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{war, force, army}
{black, white, people}
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{language, word, form}
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 Niger: 1,720,000 (1998)
 Mali: 1,440,000 (1991)
 Algeria: 1,025,000 (1987)
 Burkina Faso: 600,000 (1991)

The Tuareg language(s) (Tamasheq, Tamajeq, Tamahaq)



The Tuareg (also Twareg or Touareg, Berber: Imuhagh, besides regional ethnyms) are a Berber nomadic pastoralist people. They are the principal inhabitants of the Saharan interior of North Africa.[2][3] They call themselves variously Kel Tamasheq or Kel Tamajaq ("Speakers of Tamasheq"), Imuhagh, Imazaghan or Imashaghen ("the Free people"), or Kel Tagelmust, i.e., "People of the Veil".[4] The name Tuareg was applied to them by early explorers and historians (since Leo Africanus).[citation needed]

The origin and meaning of the name Twareg has long been debated with various etymologies advanced, although it would appear that Twārəg is derived from the "broken plural" of Tārgi, a name whose former meaning was "inhabitant of Targa" (the Tuareg name of the Libyan region commonly known as Fezzan. Targa in Berber means "(drainage) channel", see Alojali et al. 2003: 656, s.v. "Targa").

The Tuareg call themselves by the following names:

  • Amajagh (var. Amashegh, Amahagh, Amazigh), a Tuareg man.
  • Tamajaq (var. Tamasheq, Tamahaq, Tamazight), a Tuareg woman, or the Tuareg language.
  • Imajaghan (var. Imashaghan, Imuhagh, Imazighan), Tuareg men, people.
  • Timajaghen, Tuareg women.
  • Kel Tamajaq, the Tuareg people.
  • Tifinagh, the Tuareg alphabet.

These terms can also refer to Berbers in general.[citation needed]

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