Zuaran Berber prepositions and adverbs based on T.F. Mitchell’s materials

[MvP: Stanly Oomen has written up yet another short part of his ongoing series on Zuaran Berber. This time he s discussing the prepositions and adverbs. Enjoy!]

In this blog I provide some notes on Zuaran Berber prepositions and adverbs. Good descriptions of prepositions in Berber are Mourigh (2016: chapter 3) for Ghomara Berber (North-West Morocco), Van Putten (2014: chapter 8) for the highly endangered Berber language Awjili (Libya). The pan-Berber proposition n has recently been given a thorough semantic and syntactic analysis in Siwi by Schiattarella (2020).  

Prepositions

Prepositions occur in three forms: (a) before a noun, (b) before a pronoun, (c) independently; I haven’t yet made a table of the different forms the prepositions take in these different syntactic positions, but give a few examples of allomorphs. Nouns following prepositions are in the annexed (“construct”) state. The combination of [preposition + noun] form a prosodic unit and the accent is on the penultimate syllable and thus predictable (Mitchell 2007:20), unlike accent in the verbal domain, where it carries a distinct meaning (i.e. indicating the aorist – perfective aspectual contrast).

Berber prepositions

  • l ‘to’
  • i ‘for’
  • g ‘in, at’ 
  • al ‘until’
  • n ‘of’
  • af ‘on’ (f(ə́)ll- before a pronoun, e.g. f(ə́)ll-as ‘on him’)
  • žar ‘between’ (žaráy- before a pronoun, e.g. žaráy-as ‘between him’)
  • zzat ‘in front of’ (cf. zzát-ək ‘in front of you’)
  • d ‘with’ (did- before a pronoun, e.g. díd-sən ‘with them’)
  • s ‘with’ (sis- before a pronoun)

As for the form žaráyas: alternatively, one can analyse žaráyas ‘between him’ as žar-áyas; áyas would then be an indirect object pronoun.

Both the preposition l ‘to’ and the preposition s ‘from’ can be used to indicate the location someone is going to: the exact distribution needs further study. Compare:

fə́ṛḥat y-ṛə́wwəḥ l-tíddart

‘Ferhat went home’

idžəṃṃás ɣir y-ṛə́wwəḥ sə́-ssuq

‘one day he went to the market’ (idžəṃṃás < *idžen-n-wás ‘one-of-day (EA)’)

The preposition al ‘until’.

all-ə́gg-iḍ

‘until the evening (lit. until in the evening)’

y-əqqím s-tizzárnin al-túqzin n(ə)tta y-súggam d-ís

‘he waited for her (news) from the tizzarnin to the tuqzin prayers’

Arabic prepositions

  • bla ‘without’

See the example bla ləmtiḥánat ‘without examinations’ in the example below (from a conversation):

waḷḷáhi muhu n(ə)tnin g-way(u) n-ʕamín ggayən ammídin bla ləmtiḥánat, maɣə́llik ɣə́rsən (omissible here) məlzumín gə-lmuʕə́llmin, ggáyən mən ɣir ləmtiḥánat 

‘as you know, for the last two years they are taking (them) like this without examinations, because they are short of teachers (they are taking (them) without examinations) (more repetition)’

The Arabic preposition bí-‘with’ is found with an Arabic pronoun attached to it, e.g. bí-h ‘with him’, and ma bí-k ša? ‘no problems?’. It also occurs in fixed expressions, such as mbǝ́lḥǝq ‘true’ and bzáyəd ‘very, a lot’ (compare Moroccan Arabic bezzaf ‘very, a lot’). It does not occur with other nouns. A textual example:

xxúl b(ə)ʕd yumín a-y-ə́ṣbəḥ ma bí-h-š, swá swá

‘then after two days he will wake up with nothing wrong with him, perfectly well’

Adverbs

Adverbs modify propositions. A proposition can be a verb phrase, which is most often the case, or another kind of phrase. In the first example bzáyəd ‘very, a lot’ modifies y-əfṛə́ḥ ‘he was pleased, happy’, while in the second example it modifies táṣbiḥt ‘good (F:SG)’, and in the third example it modifies tamə́qqart ‘big (F:SG)’.

y-əfṛə́ḥ bzáyəd mallík y-ufa mə́mmi-s ḥált-is xír n-qə́bəl

‘he was very pleased because his son’s level (lit. condition) was better than before’

ussáni fə́ṛḥat (ə)lḥált-is d-táṣbiḥt əbzáyəd

‘Ferhat’s state (of learning) nowadays is very good’

y-igá-s(ə)n ḍḍíft d-tamə́qqart əbzáyəd

‘he put on a very large party for them (i.e. lunch at which meat in particular was served)’

The adverbs are divided in three semantic groups: temporal adverbs, place adverbs, and discourse adverbs. Most adverbs are indeclinable words and form a word class on their own. Some adverbs are nouns. Some adverbs come from original prepositional phrases. The adverb báqi ‘again, still’ is formally an Arabic active participle. Unlike in some other languages, adverbs are not derived from adjectives. 

Temporal adverbs

  • talží ‘in the morning’
  • lwaitšá ‘the next days’
  • iḍ(ə)nnáṭ ‘last night’
  • íḍu ‘tonight’
  • fís(ə)ʕ ‘quickly’ (<Ar.)
  • díma ‘always’ (< Ar.)
  • bə́kri ‘early’ (< Ar.)
  • qə́bəl ‘before’ (<Ar.)
  • b(ə)ʕd ‘after’ (< Ar.)
  • ass lžúmʕa tálži ‘early Friday morning’

Place adverbs

  • dín ‘there’

Discourse adverbs

The following discourse adverbs were found in the texts. The oaths such as b(ə)lláhi ‘for Heaven’s sake’ and waḷḷáhi ‘by God’ are placed at the beginning of a sentence. The other adverbs have more freedom of movement. 

  • báhi ‘okay, agreed’ 
  • mbǝ́lḥǝq ‘true’
  • bzáyəd ‘very, a lot’
  • báqi ‘again, still’
  • m(ə)ʕádš ‘no longer’ (frozen form < m(ə)-ʕád-š)
  • xír ‘better’
  • ʕad ‘still’
  • b(ə)lláhi ‘for Heaven’s sake’
  • waḷḷáhi ‘by God’
  • báss ‘just’
  • ɣír ‘only’

báhi, mbǝ́lḥǝq xir

‘agreed, it would be better, that’s true’

tadíst-iw m(ə)-ʕád-š t-tʕə́ddəm

‘my stomach no longer hurts’

t-əṃṃá-yas ‘xxúl a-n-ḥə́kkəṛ ʕad.’

