May 2, 2012
511: Amazigh History and Culture
French over Arabic: Interesting Language Preference among Morocco’s Imazighen
After a two-week Christmas vacation in England, I was excited to be back in Morocco. I had already spent one semester trying desperately to get a firm grip on both Modern Standard Arabic, which I had been studying for four years, and Darija, the Moroccan dialect of Arabic without which I was incapable of communicating casually with Moroccans. I could have always fallen back on French, because in urban areas such as my neighborhood in Rabat, virtually everyone speaks French fluently or very nearly. Still, as a true Arabic and Islamic Studies student I was determined to communicate with Moroccans in their own language without asking them to accommodate me by reverting to the language of their former colonizer.
The second semester had yet to begin, and I was taking advantage of the remaining days of vacation to visit an area of southwestern Morocco that another classmate had recommended. He and I had travelled extensively in Arabic-speaking urban regions, but had yet to venture into the heartland of rural Morocco. As we were both preparing to begin a course on the history and culture of Morocco’s indigenous population, the Imazighen, we decided to start our journey in the Tafraoute region, known as both authentically Amazigh and tourist-friendly. He and I arrived in Tafraoute in the mid-afternoon and after dropping our backpacks and jackets off at our hotel, we stopped by the nearest hanout to buy some snacks. In a cheerful mood I prepared myself for the positive reaction of the hanout owner when he heard me ask the price of a Snickers in Darija. Throughout my first four months in Morocco, I constantly received warm smiles and praise for having learned to communicate in the Moroccan dialect which non-Moroccan Arabs can hardly be bothered to learn, much less Caucasian tourists.
When he responded by telling me the price in French, I was not entirely surprised. Many Moroccans see tourists who have learned a word or two of the dialect, but would be unable to carry out a conversation in it. I responded again in Darija, asking him a question about the Tafraoute region and demonstrating that I was not some two-week visitor and was perfectly capable of conversing in his country’s language. I was slightly surprised when he replied to me again in French, and as my friend and I returned to the hotel we briefly commented to each other that it was odd that the store owner would not respond to me in Darija. Soon we had forgotten the incident, devoured our snacks and begun planning our itinerary for the weekend.
The next morning we returned to the hanout to pick up provisions for hiking. A different man stood behind the counter, one with a warm, friendly smile. I again prepared myself to give him a pleasant surprise with my ability to converse in Darija, and again he replied in French. This time I asked him straight out, “‘Alash katahdar ma’aya bil faransawiya w ana knfm al ‘arabiya mzyan?” He laughed and asked me in Darija whether or not I spoke Tashelhit as well. I replied that while I had heard of the language of the Imazighen I studied only Arabic. He said that I should really consider learning Tashelhit as well. He then sang praise about two Americans that he had met who had travelled through the region and mastered the language. We had a short but generally pleasant conversation, and afterward, my friend and I went on our hike and again paid no special attention to what had happened.
Such incidents marked our entire trip, and eventually I began to take notice. When we stopped to buy some fried fish from a stand in the middle of the main market stretch in Tafraoute, I noticed that everyone was speaking Tashelhit, but being unable to do so I approached the fish seller in Darija. Throughout our five minute conversation he addressed me only in French while I continued to reply in Darija. At another hanout outside of the town, I addressed the owner in Darija and he addressed me with some greeting that I did not understand. Only when I asked him in Arabic to repeat himself and he switched instantly to French did I realize that he had addressed me in Tashelhit. At least four or five people attempted to teach us basic words and phrases such as ‘hello,’ ‘how are you’ and the numbers one through five in the language. It was rare that I would receive replies in Arabic, and most of the time the locals continued to switch into French after confirming that I knew no Tashelhit. For my travel companion who speaks great Darija but almost no French, this was slightly frustrating.
It would have been an entirely understandable situation if the people who I was addressing did not understand Arabic very well, and therefore preferred French for better comprehension, but this did not seem to be the case at all. In fact, even when I would persist in Darija in more complicated conversations, there was never any meaning lost. The people of the Tafraoute region appeared to speak and understand Darija fluently, yet still insisted on speaking to me in French.
Once I had noticed this phenomenon, it began cropping up everywhere even after that trip was over. Perhaps I had not visited enough Amazigh regions during my first semester to notice this trend before, or perhaps I had simply not noticed when I had experienced such encounters earlier. Outside of Tafraoute, I have not found many people who so firmly insist upon speaking French with me, but I have met many Imazighen who immediately encourage me to learn their language upon hearing that I bothered to learn Darija.
