Learn Tamazight (Rif Berber)

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About Tamazight (Rif Berber)

Rif Berber is one of the three main Berber or Tamazight languages spoken by the indigenous people of Morocco. The Berber languages, which originated in North Africa, are mainly spoken at home or in informal settings and are traditionally spoken rather than written. Although closely related, they are mostly not mutually intelligible. Rif Berber, also known as Riffian, or Tarifit, is commonly spoken in the Rif area of northern Morocco as well as in parts of Algeria and by diaspora in Western Europe. It is strongly influenced by Arabic with other influences including Spanish and French. uTalk recorded speakers from Morocco’s Rif area.  

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Fun facts — Tamazight (Rif Berber)

  • Signposts in Morocco sometimes use three different writing systems: Latin, Arabic and Tifinagh which is the official Berber alphabet.
  • The Tarifit word for ‘God’ is “Bu-Itran” which literally means “owner of the stars”.
  • Girls and women are sometimes called ‘little bird’ - ‘qubiht’ - as a term of endearment.
  • It is a sign of respect to call older strangers ‘auntie’ – ‘khatchi’ – or ‘uncle’ – ‘ɛizzi’.
  • The three main Berber or Tamazight dialects are Tarifit, Tachelhit and Tamazight. Confusingly, Tamazight is both the name of the family of languages and the name of one of the languages.
  • Standard Moroccan Amazigh is a co-official language of Morocco which includes features of Tarifit, Tachelhit and Tamazight.
  • The Berber people also go by the name ‘Imazighen’ (plural) or ‘Amazigh’ (singular) meaning ‘the free’.

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