‘she said to him: ‘we will see’’

y-ufa báqi zʕíma t-g(ə́)ʕməz nəttat d-yádž-is d-y-ufa zzə́r-snət (ə)lb(a)ʕḍ n-tsə́dnan yəssnínt

‘he again found Za’ima sitting with her mother and next to them were (lit. and he found next to them) a number of women he knew.’

lakən báqi w-y-nəžžə́m-š an(ə)t-y-qábəl zzat lʕílt-is

‘but he could still not meet them in the presence of (lit. in front of) his wife’

The adverb báss ‘just’ can stand at the beginning of a phrase, or at the end of it:

Before:

báss áraw wuhánit y-ətqə́l gəd-díst-iw d-y-ttḥə́rrək bzáyəd

‘(it is) just (that) this child of mine is heavy in my stomach and moves around a lot’

After:

y-əṃṃá-yas ‘(n)tš ɣsə-ɣ ak-tṛə́žži-ɣ gə-tɣúsa ídžət báss’

‘he said to him: I just have one request to make of you’

aitu ɣír baš atákzəd báss

‘this is just to make you realize’

ɣsə́ɣ-t-id á-y-ɣər báss

‘I just wanted him to study’

Sometimes, Mitchell translates báss as ‘only’.

nə́šnin n-igí g-ətməzgída n-əɣsí á-y-ɣər báss

‘we put him in the mosque only (because) we wanted him to study’

References 

Mitchell, T.F. (2007) Ferhat. An Everyday Story of Berber Folk in and around Zuara (Libya). Berber Studies 17. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.

Mitchell, T.F. (2009) Zuaran Berber (Libya). Grammar and Texts. Berber Studies 26. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.

Mourigh, Khalid (2016) A Grammar of Ghomara Berber (North-West Morocco). Berber Studies 45. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.

Schiattarella, Valentina (2020) Noun modifiers and the n preposition in Siwi Berber (Egypt). In: Journal of African Languages and Linguistics 41(2): 239–263. 

Van Putten, Marijn (2014) A Grammar of Awjila Berber. Based on Paradisi’s work. Berber Studies 41. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.

Quantification in Zuaran Berber based on T.F. Mitchell’s materials

Stanly Oomen has yet again written a post on Zuaran Berber. This time on how Quantification is expressed. We are very happy that he continues to provide this wonderful information to the blog. — Marijn van Putten


There are different kinds of quantifiers in Zuaran Berber. First of all there are numerals; these can be subdivided into cardinal numbers, e.g. {1, 2, 3, etc.}, ordinal numbers: {first, second, third, etc.}, and fractions {a half, a third}. The word for zero is unknown. Secondly, there are universal quantifiers, collective ‘all’ and distributive ‘every’. Thirdly, different quantifying expressions occur which belong to different categories. I will treat the following quantifiers.

(1) Numerals
(2) Short cardinal numbers
(3) Fractions
(4) Ordinal Numbers
(5) Universal Quantifiers
(6) Other quantifying expressions
(6.1) Collective kmə́l ‘be all, entire’
(6.2) Some
(6.3) Distributive repetition

1. Numerals

Only the numeral idžən (m.) / idžət (f.)  ‘one’ is originally Berber; all other numerals are borrowed from Arabic. The original Berber numerals are found in e.g. Tashelhiyt Berber (South of Morocco) and in Tuareg Berber (Prasse 2010:103-104)[1].

The numeral ‘one’ occurs after the noun in Zuaran Berber, unlike other cardinal numerals which precede the quantified noun.

Different from other Northern Berber languages, though, the numeral ‘one’ does not seem to function as a dedicated indefinite article, like in Eastern Riffian Berber idžen (ms), išten (fs) ‘a’; e.g. ERB ttuɣa idžen weryaz ɣers ṯnayen n ṯemɣarin ‘there once was a man who had two women’, or Kabyle yiwen (ms.), yiwet (fs.) ‘a’.[2]

Unmodified nouns (sometimes called bare nouns) are indefinite, or maybe it is rather better to say non-definite (see Givón 1981 for the development of the numeral ‘one’ to an indefinite marker in Modern Hebrew).

Compare:

nə́tš tawalt idžət ṃṃiɣák-tət sə-zmán
‘I gave you a final (lit. one) word some time ago’

nətš madʕíl-i nə́tš d-s(ə́)ʕid d-zʕíma d-yə́llis nʕə́mmi d(ə)-lʕílt ídžət
‘I have been thinking that I am Sa’id and that Za’ima is my cousin, that we are (lit. it is) one family’

The first sentence may be interpreted as indefinite, while in the second example an indefinite reading seems to be excluded, as mentioned by Le Bruyn (2010:2):

“Indefinite articles are generally thought to originate in the numeral one and to go through a number of stages. In the first stage they function as standard numerals, in the second they start to compete with bare nominals, marking pragmatically important arguments, and in the third and final stage they wipe out bare nominals from all argument positions.”

Note that Libyan Arabic did not develop an indefinite article, either. Moroccan Arabic has one, namely waḥed l- ‘a’ (used both with masculine and feminine referent), e.g. šrit waḥed l-kursi ‘I bought a chair’, waḥed l-bent kanet feṛhana ‘a girl was happy’.

The numeral ‘one’ may also be part of a prepositional phrase; then it precedes the modified noun:

yə-flá idžən sə-ṣṣṭáwat l(ə)-ḍṛábləs
‘one of the workmen went to Tripoli’

Numerals other than ‘one’ are combined with the nouns they quantify by means of the preposition n ‘of’, e.g.

s(ə́)ʕid ɣəṛ-s aššar n(ə)-lḥíwan d(ə)-tláta n-ilə́ɣṃan
‘Sa’id had some sheep and three camels’

Numerals also occur independently. Compare tláta ‘three’ and ṭəṃəṇṭáš ‘eighteen’.

y-ədžá s(ə́)ʕid yumin iziɣ tláta
‘Sa’id let two or three days (pass)’

ɣir y-uṣə́l (ə)lʕə́mṛis ṭəṃəṇṭáš, y-xə́mməm baš á-y-aɣ tamə́ṭṭut
‘on reaching the age of eighteen, he thought he would take a wife’

Zuaran Berber also has no dedicated definite marker: instead demonstratives and other expressions are used to indicate the notion of definiteness, but these will not be treated here.

