Tidikelt language

Last updated
Tidikelt Tamazight
Native to Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Western Sahara
Region Tidikelt, Salah Area, Tit South
Ethnicity Berbers
Native speakers
1,000 (2011) [1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 tia
Glottolog tidi1241 [2]

Tidikelt (also known as Tidikelt Tamazight, Tamazight or Tidikelt Berber) is a Zenati Berber language spoken in Algeria. It is one of the Mzab–Wargla languages. Tidikelt is spoken in the northwest of Tamanrasset Province, including in In Salah District. [3] Tidikelt Tamazight has two dialects; Tidikelt and Tit. Tidikelt Tamazight is considered to be an endangered language, nearly extinct, with only 1,000 speakers of the language and decreasing.

The Zenati languages are a branch of the Northern Berber language family of North Africa. They were named after the medieval Zenata Berber tribal confederation. They were first proposed in the works of French linguist Edmond Destaing (1915) (1920–23). Zenata dialects are distributed across the central Maghreb, from northeastern Morocco to just west of Algiers, and the northern Sahara, from southwestern Algeria around Bechar to Zuwara in Libya. In much of this range, they are limited to discontinuous pockets in a predominantly Arabic-speaking landscape. The most widely spoken Zenati languages are Riffian in northeastern Morocco and Shawiya in eastern Algeria, each of which have over 2 million speakers.

Algeria country in North Africa

Algeria, officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. The capital and most populous city is Algiers, located in the far north of the country on the Mediterranean coast. With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, and the largest in Africa. Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by the Western Saharan territory, Mauritania, and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea. The country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 48 provinces and 1,541 communes (counties). It has the highest Human development index of all non-island African countries.

Mzab–Wargla languages

The Mzab–Wargla languages or Northern Saharan oasis dialects are a dialect cluster of the Zenati languages, within the Northern Berber subbranch. They are spoken in scattered oases of Algeria and Morocco.



Tidikelt Tamazight is part of the Berber branch of the Afroasiatic family.

Berber languages Family of similar or closely related languages and dialects indigenous to North Africa

The Berber languages, also known as Berber or the Amazigh languages, are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They comprise a group of closely related languages spoken by the Berbers, who are indigenous to North Africa. The languages were traditionally written with the ancient Libyco-Berber script, which now exists in the form of Tifinagh.


The northern region of Africa was, at one point in history, was primarily inhabited by Berbers. The name Berber comes from Barbari, which was used by the Romans. Barbari is a Latin word meaning Barbarians. Their tribes could be found across the northern region. However, when the Muslims invaded and took over the northern region of Africa, they spread the Arabic language, which eventually led to the diminished use of Tidikelt Tamazight. As the Arabic language spread, so did the religion of Islam. Considering that the Arabic language and Islam were very closely related, and many of the Berbers were converting to Islam, Tidikelt Tamazight began to fade. [4]

North Africa Northernmost region of Africa

North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Morocco in the west, to Egypt's Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. Others have limited it to top North-Western countries like Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, a region that was known by the French during colonial times as “Afrique du Nord” and is known by all Arabs as the Maghreb. The most commonly accepted definition includes Algeria, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, the 6 countries that shape the top North of the African continent. Meanwhile, “North Africa”, particularly when used in the term North Africa and the Middle East, often refers only to the countries of the Maghreb and Libya. Egypt, being also part of the Middle East, is often considered separately, due to being both North African and Middle Eastern at the same time. North Africa includes a number of Spanish and Portuguese possessions, Plazas de soberanía, Ceuta and Melilla and the Canary Islands and Madeira. The countries of North Africa share a common ethnic, cultural and linguistic identity that is unique to this region. Northwest Africa has been inhabited by Berbers since the beginning of recorded history, while the eastern part of North Africa has been home to the Egyptians. Between the A.D. 600s and 1000s, Arabs from the Middle East swept across the region in a wave of Muslim conquest. These peoples, physically quite similar, formed a single population in many areas, as Berbers and Egyptians merged into Arabic and Muslim culture. This process of Arabization and Islamization has defined the cultural landscape of North Africa ever since.

Berbers ethnic group indigenous to North Africa

Berbers, or Amazighs are an ethnic group of several nations indigenous to North Africa.

Ancient Rome History of Rome from the 8th-century BC to the 5th-century

In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian peninsula, dating from the 8th century BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed. The Roman empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117.

