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’ f.sg.

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’ imp.sg.
  • 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.
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El-Fogaha Text III

Zamán dágəs íggən ən-ṣəlṭán yuġá tməṭṭút tmátar.
‘There once was a sultan who married a beautiful woman.’

  • Zamán dág-əs, Paradisi translates this whole phrase as  as C’era una volta in the vocabulary. It should probably be analyzed as Zamán ‘once’ + dág-əs ‘in it’
  • íggən ən-ṣəlṭán  ‘a/one sultan’
  • yuġá ‘to take’ pf.3sg.m.
  • tməṭṭút  ‘woman’
  • tmátar ‘beautiful’ adj.f.sg.

Yus-áz-d amár íggən wayə́ḍ d yəsk-ás.
‘Another man came to her and did her’

  • Yus-…-d ‘to come’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -áz- 3sg. Indirect Object pronoun.
  • amár ‘man’
  • íggən wayə́ḍ ‘another’, a construction that literally consists of ‘one’ + ‘other’, which can be used adjectivally and is therefore placed after the noun it modifies.
  • d  ‘and’
  • yəsk- ‘to do’  pf.3sg.m., probably euphemistically referring to the fact that he had intercourse with her.
  • -ás 3sg. Indirect Object pronoun.

Yəslá si-s əṣṣəlṭán d yəllə́f-tət d yuġá ígget tayə́ṭ.
‘The sultan heard this and divorced her and took another’

  • Yəslá ‘to hear’ pf.3sg.m.
  • si- ‘from’, usually the preposition for ‘from’ is s-ġúr, maybe this simpler, more original form, is lexically bound to the verb ‘to hear’.
  • -s 3sg. prepositional pronoun
  • əṣṣəlṭán ‘sultan’
  • d  ‘and’
  • yəllə́f-  ‘to divorce’  pf.3sg.m.
  • -tət 3sg.f. direct object pronoun
  • d  ‘and’
  • yuġá ‘to take’ pf.3sg.m.
  • ígget tayə́ṭ ‘another’, this time in the feminine form.

Yus-áz-d amár wayə́ḍ d yəsk-ás.
‘Another man came to her and did her’

  • Yus-…-d ‘to come’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -áz- 3sg. Indirect Object pronoun.
  • amár ‘man’
  • wayə́ḍ ‘other’, this time the ‘a/one’  is not specifically mentioned.
  • d  ‘and’
  • yəsk- ‘to do’  pf.3sg.m.
  • -ás 3sg. Indirect Object pronoun.

Yəslá si-s əṣṣəlṭán d yuš-ás əlḥəqq-ə́nnəs d yəllə́f-tət d yə́dwəl d yuġá íggət tayə́ṭ nk-tmátar.
‘The sultan heard this and gave her her due and divorced her and he returned and he took another (woman) that was not beautiful’

  • Yəslá ‘to hear’ pf.3sg.m.
  • si- ‘from’
  • -s 3sg. prepositional pronoun
  • əṣṣəlṭán ‘sultan’
  • d  ‘and’
  • yuš-  ‘to give’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -ás 3sg. Indirect Object pronoun.
  • əlḥəqq- ‘one’s due’, referring to the returning of the dowry given along with the woman when marrying.
  • -ə́nnəs 3sg. possessive pronoun
  • d  ‘and’
  • yə́dwəl ‘to return’ pf.3sg.m.
  • d  ‘and’
  • yuġá ‘to take’ pf.3sg.m.
  • ígget tayə́ṭ ‘another’
  • nk- ‘not’
  • tmátar ‘beautiful’ adj.f.sg.

Yəqqím nə́tta ddíd-əs, idəmm-ə́nnəs nk-imátar.
‘He stayed with her, (but) her face was ugly’

  • Yəqqím ‘to stay’ pf.3sg.m.
  • nə́tta  ‘he’
  • ddíd- ‘with’
  • -əs 3sg. prepositional pronoun
  • idəmm- ‘face’
  • -ə́nnəs 3sg. possessive pronoun
  • nk- ‘not’
  • imátar ‘beautiful’ adj.m.sg.

