Tifinagh (Berber pronunciation: [tifinaɣ] ; in Tamazight Latin: Tifinaɣ; in Neo-Tifinagh: ⵜⵉⴼⵉⵏⴰⵖ; in Tuareg Tifinagh: ⵜⵊⵉⵏⵗ or ⵜⵊⵏⵗ) is an abjad script used to write the Tamazight languages.
Neo-Tifinagh, a modern alphabetical derivative of the traditional script, was reintroduced in the 20th century. A slightly-modified version of the traditional script, called Tifinagh IRCAM , is used in a number of Moroccan elementary schools in teaching the Berber language to children as well as a number of publications.
|2nd millennium BC to the present time|
Tifinagh or Libyc was widely used in antiquity by speakers of Libyc languages throughout North Africa and on the Canary Islands. Some authors believe it to be attested from as far back as the 2nd millennium BC, to the present time.The script's origin is considered by most scholars as being of local origin, although a relationship between the Punic alphabet or the Phoenician alphabet has also been suggested. An alternative suggestion, by Helmut Satzinger, is that its origin is to be seen in the Ancient South Arabian script.
The ancient Tifinagh script was a pure abjad; it had no vowels. Gemination was not marked. The writing was usually from the bottom to the top, although right-to-left, and even other orders, were also found. The letters would take different forms when written vertically from when they were written horizontally.
There are four known variants: Eastern Libyc, Western Libyc, Bu Njem Libyc and Saharan Libyc.[ citation needed ]
The eastern variant covers approximately the north-west of Tunisia as well as eastern Algeria, the western limit of its use is placed at the east of Sétif although inscriptions of the eastern type can exceptionally be in Kabylia, it shows a clear Phoenician influence. It is the best-deciphered variant, due to the discovery of several Numidian bilingual inscriptions in Libyan and Punic (notably at Dougga in Tunisia). Researcher Lionel Galand maintains that there are two versions of Eastern Libyc: one used for monuments, which he called the Dougga script, and one for funerary steles, which is Eastern Libyc proper. The latter contains only 23 letters, which agrees with observations made by historian Fabius Planciades Fulgentius. In the Dougga script, 22 letters out of the 24 were deciphered so far.[ citation needed ]
The western variant covers Morocco and the western half of Algeria (country populated by the Mauri), as well as the Canary Islands. It is more archaic and shows no Phoenician influence[ citation needed ]. Its inscriptions are fewer and generally shorter and rougher. The characteristic of this alphabet is that it includes additional signs, that the eastern one is unaware of, whose value could not be given. Some of these characters are identical to the Tuareg letters of the alphabet.[ citation needed ]
There are graffiti discovered at Bou Njem, the ancient Gholaia in Libya, on the wall of an old monument which dated from the 3rd century. The writing is horizontal, made up of nine inscriptions. This variant was heavily influenced by Latin to the point of constituting a special alphabet.[ citation needed ]
This variant was widespread in pre-Saharan and Saharan Libya, territory of the Gaetuli and Garamantes, where it was used by the inhabitants to engrave their messages. It is mostly unknown and badly located.[ citation needed ]
|unknown to present|
The Libyco-Berber script is used today in the form of Tifinagh to write the Tuareg languages, which belong to the Berber branch of the Afroasiatic family. Early uses of the script have been found on rock art and in various tombs. Among these are the 1500 year old monumental tomb of the Tuareg queen Tin Hinan, where vestiges of a Tifinagh inscription have been found on one of its walls.
According to historians, the Tuareg are "an entirely oral society in which memory and oral communication perform all the functions which reading and writing have in a literate society… The Tifinagh are used primarily for games and puzzles, short graffiti and brief messages."
Occasionally, the script has been used to write other neighbouring languages such as Tagdalt, which is a Northern Songhay language and not a member of the Afroasiatic family.
Common forms of the letters are illustrated at left, including various ligatures of t and n. Gemination, though phonemic, is not indicated in Tifinagh. The letter t, +, is often combined with a preceding letter to form an orthographic ligature. Most of the letters have more than one common form, including mirror-images of the forms shown here.
