The extinction of Tcawit?

Chaouia is not a written language and based on the fact that it is not taught in schools, it may soon become extinct. Being that the Chaouia are predominantly rural and secluded, speakers often code-switch to Arabic, French or even English to discuss non-traditional technology and sociological concerns.

“Chaouia,” English Wikipedia, as of 24 November, 2008.

Is this not true of most Berber languages in Algeria, and North Africa more generally? I don’t think that’s the result of Chaouia speakers being “rural and secluded,” as much as it just not having the vocabulary to describe certain things, as is the case in other Berber dialects, both in urban and rural areas. I’m not a linguistics student or expert, but I don’t think that code-switching in Chaouia is the result of its speakers being rural, just based off of the fact that I’ve heard urban speakers do it more frequently than I have in villages.

I was also troubled to read first sentence, which suggests that Chaouia is on the verge of extinction: This is the case with many languages in Algeria, and that Chaouia is not written does not help its struggle. But I find the suggestion that it would soon go extinct somewhat hyperbolic. There are something like 2-3 million people  speaking it (that have been counted), and there are not estimates for many areas where it is spoken. Just a thought, since the post I had prepared for today (about the tensions between Algeria and Morocco) was mistakenly deleted from my computer by a friend.

I encourage people more engaged in and educated about linguistic matters than myself to comment and add their opinions to the matter. Is Chaouia likely to go extinct? What is the affect of rural living vs. urban life on Berber languages generally? These are question I am not qualified to answer, but would like to get some insight on.

4 thoughts on “The extinction of Tcawit?

  1. Hi Nouri,
    Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

    >it is not taught in schools

    Tashawit is taught is some areas.

    >it may soon become extinct.

    Not true! Like other Berber varieties, Tashawit faces many challenging problems, but to suggest that it is on the verge of extinction is a joke.

    Urbanism is the problem not the other way around. If it wasn’t for the rural areas, Tashawit would be gone by now.

  2. Hi Nouri,
    Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

    >it is not taught in schools

    Tashawit is taught is some areas.

    >it may soon become extinct.

    Not true! Like other Berber varieties, Tashawit faces many challenging problems, but to suggest that it is on the verge of extinction is a joke.

    Urbanism is the problem not the other way around. If it wasn’t for the rural areas, Tashawit would be gone by now.

  3. > Not true! Like other Berber varieties, Tashawit faces many challenging problems, but to suggest that it is on the verge of extinction is a joke.

    >Urbanism is the problem not the other way around. If it wasn’t for the rural areas, Tashawit would be gone by now.

    I do agree

    however, in the future, the survival of tashawit will depend to a certain degree on the ‘behavior’ of the shawi educated elite.

    in the absence of any political project, the extinction of the language, will be a matter of a few more decades…….

    as it is already happening in the chenwa country…

    regards

  4. Good afternoon,
    I am pleased someone brought this to the discussion.
    Regarding whether it will be extinct or not in the near future, linguists and some expert researchers in the field of language shift and maintenance have developed some interesting models to measure each language’s vitality and to classify it on a certain scale to see to what extent it is going extinct, and actually Chaouia was reported to be safe because it is still widely used between the generations is many areas in Aures. Yet, one has to be realistic and its status is no longer the same, though nowadays it is introduced to the educational system and we have a department for Tamazight in Batna and many other wilayah, because of the obvious shift towards Arabic and the continuous rise of the negative attitudes towards it. Urbanization is just one factor that can help hinder its transmission or develop its use as it introduces it to more complex situations of contact and demands more linguistic variety and resilience

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