Shawiya is a member of the Zenati branch of the Northern Berber languages. It is spoken mainly in the Aurès Mountains and neighbouring areas of eastern Algeria. There are also Shawiya speakers in Tunisia. In 2016 there were about 2.1 million speakers of Shawiya in Algeria, and 48,000 in Tunisia.
Shawiya is also known as Shawiya Berber, Numidian Berber, Aurès, Awras or Shawia in English, and as Chaouïa or Chaoui in French. The native name for the language is Tacawit / ⵜⴰⵛⴰⵡⵉⵜ [θaʃawɪθ].
Studies of Shawiya were undertaken in the late 19th and early 20th century. A number of dictionaries and grammars were published, along with some literature, poetry and other material. Since Algeria became independent in 1962, more material in and about the language has been published.
Shawiya is taught in some schools, and is also used in the media in Algeria. It is written with the Latin alphabet, and sometimes with the Tifinagh alphabets. It was formerly written with the Arabic alphabet.
Download an alphabet chart for Shawiya (Excel)
Information about the Shawiya language
Ancient Berber, Ghadamès, Ghomara, Guanche, Kabyle, Riffian, Shilha (Tashelhit), Shawiya, Shenwa, Siwi, Tamahaq, Tamasheq, Tamazight, Tawallammat Tamajaq, Tayart Tamajeq, Zenaga, Zuwara Berber
Languages written with the Latin alphabet
Page last modified: 09.06.21
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