2. Short cardinal numbers

Apart from the long cardinal numbers, there are also short cardinal numbers that occur in fixed collocations with Arabic nouns, e.g. xə́ms iyyám ‘five days’, ʕə́šṛ əsnín ‘ten years’, and tə́sʕ šhúṛ ‘nine months’ in the examples below.[3]

assu xə́ms iyyám yəlli t-qə́lləq w-tqədiʕə́d-š ḥ(ə)tta s-tkə́rkas d-t(ə)flíd tənkə́yəd tisə́dnan.
‘it’s five days now that my daughter has been upset and you haven’t called even against your will (lit. with lies, i.e. even if you didn’t mean it), and you went and sent women.’

lb(ə́)ʕḍ n-iʕəzzábən á-y-ɣər f(ə)ll=ásən afṛux ʕə́šṛ əsnín w-yḥ(ə)ffə́d-š šáṛukan d-ə́lb(ə)ʕḍ ɣir á-y-ɣər ɣə́ṛ-sən áfṛux ʕám iziɣ ʕamín a-yə-ḥfəḍ kúllši.
‘a boy can study ten years (with) some teachers without learning a thing, but (with) others (lit. some) a boy can study a year or two and learn all (there is)’

bəʕd tə́sʕ šhúṛ t-ḥuss zʕíma (a)ʕə́ddəm
‘after nine months Za’ima went into labour’

3. Fractions

The attested fraction ‘half’ is the Berber noun ázgən ‘half’. The fraction t(ə)lt əṛbáʕ ‘three-quarter’ includes the short numeral t(ə)lt ‘three’ and the numeral əṛbáʕ ‘four’ and come from Arabic.

y-əxtə́m fə́ṛḥat ázgən w-b(ə)ʕdín y-əxtə́m t(ə)lt əṛbáʕ
‘Ferhat completed the half-way and then the three-quarter (stages)’

4. Ordinal numbers

The ordinal number ‘first’ is Berber, while all the other ordinal numbers are borrowed from Arabic. Compare tíškəlt tam(ə́)zwart ‘the first time’ to ttánya ‘the second’ in the example below.

dwáyu wətšá d-tíškəlt tam(ə́)zwart iziɣ ttánya la t(ə)ṃṃíd=as yaha
‘and this is not the first or second time you have refused her’

5. Universal quantifiers

The universal quantifier kúl may occur in front of (pro)nouns, in which case it means distributive ‘every’, or it may follow the quantifed (pro)noun, in case it means collective ‘all’. As a distributive quantifier it selects one entity out of a set, while it quantifies the totality of a set when it is used as a collective quantifier.

ayu kúl, a s(ə́)ʕid, d-báqi w-təṛlíd-š
‘all this, Sa’id, and you are still not content’

t-titš(ə́)n=as kúll ši abəṭṭaṛífət mamak ttígən middən kúl a?
‘is she given (lit. do they give her) everything rationed like everybody else?’

kúl may also quantify pronouns.

dt(ə)ssə́nd əktəṛ-ə́nnəɣ kúl
‘and you know much better than all of us’

Note that in the expression əktəṛ-ə́nnəɣ, əktəṛ is an Arabic elative (cf. Souag (2020)) followed by the Berber 1p. pronominal possessive form.

Furthermore, in verbal negative contexts, kúl functions as a degree adverb, meaning ‘at all’.

n(ə)ttat wə-tɣís-š utšu kúl, n(ə)ttat t-əɣs matt(a) at(t)yə́stər zzat míddən
‘She doesn’t want food (at all), she wants something to wear (lit. cover herself, i.e. new clothes) in front of people’

The quantifier kúl also occurs in a number of fixed expressions, e.g. kúll ši ‘everything’, kull šáṛa ‘everything’, kúll ḥə́dd ‘everyone’, kúll yum ‘every day, daily’.

tʕə́ššan d(ə)swə́nn ššáhi dkúll ḥə́dd yəkkə́r lwəmkánis
‘they had dined and taken tea, they each went off to bed.’

dətxə́mməl kull šáṛa gwəmkánis
‘and she cleaned the house and arranged everything in its place’

dyṛaḥ yəffál kúll yum l(ə)tməzgídas amqə́bəl
‘and he continued going daily to his mosque as before.’

6. Other quantifying expressions

In this section I give quantifiers other than numerals and universal quantifiers.

6.1 Collective

The verb kmə́l ‘be all, entire’ is used in the perfective to indicate a totality, similar to the universal quantifier kúl. It corresponds to the Arabic active participle kaməl (ms.) kamla (fs.) – kamlin (p.) ‘all’, and also occurs in Riffian Berber.It may quantify a verb, noun, or pronoun. Compare:

y-ttwaḥásəb affáyu la yiga y-əkmə́l
‘he has been punished, lit. called to account (for all he did)’

mnə́tš ay(u) la ttígən dis míddən y-əkmə́l wə-ttigiɣ-š d-nə́tš lʕə́mriw wa-səṃṃíɣ imátta wúh iziɣ imátta wə́ddin.
‘I haven’t done these things that everybody else does, and I have never asked her why this or why that.’

ay(u) y-əkmə́l d-baqi w-təṛlím-š a?
‘all this and you are still not satisfied!’

d-báqi ay(u) y-əkmə́l ḥasbə́ɣ-t-id
‘yet I took account of all this (i.e. that you would see fit to say what you have said) and brought her everything.’

6.2 Some

The expression (ə)lb(a)ʕḍ ‘some’ (from Arabic) is connected to the quantifed noun by means of the preposition n ‘of’. It corresponds to Berber aššar ‘some’.

(ə)lb(a)ʕḍ n-tsə́dnan
‘some women’

áysəɣ aššar n(ə)ləḥwáyəž
‘he buys some things’

6.3 Distributive repetition

Distributivity is also expressed by repeating the noun in question.

ḥḍə́ṛən tazə́ddayt dṛə́wwḥən abbáššar abáššar
‘they attended the tazeddayt and slowly returned home’

Distribution may also refer to time ‘after a little (while)’.

aššár aššar tus(ə)d táslətt
‘after a little while the bride came’

References

Givón, Talmy (1981) On the development of the numeral ‘one’ as an indefinite marker. Folia Linguistica Historica (2):35-53.
Le Bruyn, Bert (2010) Indefinite articles and Beyond. Utrecht: Lot Dissertation.
Prasse, Karl-G. (2010) Tuareg Elementary Course (Tahǎggart). Berber Studies 29. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.
Souag, Lameen & Fatima Kherbache (2016) Syntactically conditioned code-switching? The syntax of numerals in Beni-Snous Berber. International Journal of Bilingualism 20(2):97-115.
Souag, Lameen (2020) When is templatic morphology borrowed? On the spread of the Arabic elative. Morphology (30:469-500). Springer.
Oomen, Stanly (2007) Quantification in Niger Tuareg. Leiden: MA thesis.
Oomen, Stanly (ms.) Quantifiers in Beni-Iznasen Berber and its Arabic influence. Leiden & ‘s-Hertogenbosch.


