Sokna Text III: The Good-for-Nothing

This third of five texts collected by Sarnelli (1925: 33) concerns someone who is evidently a good-for-nothing–he has no trade (or rather, his trade is that of a good-for-nothing!), and mostly seems to hang around eating and sleeping with other folk, until this habit gets him into trouble.

There are a number of aorist forms in this text, which seem to have the function of expressing hypothetical as well as habitual actions (also as the main verb of a ‘to want’ construction).

Text III

zěmân ẹ́llân íǧǧěn n ěṭṭufêǐli
Once there was a good-for-nothing

  • zěmân adverbial usage of Arabic zǝmān ‘once, once upon a time’
  • ẹ́llân 3pl.m. ‘(there) were’, existential ‘to be’
  • íǧǧěn number ‘one’
  • n genitive particle ‘of’
  • ěṭṭufêǐli n.m. ‘deadbeat’ (Sarnelli: ‘scroccone’), perhaps from the Arabic diminutive eṭ-ṭufeyl of ṭifl ‘child’ (?).

eṣṣana‘āt-énnes mímmi adiyûf sẹn nax sârěṭ nax áktar
His trade (was that) when he would find two or three or more,

  • eṣṣana‘āt-énnes n.f. ‘trade, craft’ < Arabic aṣ-ṣana‘āt الصنعات with 3sg. possessive suffix
  • mímmi ‘when’
  • adiyûf aor.3sg.m. of af ‘to find’
  • nax ‘or’
  • sẹn number m. ‘two’
  • sârěṭ number ‘three’ (though probably šârěṭ, as in Sarnelli’s glossary). a Proto-Berber numeral! Sokni joins Fogaha and Siwi Berber with š<k (cf. Ghadames kárǎḍ)
  • áktar ‘more’ < Ar. akṯar اكثر with (Western Libyan) dialectal [ṯ] > [t].

adiqqím díd-sẹn lē̱n adiyéčč díd-sen.
He would stay with them until he would eat with them.

  • adiqqím aor.3sg.m. ‘to stay’
  • díd-sẹn conj. ‘with’ + 3pl.m. object pronoun ‘them’
  • lē̱n ‘until’ (probably dialectal Arabic lēn/nēn ‘until’)
  • adiyéčč aor.3sg.m. ‘to eat’ (Sarnelli has the aorist as adičč)

marra yuséd yufâ ifá̱ssen n imarrîwen.
Once he came (and) he found ten men.

  • marra ‘once, one time’ < Arabic marra ‘one time, a time’
  • yuséd pf.3sg.m. ‘to arrive, to come’
  • yufâ pf.3sg.m. ‘to find’
  • ifá̱ssen number ‘ten’, literally ‘hands’ (sg. fūs = ‘five’, literally ‘hand’)
  • imarrîwen ‘men’

itrék eššuġl-énnes azẹ́l udínak we yěqqím díd-sen.
He left his work that day and remained with them.

  • itrék pf.3sg.m. ‘he left’ < Ar. tarak ‘he left’ (probably reflecting a WLA dialect form with initial epenthetic vowel)
  • azẹ́l n. ‘day’
  • udínak ‘that’
  • we conj. ‘and’ < Ar. wa ‘and’
  • yěqqím pf.3sg.m. ‘he stayed’
  • díd-sen ‘with them’

yěnn-âs íǧǧen sě ġúr-sen: mádd i-išuġǎl-é̱nnek!
One of them said to him: “Go to your work!”

  • íǧǧen ‘one’
  • sě ġúr-sen sě-ġúr ‘from’ (Fogaha s-ġúr ‘from’, see El-Fogaha III), sen is the 3pl.m. indirect object clitic; ‘one of them’, literally ‘one from them’
  • mádd impv.2sg. ‘go’
  • i- directional particle i ‘to, toward’
  • išuġǎl-é̱nnek n. ‘work’ + 2sg.poss. ‘your’ (I assume the initial i to be the Arabic definite article, rather than part of the Sokni directional particle i/iyi).

yěnn-âs: lā līẖ šûġǔl xēr nē wā!
He [the good-for-nothing] said to him: “I have no work better than this!”

