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|Riffian-Berber (mother tongue), Moroccan Arabic, Spanish, French|
|Sunni Islam (majority), Christianity (especially in Ceuta and Melilla)|
|Related ethnic groups|
The Riffian people are a Berber ethnic group who inhabit the Rif in northern Morocco. They number about 5 million people spread over the whole area of northern Morocco. The mother tongue of the Riffians is called Tmaziɣt by themselves and is called Riffian or Tarifit by non-Riffians, both inside and outside Morocco. Many Riffians also speak Moroccan Arabic, Spanish or French as second or third languages.
Riffian is a Northern Berber language of the Zenati subgroup, spoken mainly in the Rif region located in North Morocco and in various other cities by about 4 million people. There are also Riffian-speaking immigrants in Europe. The language itself is divided in several dialects, all intelligible to each clans composing the Rifian region. In neighbouring Algeria, it was spoken by Rif clans who have settled in some areas such as Bethioua. The Berber dialect spoken in Tlemcen (Beni Snouss) is often seen as an eastern variety of the language.
Riffian is spoken mainly in the Moroccan Rif by about 5 million people, with a few speakers across the border in Algeria and a large minority in the Spanish Autonomous city of Melilla. There are also speakers of Riffian in Morocco outside the Rif, among significant communities in Tangiers, Tetouan, Jerada and Fes. A substantial Riffian-speaking community exists in the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium. Its own speakers simply call it Thamazight, or Tamazight, a term also often applied in a broader sense to Berber languages in general.
Traditionally, the principal Riffian tribes of the region are:
- Aith Ouriaghel (Ayt Weryaɣel) near Ajdir, around Wed Ghis
- Aith Ouzghar al hociema
- Gzennaya (Igzennayen), around Aknoul, west of the Metalsa.
- Gelaya (Iqeřɛiyen), in the region of Nador, Bni Nsar and Melilla.
- Kebdana (Icebdanen), along the coast next to Wed Moulouya near the Algerian border.
- Metalsa (Ibḍařsen), east of the Bni Bu Yahi.
- Beni Said (Ayt Sɛid), west of Wed Kert .
- Beni Oulichek (Ayt Uřiccek), southwest of Temsaman.
- Tafersit, nort of Aith Touzin
- Bni Tuzin (Ayt Tuzin), south of Temsaman.
- Temsaman, around the town of that name.
- Aith Ouriaghel (Ayt Weryaɣeř / Ayt Weryaɣel) east Ibaqoyen
- Bni Ammart (Ayt Ɛemmart), south of Aith Ouriaghel.
- Targuist (Targist), southeast of Aith Ouriaghel.
- Bni Gmil (Ayt Gmil), west of Bni Boufrah.
- Bni Boufrah (Ayt Bufraḥ), east of Aith Itteft.
- Ibaqoyen (Ibeqquyen), in the west of Aith Ouriaghel.
- Bni Itteft (Ayt Yeṭṭeft), east of Bades.
- Mestassa (Imestasen), east of Bni Boufrah.
- Mtiwa (Imtiwen), between Mestassa and Oued Ouringa.
- Aït Bouyahya (Ayt Buyeḥyi), on the western bank of the Moulouya.
- Zkara ("Ayt Zekren"), near Oujda.
- Bni Iznassen ("Ayt Iznassen"), near Berkane.
- Bni Bou Zeggou, between Oujda and Tawrirt.
- Rif Independent Movement
- Lucien Oulahbib, Le monde arabe existe-t-il ?, page 12, 2005, Editions de Paris, Paris.