Tənn-ás: nə́kki dág-i tíṭ.
‘She said to him: I have the (evil) eye’

  • Tənn- ‘to say’ pf.3sg.f.
  • -ás 3sg. Indirect Object pronoun
  • nə́kki ‘I’
  • dág- ‘in’, but this preposition is used as a possessive construction here.
  • -i 1sg. prepositional pronoun
  • tíṭ ‘eye’

Iwayy-áz-d tussárt, yənn-ás: aẓrə́-tt.
‘He brought to her an old woman, and said to her: visit her’

  • Iwayy-…-d ‘to bring’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -áz- 3sg. Indirect Object pronoun
  • tussárt ‘old, old one’ n./adj.f.sg.
  • yənn- ‘to say’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -ás 3sg. Indirect Object pronoun
  • aẓr- ‘to see’ imp.sg.
  • ə́tt 3sg.f. Direct Object pronoun. It is quite surprising to not see a schwa in between the two t‘s of this pronoun.

Tusə́d tussárt təẓr-ə́ttət.
‘The old woman came and visited her’

  • Tusə́d ‘to come’ pf.3sg.m.
  • tussárt ‘old, old one’ n./adj.f.sg.
  • təẓr- ‘to see’ pf.3sg.f.
  • ə́ttət 3sg.f. Direct Object pronoun

Tənn-ás tussárt: “s-man atkə́m-as tíṭ, idəmm-ə́nnas nk-imátar, təškán-nas nk-matárnət, d ənk-tmátar.”
‘The old woman said to her:  “from where would the (evil) eye enter her, her face is ugly, her feet are ugly and (she) is ugly!”

  • Tənn- ‘to say’ pf.3sg.f.
  • -ás 3sg. Indirect Object pronoun
  • tussárt ‘old, old one’ n./adj.f.sg.
  • s-man ‘from where’
  • atkə́m- ‘to enter’ fut.3sg.f.
  • -as 3sg. Indirect Object pronoun
  • tíṭ ‘eye’
  • idəmm- ‘face’
  • -ə́nnəs 3sg. possessive pronoun
  • nk- ‘not’
  • imátar ‘beautiful’ adj.m.sg.
  • təškán- ‘feet’
  • -nas 3sg. possessive pronoun
  • nk- ‘not’
  • matárnət ‘beautiful’ adj.f.pl.
  • d  ‘and’
  • nk- ‘not’
  • tmátar ‘beautiful’ adj.f.sg.

Yə́nn-as ṣṣəlṭán: “uġíġ lə́wwəla nk-tmátar, uġíġ iggə́t tayə́ḍ nk-tmátar, sakəran-ásnət əssísnət.”
‘The sultan said: “I married another evil (litt. ugly) one, (then) I married another evil (litt. ugly) one, (other men) were doing both of them.”

  • Yə́nn- ‘to say’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -as 3sg. Indirect Object pronoun
  • ṣṣəlṭán ‘Sultan’
  • uġíġ ‘to take’  pf.1sg.
  • lə́wwəla ‘first’
  • nk-tmátar  ‘ugly’, confusingly, the same word is used here, as was used earlier for  ‘ugly’, here the word must mean ‘evil’.
  • sakəran- ‘to do’ impf.3pl.m.
  • -ásnət 3pl.f. Indirect Object pronoun
  • əssísnət  ‘the two of them’

“Uġíġ iggə́t tayə́ḍ idəmm-ə́nnas nk-imátar;”
“(then) I married another one, her face was ugly”

  • Uġíġ ‘to take’  pf.1sg.
  • iggə́t tayə́ḍ ‘another’
  • idəmm- ‘face’
  • -ə́nnas 3sg. possessive pronoun
  • nk-imátar ‘ugly’  m.sg., here again meant as ugly.

əqqíməġ ẓə́rrəġ dag təsdána matárnət, ənníġ y-əlli nk-tmátar:
‘And I began to look at beautiful women, and I said to the one that was ugly:’

  • əqqíməġ ‘to stay, remain’ pf.1sg. here used as an inchoative auxiliary
  • ẓə́rrəġ ‘to look’ impf.1sg.
  • dag ‘in’, the standard preposition used to mark the direct object of an imperfect verb.
  • təsdána ‘women’
  • matárnət ‘beautiful’ adj.pl.f.
  • ənníġ ‘to say’ pf.1sg.
  • y- ‘to’
  • əlli relative pronoun
  • nk-tmátar ‘ugly’

“ə́lli nk-ġúr-əs úmmi isákər-as ġəs aġərasən-ánaġ nə́kki ddíd-əm.”
“The one who does not have someone to do her, they want to kill (litt. slaughter) us, you and me.” [Thanks to Lameen (see comments)]

