Mutual intelligibility between Berber languages


unfortunately I have to reply Orâ sâwâl7 tashl7ît to SimplyMoroccan’s question in the other thread :expressionless:

But, I’d like to know to what extent people speaking different Berber languages (Tarifit, Tamazight, TashlHit, Kabyle - I guess there are others as well) understand each other (without formally learning the other languages, of course.) I was told mutual intelligibility is very restricted. Which of the languages are closer to which? How much grammar do they share? And above all, how much do people understand each other?

Tenmîrt for any input!

I am a Tashl7ît speaker, and when I hear someone speak Tarifit or Tamazight, I get hardly 10% or 15% of what they say. We’ve been having news on national TV in the 3 languages for years now, and I just keep staring at the other Berber languages.
Lmohim, I believe that Tamazight and Tarifit are much close to each other, than Tashl7it. I think that it’s not taken for granted that Tarifit or Tamazight speakers would understand our Tashl7it easily, though.

I hope it’s helpful for an answer :).

Tenmîrt! That confirms what I heard from others, that the languages are rather different. But it does surprise me somehow, given the geographical proximity of the groups of speakers of Berber languages. Of course I don’t know the history of the Berber languages though - at what time they started to separate into diverse languages and so on. Is there some hypothesised Proto-Berber (that all Berber languages are descendents of)?

hi i’m Daian from uruguay. my english isn’t good but i want learn tachelhit and is really difficult find a page that teaches this languadge… I want learn because i have a good friend who talks this languadge.
thank you

Berber is really dialectical. I can speak really well with people less than 100km from my village. Past that I understand less and less the farther I get away. In Azilal, Berber is a good mix between Tamazight and TashlHit. I can understand tashlHit speakers from around merakesh, agadir, and essaouira alright. I don’t understand everything though, but basic conversations are no problem. Pronunciation is the same generally, verb conjugations seem to be the same. Grammar structure is very similar. Some times there will be different prepositions and conjunctions. For example there are different words for “that”, as in “the man that ran”, but they are both used in exactly the same way. Vocab changes too. For example the words for cow, road, here, to have, to be tired, and to be adapted are different. I have a harder time with Tamazight speakers north of me. Pronunciation changes a bit. Sh’s change to k’s, and g’s change to y’s…sometimes. Vocab changes too. As for the Rif, I can’t understand anything they say there.

I watch the Berber news with my eyes glazed over most of the time too.

Aah, I hadn’t seen your answer before, Hammu, thanks a lot! It seems a very curious situation. So on the news, what variety is used? And which is the one you speak, Hammu?

I’m not sure exactly what the 2:00 berber news is in. People in my village tell me it is the berber spoken in the souus, but this one educated guy told me once it was in the new “universal” dialiect they are beginning to teach in the schools. All I know is I can’t understand it very well.

I live where the tamazight dialect changes into the tashelhit dialect. What I speak in my village is a mixture of about 50% tamazight, 30% tashelhit, and 20% just my village. We call what we speak tashelhit, but people from Merakesh and the souss consider my language tamazight. To add confusion people from the middle atlas consider what I speak to be “tassosit”, the language of the Souss.

Now that’s complex :blink:. Well I guess it is for any language, really, but where languages are standardised (or maybe rather, in the case of national languages) there tend to be a common standard to which most people are exposed, so lack of mutual intelligibility is not so dramatic. :ty:

I learned the Berber of Saghro (Ait Atta). I understood 20-30% of Souss Tashelheit… but they understood 70-80% of what I said.

when you go back to history you figure out that SOUSS ( where tachel7it are more spoken) had a lot of jews who settled_down there so i guess that s why tachel7it more strange than athor kinds of tamzight , i m not saying tachel7it is IBRANO but maybe you borrow some words or some expressions from each athor and i m going to work on at for a while to get it on a privat fills to publish it on this forum.tanimirt bahra i3zan