  • lī-ẖ pf.1sg. ‘to have’
  • xēr Arabic comparative adjective خير xēr ‘better’
  • usually ‘of’, but following comparatives ‘than’ (cf. Ar. xēr min ‘better than’)
  • pronoun ‘this’

yěnn-âs: bâlek anněmmúḥbes!
He [the other guy] said to him: “Maybe we will be imprisoned!”

  • bâlek adv. ‘maybe’ < Libyan Arabic bālǝk ‘maybe’ (ultimately from Turkish)
  • anněmmúḥbes aor.1pl. (medio-passive -mm-), Berber conjugation of an Arabic root (Libyan Arabic yeḥbes ‘to be in prison’)

yěnn-âs: rětíx! am nīš, am kīníu; wu yeqqím.
He said to him: “Fine with me (lit. I agree)! Like me, like you”; and he remained.

  • rěṭíx pf.1sg. ‘to agree’, from Arabic rḍw (with [ḍ] rendered as [ṭ]–this shows the underlying Arabic dialect rendering of [ḍ] rather than ELA [ð̣])
  • am ‘like, as’, though in the previous text this had a long vowel: ām
  • nīš 1sg. personal pronoun ‘I’
  • kīníu 2pl.m. personal pronoun ‘you’

sagín-ten wu ssikmẹ́n-ten d íǧǧit n tâsqâ, wa qqěsẹ́n fellâ-sen.
They led them and made them enter a house, and closed (the door) on them.

  • sagín-ten pf.3pl.m. + 3pl.m. direct object suffix ‘they led them’
  • ssikmẹ́n-ten causative + 3pl.m. direct object ‘they made them enter’
  • d preposition ‘in’
  • íǧǧit n tâsqâ n. ‘a house’, literally ‘one of house’ (íǧǧit is f.)
  • wa qqěsẹ́n pf.3pl.m. ‘and they closed/locked’ (Sarnelli: ōqqěs ‘to close/lock from outside’)
  • fellâ-sen preposition ‘on’ + 3pl.m. object pronoun ‘them’

yeglíg eṭṭufêili wu yěqqím qârîb i-îmi n tawō*rt.
The good-for-nothing was disturbed, and remained near to the doorway.

  • yeglíg impf.3sg.m. Arabic verb ‘to be disturbed’
  • qârîb ‘near’ from Arabic qarīb (note the interesting phenomenon of two Arabic loans appearing next to each other, each with a different realization of qaf; the first is no doubt a more recent loan, as no contemporary Libyan Arabic dialects have q.)
  • i– directional particle ‘to, toward’
  • îmi n. ‘mouth’ (i.e. the opening of the door, or doorway)
  • tawōrt ‘door’

yuséd ěssâyáf, yurâ tasergilt, yufâ ěṭṭufêǐli nẹ́tta ěddûni.
The executioner came, opened the lock, (and) found the good-for-nothing, he (was) bad(?).

  • yuséd pf.3sg.m. ‘he came’
  • ěssâyáf n. ‘executioner’ < Arabic السياف es-sayyāf ‘executioner, swordsman’
  • yurâ pf.3sg.m. ‘he opened’
  • tasergilt n.f. ‘lock’
  • yufâ pf.3sg.m. ‘he found’
  • nẹ́tta 3sg.m. independent pronoun ‘he’
  • ěddûni perhaps meaning something like ‘bad’ (some Arabic dialects have dūnī ‘bad’)

yussufō*ġ-t, ya‘bâ asíḥḥar.
He tossed him out, (and) wanted to kill (him).

  • yussufōġ-t pf.3sg.m. causative of yeffọ́ġ ‘to exit, go outside’ + 3sg.m. direct object clitic
  • ya‘bâ pf.3sg.m. ‘he wanted’ (takes an aorist verb)
  • asíḥḥar aor.3g.m. of the verb aḥḥar ‘to kill’ (originally from Arabic nḥr).

yeqqím itéll wu yěnnâs: nīš ingî sě ġúr-sen!
He began to weep and said to him: “I am not one of them!”

