Ammud əglimǝn – the mosque of the leathered ones

Ibrahim Sultan, a member of the Awjila Berber community and resident of Awjila, recently posted an interesting story pertaining to local history on his Facebook. The story is about one of the older mosques of the oasis (see here for a short video showing such extremely old mosques there) given in Arabic, but the most important part is a few phrases in Berber, which provide a compelling climax to the tale. The Berber is of course written in Arabic script, and provides an interesting glimpse at how a semi-native speaker would write Awjila Berber. Ibrahim seems to have heard the story from an older, probably fluent, Awjila speaker and then written it down in somewhat summarized form using his own words. The fact that he does not speak Awjili fluently probably explains some of the oddities in verbal morphology, agreement, and syntax. Indeed, there are a number of interesting features of  Ibrahim’s idiolect, though I’ll only mention a few here (but there is a comments section for a reason!).

We’ve obtained Ibrahim’s permission to re-post and translate; the original Arabic is given first, as Ibrahim wrote it, followed by a translation, and rough transcription of the Berber based on the standards of Marijn’s new book. A line by line parse is after the jump.

‫امود اقلیمن …. یحکی ان غزاه جاءو لیغزو اوجله قبل عدة اعوام مضت .لباسهم من الجلد .. وعندما جاء المؤذن لرفع اذان الفجر تعرضو له لکی یوضح لهم الاغنیا فی البلاد والقاده لیبداء الغزاه منهم .. فقال لهم المؤذن .. دعونی ارفع الاذان اولا لکی اسهل علیکم الامر .. فالناس ستاتی لتصلی بلا سلاح وانتم یا غزاه اختبو تحت هذا الجدار .. ولا تتحرکو حتی تقام الصلاه .. فوافق الغزاه .. .. فاذن المؤذن الاذان التالی .. بالامازیغیه .

“ammud əglimǝn … It is said that some raiders came to raid Awjila a number of years ago. They wore leather clothes. When the muezzin came to call the dawn prayer, they presented themselves to him so that he could tell them who the leaders and rich people in the town were so that they could start with them. So the muezzin told them ‘Allow me to call the prayer first, that way it will be easier to show you. The people will come to prayer with no weapons, and you should all hide under this wall. Don’t move until the prayer starts.’ The raiders agreed, and so the muezzin called the prayer with the following words, in Berber:”

الله اکبر ..تقلیمن اوشندا . یغلینی کا غارکم حاجت یغلین یوغنتت سغارکیم . الله اکبر الله اکبر … وان غارص تان افیو ایقیدادس، ایاغید دتکم تان ابدار ابزالیم .. وناغارص کا وان افیو یتادت اید افیر الفلانی ..یصفصفین ‬

‫اید افیر ادفعات فلسین .الله اکبر الله اکبر

allahu akbar təglimən uša-n=da. yə-ġǝlliy-ǝn=a ka ġar-kim ḥažət yə-ġǝlliy-ǝn y-uġ-ən=tǝt sġar-kim. allahu akbar allahu akbar. wan ġaṛ-ǝs tan afiw iqidadǝs, a=yaġi=d dit-kim tan abdar əbẓalim…u na ġaṛ-ǝs ka wan afiw yǝ-tadǝt ayǝd afir alflani .. yǝṣǝfṣǝfin ayǝd afir adfǝʕat fǝll-ǝssin. allahu akbar allahu akbar.

Allahu akbar. Leathered-ones(?) came. They do not want you to have anything, they want to take it from you. Allahu akbar, allahu akbar. He who has a gun should bring it, and with you gunpowder. He who does not have a gun should come to such-and-such a wall. They should set themselves up in rows and push this wall over on them!”

الترجمه … وصف المؤذن ما یبغی الغزاه لناس وقال لناس ان غزاه لابسین جلود قادمین لسلبکم و من عنده بندقیه او بارود یحضرها معه للمسجد .. والاخرین یاتی لکی ندفع علیهم الحائط المختبیین تحته ..ووصف لهم الطریق التی یسلکونها بحث لا یشعر الغزاه بحضورهم وعدد الاهلی داخل المسجد .. فاستجاب الناس .. واسقطوا الحائط علی روس الغزاه.. ومن نجاء اطلقوا علیه النار وقتل الغزاه بالکامل .. وتم انقاد المنطقه من شرهم .. بقت هذه القصه سر من اسرار اوجله لکی لا تتعرض المنطقه تدعیات الانتقام .. … .. فکتیرین یستهین باللغة وفوائد اللغه .. … من قصص الاجداد..‬

The muezzin described what the raiders wanted from the people, and told them that raiders wearing leather were coming to rob them, so whoever had a rifle or ammunition should bring it to the mosque. And others should come to push down the wall the raiders were hiding under. And he described the way they should come so that the raiders would not sense their presence, or that of the number of families inside the mosque. So the people responded, toppled the wall on the heads of the raiders, and opened fire on whoever survived that. In this way they killed all the raiders, and the area was saved from that evil. This story has become one of Awjila’s secrets, so that it (Awjila) wouldn’t fall prey to revenge. Many people trivialize the language and interest in the language… but well, this is one of our ancestors’ stories.”

Ibrahim told me that the mosque (known these days as مسجد تونيت masjid tunit) has been abandoned for about 10 years now, and that its eastern wall is still of mud brick, while the western one (perhaps the one toppled on the invaders?) is now made of cement.

Read more of this post

Two new publications on Eastern Berber

Recently two authors of this blog, Marijn van Putten and Lameen Souag, have both released publications on Eastern Berber languages in the Berber Studies series of Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.

Lameen Souag has released Berber and Arabic in Siwa (Egypt) describing the contact between Siwa Berber and Arabic as well as providing a very useful insight into the grammar and structure of Siwa itself. Besides the main body of the work, there is a large portion dedicated to a fully glossed and translated text, which also has marked accent throughout. For those interested in the accent in Siwa Berber and the Eastern Berber languages in general, this fantastic material.

Marijn van Putten has released A Grammar of Awjila Berber (Libya). A descriptive grammar of the Awjila language based on all the available written sources, most prominently Umberto Paradisi’s work. It includes all Awjila Berber texts fully glossed and translated and a large root based lexicon in the back.

