Standard Moroccan Amazigh

(Redirected from Standard Moroccan Berber)

Standard Moroccan Amazigh (Standard Moroccan Tamazight: ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ ⵜⴰⵏⴰⵡⴰⵢⵜ), (Arabic: الأمازيغية المعيارية), also known as Standard Moroccan Berber, is a standardized national Moroccan variety of the Berber language.

Standard Moroccan Amazigh
Standard Moroccan Berber
ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ ⵜⴰⵏⴰⵡⴰⵢⵜ
tamaziɣt tanawayt
Native toMorocco
Native speakers
Official status
Official language in
(Second official language)
Regulated byRoyal Institute of Amazigh Culture
Language codes
ISO 639-2zgh
ISO 639-3zgh
PersonAmaziɣ (male)
Tamaziɣt (female)
PeopleImaziɣen (males or males and females)
Timaziɣin (females)

The Moroccan 2011 constitution and some Moroccan laws mention the "Berber language" in the singular as a single language (using a single name, "Tamazight" or "al-Amazighiyyah" in Arabic) without distinguishing Moroccan from non-Moroccan varieties and without addressing questions of variation and unification.[citation needed] Article 5 of the 2011 amendments to the Moroccan Constitution, however, establishes a body responsible for the "protection and development of ... Amazigh",[1] ultimately leading to the creation of the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture (IRCAM) with a key role to play in the production of textbooks, dictionaries, and other standardising forces.[citation needed]

In principle, Standard Moroccan Amazigh draws upon the three largest Moroccan Berber dialects: Tashelhit Berber (in the southern Sous), Central Atlas Tamazight and the northern Tarifit (Tmazight) of the Rif region.[citation needed] In practice, while all three dialects are used in primary school textbooks, Tashelhit otherwise appears to be the main basis of the language used in Amazigh-language materials produced by the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture, supplemented by numerous puristic neologisms. This has led some critics to argue that Morocco's official "language policy" is marginalizing the northern and eastern Berber dialects of Morocco, and tacitly making all the Berber dialects of Morocco 'non-standard', particularly those whose speakers do not identify with any of the three major dialects used by IRCAM, such as "Iznasen Tamazight" in the far northeast, "Senhaja-Ktama Tamazight" in the north, Eastern Atlas Tamazight in central Morocco, Figuig Tamazight, and Southeastern Berber.[2][3][4]

Standard Moroccan Amazigh is no one's first language, and is not used in daily conversation, but is studied in some schools using the official textbooks prepared by the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture. Its influence outside the classroom is accordingly limited. Berber language writers in Morocco typically use their own varieties while incorporating some standard Berber words or neologisms.[citation needed]

The orthography adopted as standard in Morocco is the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture's version of the Neo-Tifinagh alphabet which had been created in the 1980s as an Algerian adaptation of the Tuareg peoples' traditional Tifinagh script. Neo-Tifinagh adds many vowels and consonants unknown in Tuareg Tifinagh. Many traditional Tuareg Tifinagh letters (ⵗ,ⵂ,ⵘ,ⴾ,ⵈ,ⵌ) were eliminated and replaced by newly created Neo-Tifinagh letters, other ones were modified for legibility.[5] This orthography is widely used on street signs, making it a conspicuous part of Morocco's current linguistic landscape. Berber Latin and Arabic orthographies are not officially endorsed in Morocco, but remain in use in certain contexts.[citation needed]

Difference between Moroccan and Algerian standardsEdit

Differences between Moroccan and Algerian Amazigh standards include points of spelling and vocabulary.[citation needed]

For example, the Moroccan official orthography (as defined by the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture) avoids schwa except where needed to disambiguate geminates, corresponding to the phonology of Tashelhit (where schwa has lost its former phonemic status), whereas the Algerian spelling writes schwa in all closed syllables without a full vowel (corresponding to the phonology of Kabyle, and indeed of Berber varieties of northern and eastern Morocco).[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "La Constitution - Promulgation" (PDF). Bulletin Officiel (in French): 1901–1928. 2011-07-30. ISSN 0851-1217. OCLC 693771745. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-02. Il est créé un Conseil national des langues de la culture marocaine, chargé notamment de la protection et du dévelopment des langues arabe et amazighe et des diverses expressions culturelles marocaines, qui constituent un patrimoine authentique et une source d'inspiration contemporaine.[... ] A National Council of languages of Moroccan culture is created, responsible primarily for the protection and development of Arabic and Amazigh languages and diverse Moroccan cultural expressions, which are an authentic heritage and a source of contemporary inspiration.
  2. ^ Three Moroccan activists claim that the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture is favoring other dialects and sidelining the Southeastern Berber dialect of Morocco, adjacent to the Sous region
  3. ^ Criticism against Morocco's Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture
  4. ^ Criticism against Morocco's Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture
  5. ^ Jas Blommaert (2011), 'Small print: reflections on multilingual literacies in the global south.' Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 41 (2), p. 296.