Geographic distribution

There are about 1,000 speakers of Tidikelt Tamazight. Most of these speakers can be found in the northwest of Tamanrasset Province, Algeria. There are Tidikelt Tamazight speakers also found in Western Sahara, Morocco and Tunisia.

Tamanrasset Province Province in Algeria

Tamanrasset or Tamanghasset is the largest province (wilaya) in Algeria. It was named after its province seat, Tamanrasset. The province has two national parks, more than any other in Algeria. They are Tassili n'Ajjer National Park and Ahaggar National Park. The province makes up almost a quarter of the country's area with 556,200 km².

Western Sahara Disputed Territory

Western Sahara is a disputed territory on the northwest coast and in the Maghreb region of North and West Africa, partially controlled by the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and partially occupied by neighboring Morocco. Its surface area amounts to 266,000 square kilometres (103,000 sq mi). It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly consisting of desert flatlands. The population is estimated at just over 500,000, of which nearly 40% live in Laayoune, the largest city in Western Sahara.

Morocco country in North Africa

Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country located in the Maghreb region of North West Africa with an area of 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi). Its capital is Rabat, the largest city Casablanca. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Morocco claims the areas of Ceuta, Melilla and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, all of them under Spanish jurisdiction.


Tidikelt Tamazight is endangered, nearly extinct.

Related Research Articles

Tifinagh alphabet for Berber languages

Tifinagh is an abjad script used to write the Tamazight languages.

Tuareg languages language

Tuareg, also known as Tamasheq, Tamajaq or Tamahaq, is a language or family of very closely related Berber languages and dialects. It is spoken by the Tuareg Berbers in large parts of Mali, Niger, Algeria, Libya and Burkina Faso, with a few speakers, the Kinnin, in Chad.

Awjila is a severely endangered Eastern Berber language spoken in Cyrenaica, Libya, in the Awjila oasis. Due to the political situation in Libya, immediate data on the language has been inaccessible. However, Facebook postings by speakers and younger semi-speakers have provided some recent supplementary data.

Judeo-Berber is any of several hybrid Berber varieties traditionally spoken as a second language in Jewish communities of central and southern Morocco, and perhaps earlier in Algeria. Judeo-Berber is a contact language; the first language of speakers was Judeo-Arabic. Speakers emigrated to Israel in the 1950s and 1960s. While mutually comprehensible with the Tamazight spoken by most inhabitants of the area, these varieties are distinguished by the use of Hebrew loanwords and the pronunciation of š as s.

The Northern Berber languages are a dialect continuum spoken across the Maghreb, constituting a subgroup of the Berber branch of the Afroasiatic family. Their continuity has been broken by the spread of Arabic, and to a lesser extent by the Zenati group of Northern Berber. The Zenati idioms share certain innovations not found in the surrounding languages; notably a softening of k to sh and an absence of a- in certain words, such as "hand"

Kabyle language Berber language spoken by the Kabyle people

Kabyle, or Kabylian, is a Berber language spoken by the Kabyle people in the north and northeast of Algeria. It is spoken primarily in Kabylie, east of the capital Algiers and in Algiers itself, but also by various groups near Blida, such as the Beni Salah and Beni Bou Yaqob.(extinct?)

Languages of Algeria languages of a geographic region

The official languages of Algeria are Modern Standard Arabic and Tamazight (Berber), as specified in its constitution since 1963 for the former and since 2016 for the latter. Berber has been recognized as a "national language" by constitutional amendment since 8 May 2002. In February, 2016, a constitutional resolution was passed making Berber an official language alongside Arabic. Algerian Arabic and Berber are the native languages of over 99% of Algerians, with Algerian Arabic spoken by about 72% and Berber by 27.4%. French, though it has no official status, is widely used in government, culture, media (newspapers) and education, due to Algeria's colonial history. Kabyle, the most spoken Berber language in the country, is taught and partially co-official in parts of Kabylie.

Atlas languages subgroup of the Northern Berber languages spoken in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco

The Atlas languages are a subgroup of the Northern Berber languages spoken in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. By mutual intelligibility, they are a single language spoken by perhaps 14 million people; however, they are distinct sociolinguistically and are considered separate languages by the Royal institute of the Amazigh culture. They are:

Rifian language Berber language

Rifian, Rif Berber or Rifian Berber is a Zenati Northern Berber language. It is spoken natively by some 1.4 million Rifians of Morocco and Algeria, primarily in the Rif provinces of Al Hoceima, Nador, Driouch, Berkane and as a minority language in Tangier, Oujda, Tetouan and Leɛrayec. In addition, Rifian expatriate communities also speak the language.