Awjila Berber – MVP

Siwa Berber – LS














Together with the also fairly recently published grammar of Ghadames Berber by Maarten Kossmann (also in the Berber Studies), there certainly is a lot more to read on Eastern Berber than there ever was!

Further evidence for the linguistic heritage of Sokna

I recently came upon an essay (linked here) by a certain al-Mukhtār ‘Uthmān al-‘Afīf entitled العادات الاجتماعية و الدينية و الموسمية في مدينة سوكنة الليبية (“Social, Religious, and Seasonal Customs of the Libyan City of Sokna”), who is also the author of a book about 19th/20th-century Sokna. In his discussion of the different holidays celebrated in Sokna, al-‘Afīf cites some particular songs and phrases used on those holidays. Even better, some of those phrases are entirely in, or include words from, languages other than Arabic. ‘Berber!’, you’re thinking. Yes, indeed, but there also seem to be some other languages represented.

al-‘Afīf doesn’t say much about the use of Berber in Sokna. In his book on the history of Sokna, his section on the “local dialect” (cf. 2002: 172-175) is completely derivative of Lyon, with no new information. This essay is much more informative, if only unintentionally, since the author’s aim here is only to discuss holidays, not linguistics. al-‘Afīf also does not even mention any other possible languages of Sokna (i.e. Hausa, Kanuri, Songhay; see Kossmann’s post on the languages formerly spoken in the Fezzan).  What we can glean from this is that, for some traditions, a few non-Arabic words and phrases survive, frozen, in the Arabic dialect of Sokna. But the author clearly knows exactly what they mean, which is a great help. He also comments that the last two phrases, which are sung during the holiday of Ashoura, originally come from the ‘people of Sudan’.

The following are the passages of interest from that essay, with a necessarily hypothetical transcription, Arabic translation (as given by the author), English translation, and glosses with discussion. Comments are welcome.

I. قيو بيه .. راكو شايدنه .. قيو هيه .. قيو تغرنه
qayu baya .. rākū šāyid-ennu .. qayu haya qayu taġra-nnu

al-‘Afīf gives the following translation:
انني احمل جهاز سيدي، على مشهد من الناس، الى منزل سيدتي، و انا عبدهم مدى الحياة
“I am carrying my master’s goods(?) in public, to the home of my mistress, and I am their slave for life.”

  • qayu baya – related to Hausa(?) kayar uba “goods of master”? qayu alone means ‘servant’ (cf. qâyu in Sarnelli, Fog. qāyu, Awj. aqǝyùn ‘black slave’), perhaps from a non-Berber language.
  • rākū – perhaps related to Hausa(?) rako “escort hither on journey”?
  • šāyid-ennu is perhaps ‘my master':  Arabic  sayyid > šāyid with unconditioned palatalization?, with Sokna 1sg. possessive suffix -ennu. But if it is a loanword, why is there no Arabic definite article?

II. سلمها دادا يزه .. من البرطيل انخ وزه
sǝllǝm-hā dādā yǝzza(?) .. min ǝlbǝrṭīl-ennax wǝzza

al-‘Afīf comments:
و يقصد بهذا البيت ان قفتها (برطيلها) احضرت لها وزة
“And this verse means that her basket (bǝrṭīl-ha) delivered to her a goose…”

  • sǝllǝm-hā is Arabic ‘he/it delivered (to) her’. If the following noun is the verbal subject, then it is understood as grammatically masculine; if it is the verbal object (which I assume), then the suffix - refers to it.
  • dādā yǝzza is presumably the name of a nanny (probably of sub-Saharan African origin). dādā is Libyan Arabic word for ‘nanny’, which may have actually been derived from Berber anyway. I assume that the following word is to be transcribed as yǝzza in order to rhyme with wǝzza ‘goose’.
  • ǝlbǝrṭīl-ennax ‘our basket’, Arabic loanword with attached def. article, with the Sokna 1pl. possessive suffix -ennax. Borrowing the word together with the definite article al- is normal for Berber. al-‘Afīf seems to misunderstand the possession as 3sg.f.

The translation would thus be: “Dāda Yǝzza, it brought her; from our basket a goose.”

Maarten Kossmann, in an email, writes that the character Dāda Yǝzza may be well-known:

“There is a song in Figuig that kind of reminds me of the Ramadan song. I don’t know its Sitz im Leben, but it is quite well-known (I quote it from memory):

a mama yzza / wš-axdd aziza / a ss-nawy i baba / baba u da ylli / illa i tmuṛawin / timuṛawin bǝ’dǝnt (I forgot the last few lines)

o Miss Izza / give us aziza (a type of high-quality dates) / we’ll give it to daddy / daddy isn’t there / he is away (lit. in the countries) / the countries are far away.”

III. بابا كيري … قم قاجي … بابا كيري … فيه لحمة … بابا كيري …فيه خبزة
bābā kīrī … qǝm qājī … bābā kīrī … fīh laḥma … bābā kīrī … fīh xubza
“Baba Kiri, ? ?, Baba Kiri, here’s (some) meat, Baba Kiri, here’s (some) bread.”

  • Baba Kīrī is a character during Ashoura, one covers oneself with white mud and goes house to house followed by young children who ask for some bread and meat for him (according to al-‘Afīf).
  • qǝm qājī – the first is perhaps qqim impv. ‘stay’ (Marijn)?

IV. قجرنبي … تاتا لارمبي
qǝjrǝmbī … tātā lārǝmbī

  • qǝjrǝmbī is explained by al-‘Afīf as being the equivalent of ام جرمبي ‘the mother of jǝrǝmbī(?)’, whoever that is.
  • tātā lārǝmbī is likewise unknown to me.

And lastly, from a footnote at the end of the essay: كركدو kǝrkǝdu? means خشن “to toughen, roughen”. Possibly Kanuri? Compare: kə́r-gada “they plaited/braided”; kər-gada “they thickened” (thanks to Lameen).

