly by the Shilha of Morocco); in this century, it is often written in the Latin alphabet, especially among the Kabyle. A variant of the Tifinagh alphabet was recently made official in Morocco, while the Latin alphabet is official in Algeria, Mali, and Niger; however, both Tifinagh and Arabic are still widely used in Mali and Niger, while Latin and Arabic are still widely used in Morocco." [seeking updated URL]
Alphabet tamajaq (arrété 214-99 de la République du Niger) http://www.sciences.univ-nantes.fr/info/perso/permanents/enguehard/recherche/Afrique/alphabet_tamajaq.htm
According to Wikipedia, an alphabet for northern Berber languages includes several extended Latin characters and two Greek letters. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berber_Latin_alphabet#Modified_Latin_letters_and_2_Greek_characters
The CNRS/LLACAN "AFRO" Tavultesoft Keyman keyboard (for AZERTY) is intended to support Latin transcriptions of Tamasheq of Mali and Tamajaq of Niger: http://www.tavultesoft.com/keyman/downloads/keyboards/details.php?KeyboardID=377&FromKeyman=0
Universal Declaration of Human Rights in "Tamazight (Beraber)": http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/tzm.htm
A bilingual (French / Berber in Tifinagh) work is online in PDF form at http://www.hapax.qc.ca/Buveurs-de-braises-plus-grandes-pages.pdf
"La plate-forme d'édition du Berbère en UTF-8" http://edition.berbere.free.fr/
Nafusi / Shilha
Tamazight, Central Atlas
There are apparently Linux Mandriva locales for Berber languages (put together by Pablo Saratxaga and Patrick Andries). See http://rpmfind.net/linux/RPM/mandriva/devel/2007.0/i586/media/main/release/locales-ber-2.4-2mdv2007.0.i586.html
This is a complex language/dialect situation with speakers over a wide area. Currently some of the most focused effort is in Morocco, certainly as concerns its use in Tifinagh script.
As localisation efforts develop, perhaps the language division cited by Maho could organise some appropriate clusters to work with.
Maho, Jouni, Web Resources on African Languages, (page on "Berber languages," http://goto.glocalnet.net/maho/webresources/berber.html )
Omniglot, "Kabyle (Ṯaqḇayliṯ)," http://www.omniglot.com/writing/kabyle.php
______, "Tifinagh," http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tifinagh.htm
Savage, Andrew. 2008. "Writing Tuareg — the three script options." International Journal of the Sociology of Language 192: 5-14.
SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Awjilah," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=auj
______, "Chenoua http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=cnu
______, "Ghadamès," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=gha
______, "Kabyle," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=kab
______, "Nafusi / Shilha," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=jbn
______, "Sawknah," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=swn
______, "Tachawit," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=shy
______, "Tachelhit," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=shi
______, "Tagargrent," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=oua
______, "Tamahaq, Tahaggart," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=thv
______, "Tamajaq, Tawallammat," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=ttq
______, "Tamajeq, Tayart," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=thz
______, "Tamasheq," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=taq
______, "Tamazight, Central Atlas," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=tzm
______, "Tamazight, Temacine," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=tjo
______, "Tamazight, Tidikelt," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=tia
______, "Tarifit," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=rif
______, "Taznatit," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=grr
______, "Tumzabt," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=mzb
______, "Zenaga," http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=zen
SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables," http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/codes.asp
______, "ISO 639-3 Macrolangauge Mappings," http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/macrolanguages.asp
Souag, Lameen, "Writing Berber Languages," http://www.geocities.com/lameens/tifinagh [seeking updated URL]
U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language," http://www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/php/English_list.php
Wikipedia, "Berber languages," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berber_languages
______, "Berber Latin alphabet," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berber_Latin_alphabet
______, "Tifinagh," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tifinagh