When the letters l and n are adjacent to themselves or to each other, the second is offset, either by inclining, lowering, raising, or shortening it. For example, since the letter l is a double line,
||, and n a single line,
|, the sequence nn may be written
|| to differentiate it from l. Similarly, ln is
Traditionally, the Tifinagh script does not indicate vowels except word-finally, where a single dot stands for any vowel. In some areas, Arabic vowel diacritics are combined with Tifinagh letters to transcribe vowels, or y, w may be used for long ī and ū.
|Languages||Standard Moroccan Berber and other Northern Berber languages|
|1980 to present|
Neo-Tifinagh is the modern fully alphabetic script developed from earlier forms of Tifinagh. It is written left to right.
Until recently, virtually no books or websites were published in this alphabet, with activists favouring the Latin (or, more rarely, Arabic) scripts for serious use; however, it is extremely popular for symbolic use, with many books and websites written in a different script featuring logos or title pages using Neo-Tifinagh.
In Morocco, use of Neo-Tifinagh was suppressed until recently. The Moroccan state arrested and imprisoned people using this script during the 1980s and 1990s.In 2003, however, the king took a "neutral" position between the claims of Latin script and Arabic script by adopting Neo-Tifinagh; as a result, books are beginning to be published in this script, and it is taught in some schools. However, many independent Berber-language publications are still published using the Berber Latin alphabet. Outside Morocco, it has no official status.
In Algeria, almost all Berber publications use the Berber Latin Alphabet. The Algerian Black Spring was partly caused by the repression of Berber languages.
In Libya, the government of Muammar Gaddafi consistently banned Tifinagh from being used in public contexts such as store displays and banners.
After the Libyan Civil War, the National Transitional Council has shown an openness towards the Berber languages. The rebel Libya TV, based in Qatar, has included the Berber language and the Tifinagh alphabet in some of its programming.
The following are the letters and a few ligatures of traditional Tifinagh and Neo-Tifinagh:
|Basic Tifinagh (IRCAM)||Extended Tifinagh (IRCAM)||Other Tifinagh letters||Modern Tuareg letters|
Tifinagh was added to the Unicode Standard in March 2005, with the release of version 4.1.
The Unicode block range for Tifinagh is U+2D30–U+2D7F:
| Tifinagh   |
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
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.
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The Tuareg languages constitute a group of closely related Berber languages and dialects. They are 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.
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?)
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.
The Riffian or Riffian Berber is a Zenati Berber language. It is spoken natively by some 6 to 7 million Riffians 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 Larache, and in Melilla, in Spain. In addition, Riffian expatriate communities also speak the language.
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The Kabyle people are a Berber people indigenous to Kabylia in the north of Algeria, spread across the Atlas Mountains, one hundred miles east of Algiers. They represent the largest Berber-speaking population of Algeria and the second largest in North Africa.
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The Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture is an academic institute of the Moroccan government in charge with the development and the promotion of the Berber languages and culture and of the development of Berber language courses for Morocco's public schools.
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A keyboard layout is any specific mechanical, visual, or functional arrangement of the keys, legends, or key-meaning associations (respectively) of a computer, typewriter, or other typographic keyboard.
The Berber Arabic alphabet is an Arabic-based alphabet that was used to write various Berber languages in the Middle Ages. Nowadays users have largely reverted to either the Tifinagh alphabet in Morocco, or Berber Latin alphabet in Algeria.
Berber orthography is the writing system(s) used to transcribe the Berber languages. In antiquity, the Libyco-Berber script (Tifinagh) was utilized to write Berber. Early uses of the script have been found on rock art and in various sepulchres. Following the spread of Islam, some Berber scholars also utilized the Arabic script. There are now three writing systems in use for Berber languages: Tifinagh (Libyco-Berber), the Arabic script, and the Berber Latin alphabet. Different groups in North Africa have different preferences of writing system, often motivated by ideology and politics.
Standard Moroccan Berber, also known as standard Amazigh or Tamazight, is an ongoing project to create a standardized national Moroccan variety of Berber. It was established in accordance with Article 5 of the 2011 amendments to the Moroccan Constitution.
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