During a visit to Agadir, I couldn’t help but notice how many people responded to my Arabic by asking if I also spoke Tashelhit. While in Casablanca, the owner of the hotel I stayed in reacted the same way. In Tinghir, the friends that I made would speak with me in Arabic since they had no knowledge of French, but kept encouraging me to learn their language. I began to notice that any time I asked what the word in Arabic was for a certain food, plant, etc. they would give me the word in Tashelhit as well as Arabic, often stating the Tashelhit word first.
On a week-long trip in the High Atlas Mountains, my friends and I had many opportunities to converse with the people of Imhellin and other small Amazigh villages around the Mount Toubkal/Lac d’Ifni area. Like many of the other Imazighen with whom I had spoken, they politely yet firmly encouraged me to learn Tashelhit words and smiled brightly when I used them in later conversations.
I became fascinated with this new factor which further complicated my understanding of Morocco’s already tricky language situation. I already knew that some Imazighen continue to speak their native language, that the more urban Moroccans speak Darija, that elite urbanites speak primarily French, that some communities in the north speak Spanish, and that all throughout the nation students learn both classical Arabic and French in schools. What I did not realize was that among those who speak multiple languages, the choice of which language to use in any given context might have great significance. I would not have guessed that people might choose to speak a language based not on reasons of simplicity of comprehension between the parties, but rather for reasons of identity assertion. Above all, I never could have imagined that a Moroccan would prefer to speak with me in the language of a former colonizer than in a language that is native and exclusive to Morocco.
The thought seemed a bit odd to me, but I soon found out that I was not the only one to notice such a trend, nor was I the only one to read meaning into it. In an article entitled “Tracking the Mother Tongue: Tamazight from the Middle Atlas to the Amazigh Diaspora,” anthropologist Mira Z. Amiras reports having witnessed exactly the same reaction. While attending a gathering of militant Amazigh activists in Rabat in March of 1999, she recounts the following:
“The gathering is in an auditorium around the corner. There are speakers and an exhibition of modern Tamazight art incorporating the ancient Tifinagh writing system. I am introduced to Farhat Mehenni, the militant Amazigh folksinger from the Kabyle in Algeria, as well as Malika Matoub, sister of assassinated Amazigh protest singer, Lounes Matoub, also of the Kabyle. Malika heads the Amazigh movement in France. They’ve both flown in from Paris for this momentous event. I say something to Ferhad in Arabic. He gives me a sour look and responds in French. I didn’t yet know his history.”
This event took place almost twelve years before my experiences in the Tafraoute area, and occurred not in some rural, Amazigh majority community, but in Rabat. The man who reacted this way was from Amazigh origin but was Algerian, not Moroccan. Furthermore, the author seemed to interpret Ferhad’s reaction in the same way that I interpreted the reactions that I received in Tafraoute. He understood her Arabic perfectly, but resented being spoken to in Arabic, and therefore responded in French, their other mutual language. The idea that a Moroccan might prefer French to Arabic is already surprising, but the fact that an Algerian also acted the same way is downright shocking. The terrible history of French colonialism in Algeria makes that of Morocco seem downright pleasant, and before reading this article it was unfathomable to me that an Algerian would choose French over the language of his country.
Apart from this incident, I have heard of similar stories from friends and acquaintances who have spent time in Amazigh regions. One of them even seemed to have the impression that in the Souss region, the large plain covering southwest Morocco which represents the core of the Tashelhit-speaking community, many Imazighen prefer French as their second language, and avoid the usage of Arabic to the extent possible.
I felt that I had enough evidence of this phenomenon of preference of French over Arabic among the Imazighen to merit some further investigation. It would have been ideal to have been able to travel extensively and conduct surveys of different Amazigh areas to find out whether or not this phenomenon exists and to what extent, but due to the constraints of a standard academic semester in Rabat, I was unable to do so. Nevertheless, assuming that it does exist to at least some extent and at least among certain Amazigh groups, why does it exist? How did it come to be?
The answer, or at least a part of it, seems to lie in the history of North Africa. The relationship between the Imazighen and the Arabs was not always characterized by the peaceful co-existence which the modern rhetoric of the Moroccan state would seem to suggest. At times there remained a high level of tension between the indigenous population and the newcomers. Even to this day, certain militant Amazigh groups still consider the Arabs colonizers. In their opinion, the only major difference between the Arabs and the French is that the Arabs have yet to leave and return the land to those who where there first. This is however, a fairly radical perspective, and the common inter-marriage between the two groups and the conversion of nearly all of the Imazighen to Islam shortly after the arrival of the Arabs in the eighth century indicates that the majority was not entirely opposed to the newcomers and their faith.