[1] Cf. also Oomen (2007) for Ayer Tuareg based on fieldwork with Dr. Ramada El-Ghamis. I think Tuareg ǝyy-ăn (ms.) and ǝyy-ăt (fs.) ‘a’ are related to Tashelhiyt yan (ms.) and yat (fs.), and also to Kabyle yiw-en (ms.), yiw-et (fs.). In Prasse’s dictionary of Niger Tuareg Prasse says that both the maculine and feminine forms are participles of the verb ‘be one, alone’.

[3] See Souag & Kherbache (2016) Syntactically conditioned code-switching? The syntax of numerals in Beni-Snous Berber. And Oomen (ms.) on Quantifiers in Beni-Iznasen Berber and its Arabic influence.

Transitive sentences in Zuaran Berber based on T.F. Mitchell’s materials

Once again Stanly Oomen has been so kind to write up another post on the grammar of Zuaran Berber. I reproduce it here. He is planning to continue to post updates with some regularity, which we are absolutely looking forward to!


In Zuaran Berber, one can differentiate between several types of sentences. Here I treat the following:

(1) Monotransitive sentence with one object.
(2) Ditransitive sentences with two objects.
(3) The Cognate Complement.
(4) The Secondary Predicate.

A few cursory notes on objects, word order, and verbal valency are necessary before the factual description of these sentence types.

Objects

There are two types of objects: the direct object (DO) and the indirect object (IO). These can be combined, e.g., Monotransitive, e.g. he hit him (DO) hard, or Ditransitive he gave the girl (IO) flowers (DO). Two kinds of objects can be distinguished: pronominal and nominal objects. I indicate the indirect pronominal objects with the symbol ‘=’ and direct objects simply as an affix ‘-’, just for clarity’s sake. Pronominal objects, but also pronominal possessives form accentual phrases in Zuaran Berber.

Depending on verb type, kind of pronominal or nominal object, constructions behave differently. One aspect of importance is word order.

Word-order

Zuaran Berber is mostly a VSO language, but also has characteristics of a SVO language: in the latter case the subject is often seen as a Topic, and also objects can precede the verb OSV, e.g., ‘the boy, I have seen him playing on the street’.

Verbal derivation

In addition, there are different verbal derivations, e.g., the s- causative (he caused the man to suffer), the ttwa- passive (the food was cooked), and the m- middle voice (they came together). The middle voice can be divided between (a) reflexive, and (b) reciprocal. In Berber Studies it is not common to use the term middle voice. In Mitchell (2009:49-90) the Zuaran Berber derivations are analyzed: I will treat them in another blogpost.[1]

1. Monotransitive sentences

Monotransitive sentences occur with a direct object.

yʕə́mməṛ abə́rrad am(ə́)zwar
‘he prepared the first pot (i.e., with tea and sugar put in the boiling water, as opposed to the second pot, which has more sugar and water added, and the third, which incorporates more tea, with or without the addition of mint)’

Some direct objects are expressed as a prepositional phrase.

(1) The preposition g ‘in’

utə́fən adin míddən d-yudə́l s(ə)ʕid yttig=ásən gə-ššáhi.
they entered there the people and started Sa’id making for them tea
‘the group came in and Sa’id began to make them tea.’ (preposition g ‘in’)

It is noteworthy that a similar construction exists in Arabic, called fi-objects by Manfred Woidich (2003) in Cairo Arabic. As Mitchell notes (2009:121) for Zuaran Berber: “The present tense is particularly associated with the particle d- / deg- + pronominal suffix when used with habitual and sometimes aspectually associated sense. We shall see in chapters elsewhere that dis (there is, lit. in him) and g- (in) correspond very closely to the use of existential fiih (there is) and f(i) in precisely these senses in spoken Arabic, and indeed Egyptian Arabic.”

[The use of fi in this function is also very typical for Tunisian Arabic, which considering Zuara’s close geographical position to Tunisia, and linguistic similarity to Tunisian Berber varieties’, may be an important point of comparison in terms of language contact as well. — Marijn van Putten]

(2) The preposition af ‘on’.

ynáda s(ə́)ʕid af-wxə́mmas
he called Sa’id on his servant
‘Sa’id called his servant’ (preposition af ‘on’)

If the direct object precedes the verb, then it is referenced on the verb by a direct object object suffix.

kúll yum afṛux a-t-txə́ẓəṛṭəd
every day boy irrealis him you frighten
‘Every day you frighten the boy.’

2. Ditransitive sentences with indirect objects

The indirect object is often indicated by a prepositional phrase with i ‘to, for’. There is often doubling of indirect objects, namely in the example below the indirect object is first indicated as a pronominal clitic on the verb (ysə́kn=as ‘he showed to him’), and secondly by the dative preposition to the nominal indirect object i-báb-is ‘to his father’.

ysə́kn=as fə́ṛḥat (ə́)lluḥ-is i-báb-is
he showed to him Ferhat his board to his father
‘Ferhat showed his board to his father’

In the following sentence, the preposition di ‘in’ is used and is followed by the direct object táwalt ‘word’ (see the note by Mitchell above; at the moment it is not exactly clear to me what the difference is between the preposition d- / deg- ‘in’ and g- ‘in’; there must be a semantic difference).

yuš=ás di-s táwalt
he gave to him in him word
‘he gave him his word’ (preposition di ‘in’)

The following sentence has a pronominal indirect object and a short expression ‘yahá’ as a direct object.

d-nə́tta yənnay=ásən ‘yahá’
‘and he told them: “no”’

3. The cognate complement

Another type of object is the cognate complement, which emphasizes a statement; the cognate complement is called al-mafʕuul al-muṭlaaq in Arabic: an Egyptian Colloquial Arabic example is ḍarábtu ḍárba gámda qáwi ‘I struck him a really hard blow’ (Mitchell 1978:108).

d-m(ə)ʕád-š y-ttə́ṭṭ(ə)ṣ ḥ(ə)ttá iḍ(ə)ṣ
‘and he no longer sleeps at all (lit. sleeps even a sleeping)’

4. The Secondary Predicate (SP)[2]

Secondary predicates (or nexal arguments) occur with the predicative particle d (see Galand (2009) for the predicative particle d in Berber), e.g. d-táfṛuxt d a girl’ and d-áfṛuxd a boy’ in the example below:

lakən (wə)-fṛəḥə́n-š bzáyəd mallik ára-s yəkkəd d-táfṛuxt (ə)d-nə́tnin ɣsə́n-ti(d) d-áfṛux
but (not) they were not happy a lot because her child he turned out a girl and they wanted him (to be) a boy
‘but they were not greatly happy because her child had turned out (to be) a girl and they wanted a boy.’