  • ə́lli relative pronoun
  • nk- ‘not’
  • ġúr- ‘to at’, here to mean ‘to have’
  • -əs 3sg. prepositional pronoun
  • úmmi ‘who’ to be read as ‘someone’.
  • isákər- ‘to do’ impf.3sg.m.
  • -as 3sg. Indirect Object pronoun
  • ġəs ‘to want’  irregular auxiliary verb with no personal conjugation.
  • aġərasən- ‘to slaughter’, pf.3pl.m. takes an indirect object pronoun as its object in all Berber lanuages. The change in of the subject from singular to plural is striking.
  • -ánaġ 1pl. Indirect Object pronoun
  • nə́kki ‘I’
  • ddíd- ‘with, and’
  • -əm 2sg.f. prepositional pronoun

Tənn-ás: “arḍiʕ-ə́nnu ərráʕi n-ə́bi, isákər-id.”
‘She said to him: “My lover (is) the shepherd of my father, he is doing me.”

  • Tənn- ‘to say’  pf.3sg.f.
  • -ás 3sg. Indirect Object prnoun
  • arḍiʕ- ‘lover’
  • -ə́nnu 1sg. possessive pronoun
  • ərráʕi  ‘shepherd’ cf. Ar. rāʕin ‘id.’
  • n- ‘of’
  • ə́bi ‘my father’
  • isákər- ‘to do’ impf.3sg.m.
  • -id 1sg. Direct Object pronoun

Yənn-ás: “ġəs allafə́ġ-šəm.”
‘He said: “I want to divorce you.”

  • Yənn- ‘to say’  pf.3sg.m.
  • -ás 3sg. Indirect Object pronoun
  • ġəs ‘to want’  irregular auxiliary verb with no personal conjugation.
  • allafə́ġ- ‘to divorce’ fut.1sg.
  • -šəm 2sg.f. Direct Object pronoun

Yuš-áš əlḥəqq-ə́nnəs d yəllə́f-tət.
‘He gave her her due and divorced her’

  • Yuš- ‘to give’  pf.3sg.m.
  • -ás 3sg. Indirect Object pronoun
  • əlḥəqq- ‘one’s due’
  • -ə́nnəs 3sg. possessive pronoun
  •  ‘and’
  • yəllə́f- ‘to divorce’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -tət 3sg.f. Direct Object pronoun

El-Fogaha Text II

Yusə́d žḥa n-əlġə́rb yə-žḥá n-əššə́rəq

‘Juha of the west came to Juha of the east.’

  • Yusə́d ‘to come’ pf.3sg.m.
  • žḥa Personal name. But here it seems to rather refer to a type of story-persona, rather than the historical Juha as in the previous story.
  • n- ‘of’
  • əlġə́rb ‘the west’ cf. Ar. ġarb ‘id.’
  • yə- Indirect object and directional marker
  • žḥa Personal name.
  • n- ‘of’
  • əššə́rəq ‘the east’ cf. Ar. šarq ‘id.’

Tláqu.

‘They met with each other’

  • Tláqu Code switch to Arabic. pf.3pl.m. of lāqa ‘to meet’ with reciprocal t-

Yənn-ás: yə́lla a-núkər

‘The one (of the west) said to him (of the east): Let’s go steal!

  • Yənn- ‘to say’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -ás 3sg. indirect object pronoun
  • yə́lla ‘let’s go!’ cf. dial. Ar. yə́lla ‘id.’
  • a-núkər ‘to steal’ fut.1pl.

Yənn-ás: ə́sk əlmətʕat-ə́nnak arə́n.

‘The one (of the east) said to him (of the west): Put flour among your things

  • Yənn- ‘to say’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -ás 3sg. indirect object pronoun
  • ə́sk ‘to put’ imp.sg. A verb that takes a double accusative, apparently the second accusative gets put in the noun phrase of the first accusative.
  • əlmətʕat- ‘things’ cf. Ar. matāʕ pl. amtiʕa ‘id.’
  • -ə́nnak 2sg.m. possessive pronoun
  • arə́n ‘flour’

Wa n-əlġə́rb yəská arə́n d yəská ss-addáyy-ə́nnas tnifə́st.

‘The one of the west put the flour (away) and put it underneath ashes.’