After several centuries, the Arabs were no longer newcomers, but even after they had thoroughly become a part of Moroccan society there was a perceived Arab/Amazigh or makhzen/siba dichotomy. Any discussion of the Imazighen in contemporary academia recognizes the historical tension between the makhzen – the centralized power structure centered in urban and primarily Arab areas and the siba – the chaotic rural areas run by Amazigh tribal groups who resisted the control of the central authorities. This tension has remained throughout modern times. With the growth of nationalist movements in the twentieth century, the Alaouite Dynasty and the post-independence governments have viewed Amazigh nationalism as a potential threat to a unified, Arab-Islamic kingdom. They have repeatedly suppressed Amazigh movements and attempts of the Imazighen to gain recognition of their language. Perhaps my original assessment that the Imazighen would prefer Darija over French as a language of their own over a language of an “other” was entirely incorrect. Perhaps Darija is not, in their eyes, a language of their own at all, but rather a language of the Arab “other” which has not been friendlier to them than the French “other.”
The examples of the discrimination against the Imazighen and suppression of their culture by the post-independence government of Morocco are numerous. The government has forbidden the Imazighen from giving their children Tamazight (non-Arab) names. It has prohibited musical groups from giving themselves names that would invoke Amazigh identity. A group attempting to create an Amazigh political party was banned in 2008. It is guilty of arresting and persecuting Amazigh rights activists. School children have faced punishments for speaking in Tamazight in public schools, and countless children sat in classrooms and listened to their teachers exalt the rich literary history and beautiful calligraphy of the Arabs in comparison to the mere “scratches” of the Imazighen.
The grievances cited by the Imazighen are too numerous to recount. As I dug further and further, it became increasingly evident that there was actually much reason for the Imazighen to hold a grudge against the Arabs and their language, which the makhzan had attempted to force upon them for much of their recent history. But could the language of the colonizer be an acceptable alternative? The Imazighen fought tirelessly against the French in the beginning of the 1900s, and they were the last to come under French control, even after the surrender of many Arab regions. Given this history, how could modern-day Imazighen possibly prefer the French language over Arabic?
While my investigation into the history of Amazigh-Arab relations led to the uncovering of a long history of tension and conflict, my exploration of Amazigh-French relations pointed to surprisingly abundant reasons for amity, at least between modern Amazigh activists and the French. Essentially, these reasons can be summarized by stating that the French promoted the study of Amazigh languages and cultures far before the Moroccan government even acknowledged the Imazighen as a legitimate part of the Moroccan population.
During the French colonial campaigns, the French were highly interested in amassing knowledge about the Imazighen. One could rightfully argue that their goals were probably not the upliftment of the Imazighen or the achievement of recognition for this overlooked population, but rather the accumulation of information which would assist them in achieving French military goals in Morocco. Furthermore, many academics have written off the French protectorate policy of removing the Imazighen from the jurisdiction of Islamic law and re-instating their tribal-customary law as an aspect of the French divide-and-conquer strategy with respect to the Arabs and the Imazighen. Whatever the less-than-pure intentions of the French may have been, the fact of the matter remains that French academics made incredible advances in the field of Amazigh scholarship before, during, and after colonialism which have far outshone any parallel achievements among Arabic-speaking scholars.
There are more authoritative works on the Tamazight language in French than in Arabic, or any other language for that matter. As a simple example, the library of my home university, the University of Pennsylvania, holds more Tamazight lexicons in French than in Arabic. The same can be said for its supply of Tamazight grammar sources. Additionally, the French language sources date back over a range of time, while the Arabic language sources are all very recent. The resources available to a student wishing to study the Tamazight language have traditionally been available in greater numbers at French institutions such as the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (Langues “O”) in Paris than they ever were in Morocco. The Tamazight language was even available on the French Baccalaureate exam before it was ever taught in schools in Morocco.
The fact of having a better track record for promoting the study of the Tamazight language and having recognized the Imazighen as a people separate from the Arabs could definitely contribute to a preference of French over Arabic in recent Amazigh history. After uncovering this information, I felt that I was beginning to understand the roots of the phenomenon that I first witnessed in Tafraoute.
