Everything about Kabylia
Berber languages “threatened in Morocco, Algeria”
afrol News, 31 March – A new report about the world’s most threatened languages especially highlights the languages of the indigenous Berber people in Morocco and Algeria. Despite constituting around 50 percent of the population, their languages have been discriminated against and ignored.
The Germany-based Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) in a 111-page report about threatened languages all around the world – which comes together with teaching materials to save such languages – has a special focus on Berber languages, or Tamazight as it is locally known.
The Berbers are considered North Africa’s indigenous population. There is proof they inhabited the region in Phoenician times. The Berbers remained the dominant population group in North Africa long after the Arab conquer of the region.
In Morocco, it is estimated that around 50 percent of the population is Berber, although authorities allow no registration of ethnicity and claim numbers are far lower. In Algeria, between 25 and 30 percent of the population considers itself Berber.
Despite this long history and populous strength, Berber languages still are considered to be threatened in Algeria and Morocco. The reason for this is purely political, as the two countries consider themselves Arab and flatly deny the existence of a larger Berber population. Especially in Morocco, people have been fined and even detained for speaking Berber in public.
According to the GfbV report, at least six Berber languages are spoken in Algeria. Especially in the Kabylia area, where local groups have taken up arms, popular involvement has been great to defend the Kabylia Berber language and culture. There are an estimated 5 million Kabylia Berber speakers in Algeria and some 6 million living abroad, and this is one of the few Berber languages somewhat able to defend its survival through mere numbers.
Kabylian protest movements in 2002 led to the legal introduction of Berber as “a national language” by Algerian authorities. But this had little practical consequences as it was not accepted as an official language. There is no education in written and spoken Berber in Algerian schools and official documents are only accepted in Arabic.
And the 2002 guarantees to respect Kabylian Berber language have since been eroded. Attempts to organise Berber language congresses and meetings have been met with police brutality in 2008 and 2009, GfbV reports. In January this year, the celebration of the Berber New Year was “brutally stopped by police” in Tizi Ouzou, the capital of the Kabylia Berbers.
Other Berber languages in Algeria, including Chaouia and Chenoua, are less organised than the Kabylia Berber. They are thus stronger subjected to government’s arabisation policy. “Thus far, the Algerian leadership is not prepared to give up its arabisation policy and accept Berber as a language sidelined to Arabic,” the GfbV report concludes.
Les hele artikler her :