What is Amazigh?
The Amazighs or Berbers (also called Amazigh people or Imazighen, "free men", singular Amazigh) are an ethnic group indigenous to Northwest Africa, speaking the Amazigh languages.
In actuality, Amazigh is a generic name given to numerous heterogeneous ethnic groups that share similar cultural, political, and economic practices. It is not a term originated by the group itself.
Among the amazigh language, the Tashelhit or Tachelhit Berber is spoken in the High Atlas, the Anti Atlas, the Souss plains, and in major cities of Morocco (Casablanca, Rabat). It has some 8-9 million speakers, which makes it the world�s largest Berber language.
Introduction THE CHLEUH POEPLE
The Chleuh Berbers live in the western High Atlas and the Anti Atlas Mountains of southwestern Morocco. They also live in the plains and valleys which lie between them. Most parts of the mountains are well watered, and between November and May the region is blanketed in snow. Vegetation is almost non-existent along the southern slopes. But wherever they live, a majority of the Chleuh raise crops and livestock. (The varieties and breeds depend on local conditions of the climate and soil.) The people live in villages of all sizes, using the limited soil and water resources with care. They build small dams and cultivate terraces where cereals and other crops are grown. No other group in Morocco starting from tribal origins has achieved as much as the Chleuh. A high degree of unity is the key to their success. This unity extends beyond tribal boundaries to encompass all who speak Tachelhit, their native language.
Most of the Chleuh are farmers and shepherds. On the plots of ground that are not regularly irrigated, they grow barley and sometimes rye. On the lower slopes, they herd sheep and goats. Surplus farm and animal products are sold at weekly markets. In the villages, the Berber way of life has remained unchanged over the centuries. Most Chleuh villages contain between 50 and 500 people.
They typically live in two-story, mud brick homes with flat roofs. In the more rugged mountain areas they live in sturdy goat skin tents. Urban men and women wear western clothing, sometimes with long hooded robes, or jellabas, over them. Men wear turbans, or skull caps, called tagiyas, and women wear veils or head scarves. Rural women dress colorfully, but modestly, wearing several layers of clothing. The Chleuh don't really value education because they believe that hard work is of higher value. Only a small number complete more than a few years of public schooling.In rural areas; however, many male children attend Islamic schools where they are taught the Koran.
A typical family consists of close relatives living under the authority of the male head of the family. A new bride, often as young as 14, will move into the home of the husband's family after marriage. Since the late 19th century, many Chleuh have left their poor, overpopulated valleys, in hopes of finding new resources in the northern cities of Morocco and abroad ( Europe especially , France, Belgium, Netherlands ). Some have become profitable grocers, shopkeepers, or wholesalers. Others have entered the fabric trade. Today, some of the most important businessmen in Casablanca are Chleuh.
WHAT IS IT TACHELHIT
The tachelhit is one of the language part of the Berber Morrocan.
Spoken in south-west part of Morocco, it covers a rather vast geographical surface:
Western part of the High-Atlas to the plain of Souss, Anti-Atlas at the zone pre.-saharian
in the south of this line: Tata, Aqqa and localities of Jbel Bani.
This area is regarded today as one of most important in Morocco from the point of view of the number of the Berber speakers.
The tachelhit is primarily oral like all the other Moroccan Berber languages.
The tamazight of central Morocco and the Riffian one of the north of the country are the two languages which, with the tachelhit, constitute the Berber Morrocan.
The chleuh presents some variations of one area to the other, but the various speakers
understand themselves. In the same way, the grammatical structure and the vocabulary,
close to the other Berber languages, permit a common comprehension. Phonetic characteristics:
* Three vowels: /a/, /i/, /u/ (= or);
* Consonant system characterized by three essential elements: tension, emphase and liabalization.
EVOLUTION OF TACHELHITE TODAY
The tachelhit presents some variations of phonetic nature and lexical from one area to another, but, in spite of these local variations, the speakers of various tachelhit understand each one perfectly.
The linguistic variation is an inevitable reality into Berber which does not know an instituted standard yet.
Since few years, the tachelhit has known a process of homogenisation and
linguistic unification thanks to the modern medium as radio, TV, cassette,
newspaper, theatre, cinema.
The cities and the great urban centres of the tachelhit zone as Agadir, Inezgane, Tiznit, Tata, Ouarzazate, Marrakesh, Essauira also contribute to this unification.
Indeed, these cities constitute places of meeting and linguistic exchanges where speakers from differents in areas and differents mediums meets.
It is thus the tachelhit common to several speeches and several areas, the tachelhit which one listens to each day with the radio and on TV and which one can read in certain newspapers.