But still, I wasn’t entirely satisfied. This argument seems largely ideological. If the only reasons for this preference of French come from memories of Arab persecution or nostalgia for the recognition accorded by the French, then one would expect this phenomenon to die out as soon as the younger generations are far enough displaced from those memories that they no longer see the need to avoid Arabic. If the grudge against the French over their crimes during colonial battles could be overlooked with the appearance of Arab persecution, then the grudge against the Arabs for their suppression of the Amazigh language and culture might also be forgotten in a short amount of time.
Indeed, in a matter of years this specific linguistic preference might fade into disappearance and all that will remain of these observations is a mark in the archives of Amazigh history that has no further relevance to the living culture of the Imazighen. However, a preference of the French language, apart from being ideologically appealing in our times, might also be a practical choice.
French is an international language which allows Moroccans access to a wider world than does Darija or Tamazight, the two primary native languages of Morocco, neither of which is widely spoken outside of the nation. The Moroccan government itself recognizes the importance of the French language, and although it is not an official language, French is mandatorily taught to all public school students. Therefore, most Moroccans with even incomplete education have a decent knowledge of French. There are certainly Moroccans who do not speak French, but in my experience, they live in primarily rural, Tamazight-speaking areas. In the nearly nine months that I have spent in Morocco, I have hardly met any native Darija speakers who do not speak good French. I have met quite a few rural Imazighen who speak either only Tamazight, or Tamazight and Arabic but not French. This is probably due to lack of education. Most of these people also did not know how to read or write in any language. As for Modern Standard Arabic, the primary language of education in all public schools in Morocco, it is not spoken as a native language anywhere in the world. Theoretically, all students in Morocco acquire some level of proficiency in this language, but in my experience most educated Moroccans speak better French than Modern Standard Arabic.
As a common language of tourism, academia, business and government in large regions of both Africa and Europe, French is certainly a practical choice for Moroccans wishing to expand their options for international business or for those who are considering immigration. Since the vast majority of Darija-speakers in Morocco have a good command of French, but the majority of foreign French-speakers who work or travel in Morocco have little to no command of Darija or Modern Standard Arabic, French is also a practical choice for communication within Morocco itself. It might make sense for a rural-dwelling Tamazight-speaker to concern him or herself with an acquisition of French, the language which could allow him to not only expand the tourism potential within his village, but also to communicate with the great majority of Darija-speakers who do speak French.
This is not to diminish the importance of either Darija or Modern Standard Arabic. It is certain that Darija holds much cultural and historical significance in Morocco. It is a language of heritage for the Arab populations of Morocco and has been for quite some time. It would be a shame to throw it aside merely because it has little practical usage. Additionally, the fact that Modern Standard Arabic is not the native language of any Moroccans and is not highly practical in day-to-day usage in Morocco does not mean that it should be eradicated. On the contrary, the language is vital to an in-depth study of the Qur’an and Islam itself, the religion of 98.7% of Moroccans including both Arabs and Imazighen. Furthermore, it can open certain opportunities for work and business with other Arab nations. However, it must be recognized that for the Imazighen, a people whose linguistic and cultural heritage is found neither through Darija nor Modern Standard Arabic, French might be a more practical second language than either of these.
The history of French-led Amazigh scholarship and the history of persecution and neglect of the Imazighen by the Arabs may not remain such emotional memories in the minds of later generations of Imazighen. However, between the general practicality of French both in Morocco and internationally and the diminished practicality of Arabic in Morocco, there may be reason for the phenomenon of the preference of the French language over Arabic among this group to continue.
It will be interesting to observe whether or not this trend grows, diminishes, or remains the same as the general feelings of the Imazighen toward the Arab makhzan evolve. There is no guarantee that this sentiment will actually fade away with the passage of time, but recent events have already seemed to diminish the level of controversy between the Arab-centric ruling authorities and Amazigh activists.
After the extremely repressive tendencies of Hassan II’s reign, the inauguration of his son, Mohammed VI in 1999 represented a change in makhzan policy related to the Imazighen. His own mother an Amazigh woman, King Mohammed VI’s rule has been characterized by tolerance of the Imazighen, promotion of their cultural heritage and language, and a more open stance toward the demands of Amazigh activists. In a royal decree in 2001, the King established IRCAM (Institut Royal de la Culture Amazighe) which is an institute charged with preserving and maintaining the Tamazight language and Amazigh culture. In 2004, the King declared that Tamazight would be introduced in schools as a mandatory language of instruction. Most recently, in 2011, the new constitution made Tamazight an official national language with equal status to Arabic.
