comprising the western part of the High Atlas mountains and the regions to the south up to the Draa River, including the Anti-Atlas and the alluvial basin of the Sous River.The largest urban centres in the area are the coastal city of Agadir (population over 400,000) and the towns of Guelmim, Taroudant, Oulad Teima, Tiznit and Ouarzazate.Stroomer does not refer to any published sources supporting his estimates which, in view of the 2004 census data, are probably too high.Although many speakers of Shilha are bilingual in Moroccan Arabic, there are as yet no indications that the survival of Shilha as a living language will be seriously threatened in the immediate future.
The exonymic, uncomplimentary origin of the names Tašlḥiyt and Ašlḥiy now seems lost from memory in Morocco among both Berbers and Arabs, but Stumme (1899:3) noted that a speaker of Shilha will call himself an Ašlḥiy while being fully aware that it is a term of abuse, taking his revenge by calling an Arab izikr "rope" (referring to the well-known Bedouin headgear).Shilha has been written with several different alphabets. Usage of the Latin script emerged in the late 19th century.More recently there has been an initiative to write Shilha in Tifinagh.Within the Shilha area, there are several Arabic-speaking enclaves, notably the town of Taroudant and its surroundings.Substantial Shilha-speaking migrant communities are found in most of the larger towns and cities of northern Morocco and outside Morocco in Belgium, France, Germany, Canada, the United States and Israel. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help: IPA., and in recent English publications the language is often rendered Tashelhiyt or Tashelhit.The first was Stumme, who observed that all speakers can understand each other, "because the individual dialects of their language are not very different." This was later confirmed by Ahmed Boukous, a Moroccan linguist and himself a native speaker of Shilha, who stated: "Shilha is endowed with a profound unity which permits the Shluh to communicate without problem, from the Ihahan in the northwest to the Aït Baamran in the southwest, from the Achtouken in the west to the Iznagen in the east, and from Aqqa in the desert to Tassaout in the plain of Marrakesh." There exists no sharply defined boundary between Shilha dialects and the dialects of Central Atlas Tamazight (CAT).The dividing line is generally put somewhere along the line Marrakesh-Zagora, with the speech of the Ighoujdamen, Iglioua and Aït Ouaouzguite ethnic groups belonging to Shilha, and that of the neighboring Inoultan, Infedouak and Imeghran ethnic groups counted as CAT.For example, the author Awzal (early 18th c.) speaks of nnaḍm n Tmazixt ann ifulkin "a composition in that beautiful Tamazight"..Even though the Moroccan annual population growth of c.