It should be noted that the inflection on y-əkkəd is y- third person masculine singular, while the secondary predicate is a feminine noun, namely táfṛuxt ‘girl’. Thus, ára-s ‘her child’ is the preverbal subject of the sentence [ Subject (3:m.s.) – V – d ‘PRED’ – Secondary predicate]. In such sentences, then, maybe the SP is neutral when it comes to gender; in Eastern Riffian Berber, for example, it is fine to say zzit-enni yeḏwel ḏ ṯammemt ‘the olive oil (m.s.) turned into honey (f.s.)’.

Furthermore, in ɣsə́n-ti(d) d-áfṛux ‘they wanted ti(d) ‘him (DO)’ d ‘PRED’ – Secondary Predicate’ is slightly difficult to analyze and requires further research into (a) the argument structure of verbs, and (b) the usage of pronominal forms in combination with nominal objects. Questions for a later blogpost.

References

Galand, Lionel (2009) La particle prédicative d. In S, Chaker, A. Mettouchi, G. Phillipson (éds). Études de phonetique et linguistiques berbères: Hommage à Naïma Louali (1961- 2005), pp. 141-154. Paris-Louvain: Peeters.
Mitchell, T.F. (1978) An Introduction of Egyptian Colloquial Arabic. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Mitchell, T.F. (2009) Zuaran Berber (Libya). Grammar and Texts. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.
Mourigh, Khalid (2016) A Grammar of Ghomara Berber (North-West Morocco). Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.
Wiedenhof, Jeroen (1996) Nexus and the birth of syntax. Acta Linguistica Hafniensia, Volume 28 (pp. 139-150).
Woidich, M. A. (2006). fi-objects in Cairo Arabic: the case for telic verbs. In S. Mejri (Ed.), L’arabe dialectal: enquêtes, descriptions, interprétations. Actes d’AIDA 6 (2004). Travaux Offerts au Professeur Taïeb Baccouche (pp. 473-486). Tunis: C.E.R.E.S., Série Linguistique No 13.


[1] Nota bene, Mourigh (2016:269-274) gives a nice overview of verbal valency and derivation in Ghomara Berber.
[2] The topic of predicative syntax, also called “nexus” is nicely formulated by Wiedenhof (1996).

Adjectives in Zuaran Berber (Libya)

Today we have a new post for the Oriental Berber blog, which as any readers will know has been quite silent for a long time now. But Stanly Oomen offered to write a short description of the Adjectives in Zuaran Berber, and we were happy to share it with you!

This blogpost is about adjectives in Zuaran Berber based on T.F. Mitchell’s materials (2009). Property concepts are expressed by nominal adjectives and adjectival verbs. I will first treat the nominal adjectives. The following adjectives are attested:

amə́zwar            ‘first’
amə́qqar             ‘big’
áṣbiḥ                   ‘good’
áždid                     ‘new’

The next examples are non-integrated Arabic adjectives (notably with final accent):

fəṛḥán                  ‘happy’
ʕəryán                  ‘naked’
məskín                 ‘poor’
m(ə)ʕṛúf             ‘famous, known’

Nominal adjectives occur in two contexts: in attributive function modifying a noun, and as part of a nominal predicate. There is a division between the definite adjectival construction and indefinite adjectival construction, similar to the division made in Tarifiyt (Riffian Berber) in Morocco.

Definite adjectival construction

The definite adjectival construction consists of close apposition of the modified noun and adjective:

swáss amə́zwar ssə́nəɣ kullši
‘from the first day I knew everything’

day(u) dtáwalt tamə́zwart ədtn(ə́)ʕqabt
‘this was the first and last word’

Predication of adjectives

In primary predication, the predicative particle  d ‘PRED’ is used. Examples:

áfṛux d-amə́škun, mə́nhu bíh ɣadi?
‘the boy is little (and) who will look after him (lit. who will be with him) there?’

mallik afṛux d-aḥ(ə́)škun
‘because he is a little boy’

The predicative particle is absent in the example below.

báhi, xxul aitu šə́mmin tamə́qqart
‘all right, since you are an old (i.e. experienced) woman’

Indefinite adjectival construction

Indefinite adjectives are also preceded by the predicative particle d, e.g. ə́lluḥ d-áṣbiḥ ‘a good board’ and tákmist d-táždidt ‘a new shirt’. (This predicative particle should not be confused with linker d, which has the the same form.)

yəkkə́r aʕə́zzab yḥə́wwmas ə́lluḥ d-áṣbiḥ
‘the teacher found him a good board’

yəfla lə́ssuq yəsɣás tákmist d-táždidt d(ə)lbə́lɣət dyṛə́wwəḥ sisnət
‘he went to the marker and bought him a new shirt and shoes and went home with them’

(ə)lm(ə́)ʕnaw tarmátta ttxə́m(mə)məd d-áždid
‘what I mean is that you are thinking of something new’

Furthermore, adjectives can be used as regular nouns.

iṣbíḥən                               ‘good ones’
im(ə)zwár(ə)n                   ‘forbears (lit. first ones)’
in(ə)ʕqábən                       ‘descendants (lit. last ones)’

As mentioned above, non-integrated borrowings from Arabic also occur, e.g. the adjective məskín ‘poor’ and the active participle fəṛḥán ‘happy’.

fə́ṛḥat məskín yufíš mamak háyig
‘poor Ferhat didn’t know what to be doing’

The following example of an Arabic participle can be analyzed as a secondary predicate (as in English he painted the wall black, whereby ‘black’ is part of the verb phrase ‘paint [NP] (secondary predicate)’.)

yəffə́ɣ bábis s(ə)tməzgída fəṛḥán
‘his father left the mosque extremely happy’

Adjectival verbs

Adjectival verbs are loosely defined as those verbs that convey property concepts. More specifically, adjectival verbs are stative verbs that express a state in the perfective, not a past event. Examples (given in the third person masculine singular perfective):

y-əwsə́r               ‘be old’ (Berber)
y-əwrə́ɣ               ‘be yellow, ill’ (Berber)
y-əwhə́g              ‘be afraid’
y-qə́wwa             ‘be fat, strong’
y-əqqúr               ‘be dry’ (Berber)
y-əkmə́l              ‘be complete’
y-əfṛə́ḥ                ‘be happy’
y-əḥzə́n               ‘be sad’
y-əʕlá                   ‘be high’
y-əshə́l                ‘be easy’ (also yəzhə́l)

The verbs of the structure |ccic| only occur in the perfective and are probably based on Arabic adjectives of the same form.

y-əxfíf                  ‘be light, frivolous’
y-əṣḥíḥ                ‘be strong, healthy’
y-ənḍíf                 ‘be clean’

The following adjectival verb has no imperfective verb form, nor an imperative.

y-əšyán – (no pres.) – (a)y-ə́šyan – (no impve.) ‘be weak, feeble, hollow-cheeked’

Some examples of adjectival verbs in sentences are given below:

ḥə́dd ɣir y-əṣḥíḥ gəṣṣə́ḥtis dyəddə́r ayṛə́wwəḥ
‘as long as (lit. if only) a person in good health and surviving, he will come back (i.e. where-after any stress will disappear)’ (Conversations 1)

wətša n-əfṛə́ḥ nəkmə́l a?
‘aren’t we all happy?’

