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There are some twenty-five to thirty million Berber speakers in North Africa.
The number of ethnic Berbers (including non-Berber speakers) is far greater, as a large part of the Berbers have acquired other languages over the course of many decades or centuries, and no longer speak Berber today.
Berbers are not an entirely homogeneous ethnicity and they encompass a range of societies and ancestries.
The unifying forces for the Berber people may be their shared language, or a collective identification with Berber heritage and history.
Imaziɣen; singular: ⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖ Amaziɣ / Amazigh) are an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa, primarily inhabiting the Maghreb.
The Berber identity is usually wider than language and ethnicity, and encompasses the entire history and geography of North Africa.
Prehistorical Tifinagh scripts were also found in the Oran region.
In historical times, the Berbers expanded south into the Sahara (displacing earlier populations such as the Azer and Bafour).
This dispute, however, is based on a lack of understanding of the Berber language as "Am-" is a prefix meaning "a man, one who is […]" Therefore, the root required to verify this endonym would be (a)zigh, "free", which however is also missing from Tamazight's lexicon, but may be related to the well attested aze "strong", Tizzit "bravery", or jeghegh "to be brave, to be courageous".
The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines mentioned various tribes with similar names living in Greater "Libya" (North Africa) in the areas where Berbers were later found.