-A. Benkato

Awjili negation and Facebook

Although Ethnologue lists Awjili as “moribund“, it turns out there is a surprising amount of Awjili being spoken on Facebook – and not just the occasional lesson, as at “Amazigh Awjila, Tmazight N Tenere“.  The group “Ašal-ənnax” contains too much conversation to analyse in one post even if I could understand all of it, but the point that especially struck me relates to negation.  Consider:

- قان كا حدي اشفا
gan ka ħaddi ašfa
EXIST not anyone today

We know that Awjili usually negates the verb just by putting -ka after it.  But the apparent double negative here is unexpected; normally, in Berber, you would expect an item like “anyone” to replace the postverbal negative.  Does this mean “There is no one here today”?  If so, then Awjila has lost the usual alternation along with the pre-verbal negator, rather like dialectal English “There ain’t nobody here today”.  Or is -ka here marking a question – “Is there no one here today?”  If so, that would fit rather well with a widespread Arabic dialectal usage of -ši, recently discussed by Wilmsen.  Either result would help us understand the development of negation better.

Looking further down resolves the question.  In fact, we find a comparable sentence accompanied by a translation, in a brief anecdote:

غارسين كا حتىىى ايواتن
ɣar=sin ka ħəttaaaaa iwatən
“at=3PL not any one.F”
They don’t have eeeven one (star).

In almost any other Berber language with a postverbal negator, this would feature only a preverbal negator.  We can conclude that Awjila has indeed extended postverbal negation to sentences with variables and negative polarity items, which in most Berber languages do not take it.

Another version of the Awjili “fire” story

Readers may recall that Aujila Text II presented the local saint Sidi Ahmed Zarruq as being of such sanctity that whatever had prayed behind him, even a piece of meat, would be forever immune from the Fire (of Hell).  Recently I accidentally found a much-abbreviated parallel to this charming but absurd legend rather a long way away – consider the following extract from a Sufi work written in Agadez (in Niger), Qudwat al-Mu`taqid fī Siyar al-‘Ajwād, attributed to Shaykh Aḥmad al-Ṣādiq ibn al-Shaykh Uwāyis al-Lamtūnī.  The original text and a translation are given in Norris’ (1990) Ṣūfī Mystics of the Niger Desert: Sīdī Maḥmūd and the Hermits of Aïr; I have taken the liberty of making the translation more literal.

وكان واحد من أصحابه يصلي ويصلي ونسي حمامة في رأس برنوسه وجعلها في النار ولم تاخذها وذكروا له ذلك فقال لعلك صليت ورائي قال نعم (p. 60)

“One of his companions was praying and praying, and he forgot a pigeon in the hood of his cloak (burnus) and he put it in the fire, but it did not burn it.  They mentioned what had happened to him (the Shaykh).  He said: ‘Perchance you had prayed behind me?’ ‘Yes,’ he answered.” (p. 62)

The shared motif may be much more widespread, for all I know, but its presence in this case is unlikely to be a coincidental similarity, though the shaykh to whom it is attributed here is Sidi Mahmud Al-Baghdadi.  According to Barth (1851:143), many people of the Agadez region claim Awjili ancestry, and the two areas were traditionally linked by trade.

Nefusa Text: ‘The story of the wild animals’

I will be translating and posting some translations of Nefusa Berber texts. Nefusa Berber is spoken in the west of Libya, in the Nefusa mountains. Nefusa Berber is significantly less ‘foreign’ to a person familiar with Berber than Awjila, El-Foqaha, Sokna and Siwa Berber. It has movement of clitics, the future and imperative are marked with a single stel, the aorist.

But, similar to most other Libyan Berber languages (Zuara Berber is the exception), Nefusa does not distinguish state.

The texts that I will be posting, will be taken from the second edition of Francesco Beguinot’s Nefusi Berber grammar, published in 1942. His highly phonetic transcriptions have been adapted to a more phonemic transcription.

tikkə́lt žəml-ə́n ləwḥóš n=əddúnyət ə́kkul, mlu-n m=bəʕə́ṭ-hum bə́ʕəṭ:

One time, The wild animals of the whole world gathered, they said to eachother:

  • tikkə́lt  ‘one time’
  • žəml-ə́n pf.3pl.m. ‘to gather’
  • ləwḥóš ‘wild animals’
  • n= ‘of’
  • əddúnyət ‘world’
  • ə́kkul ‘whole’
  • mlu-n pf.3pl.m. ‘to say’
  • m= Dative particle ‘to’, the Dative particle is i in almost all Berber languages. Unusually, it is in and sometimes n in Nefusa Berber. The n variant is homophonous to the genitive particle. The n variant has assimilated to the next labial b in this sentence.
  • bəʕə́ṭ-hum bə́ʕəṭ ‘each other’, 3pl.m.; An Arabic construction: baʕaḍ-hum baʕaḍ. Note that devoices to , a common proces in Nefusa Berber.

mammó a=y-ugurú-n si-naɣ a=í-šbəḥ arrə́hṭ n=əbnádəm mámmək nit?

Who of us will go and see how to species of man is?

  • mammó ‘who’
  • a= future marker
  • y-ugurú-n aor.ptc. ‘to go’, the participle form is only used after question words, and is no longer used as a subject relative form, as we will see in the next sentence.
  • si-naɣ ‘from’ + 1pl.
  • a= future marker
  • í-šbəḥ aor.3sg.m. ‘to see’
  • arrə́hṭ ‘species’
  • n= ‘of’
  • əbnádəm ‘man, human’, literally ‘son of Adam’.
  • mámmək ‘how’
  • nit ‘he, it’

Bnádəm uh ə́lli y-ə́ɣləb əddúnyət ə́kkul s=əlḥílət.

This man who conquered the whole world with cunning.

  • Bnádəm ‘man’
  • uh ‘this’
  • ə́lli ‘relative pronoun’
  • y-ə́ɣləb pf.3sg.m. ‘to conquer, defeat’, while this is a subject relative clause, the verb simply takes a finite form.
  • əddúnyət ‘world’
  • ə́kkul ‘whole’
  • s= ‘with’
  • əlḥílət ‘cunning’

y-iml=ásən ṣə́yd əllíl: nəč ad=ugúr-əɣ a=dawnt=šə́bḥ-əɣ.

Mister porcupine said to them: I will go and see for you.