One might assume that the Amazigh activists would be thrilled with such progress. After years of fighting for the right to speak Tamazight, the right to Tamazight instruction in schools, the right to cultural preservation, etc. wouldn’t they consider this progress a resounding success? There are certainly some Amazigh scholars and activists who have joined the King’s movement and celebrated his decisions as groundbreaking progress for the Imazighen. However, others have complained that such actions are merely an attempt to quiet the Amazigh activists and reduce the Tamazight language and Amazigh culture to the station of fossilized folklore. The foundation of IRCAM has specifically incited many claims that the King is merely trying to accept some basic requests of the activists so as to quiet their louder demands, which could damage the roots of unified Moroccan nationalism.
I decided to go and visit the IRCAM building in Rabat in order to speak with some researchers there about the goals of the King’s pro-Amazigh efforts. I had the good fortune of being able to speak to a senior researcher who worked primarily with the development of education tools for teaching Tamazight in schools. I was fascinated by the fact that the building’s directory and signs were in Tamazight and Arabic only. French was nowhere to be seen. When I approached the welcome desk, the woman who welcomed me preferred to speak with me in Darija, not in French. Each person with whom I interacted throughout my visit made the same choice, although I made it clear that French would be just as easy for me. This was a decided contrast with my previous experiences. Then again, I was dealing with a royal institution – a makhzan institution – and I imagine that anyone working for such an institution would be unlikely to express opposition to Arabic.
I have been in enough makhzan buildings to know that French is usually posted everywhere along with Arabic. I found it strange that this institution would be an exception. Perhaps I had begun to read too deeply into the signs, but I couldn’t help but wonder if this was a deliberate attempt to emphasize the Moroccan nature of the institution, and to set it apart from the majority of institutions which have promoted the study of Amazigh culture and the Tamazight language in the past, nearly all of which are French.
After some small talk about my time in Morocco, the senior researcher and I got into a discussion of the issue of the place of the Tamazight language in Morocco. He stressed that when the King mandated Tamazight education, he did so stating that “Tamazight is the cultural heritage of all Moroccans, whether Arab or non-Arab, and that as such it must be taught as a piece of Moroccan identity to all Moroccans.” The researcher went on to say that the King admitted that up until this point, Moroccans have been deprived of this aspect of their heritage due to the intense focus upon their Arabic-Islamic heritage. So it would seem that the King is not only recognizing the right of the Imazighen to retain their culture, but is also stressing that Amazigh culture belongs to the whole nation.
The plan for implementation of Tamazight education reflects this ideology. When I first heard that there was Tamazight education in certain areas, I assumed that children from regions in which the vast majority of inhabitants speak Tamazight as their native language would be taught exclusively in Tamazight, and would learn Arabic as a second language. This could not have been farther from the actual project goal.
The plan was to implement Tamazight education alongside Arabic education for all students up through the end of secondary school by the year 2009. However, in 2012 Morocco is still far from achieving anything close to that goal. As of now only fifteen percent of primary schools have Tamazight language education, and there has been no progress toward implementation at the secondary level. In addition, these fifteen percent of primary school students study Tamazight for only three hours per week, in comparison with their eleven hours per week of Arabic language instruction.
The researcher cited many practical reasons for this failure, the primary one being the lack of qualified teachers. For instance, the government has only been able to secure 5,000 Tamazight language teachers. He claimed that it would take 14,000 teachers to implement Tamazight education nation-wide for primary school alone, so the government is 9,000 teachers short before even considering secondary schools.
It is understandable that for a field so newly emerging as Tamazight language instruction, it might take longer than originally hypothesized to acquire all of the necessary resources. However, as an official language, Tamazight should be available in all government offices and public institutions. Almost one year after gaining official status, Tamazight signs and publications have yet to appear in most of the places which theoretically require them. The researcher agreed that this is another realm in which results have fallen far short of the initial promises.
But there has been a significant impact from all of these efforts. Whether or not the King intended to do so, his declarations and programs have nationalized and diffused the Amazigh movement. By claiming Amazigh culture and the Tamazight language as the heritage of all Moroccans, he has denied the claims of the Imazighen that they are a group separate from the Arabs. Instead of promoting Tamazight language education for Imazighen, he has rendered the Imazighen “Moroccans” above all who share with their fellow citizens the right to all things Amazigh.
