What Languages Are Spoken In Algeria?

Arabic text on a keyboard. Arabic is spoken by most people in Algeria.
Arabic text on a keyboard. Arabic is spoken by most people in Algeria.

The two official languages in Algeria are recognized as Modern Standard Arabic and Tamazight (Berber). The constitutional amendment on May 8, 2002 made Berber a national language of Algeria. More than 99% of Algerians have Berber and Algerian Arabic as their native languages. About 73% of the country's population speaks Algerian Arabic while 27% speak Berber. The Algerian government also uses French as do the media and schools.

Official Languages Of Algeria

Arabic was established as Algeria's official language by the 1963 constitution, a status which was re-affirmed in the 1976 constitution. 73% of the country's population speaks Algerian Arabic, which is derived from the various Arabic languages used in northern Algeria. Algerian Arabic encompasses different dialects spoken by two genetically different groups namely Hilalian and pre-Hilalian dialects. Algerian Arabic is mostly used for daily communication while Modern Standard Arabic is reserved for official use. Berber is regarded as Algeria's native tongue. The Berber languages are grouped in five primary dialects spoken mainly in the Algerian Sahara desert, in Kabylia, and in the Awras. Berber has been spoken since medieval times in Algeria and remained popular despite the introduction of Latin and Arabic until the French invasion. In 2016, Berber was made Algeria's second official language.

Regional Languages Of Algeria

Hassaniya is one of the regional languages spoken in Algeria. The language is a variety of Maghrebi Arabic native to Algeria as well as Libya, Morocco, Senegal, Mauritania, Western Sahara, and Niger. Hassaniya is spoken in several different dialects. Another regional language spoken in Algeria is Korandje, which is a Northern Songhay Language. The tongue is mostly spoken by communities living in the Saharan oasis of Tabelbala. Although it has a basic Songhay structure, Korandje is heavily influenced by Arabic and Berber. The number of native speakers of the language is estimated at 3,000.

Vernacular Languages Spoken In Algeria

Algerian Arabic has been mastered by most of Algeria's population, and it is primarily featured in entertainment and day to day communication. The language has a more simplified vowel system than standard Arabic, and it has borrowed from Berber, French, and Turkish. Algerian Berber is spoken by the native Berbers of Algeria. Some of the Berber dialects used in the country are Kabyle which is spoken by an estimated 5 million inhabitants of Kabylie and surrounding areas and Chaouia which is spoken in Aurès. French is widely spoken in the country's large cities in combination with Algerian Arabic. The majority of Algeria's population understands French, and it is widely used in schools, government, and media.

Main Immigrant Languages Spoken In Algeria

The main immigrant language in Algeria is the Dawsahak Language. This language is part of the Songhay linguistic family, and it is a native tongue of the pastoralist Idaksahak of Mali. The language’s structure has heavily borrowed from Tuareg languages, Tamajaq, and Tamasheq.

Sign Languages Of Algeria

The Algerian sign language is the sign language widely used in the nation. It acquired an official status on May 8th, 2002, when the Algerian law established a section on the protection and promotion of people living with the disability. The language has been embraced by the Oujda deaf community in northern Morocco.

Foreign Languages Spoken In Algeria

French was introduced in the country during the French occupation, and although the government has tried to stop the language, it is still widely used. Algeria is recognized as the second largest Francophone nation in regards to speakers. English is also taught in Algerian schools, and there have been calls to replace French in the education curriculum with English since the latter is the ‘language of science.’

What Languages Are Spoken In Algeria?

1Official languagesLiterary Arabic, Tamazight (Berber)
2Regional languagesHassaniya (unrecognized), Korandje (unrecognized)
3VernacularsAlgerian Arabic, Algerian Berber, Algerian French
4Main immigrant languagesDawsahak
5Sign languagesAlgerian Sign Language

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