  • y-iml= pf.3sg.m. ‘to say’
  • =ásən 3pl.m. Indirect Object
  • ṣə́yd əllíl ‘Mister Porcupine’
  • nəč ‘I’
  • ad= future particle, the allomorph ad is only found in the 1sg. form of the verb, if no object suffixes follow it.
  • ugúr-əɣ ‘to go’
  • a= future particle
  • dawnt= fronted 2pl.f. Indirect Object marker. The future particle moves object clitics from behind the verb to the front of the verb. It is surprising that the 2pl.f. is used. This implies that Mister Porcupine is exclusively talking to women, while earlier the form =ásən implied an all male, or mixed group.
  • šə́bḥ-əɣ aor.1sg. ‘to see’

y-ugúr, y-ufú əlḥiwán rəttʕá-nət, y-ufú daləmmas=ənn-ə́snət ləfḥál i-ttbə́lbəl, y-əml=ás: šək bnádəm?

He went and he found grazing sheep, he found in the middle of them a bleating ram, he said to him: Are you a man?

  • y-ugúr pf.3sg.m. ‘to go’
  • y-ufú pf.3sg.m. ‘to find’
  • əlḥiwán ‘sheep’
  • rəttʕá-nət impf.3pl.f. ‘to graze’, a typical example of an adjoined relative clause, i.e. a relative clause with no overt marking: A finite verb is placed directly after the noun it modifies.
  • y-ufú pf.3sg.m. ‘to find’
  • daləmmas ‘in the middle’
  • =ənn-ə́snət ‘of’ + 3pl.f. suffix
  • ləfḥál ‘ram’
  • i-ttbə́lbəl impf.3sg.m. ‘to bleat’, another adjoined relative clause
  • y-əml=ás pf.3sg.m. + 3sg. Indirect Object ‘to say’
  • šək ‘you (m.)’
  • bnádəm ‘man, human’

y-əml=ás: la, bnádəm bába.

And he said to him: No, the man is my master.

  • y-əml=ás pf.3sg.m. + 3sg. Indirect Object ‘to say’
  • la ‘no’
  • bnádəm ‘man, human’
  • bába ‘master’, this word behaves like a kinship posessive, and receives kinship suffixes. To mark the 1sg., not suffix is used. Thus this should be read ‘my master’

y-əxṭə́m, i-ǧǧ=ə́t, y-ufú funás i-ttṣə́yyəḥ, y-əml=ás: šək bnádəm?

He continued, and left him, and he found a mooing bull, and he said to him: Are you a man?

  • y-əxṭə́m pf.3sg.m. ‘to continue, go on’
  • i-ǧǧ=ə́t pf.3sg.m. + 3sg.m. Direct Object ‘to leave’
  • y-ufú pf.3sg.m. ‘to find’
  • funás ‘bull’
  • i-ttṣə́yyəḥ impf.3sg.m. ‘to moo’, another adjoined relative.
  • y-əml=ás pf.3sg.m. + 3sg. Indirect Object ‘to say’
  • šək ‘you (m.)’
  • bnádəm ‘man, human’

y-əml=ás: la, bnádəm bába.

And he said to him: No, the man is my master.

  • y-əml=ás pf.3sg.m. + 3sg. Indirect Object ‘to say’
  • la ‘no’
  • bnádəm ‘man, human’
  • bába ‘master’

y-əxṭə́m,  i-ǧǧ=ə́t, y-ufú agmár i-ṣə́hhəl, y-əml=aš_šə́k bnádəm?

He continued, and left him, and he found a whinnying horse, and he said to him: Are you a man?

  • y-əxṭə́m pf.3sg.m. ‘to continue, go on’
  • i-ǧǧ=ə́t pf.3sg.m. + 3sg.m. Direct Object ‘to leave’
  • y-ufú pf.3sg.m. ‘to find’
  • agmár ‘horse’
  • i-ṣə́hhəl impf.3sg.m. ‘to whinny’, an adjoined relative clause
  • y-əml=aš_ pf.3sg.m. + 3sg. Indirect Object ‘to say’, the final s has assimilated to the following š.
  • šək ‘you (m.)’
  • bnádəm ‘man, human’

y-əml=ás: bnádəm bába, i-ttə́nni aɣf-í.

He said to him: the man is my master, he rides on me.

  • y-əml=ás pf.3sg.m. + 3sg. Indirect Object ‘to say’
  • bnádəm ‘man, human’
  • bába ‘master’
  • i-ttə́nni impf.3sg.m. ‘to ride’
  • aɣf-í ‘on’ + 1sg. suffix

y-əxṭə́m, i-ǧǧ=ə́t, y-ufú alɣə́m, y-əml=aš_šə́k bnádəm?

He continued, and left him, and he found a camel, and he said to him: Are you a man?

  • y-əxṭə́m pf.3sg.m. ‘to continue, go on’
  • i-ǧǧ=ə́t pf.3sg.m. + 3sg.m. Direct Object ‘to leave’
  • y-ufú pf.3sg.m. ‘to find’
  • alɣə́m ‘camel’
  • y-əml=aš_ pf.3sg.m. + 3sg. Indirect Object ‘to say’, the final s has assimilated to the following š.
  • šək ‘you (m.)’
  • bnádəm ‘man, human’

y-əml=ás: bnádəm bába, y-əttə́nni aɣf-í d=i-xə́ggʷa aɣf-í di=lətqál=ənn-əs, də=y-ətṣáfar aɣf-í ə́šbəḥ akrum=ə́nn-u mámmək y-ə́ḍbər si-s.

And he said to him: The man is my master, he rides on me and he loads on me his cargo, and he travels on me; look how my back is wounded by him!

  • y-əml=ás pf.3sg.m. + 3sg. Indirect Object ‘to say’
  • bnádəm ‘man, human’
  • bába ‘master’
  • i-ttə́nni impf.3sg.m. ‘to ride’
  • aɣf-í ‘on’ + 1sg. suffix
  • d= ‘and, with’. In most Berber languages, this particle is exclusively used for noun phrase coordination. Here it is used for verb clause coordination. Most Berber languages do not mark verb clause coordination. Aujila and Sokna use the Arabic particle u, w for clause coordination. Foqaha and Zuara behave similar to Nefusa.
  • i-xə́ggʷa impf.3sg.m. ‘to load’
  • aɣf-í ‘on’ + 1sg. suffix
  • di= ‘in’, in Nefusa, the imperfective usually marks the direct object with the preposition di=.
  • lətqál ‘cargo’
  • =ənn-əs ‘of’ + 3sg. suffix
  • də=  ‘and, with’
  • y-ətṣáfar impf.3sg.m. ‘to travel’
  • aɣf-í ‘on’ + 1sg. suffix
  • ə́šbəaor. (absence of suffix points to imp.2sg.) ‘to see’
  • akrum ‘back’
  • =ə́nn-u ‘of’ + 1sg. suffix
  • mámmək ‘how?’
  • y-ə́ḍbər ‘to be wounded’
  • si-s ‘from’ + 3sg. suffix

y-əml=ás: yaʕažáyb, mámmək nit bnádəm uh ə́lli y-ə́ḥkəm dí-naɣ dəd=dí-wən?

