Official status for Berber on ballot

Today, Moroccans are voting on a new constitution, which includes a provision for Berber (family) as an official language. According to “Moroccans vote on king’s new constitution,” the constitution is expected to pass, and if so, Morocco will be the first North African nation with an official indigenous language.

According to Ethnologue, Morocco has the following Berber languages:

  • Ghomara (gho) – 1000 people (Wikipedia) or extinct (Ethnologue),
  • Senhaja de Srair (sjs) – definitely alive (Wikipedia) or extinct (Ethnologue),
  • Tachelhit or Shilha (shi) – 3 million speakers,
  • Central Atlas Tamazight (tzm) – 3 to 5 million (Wikipedia) or 3.1 million (Ethnologue), and Tachelhit
  • Tarifit or Riff (rif) – 4 million people (Wikipedia) or 1.7 million (Ethnologue).

Read or listen to the NPR story at “Moroccans Vote on New Constitution.”

UPDATE: The new constitution was passed. See “Moroccan voters approve constitutional changes” in the Los Angeles Times.

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