Algerian Saharan Arabic language

Algerian Saharan Arabic is a structurally distinct variety of Arabic spoken by an estimated 100,000 people in Algeria, predominantly along the Moroccan border with the Atlas Mountains. It is also spoken by about 10,000 people in neighbouring regions of Niger and Mali.

Central Atlas Tamazight Berber language of the Afro-Asiatic language family

Central Atlas Tamazight is a Berber language of the Afroasiatic language family spoken by 3 to 5 million people in the Atlas Mountains of Central Morocco as well as by smaller emigrant communities in France and elsewhere.

Tetserret is a Western Berber language spoken by the Ait-Awari and Kel Eghlal Tuareg tribes of the Akoubounou (Akabinu) commune in Niger. This main speech area is located between Abalak, Akoubounou and Shadwanka. The variant spoken by the Kel Eghlal is called taməsəɣlalt. The Tamasheq equivalent shin-sart / shin-sar / tin-sar is used in some older literature. Popular understanding among some Ait-Awari derives the name tet-serret, and its Tamasheq equivalent shin-sart, from expressions meaning 'the (language) of Sirte'.

Languages of Morocco languages of a geographic region

There are a number of languages of Morocco. The two official languages are Modern Standard Arabic and Amazigh (Berber). Moroccan Arabic is the spoken native vernacular. The languages of prestige in Morocco are Arabic in its Classical and Modern Standard Forms and French, the latter of which serves as a second language for many Moroccans. According to a 2000–2002 survey done by Moha Ennaji, author of Multilingualism, Cultural Identity, and Education in Morocco, "there is a general agreement that Standard Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, and Berber are the national languages." Ennaji also concluded "This survey confirms the idea that multilingualism in Morocco is a vivid sociolinguistic phenomenon, which is favoured by many people."

Algerian Sign Language is the sign language most commonly used in Algeria. It was officially recognized by the Algerian law on the protection and promotion of persons with a disability enacted on May 8, 2002.

Shilha is a term used to refer to a number of Berber languages spoken across northern Africa. In international usage, it most commonly refers to Tashelhiyt (Tašlḥiyt), the language of the Išlḥiyn of southwestern Morocco. Other Berber varieties that it is used to refer to include:

Tugurt language language

Tugurt, also known as Oued Righ Berber and Temacine Tamazight, is a Zenati Berber variety spoken in some of the oases of the northeastern Oued Righ region around Touggourt in Algeria. As of 1893, its main speech area was in Temacine, Blidet-Amor, Meggarine and Ghomra. It is closely related to the nearby Tumzabt (Mozabite) and Teggargrent (Ouargli) languages.

Tuwat is a Zenati Berber language. It is spoken by Zenata Berbers in a number of villages in the Tuat region of southern Algeria; notably Tamentit and Tittaf, located south of the Gurara Berber speech area. Ethnologue considers them a single language, "Zenati", but Blench (2006) classifies Gurara as a dialect of Mzab–Wargla and Tuwat as a dialect of the Riff cluster.


  1. Tidikelt Tamazight at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Tidikelt-Tuat Tamazight". Glottolog 3.0 . Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Tamazight, Tidikelt. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2017, from https://www.ethnologue.com/language/tia
  4. Project, J. (n.d.). Berber, Tidikelt Tamzight in Algeria Ethnic People Profile. Retrieved May 01, 2017, from http://legacy.joshuaproject.net/people-profile.php?peo3=15473&rog3=AG.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

  1. Did you know Tidikelt Tamazight is threatened? (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2017, from http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/lang/4836
  2. Tidikelt Tamazight. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2017, from http://glottolog.org/resource/languoid/id/tidi1241.
  3. Achab, K. (2001). The Tamazight (Berber) Language Profile.
  4. Achab, K. (2012). Internal Structure of Verb Meaning: A Study of Verbs in Tamazight (Berber). Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  5. Frawley, W. (2003). International encyclopedia of linguistics.
  6. Where on earth do they speak Tamazight, Tidikelt? (n.d.). Retrieved May 01, 2017, from http://www.verbix.com/maps/language/TamazightTidikelt.html
  7. Tidikelt Tamazight [tia]. (n.d.). Retrieved May 01, 2017, from http://globalrecordings.net/en/langcode/tia.