Tunisian Tamazight (Berber)

map of tunisian berber

Tunisian Berber (TuB), also called Tmazight or Shilha was the native language of the  inhabitants of Tunisia till the invasion of the Arab-Muslim missionaries in the 7th century. Since then, Tamazight language has been in danger of disappearing completely from Tunisia.  Several social, political, and economical factors have contributed to the recession of Tunisian Tamazight. Negative attitudes, either of Tunisian Arabophones or Berber native speakers themselves towards the language represent another cause of its gradual death. The denial of Tamazight language and identity is so harsh that there isn’t even an official census of Tunisian Berber speakers in Tunisia. Chances the language will gain better recognition and visibility are not unattainable if the social and political ideologies against the language change. Currently, Tunisian Berber is  classified as endangered (Etnologue), which evokes  emergency to conducting linguistic research and producing decent description of the structural properties of the language.

Since the Tunisian Revolution of 2010, a revival movement has been striving for official recognition of Tunisian Tamazight identity, culture, and language.  A number of local organizations and associations,  such as The Tunisian Association of Tamazight Culture and The Heritage Preservation Association in Tamazrat have become openly active calling for Tunisian Tamazight language,heritage, and identity to be freed from prevailing stereotypes, and demanding an end to the marginalization of Tunisian Imazighen and falsification of their history.