  • Wa m.sg. deictic pronoun
  • n- ‘of’
  • əlġə́rb ‘the west’
  • yəská ‘to put’ pf.3sg.m.
  • arə́n ‘flour’
  • d ‘and’
  • yəská ‘to put’ pf.3sg.m.
  • ss-addáyy- ‘below, underneath’
  • -ə́nnas 3sg. possessive pronoun
  • tnifə́st ‘ash’

Wa n-əššə́rəq yəská téni d yəská s-addáyy-ə́nnas tískin.

‘The one of the east put the dates (away) and put it underneath excrement.’

  • Wa m.sg. deictic pronoun
  • n- ‘of’
  • əššə́rəq ‘the east’
  • yəská ‘to put’ pf.3sg.m.
  • téni ‘dates (coll.)’
  • d ‘and’
  • yəská ‘to put’ pf.3sg.m.
  • s-addáyy- ‘below, underneath’
  • -ə́nnas 3sg. possessive pronoun
  • tískin ‘excrement’

D uġárən, yusə́d əlwə́qt ən-mə́nsi.

‘And they went, The time of dinner arrived.’

  • d ‘and’
  • uġárən ‘to go’ pf.3pl.m.
  • yusə́d ‘to come’ pf.3sg.m.
  • əlwə́qt ‘time’, this word is masculine in Arabic, but in many Berber languages it is reinterpreted as a feminine noun due to the final -t. This is not the case in El-Fogaha.
  • ən- ‘of’
  • mə́nsi ‘dinner’

Wa n-əlġə́rb yənná yə-žḥá n-əššə́rq: áš-id əlmətʕát-ənnak, a-nəmə́nsu.

‘The one from the west said to Juha of the east: Give me your stuff, let’s have dinner!

  • Wa m.sg. deictic pronoun
  • n- ‘of’
  • əlġə́rb ‘the west’
  • yənná ‘to say’ pf.3sg.m.
  • yə- Indirect object and directional marker
  • žḥa Personal name.
  • n- ‘of’
  • əššə́rəq ‘the east’
  • áš- ‘to give’ imp.sg.
  • -id 1sg. indirect object pronoun
  • əlmətʕát- ‘things’
  • -ə́nnak 2sg.m. possessive pronoun
  • a-nəmə́nsu ‘to have dinner’ fut.1pl.

Wa n-əššə́rq yənn-ás ḥə́tta nə́tta: ášid əlmətʕat-ə́nnak.

‘The one of the east said to him (the one of the west) too: Give me your things.

  • Wa m.sg. deictic pronoun
  • n- ‘of’
  • əššə́rq ‘the east’
  • yənn- ‘to say’ pf.3sg.m
  • -ás 3sg. indirect object pronoun
  • ḥə́tta ‘also’
  • nə́tta ‘he’
  • áš- ‘to give’ imp.sg.
  • -id 1sg. indirect object pronoun
  • əlmətʕát- ‘things’
  • -ə́nnak 2sg.m. possessive pronoun

Yuš-ás-tət, yəssə́kma afus-ə́nnas ġəs a-yə́kkʸ.

‘He gave it to him, He thrust his hand in order to eat.’

  • Yuš- ‘to give’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -ás 3sg. indirect object pronoun
  • -tət 3sg.f. direct object pronoun
  • yəssə́kma pf.3sg.m. ‘to insert, to thrust in’
  • afus- ‘hand’
  • -ə́nnas 3sg. possessive pronoun
  • ġəs ‘to want to’, used as an Auxiliary verb, this verb generally does not take PNG (Person Number Gender) marking, as is the case here. While Paradisi does not list another meaning than ‘to want to’ for this Auxiliary, in translation this verb is more comfortably translated as ‘in order to’ or ‘because he wanted to’.
  • a-yə́kkʸ ‘to eat’ fut.3sg.m.

Tusə́d afus-ə́nnas dag tnífəst;

‘His hand arrived in the ash’

  • Tusə́d ‘to come’ pf.3sg.f., for some reason the word afus-, which morphologically looks like a masculine noun, takes feminine subject agreement. Must be a calque on Arabic yad ‘hand’ which is also feminine, despite having no morphological indication that it is feminine. (p.c. Souag)
  • afus- ‘hand’
  • -ə́nnas 3sg. possessive pronoun
  • dag ‘in’
  • tnifə́st ‘ash’

d n-əlġə́rb yəssə́kma afus-ə́nnas ġəs ayə́kkʸ,

‘And (the one) of the west thrust his hand in order to eat’

  • d ‘and’
  • n- ‘of’
  • əlġə́rb ‘the west’
  • afus- ‘hand’
  • -ə́nnas 3sg. possessive pronoun
  • ġəs ‘to want to’ auxiliary pf.3sg.m.
  • a-yə́kkʸ ‘to eat’ fut.3sg.m.

tusə́d dag tískin.