References

Mitchell, T.F. (2009) Zuaran Berber (Libya). Grammar and Texts. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.
Oomen, Stanly (ms.) A Sketch of Zuaran Berber based on T.F. Mitchell’s materials.
Souag, Lameen (2013) Review of Mitchell (2009). Journal of African Languages and Linguistics (34(2): 304-307)

Ghost Languages?

Ghost words are words that have typically never existed in reality, but that get taken into account in reference works or scholarly research and come to have a life of their own until they are noticed and removed. Erroneous citation, spelling or printing mistakes, or misreadings can all be reasons that bring ghost words into existence. Ghost words have plagued linguistic research at various points—imagine publishing an analysis of a strange Latin word, only for a later scholar to point out that the word was originally misspelled in the text edition you were using. Something similar can happen when some source claims that a language is or was spoken in such-and-such place, and later sources adopt that claim as fact, but in reality there never was (or never plausibly was) such a language in such a place!

For example, I recently came across a Wikipedia page for the Zurg language, a Berber language apparently spoken in Kufra, Libya. (Note: this is probably not an inside joke referring to the Zerg). Clicking around the Wikipedia pages for Berber languages, one notices as well that a Tmessa language is classified as part of Eastern Berber, but clicking on it redirects one to the page for the language of Sokna, Libya (a real, though probably recently extinct, language). Strangely enough, most Berberologists have never heard of either Zurg or Tmessa.

These Wikipedia pages are not entirely to blame, as they derive their information from three sources: a 1999 work by Václav Blažek on the reconstruction of numerals (with a chapter on Berber numerals), a 2001 work by Roger Blench in which a subgrouping of Berber languages is proposed, and a 2006 work by Blench & Dendo repeating the 2001 subgrouping of Berber. *Note that all these subgroupings are out of date.*

The first of these, Blažek (1999:157-159) gives a subgrouping of Berber languages drawn largely from the Russian studies of Aikhenvald and Militarev (1987, 1991; which I have not been able to consult) as follows:

“Eastern Berber: Siwa (oasis Siwa in West Egypt), Zurg (oasis Kufra in East Libya), Fezzan (oases Tmessa and El Fodjaha [sic!] in South Libya), Augila (oasis Djalo in North-East Libya), Sokna (North Libya), Ghadames (oasis Ghadames in West Libya)”

It should be noted that the geography is a bit off, and Augila (Awjila) and Djalo (Jālu) are two separate oases in eastern Libya, only the former of which is Berber-speaking. “El Fodjaha”, also misspelled below, refers to El-Fogaha الفقها.

The articles by Blench (2001:86) and Blench & Dendo (2006:12) give the following subgrouping:

“Eastern Berber: Siwa, Awjila, Sokna, Ghadames, Zurg (=Kufra), and Fezzan which consists of Tmessa and Al-Fojaha [sic!]”

The Wikipedia article for “Eastern Berber” adds:

“The “Lingvarium Project” (2005) cites two additional languages: the extinct language of Jaghbub and the still-spoken Berber language of Tmessa, an oasis located in the north of the Murzuq District. [7] Blažek (1999) considers the language spoken in Tmessa as a dialect of Fezzan. [8]”

Note [7] of the Wikipedia article refers to an article in Russian which also names Zurg and Tmessa as Berber languages. Note [8] is the above-cited work by Blažek. As far as I know, there is no Berber language spoken in Jaghbub (an oasis near the Libyan-Egyptian border), except by Siwans who sometimes went there for work (and spoke Siwi, if they used Berber at all when there).

Again, I’ve never heard of either Zurg or Tmessa varieties of Berber. Of course, in the above sources none of the scholars can give any data for either language, because there isn’t any.

Tmessa (تمسّة) is a small town in west-central Libya, in the far east of the Murzuk-Sabha region. Since there are Touareg as well as Tebu in that region, it is possible that Touareg or Tebu speakers live in Tmessa, but such a claim or report has never appeared in a publication, as far as I know. There is no point in assuming so, and even assuming so would make Tmessa Touareg- or Tebu-speaking, which is quite different from it having its own unique variety of Berber. Though the above-mentioned sources do not cite it, the only reference to language in that town was made by the German traveler Gustav Nachtigal in the 1870s, in which he claims that it was Berber-speaking but gives no references or linguistic data (thanks to Maarten Kossmann for having noticed this a few years ago in a guest post on this blog):

“…haben in den vorher aufgeführten Berber-Kolonien Sôqna, Waddân, Temissa Berberdialecte, die dem von Ghadàmes nahe stehen, noch Bürgerrecht neben der arabischen Sprache: doch sind dies streng abgeschlossene Sprachinseln.

[…besides the Arabic language, Berber dialects, which are close to that of Ghadames, are still current in the Berber colonies of Sôqna, Waddân, and Temissa, but these are closed off language-islands] (Nachtigal 1879:195)”

So if “Tmessa” could be pulled from Nachtigal’s impressionistic report as a real Berber language, why not “Waddan”, which otherwise is never reported as having (or having had) a Berber language? Perhaps Nachtigal had good information that Berber was spoken in “Temissa”. But as probably both documented Berber languages of central Libya (in Sokna and el-Fogaha) have probably become extinct this past century, is it even likely that a Berber language of Tmessa would have survived until now? Doubtful.

Zurg is a locale within the oasis complex of Kufra, itself home to Tebu speakers (and perhaps various languages from Chad spoken by migrants) but not Touareg as far as I know. Interestingly, of all the Wikipedia entries for Kufra, only the English version mentions this locale (“ez-Zurgh”), along with a note pointing to the 1929 edition of the Guida d’Italia del Touring Club: Colonie e Possedimenti—however, no reference to the Zurg language is there. The Guida states that Zurg was inhabited by only a few hundred slaves—if accurate, this also makes it unlikely that a unique Berber language was spoken only in that specific locale within Kufra. Otherwise, I haven’t been able to track down other passages (e.g. in travelers’ accounts such as Rohlfs or Forbes) which may mention a connection between Zurg and Berber.