He said to him: How strange, how is it (possible) that this man rules over us and over you?

  • y-əml=ás pf.3sg.m. + 3sg. Indirect Object ‘to say’
  • yaʕažáyb ‘How strange’ from Ar. yā ʕajāʔib ‘O wondrous things
  • mámmək ‘how?’
  • nit ‘he, it’
  • bnádəm ‘man, human’
  • uh ‘this’
  • ə́lli relative pronoun
  • y-ə́ḥkəm pf.3sg.m. ‘to rule’, this word surprisingly has penultimate accent. Most verbs with three root consonants have final accent in the perfective.
  • dí-naɣ ‘in’ + 1pl. suffix, apparently y-ə́ḥkəm takes a prepositional object marker with di ‘in’.
  • dəd= ‘with, and’, a longer form of d= seen earlier.
  • dí-wən ‘in’ + 2pl.m. suffix

y-əml=ás alɣə́m ih: bárra a=t=šə́bəḥə-d, aktwí di=birg(ə)n=ə́nn-əs.

That camel said to him: Go and see him, (he is) over there in his tent.

  • y-əml=ás pf.3sg.m. + 3sg. Indirect Object ‘to say’
  • alɣə́m ‘camel’
  • ih ‘that’
  • bárra literally ‘outside’, but has become a suppletive imperative ‘go outside/away!’
  • a= future marker
  • t= fronted 3sg.m. Direct Object
  • t-šə́bəḥə-d aor.2sg. ‘to look’
  • aktwí presentative deictic ‘voi là’
  • di= ‘in’
  • birg(ə)n ‘tent’
  • =ə́nn-əs ‘of’ + 3sg. suffix

Y-ugur=ás, y-əml=ás: šək bnádəm?

He went to him, and said to him: Are you a man?

  • Y-ugur pf.3sg.m. ‘to go’
  • =ás 3sg. Indirect Object
  • y-əml=ás pf.3sg.m. + 3sg. Indirect Object ‘to say’
  • šək ‘you (m.)’
  • bnádəm ‘man, human’

Y-əml-ás: ənáʕm.

He said to him: Yes.

  • y-əml=ás pf.3sg.m. + 3sg. Indirect Object ‘to say’
  • ənáʕm ‘yes’

i-fk=ás ləḥlíb d=əžžbə́n d=aɣí, y-əsəwú d=y-əččú, y-əml=ás baʕd ə́lli y-əččú: sə=maní=s yuh ə́kkul?

He gave him milk and cheese and butter milk, he drank and ate, and he said to him after he had eaten: Where do all these (things come) from?

  • i-fk= pf.3sg.m. ‘to give’
  • =ás 3sg. Indirect Object
  • ləḥlíb ‘milk’
  • d= ‘with, and’
  • əžžbə́n ‘cheese’
  • d= ‘with, and’
  • aɣí ‘buttermilk’
  • y-əsəwú pf.3sg.m. ‘to drink’
  • d= ‘with, and’
  • y-əččú pf.3sg.m. ‘to eat’
  • y-əml=ás pf.3sg.m. + 3sg. Indirect Object ‘to say’
  • baʕd ə́lli ‘after’
  • y-əččú pf.3sg.m. ‘to eat’
  • sə=maní=s a curious doubling of the preposition s= ‘from’ with the question word maní ‘where?’. In most Berber languages the question word is in absolute initial position, therefore prepositions that modify it come after it. Later in the text we will find this same construction without the initial s=.
  • yuh ‘these’
  • ə́kkul ‘all’

Y-əml=ás: s=tɣaṭ.

He said to him: From the goat.

  • y-əml=ás pf.3sg.m. + 3sg. Indirect Object ‘to say’
  • s= ‘from’
  • tɣaṭ ‘goat’

I-kkə́r atərrás ih, y-awí=d aburšəní, y-əɣrə́s=t s-ad=as=y-ə́g məklí=nn-əs;

This man got up, and he brought a kid, and slaughtered it to make his meal;

  • I-kkə́r pf.3sg.m. ‘to get up, stand up’
  • atərrás ‘man’
  • ih ‘that’
  • y-awí=d pf.3sg.m. ‘to bring’ with the directional particle =d. While this particle is not fully productive anymore in Nefusa, it is still used to give specific differences in meaning to several verbs, for example awi ‘to carry’ awi=d ‘to bring’.
  • aburšəní ‘kid’, as in the child of a goat
  • y-əɣrə́s pf.3sg.m. ‘to slaughter’
  • =t 3sg.m. Direct Object
  • s-ad= a special extended form of the future marker ad=, there is no discernable difference in meaning.
  • as= fronted 3sg. Indirect Object
  • y-ə́g aor.3sg.m. ‘to make, do’
  • məklí ‘meal’
  • =nn-əs ‘of’ + 3sg. suffix

Si=iɣə́rrəs di-s i-šbə́h=t mámmək i-ttə́gg;

When he was slautering it, (the porcupine) saw it, how he was doing;

  • Si= ‘when, while’
  • iɣə́rrəs impf.3sg.m. ‘to slaughter’
  • di-s ‘in’ + 3sg. suffix. Once again an imperfect that uses the preposition di to mark its object.
  • i-šbə́h pf.3sg.m. ‘to see’
  • =t 3sg.m. Direct Object
  • mámmək ‘how?’
  • i-ttə́gg impf.3sg.m. ‘to do’

Baʕd ə́lli i-tɣádda s=isán ih y-əml=ás : maní=s isán uh ?

After he had eaten (some) of that meat, he said to him: Where does this meat come from?