‘His hand arrived in the excrement.’

  • Tusə́d ‘to come’ pf.3sg.f.
  • dag ‘in’
  • tískin ‘excrement’

Bə́ʕəd əkkán uġárən d ukárən agmár n-əṣṣəlṭán.

‘After they ate, they went and stole the horse of the Sultan’

  • Bə́ʕəd ‘after’ cf. Ar. baʕda  ‘id.’
  • əkkán ‘to eat’ pf.3pl.m.
  • uġárən ‘to go’ pf.3pl.m.
  • d ‘and’
  • ukárən ‘to steal’ pf.3pl.m.
  • agmár ‘horse’
  • n- ‘of’
  • əṣṣəlṭán ‘Sultan’

Wáyyən-t d ġrəsə́n-t.

‘They took it and they slaughtered it’

  • Wáyyən- ‘to take along’ pf.3pl.m.
  • -t 3sg.m. direct object pronoun
  • d ‘and’
  • ġrəsə́n- ‘to slaughter’ pf.3pl.m.
  • -t 3sg.m. direct object pronoun

Man ġrə́sən-t izínan-t s-zgə́n.

‘When they slaughtered it, they divided it in half’

  • Man ‘when; where’
  • ġrə́sən- ‘to slaughter’ pf.3pl.m.
  • -t 3sg.m. direct object pronoun
  • izínan- ‘to divide’ pf.3pl.m.
  • -t 3sg.m. direct object pronoun
  • s-zgə́n litt. ‘with half’

ə́lli wa yuġá əlḥəqq-ánnəs d yuġə́r y-imeddə́n-nas.

‘Each one took his share and went to his people’

  • ə́lli Usually the relative pronoun, but in this case the ə́lli wa construction seems to translate as ‘each one’
  • wa m.sg. deictic pronoun
  • yuġá ‘to take’ pf.3sg.m.
  • əlḥəqq- ‘one’s due, share’ cf. Ar. ḥaqq ‘truth; one’s due’
  • -ánnəs 3sg. possessive pronoun. Odd vocalism, should perhaps be read as -ə́nnəs with a colored ə́ under influence of the final q, this would imply that the form that we usually find -ə́nnas written by Paradisi as -énnas should be interpreted as phonemic /-ə́nnəs/, which, etymologically is preferable.
  • d ‘and’
  • yuġə́r ‘to go’ pf.3sg.m.
  • y- ‘to’
  • imeddə́n ‘people’
  • -nas 3sg. possessive pronoun

Yəská úmmi isúggar dag žžurrat-ə́nsən lə́l yufá man ġrə́sən-t.

‘(The Sultan) made someone search their tracks until he found where they slaughtered it.’

  • Yəská ‘to make, put’ pf.3sg.m. Seems to be used to create a periphrastic causative, maybe not grammaticalised. One could read it as ‘The sultan put/set someone to search…’
  • úmmi ‘who’ to be read as ‘someone’.
  • isúggar ‘to search’ impf.3sg.m.
  • dag ‘in’, marker of direct object of an imperfect verb.
  • žžurrat- ‘tracks’ cf. Ar. žurrāt ‘tracks’
  • -ə́nsən 3pl.m. possessive pronoun
  • lél ‘until’
  • yufá ‘to find’ pf.3sg.m.
  • man ‘when; where’
  • ġrə́sən- ‘to slaughter’ pf.3pl.m.
  • -t 3sg.m. direct object pronoun

Yuġə́r dag žžurrat-ə́nsən, iwə́ṭ-ṭən (< iwə́ḍ-tən) d yəṭṭə́f-tən d yəḥbə́s-tən.