To see if anything else could be found about these mysterious languages, I turned to an obscure 1937 article by Francesco Beguinot, the most prominent Berberologist of the colonial period. In a chapter entitled “I Linguaggi” in the book Il Sahara Italiano: Fezzàn e Oasi di Gat, Beguinot gives a rough summary of the languages spoken in the Fezzan (I’ve uploaded a PDF for those interested). He concentrates mostly on Touareg and on ancient inscriptions, but has the following to say (pp. 502-503):

Attualmente nella parte orientale e centrale del Fezzán l’arabo domina quasi assolutamente. Parecchi anni fa un berbero di Augila che, come altri suoi confratelli, aveva molto viaggiato e conosceva vari paesi della Cirenaica e della Tripolitania, parlandomi di località ove il linguaggio berbero si era conservato, mi nominò, per il Fezzán, el-Fogaha, Trághen, Tméssa, et-Tuíla, Sébha, ez-Zíghen. Sarà necessario per accertare se almeno parte di tali osservazioni risponda a verità, fare una minuta indagine sui luoghi. Nel breve tempo che ebbi disponibile durante le missione geografico-linguistica dell’aprile-maggio 1934 constatai personalmente che a Sebha e a ez-Zighen non vi sono attualmente gruppi parlanti berbero, ma solo individui sporadici provenienti da altre località; quanto a Traghen, Tmessa e et-Tuila, le informazioni dataemi da indigeni di Sebha furono del tutto negative; mi risultò invece come berberofona el-Fogaha, che sarebbe quindi, stando a tali dati e notizie, la sola località del Fezzan orientale cha abbia conservato il berbero…trovai tuttavia, dopo molte ricerche a ez-Zighen una vecchia donna originaria di quella località, dalla qualie raccolsi un po’ di parole cha (salvo ulteriori accertamenti) mostrerebbero l’appartenenza di quel dialleto al gruppo della Zenatiya, mentre in qualche voce esso coinciderebbe in modo specifico con quello di Socna (per es. amâr uomo; miktâr asino).

[Currently Arabic dominates the eastern and central parts of the Fezzan almost entirely. Several years ago, a there was a Berber from Awjila who, like others from his community, had traveled a lot and was familiar with many locales in Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, and told me of some locations where the Berber language had been conserved. He named for me, in the Fezzan, el-Fogaha, Traghen, Tmessa, et-Tuila, Sebha, and ez-Zighen. It will be necessary to ascertain whether some of these observations correspond to reality and to make a detailed survey of the places. In the short time available to me during the geographic-linguistic mission of April-May 1934, I could personally confirm that there are no Berber-speaking groups in Sebha or ez-Zighen but only sporadically individuals from other places. As for Traghen, Tmessa, and et-Tuila the information given to me by natives of Sebha was entirely negative; the only remaining Berberophone (place) would be el-Fogaha, according to this information, the only location in the eastern Fezzan to have conserved Berber … I found, however, after much searching in ez-Zighen, an old woman originally from there, from whom I could gather a few words (unless further investigation) would show the membership of that dialect to the Zenatic group, indeed in some ways it would coincide with that of Sokna (e.g. amār man, miktār donkey). —Translation AB]

Regarding the woman in Zighen who Beguinot mentions, I think it would be a little much to assume an entire language on that basis—perhaps the words were Berber loans into the local Arabic dialect or perhaps the woman had learned them from visiting Berber speakers or was of Sokni descent. There are multiple possibilities. Beguinot also seems to shut down the possibility of Berber in Tmessa in the 1930s at least—nevertheless, if we don’t know anything about a language other than that it exists, how can we group it?

But anyways, I don’t think that most scholars have seen this piece, buried in an obscure and hard-to-find colonial volume as it is. In his other writings, Beguinot doesn’t seem to mention anything about these essentially random places where Berber may or may not have been or was spoken—but we have no data and no firsthand reports. It doesn’t look like Beguinot is the origin of Zurg or Tmessa. The problem may originate in the classifications of Aikhenvald which precede those of Blažek and Blench, but I haven’t been able to check those works. However, if Aikhenvald had any real data, it would have appeared in other studies of Berber languages. And it hasn’t.

To conclude, these handful of scholarly and internet sources seem to be the only places where the languages of Zurg and Tmessa existed. It is frustrating that some scholars simply accept them as being real without bothering to check where they have been mentioned or even if there is any data for them. So until further, firsthand, information can be found (which I think is unlikely), Zurg and Tmessa are simply ghost languages.

Sources:

  • Aikhenvald, Aleksandra. 1987. Strukturno-tipologiceskaja klassifikacija berberskix jazykov. Sintaksis. Kratkaja istorija klassifikacij berberskix jazykov. Rezul’taty strukturno­tipologičeskoj klassifikacii berberskix jazykov. Moskva: Nauka.
  • Aikhenvald, Aleksandra & Militarev, Aleksandr. 1991. Livijsko-guančskie jazyki. In: Jazyki Azii i Afriki IV.2. Moscow, pp. 148-267.
  • Beguinot, Francesco. 1937. “I Linguaggi” In Sahara Italiano: Fezzan e Oasi di Gat. Roma: Societa Italiana Arti Grafiche Editrice.
  • Blažek, Václav. 1999. Numerals – Etymological Analyses of Numeral Systems and their Implications. Masarykova Univerzita v Brné.
  • Blench, Roger. 2001. “Types of language spread and their archeological correlates: the examples of Berber.” Origini 23, pp. 169–189.
  • Blench, Roger & Mallam Dendo. 2006. The Afro-Asiatic Languages. Unpublished Draft.
  • Nachtigal, Gustav. Sahara and Sudan, I Fezzan and Tibesti. Translated from the original German with and Introduction and Notes, by Allan G.B. Fisher and Humphrey J. Fisher. London, C. Hurst & Company (1974), p. 178. Original title Sahara und Sudan I, Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung (1879), p. 195.

كتاب المحاورة الإنسانية في اللغة العربية والسوكنية – Book of Human Dialogue in the Arabic and Sokni Language

في 1850 كثب علي بن الحاج عبد الطويل السوكني مخطوطة قصيرة بعنوان “كتاب المحاورة الإنسانية في اللغة العربية والسوكنية ” للرحال الإنجليزي جيمز ريتشاردسون. أرسله إلى إنجلترا ولا تزال في الإرشيف الوطني البريطاني.  وها هي.