  • baʕd ə́lli ‘after’
  • i-tɣádda pf.3sg.m. ‘to have a meal’
  • s= ‘from’, used as a partitive
  • isán ‘meat’ a plurale tantum
  • ih ‘that’
  • y-əml=ás pf.3sg.m. + 3sg. Indirect Object ‘to say’
  • maní ‘where?’
  • =s ‘from’, backed because the question word is required to be first.
  • isán ‘meat’
  • uh ‘this’

Y-əml=ás : yin tarwá n=tɣaṭ.

And he said to him: It is the child of the goat.

  • y-əml=ás pf.3sg.m. + 3sg. Indirect Object ‘to say’
  • yin ‘that’ pl.m., plural because it agrees with isán
  • tarwá ‘child’
  • n= ‘of’
  • tɣaṭ ‘goat’

Y-imlú ṣid əllíl di=lxaṭər=ənn-ə́s: mámmək tɣaṭ t-əfk=ás əlxír uh ə́kkul, d=i-wə́lla af=tarwá=nn-əs y-əɣrə́s=t?

Mister Porcupine said in his thoughts: How is it (possible) that the goat gave him all these goods and he turns to her child and slaughters it?

  • Y-imlú pf.3sg.m. ‘to say’
  • ṣid əllíl ‘Mister Porcupine’
  • di= ‘in’
  • lxaṭər ‘thought’
  • =ənn-ə́s ‘of’ + 3sg. suffix
  • mámmək ‘how?’
  • tɣaṭ ‘goat’
  • t-əfk pf.3sg.f. ‘to give’
  • =ás 3sg. Indirect Object
  • əlxír ‘goods’
  • uh ‘this’
  • ə́kkul ‘all’
  • d= ‘with, and’
  • i-wə́lla pf.3sg.m. ‘to turn to (litt. to turn on)’
  • af= ‘on’
  • tarwá ‘child’
  • =nn-əs ‘of’ + 3sg. suffix
  • y-əɣrə́s pf.3sg.m. ‘to slaughter’
  • =t 3sg.m. Direct Object

wəl=dí=š lamán, ad=aggəd-ə́ɣ af=iɣf=ə́nn-u, mámmək s-ad=rəwl-ə́ɣ?

There is no safety in here, I will (have to be) scared of my own head, how will I flee?

  • wəl= A special form of the negative marker u only found in front of this preposition.
  • ‘in’
  • postverbal negative element
  • lamán ‘safety’
  • ad= Future marker
  • aggəd-ə́ɣ aor.1sg. ‘to fear’
  • af= ‘on’
  • iɣf ‘head’
  • =ə́nn-u ‘of’ +1sg. suffix
  • mámmək ‘how?’
  • s-ad= extended future marker
  • rəwl-ə́ɣ aor.1sg. ‘to flee’

ləfžə́r bə́kri i-rwə́l, y-usə́=d in=arrfaqt=ə́nn-əs.

He fled at early daybreak, and he went back to his companions.

  • ləfžə́r ‘daybreak’
  • bə́kri ‘early’
  • i-rwə́l pf.3sg.m. ‘to flee’
  • y-usə́=d pf.3sg.m. ‘to come’
  • in= dative preposition
  • arrfaqt ‘companions’
  • =ə́nn-əs ‘of’ + 3sg. suffix

Mlu-n=ás: xəbbər=ánaɣ, t-šəb(ə)ḥə́-d bnádəm?

They said to him: Inform us! Have you seen the man?

  • Mlu-n=ás pf.3pl.m. + 3sg. Indirect Object ‘to say’
  • xəbbər aor. (imperative 2sg.) ‘to inform’
  • =ánaɣ 1pl. Indirect Object
  • t-šəb(ə)ḥə́-d pf.2sg. ‘to see’
  • bnádəm ‘man, human’

Y-əml=ásən: u=šə́kwənt=təxəbbər-ə́ɣ=ši an di=t-əḥəfra-m oqdú di=drar uh yəzə́grət yərxá.

He said to them: I will not in form you until you have dug a very deep hole for me in this mountain.

  • Y-əml=ásən pf.3sg.m. + 3pl.m. Indirect Object ‘to say’
  • u= Negative marker
  • šə́kwənt= fronted 2pl.f. Direct Object marker
  • təxəbbər-ə́ɣ impf.1sg. ‘to inform’, negation + impf. appears to express Future tense here.
  • =ši post-verbal negative marker
  • an ‘until’
  • di= fronted 1sg. Indirect Object, an causes fronting of verbal clitics.
  • t-əḥəfra-m pf.2pl.m. ‘to dig’
  • oqdú ‘hole’
  • di= ‘in’
  • drar ‘mountain’
  • uh ‘this’
  • yəzə́grət ‘deep’
  • yərxá ‘very’

ṭəbbṣ-ə́n ḥə́ffṛ-ən əkkul=ə́n-sən, gu-n=ás oqdú əll_i-ɣə́ss;

All of them started to dig, they made for him the hole that he wanted.

  • ṭəbbṣ-ə́n pf.3pl.m. ‘to start to’
  • ḥə́ffṛ-ən  impf.3pl.m. ‘to dig’
  • əkkul ‘all’
  • =ə́n-sən ‘of’ + 3pl.m. suffix
  • gu-n pf.3pl.m. ‘to do, to make’
  • =ás 3sg. Indirect Object
  • oqdú ‘hole’
  • əll_ Relative pronoun with elided final i because it precedes an i.
  • i-ɣə́ss pf.3sg.m. ‘to want’

Y-əkmú di-s, baʕd ə́lli y-əkmú i-ml=ásən: bnádəm əlḥákəm n=ayə́lli di=ddúnyət ə́kkul, u=tt=i-ɣə́lləb ḥáža s=əlḥilt=ə́nn-əs, wə́lli ʕain-ah a=y-ə́rwəl a=i-nəžžá əlʕamr=ə́nn-əs.

He went in it, after he had entered he said to them: Man is the master of everything in the whole world. Nothing will best him with its wit, he who wants to flee, he must save himself.