  • yeqqím itéll pf.3sg.m. yeqqím functions as inchoative with following impf. itéll 3sg.m. ‘to cry, weep’
  • nīš 1sg. personal pronoun ‘I’
  • ingî ‘not’ (Fogaha nk-)
  • sě ġúr-sen ‘one of them’, literally ‘one from them’ (see above)

yuzén assîyáf išâwar lěḥkûmet.
The executioner sent himself off (and) consulted the authorities.

  • yuzén pf.3sg.m. ‘he sent’
  • išâwar impf.3sg.m. of Arabic verb يشاور īšāwǝr ‘to consult’
  • lěḥkûmet n.f. ‘government’ from WLA l-eḥkūma

ěnnân-ās: ōḍbaḥîm-as anẹddiyûsěd.
They said to him: “Call him (and) we will come.”

  • ěnnân-ās pf.3pl.m. ‘they said’ (compare innân- in text II) + 3sg. indir.obj. pronoun
  • ōḍbaḥîm-as impv.2pl.m. ‘you call him’. the initial ō is odd, but the Arabic text simply has an alif.
  • anẹddiyûsěd aor.1pl. ‘we will come’

yèmmadd-âsen eṭṭufêǐli ii-lěḥkûmet, yěnn-âsen: eṣṣanǎ‘āt-énnu ěl‘amr-é̱nnu kúll ṭufêǐli.
The good-for-nothing went to them, to the authorities, (and) said to them: “My trade, for my whole life (is that of) a good-for-nothing.”

  • yèmmadd-âsen pf.2sg.m. ‘he went’ + 3pl. indirect object ‘to them’
  • ii-lěḥkûmet directional particle i-/iyi- + n. ‘government, authorities’ (note double marking of indirect object of the verb)
  • eṣṣanǎ‘āt-énnu 1sg. possessive ‘my work, trade’
  • ěl‘amr-é̱nnu 1sg. possessive ‘my life’ (with ěl‘amr probably reflecting Arabic li-‘amr-ī ‘for my life’, rather than ěl- being the definite article.)
  • kúll ‘all, whole’ < Arabic kull ‘all’

yěnn-âs el-ḥâkim: in kān atétrāk eṣṣana‘āt-énnek, aksárrax.
The judge said: “If you leave your trade, I’ll set you free.”

  • el-ḥâkim n. ‘judge’ < Arabic el-ḥākim ‘judge’
  • in kān atétrāk conditional construction headed by Arabic in kān ‘if’
  • eṣṣana‘āt-énnek 2sg.m. possessive ‘your trade’
  • aksárrax aor.1sg. (?) Sarnelli’s transcription has aksárrah (with -h not -ẖ), even though the Arabic text has ح [ḥ]; perhaps the dot was just omitted, since we’d expect a 1sg. ending here.

yěnn-âs: térkěẖ eṣṣân‘āt ěddâl ḥáttā kān ‘ázzǎmen fěllâ, āmadíx abādé̱n!
(The good-for-nothing) said to him: “I have (already) abandoned this trade. Even if they invited (me), I would never go!”

  • térkěẖ pf.1sg. ‘I left’ of Arabic root taraka ‘to leave’
  • ḥáttā kān Arabic conditional ‘even if’, followed by perfect verb
  • ‘ázzǎmen pf.3pl.m. of Arabic verb ‘azzam ‘to invite’
  • fěllâ This preposition has not yet occurred without an indirect object suffix, so I’m not completely sure what its function is here. Perhaps it is just a peculiar form of the 1sg., with féll– marking the object of the verb (note that in Awjili felli- becomes felliwi in the 1sg.).
  • āmadíx aor.1sg. ‘to go’
  • abādé̱n adv. ‘never’ from Arabic abadan ‘never’
 -A. Benkato

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