‘He went in their tracks, he caught up with them and he seized them and imprisoned them’

  • Yuġə́r ‘to go’ pf.3sg.m.
  • dag ‘in’
  • žžurrat- ‘tracks’ cf. Ar. žurrāt ‘tracks’
  • -ə́nsən 3pl.m. possessive pronoun
  • iwə́ḍ ‘to join’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -tən 3pl.m. direct object pronoun
  • d ‘and’
  • yəṭṭə́f- ‘to seize’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -tən 3pl.m. direct object pronoun
  • d ‘and’
  • yəḥbə́s- ‘to imprison’ pf.3sg.m. cf. Ar. ḥabasa ‘to shut off, confine’
  • -tən 3pl.m. direct object pronoun

Kull íggən iwáyyəd agmár y-əṣṣəlṭán d yəllə́f-tən.

‘Each one took a horse to the sultan and he let them go.’

  • Kull ‘Each, all, every’ cf. Ar. kull ‘id.’
  • íggən ‘one’
  • iwáyyəd ‘to take’ pf.3sg.m.
  • agmár ‘horse’
  • y- ‘to’
  • əṣṣəlṭán ‘Sultan’
  • d ‘and’
  • yəllə́f- ‘to set free’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -tən 3pl.m. direct object pronoun

M. van Putten

A look into the history of Awjila

During the work on my upcoming Aujila vocabulary, I have made use of two main sources, first Paradisi (1960a), a well-written word list with a lot of information, and even some etymological notes. The second source is the word list by Müller (1827).  As is obvious from the dates of these publication, the time difference between the collection of these word lists is enormous. This gives us a fascinating insight in the development of several Aujila words over a period of over 130 years.

The data in Müller, despite being an enormous word list, is very difficult to analyze. At the time of writing,  there was no accurate way to transcribe Berber, nor was Müller a very good fieldworker. This is not something Müller can be held accountable for, as fieldwork was not a developed branch of linguistics at the time. As a matter of fact, linguistics itself was hardly a developed scientific branch at the time. It is fairly obvious that he misunderstood words, made up conjugations of words, and sometimes based his french-like transcription on Aujila written in Arabic script, rather than basing it on what he had actually heard.

Despite the difficulties, there are a few interesting examples to be found of lexical items that have changed in pronunciation or meaning in between the time of Müller’s work and Paradisi’s work.

físa

In Text I, we encountered the word físa ‘quickly’, this is not found in Paradisi’s word list as Paradisi decided to not include any Arabic loanwords. But it is found in his published texts (1960b).

físa comes from dialectal Ar. fissaʕ ‘quickly’ which ultimately derives from the phrase fī (a)s-sāʕa(t) ‘in the hour’. It is instantly striking, that, Aujila is lacking the Ar. ʕ, this is remarkable, since Aujila usually retains this sound, and Paradisi writes it very consistently, with great accuracy. We must conclude that it was lost.

Müller has included this word in his wordlist as: fisaâ فيسعہ <fysʕh>‘swiftly, promptly (fr. promptement)’. In Müller’s time apparently Aujila had not yet lost the ʕ in this word.

Because Müller’s material is so difficult to analyze, we cannot draw this conclusion with absolute certainty. It happened more than once that Müller added ʕ in words where we are sure it did not exist. For example, arrav  ‘writing’ is written by him as arrab عرّب <ʕrrb>, with the root written as though it was derived from the root for ‘Arab’ in it. This root for ‘to write’ can be solidly reconstructed for Proto-Berber and thus predates Arab presence in North-Africa.

Taking this into consideration, it may still be possible that Müller in fact did hear físa just like Paradisi, but ‘corrected’ it by including the ʕ. Adam Benkato pointed out that in ELA [1], this word is often pronounced simply as fīsa, in fast speech, but with the original final ʕ in place when emphasized. Perhaps, this split pronunciation lies at the origin of these two different forms, rather than a historical loss of ʕ.

uġǝr

The verb uġǝr ‘to get lost looks identical to the El-Foqaha Berber word uġǝr ‘to go’, but I was reluctant to assume a historical connection between these two words, as the meanings are quite different. Müller resolves the problem. We find youghera يوغرہ <ywġrh> ‘he went  (fr. aller)’. So, about 130 years before Paradisi did his fieldwork on Aujila, the verb uġǝr ‘to get lost still had the meaning ‘to go’ and we can therefore confidently connect it with the El-Foqaha verb with the same meaning.

