Morocco Vacation Trips
Morocco Culture - Ethnic groups and languages
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Morocco is considered by some as an Arab-Berber country. Others insist on the Berber-African identity of Morocco. About 82% acknowledge a Berber identity, though many more have Berber ancestry. Berbers are also by language but also by traditional customs and culture - such as the distinctive music and dances. Berber language is now more or less officially recognized in Morocco. Classical Arabic remains the only official language of Morocco and is used in limited socio-economic and cultural activities and written newspapers but it is never spoken between Moroccans. The most common spoken variety of Arabic in Morocco, Moroccan Arabic, has also been significantly influenced by Berber languages.
Linguistically, Berber belongs to the Afro-Asiatic group, and has many accents or variants. The three main accents used in Morocco are Tachelhit, Tamazight and Tarifit. Collectively, those Berber languages they are known as "Chelha" in Moroccan Arabic and as "Barbaria" in Classical Arabic used in the Middle East. The terms "Barbar" and "Chelha" are considered by most Berber activists as extremely offending and humiliating. They prefer the word Amazigh.
Tachelhit is spoken in south-west Morocco, in an area between Sidi Ifni in the south, Agadir in the north and Marrakech and the Draa/Sous valleys in the east. Tamazight is spoken in the Middle Atlas, between Taza, Khemisset, Azilal and Errachidia. Tarifit is spoken in the Rif area of northern Morocco in towns like Nador, Al Hoceima, Ajdir, Tangier and Taourirt, Larache and Taza.
For more detailed information on this subject see: Berber languages.
Berbers willingly embraced Islam, though their non-Arab ethnic and linguistic purity has remained. Hundreds of Amazigh associations were created in the last few years. Newsstands and bookstores in all the major cities are filled with new Amazigh magazines and other publications that provide articles about the Amazigh culture and art. The state owned TV station RTM has started broadcasting a daily 10-minute long news bulletin in the 3 Berber accents since the mid 90's. Berber activists are repeatedly demanding a 50% share of broadcasting time in standardized Amazigh language on all 5 state owned satellite channels TVM, 2M, 3, 4 and Laayoune TV. The state still refuses or ignores these demands.
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