  • Y-əkmú pf.3sg.m. ‘to enter’
  • di-s ‘in’ + 3sg. suffix
  • baʕd ə́lli ‘after’
  • y-əkmú pf.3sg.m. ‘to enter’
  • i-ml pf.3sg.m. ‘to say’
  • =ásən 3pl.m. Indirect Object
  • bnádəm ‘man, human’
  • əlḥákəm ‘master, ruler’
  • n= ‘of’
  • ayə́lli ‘everything, everybody’
  • di= ‘in’
  • ddúnyət ‘world’
  • ə́kkul ‘whole’
  • u= Negative marker
  • tt= Fronted 3sg.m. Direct Object. The negation causes fronting, the fronted 3sg.m. Direct Object is indistinguishable from the 3sg.f. Direct Object.
  • i-ɣə́lləb impf.3sg.m. ‘to beat, best’, negated imperfectives can take a future meaning.
  • ḥáža ‘thing’
  • s= ‘with’
  • əlḥilt ‘wit’
  • =ə́nn-əs ‘of’ + 3sg. suffix
  • wə́lli Relative pronoun with incorporated pronoun ‘he who’
  • ʕain-ah ‘to desire’, Literally ‘his intention’ an Arabic construction with an Arabic 3sg.m. suffix, combines with the aorist of the verb to function as an auxiliary.
  • a= Future marker
  • y-ə́rwəl aor.3sg.m.
  • a= Future marker
  • i-nəžžá aor.3sg.m. ‘to save’
  • əlʕamr ‘life’
  • =ə́nn-əs ‘of’ + 3sg. suffix

rəwwl-ə́n kull ḥadd d(i)=amkán, əlbə́ʕəṭ nəzl-ə́n idurár d=əlbə́ʕəṭ ḥafṛ-ə́n yəqqadíyən di=tamúrt, ftərqú-n kull ḥadd af=iɣf=ə́nn-əs.

Each one of them was fleeing to a place, some inhabited the mountains, others dug holes in the ground, each one separated itself on his own.

  • rəwwl-ə́n impf.3pl.m. ‘to flee’
  • kull ḥadd ‘each one’
  • d(i)= ‘in’, with ellided i due to the next word that starts with a vowel
  • amkán ‘place’
  • əlbə́ʕəṭ  ‘other’
  • nəzl-ə́n pf.3pl.m. ‘to inhabit’
  • idurár ‘mountain’
  • d= ‘and, with’
  • əlbə́ʕəṭ ‘other’
  • ḥafṛ-ə́n pf.3pl.m. ‘to dig’
  • yəqqadíyən ‘holes’
  • di= ‘in’
  • tamúrt ‘ground’
  • ftərqú-n pf.3pl.m. ‘to separate’
  • kull ḥadd ‘each one’
  • af= ‘on’
  • iɣf ‘head’
  • =ə́nn-əs ‘of’ + 3sg. suffix

-M. van Putten

El-Fogaha text IV

Yənn-ás yáy-s: s-man affə́ɣəɣ.
Her son (who was about to be born) said to her (his mother): Where shall I come out?

  • Yənn-ás pf. 3sg.m. ‘to say’ + 3sg.IO
  • yáy-s ‘son’ + 3sg. kinship possessive suffix.
  • s- ‘from’
  • man ‘where’
  • affə́ɣəɣ ‘to come out’ fut.1sg.

Tənn-ás əmmí-s: ə́ffəɣ s-ɣur əlfarəž-ə́nnu.
His mother said to him: Come out of my vulva.

  • Tənn-ás pf. 3sg.f. ‘to say’ + 3sg.IO
  • əmmí-s ‘mother’ + 3sg. kinship possessive suffix.
  • ə́ffəɣ ‘to come out’ imp. sg.
  •  əlfarəž-ə́nnu ‘vulva’ + 1sg. possessive suffix. < Ar. farž ‘opening, vulva’

Yənn-ás: dág-əs išəršén.
He said to her: In that there’s urine!

  • dág-əs ‘in’ + 3sg. prepositional suffix.
  • išəršén ‘urine’

Yənn-ás marrát tayə́ḍ: s-man affə́ɣəɣ.
He said to her another time: Where shall I come out?

  • marrát ‘time’
  • tayə́ḍ ‘other’

Tənn-ás: ə́ffəɣ s-ɣur əlgafá-nnu.
She said to him: Come out fo my backside

  • s-ɣur ‘from’
  • əlgafá-nnu ‘backside’ + 1sg. possessive suffix < Ar. qafāʔ ‘neck, back of the neck’, here the meaning of ‘back of the neck’ has expanded to ‘back’, which is used in a similar euphemistic sense as English ‘backside’

Yənn-ás: dág-əs íẓẓan.
He said to her: In that there’s faeces!

  •  íẓẓan ‘faeces’

Tənn-ás: ə́ffəɣ.
She said to him: come out!

Yənn-ás: s-man affə́ɣəɣ.
He said to her: Where shall I come out?

Tənn-ás: ə́ffəɣ s-ɣur tməzzuɣín-nu.
She said to him: Come out of my ears!

  • tməzzuɣín-nu ‘ears’ + 1sg. possessive suffix.

Yənn-ás: dág-snət əlwə́səx.
He said to her: In those there’s filth!

  • dág-snət ‘in’ + 3pl.f. prepositional suffix
  • əlwə́səx ‘filth’ < Ar. wasax ‘filth’

Tənn-ás: ə́ffəɣ s-ɣur ṭṭawə́n-nu.
She said to him: come out of my eyes!

  • ṭṭawə́n-nu ‘eyes’ + 1sg. possessive suffix.

Yənn-ás: dag-ə́snət ə́ddmuʕ.
He said to her: In those there’s tears!

  • ə́ddmuʕ ‘tears’ < Ar. dumūʕ ‘tears’

Tənn-ás: ə́ffəɣ s-ɣur amí-nnu.
She said to him: Come out of my mouth!

  • amí-nnu ‘mouth’ + 1sg. possessive suffix

Yənn-ás: amí-nnəm dág-əs skúttu.
He said to her: In your mouth there is spit!

  • amí-nnəm ‘mouth’ + 2sg.f. psosessive suffix
  • skúttu ‘spit’

Yənn-ás: s-ɣur man affə́ɣəɣ.
He said to her: Where shall I come out?

  • Notice the free variation here betwee s-man ‘from where?’ and s-ɣur man ‘from where?’, a similar free variation between s- ‘from’ and s-ɣar ‘from’ is observed in Aujili. s-ɣur is a compound preposition that consists of s- ‘from’ and ɣur ‘towards, at’, the dative preposition i has almost completely supplanted ɣur as the locative preposition in Fogahi.