aniš

Another word that I want to discuss is aniš ‘nickel’, this word has an unusual meaning, as this word usually means ‘copper’, cf. Sokna nās ‘copper’, MA anas ‘copper’, Tashl. anas ‘copper’, Ntifa anas ‘copper’. The only logical conclusion must be that the word shifted in meaning from copper, to nickel. Müller gives us proof that this change of meaning has taken place. Müller gives anich انيش <ʔnyš> ‘copper (fr. cuivre)’. It is the same word, but with its original Berber meaning.

tkǝnzírt

The word for ‘nose’ in Aujila is tkǝnzírt. If we compare this word to other Berber languages we find that they lack the root initial k found in Aujila. cf. Fog. tinzę́rt ‘nose’ Kb. tinzərt ‘nose’; Nef. tinzért ‘nose’; Mali To. tinšărt ‘nose’; Siwa tanzärt ‘nose’; Sok. tunzä*rt ‘nose’; Zng. tīnẕ̌ärt ‘nose’. Müller has tenzert تنزرت <tnzrt> for the same word, as you can see, the consonant k was not present at the time. It is unclear what caused this extra consonant to be added, but we can be sure that it happened in between Müller’s and Paradisi’s fieldwork.

Through the careful study of the lexical items we get a unique look into the history of a language that has received very little academic attention. Due to the great gap in time between the two works, we are actually given a unique opportunity to study the language in a way not usually possible in Berber studies.

-M. van Putten

Notes

[1] Eastern Libyan Arabic.

References

Müller, Frédéric. 1827. “Vocabulaire du langage des habitants d’Audjelah.” In: Pacho (1827) pp. 319-352.

Pacho, Jean-Raymond 1827. Relation d’un voyage dans la Marmarique, la Cyrénaïque, et les Oasis d’Audjelah et de Maradèh, accompagnée de Cartes géographiques et topographiques, et de Planches, représentant les Monuments de ces contrées. Didot. Paris.

Paradisi, Umberto. 1960a. “Il Berbero Di Augila. Materiale Lessicale.” Rivista Degli Studi Orientali 35: 157–177.

Paradisi, Umberto. 1960b. “Testi Berberi Di Augila (Cirenaica)” Annali. Nuova Serie 10: 43–91.

El-Fogaha Text I

This series of translations are based of the texts published in Paradisi (1963), they have been retranslated in english and retranscribed in a transcription that is intended to represent the phonemic system more clearly and accurately than the highly phonetic transcription of Paradisi.

The El-Fogaha language was spoken in the Oasis of El-Fogaha. At the time that Paradisi recorded these texts, there were only a few speakers left, so it is fairly safe to assume that the language is extinct. It is fairly similar to the Sokna language, although, clearly, not identical as shown quite convincinly in Paradisi’s overview and comparison of El-Fogaha with other eastern Berber languages (Paradisi 1961). We hope to gain a better understanding of the underlying relation between the Sokna and el-Fogaha languages, in order to form a view of the development of eastern Berber languages as whole.

Paradisi has written up five stories, which, seem to make up all recorded data on this language.

Žḥa, tənn-ás əmm-ís: asġ-íd tasíli.

Juha’s mother said to him: “buy me a pair of sandals!”

  • Žḥa Personal name, a legendary satirical figure, interesting topicalization of the indirect object,  to introduce Juha as the main character of the story.
  • tənn- ‘to say’ pf. 3sg.f.
  • -ás Indirect Object 3sg.
  • əmmí- ‘mother’
  • -s kinship possessive 3sg. suffix.
  • asġ- ‘to buy’ imp.sg.
  • -íd Indirect Object  1sg.
  • tasíli ‘sandal’, technically singular, but the singular refers to  ‘one pair of sandals’

Yənn-ás: “nk-ġúr-i iməllálən.”

‘He said to her “I don’t have money.”

  • Yənn- ‘to say’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -ás Indirect Object 3sg.
  • nk- negative prefix, radically different from most other Berber languages where the negative form generally looks like ur, ul, wər etc.
  • ġúr- ‘at’, this preposition technically means ‘at’, but is used to express possesion, and thus translates as the verb ‘to have’
  • -i 1sg. prepositional pronoun
  • iməllálən ‘money’, literally ‘the white ones’, pl.m. of məllál ‘white’.

Yədwə́l d yəṣḥə́ṣṣəl iməllálən.