James Richardson was an English traveller who made two trips to the Libyan desert in the mid-nineteenth century, gathering notes on half a dozen languages in the process which have ended up at the UK’s National Archives.  In 1850 he persuaded a man from Sokna named ʕAlī bən əl-Ḥājj ʕAbd al-Ṭawīl to write a short vocabulary of Sokni for him, rhymingly titled كتاب المحاورة الإنسانية في اللغة العربية والسوكنية Kitāb al-Muħāwarah al-‘Insāniyyah fī al-Luɣah al-ʕArabiyyah wa-s-Sawkniyyah “Book of Human Dialogue in the Arabic and Sokni Language”.  I’ve already posted on this source a few times (1, 2, 3); here follow the actual pages.  For a full analysis, look out for my forthcoming article:

IMG_4323IMG_4324IMG_4325IMG_4326IMG_4327IMG_4328IMG_4329

Works on Ghadames

There are a few works on Ghadames in Arabic, published in Libya, that might turn up interesting leads on its history and language should anyone have the time to delve into them.

One is a grammar of the Berber language of Ghadames in Arabic titled السهل و المسير في تعلم اللغة الامازيغية بلهجة غدامس by Abu Bakr Hārūn. It’s available to order from a UK-based distributor here, though they’re currently sold out due to ‘overwhelming’ demand by Berberologists. There are 484 sayings and prayer formulas accompanying the grammatical remarks.

ghad-book

There are also two catalogues of manuscripts and documents held in Ghadames. The more recent is وثائق غدامس: وثائق تجارية، تاريخية، اجتماعية, published in 1995. It may be ordered online here. It seemingly follows on an older volume (with awesomer cover): فهرس مخطوطات غدامس, published in 1986. Both are by بشير قاسم يوشع. I had a brief flip through both volumes in the library and did not come across any mention of Berber, however, though that may be due to both having been published under the former regime. A more detailed reading might turn up clues.

ghadames-mss1 ghadames-mss2

Here is also a plug for Maarten Kossman’s recent grammatical sketch of Ghadames Berber, the first new monograph on that language in several decades. See the table of contents here.

A map of early 20th-century Awjila

 

Plan of Awjila from Scarin 1937 (insert between pp. 76 and 77).

Plan of Awjila from Scarin 1937 (insert between pp. 76 and 77).

 

This map of Awjila comes from a work by the colonial-era Italian “human geographer” Emilio Scarin on the oases of eastern Libya, focusing on Awjila, Jalu, Jaghbub, and Marada. The high density of mosques and tombs of marabouts that Awjila is famous for can clearly be seen.

The term “human geographer” is in quotes because Scarin was evidently a practitioner of the cranium– and lip-thickness–measuring type of fascist racial sciences (just check out his pamphlet “Le oasi del Fezzàn : ricerche ed osservazioni di geografia umana”). Not all of his works were of that type; thankfully the volume from which the above map is taken contains almost nothing of the sort and is full of detailed maps of the oases and plans of vernacular architecture.

Scarin, Emilio. 1937. Le oasi cirenaiche del 29 parallelo. Ricerche ed osservazioni di geografia umana. Firenze.

Recent publications

Two articles by Marijn van Putten, both historical linguistic studies of Libyan Berber varieties, are now published.

“Some notes on the historical consonantism of Awjila” (Folia Orientalia 51, 2014, 257–274) can be accessed at this link. The contents of the entire issue can be viewed here. Hooray for open access!

“Reflexes of the glottal stop in Nefusa and Ghadames” (Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 105, 2015, 303–314), is not available online for a while but can be consulted in print format (or for an offprint contact Marijn directly or leave a comment below).

Ghadames story 1: The kitten and the rat

This text comes from Lanfry, J. (1968.) Ghadamès. Etude Linguistique et Ethnographique. Algérie: Fort-National. The texts have been transcribed by Maarten Kossmann, and all the corrections that Lanfry provided in a later publication have been included by him. For those who would like an idea of what Ghadames looks like:

Ghadames. Image by George Steinmetz, National Geographic.

 

Instead of a word-by-word gloss, this time we’ve only given the translation. A complete vocabulary can be found after the break.

yo̱t te̱žărt tǝlla takaṭṭuss d oḇǝǧǧan. ǧărrădăn, ǧărrădăn. aḇǝnnǝḇǝn rŏwwăḥăn. ikk asǝf sa.
One time there was a kitten and a rat. They played and played. In the evening they went home. Every day (it went) like that.

yo̱t te̱žărt, tǝnna-yas ma-yis n takaṭṭuss-e i yălle-s: – din twe̱das?
One time, the mother of this kitten said to her daughter: Where did you go?

tǝnna-yas: – gărrădǝɛ năšš d oḇǝǧǧan.
(The kitten) said: I was playing with rat.

tǝnna-yas: – iše wăl t-id-tăbbe̱t?
(The mother) said to her: Why have you not caught her?

tǝnna-yas: – azakka t-id-ăbbăɛ.
(The kitten) said: Tomorrow I will catch him.

oḇǝǧǧan-e tǝnna-yas ma̱-yis: – din twe̱das?
As for that rat, his mother said to him: Where did you go?

inna-ya̱s: – gărrădăɛ năšš ǝt takaṭṭuss.
(The rat) said to her: I was playing with kitten.

tǝnna-yas: – ak tǝkṣe̱dǝt šǝk-tǝšš?
(His mother) said to him: Are you not afraid that she’ll eat you?

inna-ya̱s: – azakka ak tiwiɛas [tiweɛas? JL]
(The rat) said to her: Tomorrow I won’t go to her.

takaṭṭus-e, eḇăḍ ǝnnăs imda ak tănădde̱m… ǝṣṣala, tǝkkăr-d zik, tǝzzăl i daž n oḇǝǧǧan-e, tǝnna-yas-ǝn: – oḇǝǧǧan, oḇǝǧǧan, wiǧǧǝz, ǝn_nǝǧrăd!
The cat, the whole night goes by and (lit. ‘her night ends’) she did not sleep… In the morning, she wakes up early and runs to the house of the rat. There she says to him: Rat, Rat! come down, so that we can play!

inna-yaz-d oḇǝǧǧan-e: – ke am-tăssǝlmăd ma-yim tăssǝlmăd-i-t imma!
And rat said to her: What your mother has taught you, my mother has taught me it!

yăbul-az-d esm-i yărwăl.
He pissed in her ear and fled.

tǝqqa tulless, wăl tǝqqe rrăḥmăt ǝn Răbbi!
The story is over, (but) the compassion of God is not!

Read more of this post