Applying for a common Moroccan Amazigh subtag

John Cowan cowan at
Tue Jan 4 05:48:53 CET 2011

Patrick Andries scripsit:

> Morocco has been teaching in schools since the early 2000's a convergent  
> variant of Amazigh (Berber) using the Tifinagh script. This common  
> variant aims to bridge gaps between the Berber variants in the country  
> by eliminating what is seen as non essential phonetic variants  
> ("allophones") in the common script (this applies to some affricates,  
> labiovelars and spirants, for some sounds there is simply no sign in the  
> Tifinagh taught in schools). As far as grammar and the lexicon is  
> concerned, the common variant teaches children that non-local words and  
> syntactical features are equally valid but regional forms, enriching  
> their vocabulary and syntactical knowledge this way (a bit like Brits  
> know that an American truck is just a lorry).

Well then, what we have here is a classic macrolanguage encompassing
some or all of Tachelhit (shi), Central Atlas Tamazight (tzm), and
Tarifit (rif), spoken in the south central, southeast, and northeast
parts of the country, respectively.  So what's needed is to apply
to ISO 639-3/RA for a new macrolanguage tag.  The normal deadline is
September 1 of each year, but the process is backlogged this year, so
try applying now (subject to the caveat below), following the directions
at .  At worst they'll sit
on it till the end of the year and issue it in the spring of 2012.

You do need to make sure exactly which languages are to be encompassed by
the new macrolanguage, however.  Based on the few newspaper articles (in
English) that I read, it includes at least those three, but possibly more.

> Type: language
> Subtag: mac
> Description: Moroccan Common Amazigh
> Suppress-Script: Tfng

'mac' means Macedonian, so it's not available.  'zgh' would work.

A: "Spiro conjectures Ex-Lax."                  John Cowan
Q: "What does Pat Nixon frost her cakes with?"  cowan at
  --"Jeopardy" for generative semanticists

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