- Languages of Algeria
official languageof Algeriais Arabic, as specified in its constitution since 1963. In addition to this, Berber has been recognized as a " national language" by constitutional amendment since May 8, 2002. Between them, these two languages are the native languages of over 99% of Algerians, with Arabic spoken by about 55% and Berber by 45% [ [http://www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/AXL/AFRIQUE/algerie-1demo.htm http://www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/AXL/] , Jacques Leclerc, "L’aménagement linguistique dans le monde".] . French, though it has no official status, is still widely used in government, culture, media (newspapers) and education(since primary school), due to Algeria's colonial history, and English is also taught from Middle school.
Currently spoken languages
Arabic is the language of 55% of Algeria's population, particularly
Algerian Arabicspoken by 50 %; in addition to this, non-native speakers learn Arabic at school, so in fact 83.2%Fact|date=July 2007 of the population understands Standard Arabicor the Algerian Arabic dialect. In Algeria, as elsewhere, spoken Arabic differs very substantially from written Arabic; Algerian Arabichas a much-simplified vowel system, a substantially changed vocabulary with many new words and many words from Berber, Turkish, and French, and, like all Arabic dialects, has dropped the case endings of the written language. Within Algerian Arabic itself, there are significant local variations; Jijel Arabic, in particular, is noteworthy for its pronunciation of "qaf" as "kaf" and its profusion of Berber loanwords, and the dialects of some ports show influence from Andalusi Arabicbrought by refugees from al-Andalus. Algerian Arabic is part of the Maghrebi Arabic dialect continuum, and fades into Moroccan Arabicand Tunisian Arabicalong the respective borders.
Saharamore conservative Bedouindialects, grouped under the name Saharan Arabic, are spoken; in addition, the many Sahrawirefugees at Tindoufspeak Hassaniya Arabic.
Jews of Algeriaonce spoke dialects of Arabic specific to their community, collectively termed "Judeo-Arabic"; however, most came to speak French in the colonial period even before emigrating to Franceand Israelafter independence.
département" in 1966] The Berber languages(or Berber language) are spoken in many parts of Algeria, but mainly in Kabylia, in the Aurès, and in the Sahara( Tuaregs); 45% of Algerians speak Berber. The Berber languages/dialects spoken in Algeria include:
In the north:
* Kabyle in
Kabyliaabout 5 million inhabitants in Algeria specially in Algiers, Bejaia, Tizi-Ouzou, Bouira, Setif, Boumerdes.
* Chaouia in the
Aurèsabout 4 million inhabitants specially in Batna, Khenchela, Sétif, Souk Ahras, Oum-El-Bouaghi, Tebessa.
* Chenoua in
* Tarifit around
Arzewand Tlemcen, Sidi Belabes
Probably extinct, in western Algeria:
In the Sahara:
Tumzabt languagein the Mzab
Ouargli languageat Ouargla
* language of
Touatand Gourara(called "Taznatit" by the Ethnologue, but that name is in fact used for most of the Zenati languages)
* language of
* Tamahaq, among the
Tuaregof the Hoggar(see Tuareg languages)
* "Tachelhit", the dialect of the western
ksours (see also Figuig). Despite the name, this is not the same as Moroccan "Tachelhit").
Phoenicians' arrival, Berber was spoken throughout Algeria, as later attested by early Tifinaghinscriptions. Despite the growth of Punic, Latin, and later Arabic, it remained the main language of Algeria until the invasion of the Banu Hilalin the 11th century.
French is a part of the standard school curriculum, and is widely understood;
Ethnologueestimates indicate that 20% of the population can read and write it [ [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=FRN http://www.ethnologue.com/] ] other sources estimate much larger percentages. Some two-thirds of Algerians have a "fairly broad" grasp of French, and half speak it as a second language. [ [http://www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/AXL/AFRIQUE/algerie-1demo.htm Algérie: situation géographique et démolinguistique ] ] French is widely used in media and commerce. There is also a very small community of French native speakers, including pied-noirs who stayed behind, and people raised in French-speaking households. During the French colonisation, about one million French native speakers lived in Algeria. The pied-noirs developed a distinctive dialect, termed Pataouète.
English, because of its status as a global
lingua franca, is taught from the first year of Middle School. However, only a tiny number of Algerians speak English, most of them younger people.
ub-Saharan African languages
Korandje languageof the Saharan oasisof Tabelbalais a heavily Berber-influenced variety of Songhay, a language more widely spoken far to the south in Niger. Another northern Songhay language, Tadaksahak, may be spoken in parts of the far south; its nomadic speakers range over a wide area centered in northern Mali.
There are also a few thousand Hausa speakers in the south.
Algerian Sign Languageis used in Algeria by the deaf; it has sometimes been used on national TV.
Formerly spoken languages
*Ladino was formerly spoken by some Algerian
Jews, particularly around Oran, in the Tetuanidialect; however, most shifted to French during the colonial period.
Mediterranean Lingua Francaor Sabir, a mixture of many Mediterranean languages, was once widespread as a means of communication with foreigners in the ports, including the slaves of the bagnios and the European renegades that joined the Barbary pirates; after 1830, it gradually disappeared, its functions taken over by French.
* Spanish has a long history in
Oran, which was occupied by Spain between 1509and 1790; it has left some traces in that city's dialect. It was also spoken by pied-noirs immigrating from the Spanish Mediterranean. Also is spoken by saharauis in the Area of Tinduf. Latinitself, of course, was the language of the Roman occupation; it became widely spoken in the coastal towns, and Augustine attests that in his day it was gaining ground over Punic. However, it gave way to Arabic and Berber after the Umayyads' conquest, leaving only a few loanwords in those two languages.french and everything else was spoken by the algerian people
Phoenician, particularly in its North African
Punicform, was brought to Algeria by Carthage's influence, and was widely spoken in its east for a time; Augustine grew up speaking it, and quotes occasional phrases. However, by his time the language was losing ground to Latin, and no trace of it survives now (apart from occasional names of places).
Ottoman rule after the 16th century brought a dominant minority of Turks to Algeria, particularly concentrated in the large cities; for a while,
Ottoman Turkishbecame a major governmental language. However, over time these Turks gradually assimilated, and, while many families of partial Turkish descent remain in Algeria, none speak the language.
* [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=Algeria Ethnologue listing for Algeria]
* [http://www.nzz.ch/english/background/2002/05/31_algeria.html Algeria's Unresolved Language Conflict]
* [http://www.geocities.com/lameens/alg-lang.html A User's Guide to Algerian Languages]
* [http://www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/axl/afrique/algerie.htm Langues d'Algérie]
* [http://www.panafril10n.org/wikidoc/pmwiki.php/PanAfrLoc/Algeria PanAfriL10n page on Algeria]
* [http://www.dicodialna.com Algerian-Dardja Dictionary ]
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