This is certainly an effective move from the King’s or the makhzan’s point of view. These recent measures solve the issue of oppression while simultaneously continuing to blend Amazigh and Arab identities into a stronger Moroccan identity. Obviously, the stronger the national sentiment of “Morocanness,” the weaker the type of sentiments that result in separatist ideas or Amazigh nationalism. Since the Arabic language has far deeper roots in the educational system, the bureaucracy, and every other aspect of the Moroccan nation than does Tamazight, I guess that this “Morocanness” will remain essentially Arab by default.
While I happen to believe that the King has legitimate intentions to promote the Tamazight language and preserve the Amazigh culture, the strategy that he has adopted could be harmful to the very movements he is claiming to support. If Tamazight remains implemented as poorly in the educational system as it currently is, then as more Moroccans become educated, Arabic and French will become their primary languages, leaving Tamazight to fossilize and retain its “heritage” status but lose its current place in the living culture of about forty percent of Moroccans. As of yet, the only areas that have remained exclusively or even primarily Tamazight-speaking are those rural areas in which many inhabitants never receive an education. As better education permeates all regions of the country, it is easy to imagine that Tamazight could fall into disuse once the educated generations begin to have children of their own, especially if they view Tamazight as having no practical usage in politics, industry, trade, etc.
From my first few observations of the preference of French over Arabic in Tamazight-speaking areas, it seemed clear that there must be a reason. After examining the historical reasons of French promotion of Amazigh scholarship, the Arab persecution of Amazigh movements, the practicality of French, and the diminished practicality of Arabic, I conclude that there is another possible reason for this phenomenon and a reason for which it will continue: the Imazighen fear that their language will die out. Even though the government is no longer posing a direct threat to the preservation or teaching of Tamazight, their policies do little to prevent the fossilization of this ancient but living language. The fact that the King has claimed Tamazight as the heritage right of all Moroccans Arab or Amazigh may even further push Tamazight into oblivion by blending the Imazighen into the larger Arab-centric Moroccan identity. While French as a language of Europeans and Christians does not pose as much of an ideological threat to their native language, Arabic could. Therefore, as if to say that their identity is entirely Amazigh and not Arab with only traces Amazigh heritage, they prefer the language that is entirely foreign to the one that threatens their own heritage.
 Imazighen is the preferred name for the indigenous peoples of Morocco. Its actual meaning in Tamazight (the language of Morocco’s Imazighen) translates roughly to “free men.” The singular form “Amazigh” is both the term for one man of indigenous Moroccan origins and the adjective for anything of these people.
 Darija term meaning corner store.
 Why are you speaking to me in French when I can understand Arabic just fine?
 Personally unable to distinguish between the three dialects of the Tamazight language: Tashelhit, Tamazight, and Tarifit, I identify dialects however they were referred to by those who spoke to me about them.
 My travel companion and I took note of how many Imazighen seemed to have met one or more Americans who had mastered some dialect of the Tamazight language. We wondered where all of these fellow countrymen of ours were, and what exactly they had been up to that led them to learn such a relatively obscure language. Could they have been Peace Corps volunteers?
 Vinogradov, Amal, “French Conceptual Frameworks and Moroccan Reality,” 1974, In The Amazigh Studies Reader, ed. Michael Peyron, 230-241, Ifrane: School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Al Akhawayn University, 2006.
 An Arab dynasty which claims descendence from the Prophet Mohammed, this dynasty came to power in Morocco in the seventeenth century and has ruled Morocco ever since.
 The “scratches” refers to ancient Tamazight writings in the Tifinagh script. There was a specific incident in which an anthropologist heard of teachers making such comparisons: Amiras, Mira Z, “Tracking the Mother-Tongue: Tamazight from the Middle Atlas to the Amazigh Diaspora,” www.sjsu.edu/.../MiraChapterRevised-1.... - États-Unis.
 The Moroccan state first implemented mandatory Tamazight education in certain elementary schools in 2004, see: “Morocco: Berber language to be taught in primary schools,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, April 30, 2003, LexisNexis. Accessed February 15, 2012. However, the French Baccalaureate exam had offered Tamazight since 1995: Simon, Catherine,“L'enseignement du berbère en France est aussi une affaire politique,“ Le Monde, February 15, 2005, LexisNexis. Accessed May 2, 2012.
(Michael Peyron's Berber Website)