Monday, June 24, 2013

Have you been to Northern Africa?

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I guess the countries in the north of Africa have lost their popularity a bit due to a series of political upheavals but we should not forget that these countries also have a lot to offer :) I believe that everyone is aware of the world famous and priceless treasures of Ancient Egypt, i.e. the pyramids. People all over northern Africa do value Art and culture. Besides, there are so many fantastic musical and artistic traditions which have been passed down through African families for generations.

A Berber man. Source: Flickr
But what do I mean when I say North Africa? This is a region of the continent which includes such countries as Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Sudan, Tunisia and Western Sahara. The histories of these countries seem to be quite interesting. The area in question was under the control of the Ottoman Empire after the Middle Ages, maybe just except Morocco. Then, the countries were colonized by four European countries, i.e. France, the UK, Spain and Italy to be granted freedom and independence from the 1950s to 1970s. 

If we only look at languages spoken there, we can realize how culturally rich these areas are. The linguistic diversity of the whole continent is stunning since there are almost 2000 African languages out there! The number is hard to imagine... The number of all world's languages is approximately 6,500 so the languages of Africa account for virtually 31 per cent!

The most popular group of languages (approx. 200) in Northern Africa is called Afro Asiatic. It's the family of languages which includes the following languages:
  • Berber
  • Chadic
  • Cushitic
  • Egyptian
  • Omotic
  • Semitic
The Berbers are worth mentioning here. These are the people who live mostly in Morocco and Algeria and are especially famous for their nomadic way of life.

Have you been to any of those countries in the north of Africa? What are your experiences? What did you see? What did you eat? How did you feel there? Did anything surprise you? Would you like to visit the country you visited again? Why?


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