Tənn-ás: əffə́ɣ s-ɣur ṣəṛṛət-ə́nnu.
She said to him: Come out of my navel!

  •  ṣəṛṛət-ə́nnu ‘navel’ + 1sg. possessive suffix < Ar. surra ‘navel’,  spread of emphasis from ṛ to initial emphatic ṣ.

Yuḥádda ṣəṛṛət-ə́nnas əd yəffə́ɣ.
He pushed against her navel and he came out.

  • Yuḥádda ‘to push’ pf.3sg.m.  < Ar. ḥadā ‘to urge, spur on, egg on’, stem II derivation.
  • ṣəṛṛət-ə́nnas ‘navel’ + 3sg. possessive suffix
  • əd ‘and’, in most Berber languages this particle is only used to coordinate noun phrases, here it is used to coordinate two verb phrases.

Tuwáy-t d yuɣár díd-sen abí-s i-səqqá-nsən.
And she took him and his father went with them to their house.

  • Tuwáy-t ‘to take’ pf.3sg.f. + 3sg.m.DO
  • yuɣár ‘to go, leave’ pf.3sg.m., this verb means ‘to get lost’ in Aujila, and does not seem to be attested in any other Berber language.
  • díd-sen ‘with’ + 3pl.m. prepositional suffix
  • abí-s ‘father’ + 3sg. posessive suffix
  • i- ‘to’
  • səqqá-nsən ‘house’ + 3pl.m. possessive suffix

Ɣur-sen ə́snət n tməẓẓáyin.
They had two daughters.

  • Ɣur-sen ‘towards, at’ used as a possessive construction + 3pl.m. prepositional suffix
  • ə́snət ‘two’ f.
  • tməẓẓáyin ‘daughters’

Máni uṣə́lən ənnán-as: ə́ɣrəs aɣíd.
When they had arrived, they said to him (the baby): “slaughter a kid (goat)!”

  • Máni ‘when’
  • uṣə́lən ‘to arrive’ pf.3pl.m.
  • ənnán-as ‘to say’ pf.3pl.m. + 3sg.IO
  • ə́ɣrəs ‘to slaughter’
  • aɣíd ‘kid (goat)’

D itáni əṭṭə́sən, yəɣrə́s tməẓẓáyin.
And they (went to) sleep, and he slauhghtered the girls

  • itáni ‘they’
  • əṭṭə́sən ‘to sleep’ pf.3pl.m.
  • yəɣrə́s ‘to slaughter’ pf.3sg.m.

Təkkə́r əmmí-s d abí-s əkkə́rən sɣúyən.
His mother and his father got up, and they started to cry.

  • Təkkə́r ‘to get up’ pf.3sg.f.
  • əkkə́rən ‘to get up’ pf.3pl.m., used as an inchoative auxiliary.
  • sɣúyən ‘to cry’ pf.3pl.m.

Yənn-ásən: tənnam-íd: ə́ɣrəs aɣíd.
He said to them: you had told me: “Slaughter a kid (goat)”

  • Yənn-ásən ‘to say’ pf.3sg.m. + 3pl.m.IO
  • tənnam-íd ‘to say’ pf.2pl.m. + 1sg.IO

Nə́kki ɣúr-i əkkúl aɣíd, ɣrəsə́x-tnət.
Every kid (goat) that I have, I slaughtered them.

  • Nə́kki ‘I’
  • ɣúr-i ‘to, towards’ + 1sg. prepositional suffix
  • əkkúl ‘every’ < Ar. al-kull ‘each, every’, with irregular assimilation of l to k.
  • ɣrəsə́x-tnət ‘to slaughter’ pf.1sg. + 3pl.f.DO

əggán ksúm d uɣə́rən.
They left the meat (of the girls) and the went (away).

  • əggán ‘to leave behind, let go’ pf.3pl.m.
  • ksúm ‘meat’
  • uɣə́rən ‘to go, leave’ pf.3pl.m.

Wayə́nd məktár d uɣə́rən itáni ddíd-əs.
They took a donkey and they left with with him (the baby).

  • Wayə́nd ‘to take’ pf.3pl.m. with the directional suffix -d which is no longer productive in Fogahi.
  • məktár ‘donkey’
  • ddíd-əs ‘with’ + 3sg. prepositional suffix

Wə́nən itáni əddíd-əs xaf məktár.
They mounted the donkey with him.

  • Wə́nən ‘to mount’ pf.3pl.m.
  • xaf ‘on’

Yənḍə́r abí-s d əmmí-s s-ɣur məktár d yuɣə́r.
(The baby) threw his mother and his father off the donkey and left.

  • Yənḍə́r ‘to throw’ pf.3sg.m.

Tə́mmat əmmí-s tṣə́yyəḥ d tənná gábəl atəmmút: bu-ṣə́ṛṛa ma dar bíya, bu-ṣə́ṛṛa yənɣ-íd təməẓẓay-ə́nnu.
His mother started to cry and before she died she said: Bu-Serra how many things have you done to me, Bu Serra has killed my daughters.

  • Tə́mmat ‘she started to’ a Libyan Arabic auxiliary verb that is followed by an imperfective. (p.c. Benkato)
  • tṣə́yyəḥ ‘to cry’ impf.3sg.f. < Ar. ṣāḥa ‘to cry’
  • gábəl ‘before’, a temporal adverb that is followed by a future.
  • atəmmút ‘to die’ fut.3sg.f.
  • bu-ṣə́ṛṛa a name, the bu is a common Berber nominalizing suffix which means something like ‘the man with, or characterized by’ therefore bu-ṣə́rra  means: ‘navelman’.
  • ma dar bíya code-switch to Arabic: ‘what has he done to me?’
  • yənɣ-íd ‘to kill’ pf.3sg.m. + 1sg.IO
  • təməẓẓay-ə́nnu ‘daughters’ + 1sg. possessive suffix.

Bəʕədén təmmút d yəmmút abí-s
Then she did and his father died (too).

  • Bəʕədén ‘then’ < Ar. baʕda an ‘then, afterwards’
  • təmmút ‘to die’ pf.3sg.f.
  • yəmmút ‘to die’ pf.3sg.m.

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.