‘He started to obtain money’

  • Yədwə́l ‘to return, to happen’ pf.3sg.m.; Paradisi mentions that this verb can have an ‘empty’ or inchoative meaning, both translations would work.
  • d The meaning of this element is unclear. Possibly it is ‘and’, but this unlikely, as Yədwə́l seems to be used as an auxiliary of yəṣḥə́ṣṣəl. Perhaps this particle is the d ‘hither’ ventive particle, common in Berber. There is little evidence that this particle is productive in El-Fogaha.
  • yəṣḥə́ṣṣəl ‘to obtain’ pf.3sg.m., this looks like a causative derivation of Ar. ḥaṣṣala ‘to obtain’, which is surprising, as the translation already implies a causative meaning.
  • iməllálən ‘money’

əmmí-s ma-bát a-tənn-ás márrat tayə́ḍ.

‘But his mother did no want to tell him (to get sandals) again’

  • əmmí- ‘mother’
  • -s kinship possessive 3sg. suffix.
  • ma-bát purely Arabic. Negative ma + 3sg.f.pf. of ba ‘to want’, thus, ‘she did not want’
  • a-tənn ‘to say’ aor.3sg.f.
  • -ás Indirect Object 3sg.
  • márrat ‘time’ < Ar. marra(t) ‘time’
  • tayə́ḍ ‘other, another’, adj. f.sg.

Yái-s yəẓrá fəll-ás amár, tiškán-nas ínniž.

‘Her son saw a man on her, her feet were (pointed) upwards’ (Quite graphically implying that the mother is having sex)

  • Yái- ‘son’
  • -s kinship possessive 3sg. suffix.
  • yəẓrá ‘to see’ pf.3sg.m.
  • fəll- ‘on’
  • -ás 3sg. prepositional pronoun
  • amár ‘man’, a similar word for  ‘man’ is attested in Sokni, but the Sokni form lacks the initial a, see Sokni Text I.
  • tiškán- ‘feet’, pl. of tiškánt
  • -nas 3sg. possessive suffix, I would expected -nəs, but would not expect Paradisi to write a /ə/ as <a> in a non-emphatic environment.
  • ínniž ‘above, up, upward’

Yənn-ás:  “már-am nk-tənnət-id asġ-íd tasíli márrat tayə́ḍ?”

He said to her:  “Why did you not tell me to buy you a sandal again?”

  • Yənn– ‘to say’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -ás Indirect Object 3sg.
  • már- ‘why’, followed by a suffixed pronoun, that expresses the subject of the sentence
  • -am 2sg.f. suffixed pronoun
  • nk- negative prefix
  • tənnət ‘to say’ pf.2sg.
  • -íd Indirect Object  1sg.
  • asġ ‘to buy’ imp.sg.
  • -íd Indirect Object  1sg.
  • tasíli ‘sandal’
  • márrat ‘time’ , cf. Ar. marra(t) ‘time’
  • tayə́ḍ ‘other, another’, adj. f.sg.

Tənn-ás: “ásġ-id tasíli.”

‘She said to him: “buy me a pair of sandals.”

  • Tənn- ‘to say’ pf.3sg.f.
  • -ás Indirect Object 3sg.
  • ásġ- ‘to buy’  imp.sg.
  • -id Indirect Object  1sg.
  • tasíli ‘sandal’

Yuġə́r y-ə́lli isákər dag tsiláw.

‘He went to the one who is making sandals’

  • Yuġə́r ‘to go’ pf.3sg.m.
  • y- dative and directional particle. Usually, in Berber languages, this particle is only used as an Indirect Object marker, but similar to Sokni, El-Fogaha Berber uses this particle in the maning  ‘to, towards’. This is a similar broad use of the indirect object marker as is found in Arabic li-.
  • ə́lli relative pronoun ‘who’, cf. LA illī.
  • isákər ‘to make’ impf.3sg.m.
  • dag ‘in’ In Tunisian Berber and Arabic the direct object is marked with a locative construction in the imperfect. (p.c. Maarten Kossmann).
  • tsiláw ‘sandals’, with the typical El-fogaha plural suffix –aw.

Yənn-ás: “əsk-íd tasíli s-ġúr əlqáġəṭ.”

‘He said to him: “make for me a sandal out of paper.”

  • Yənn- ‘to say’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -ás Indirect Object 3sg.
  • əsk- ‘to make’ imp.sg.
  • -íd Indirect Object  1sg.
  • tasíli ‘sandal’
  • s-ġúr ‘from’
  • əlqáġəṭ ‘paper’, cf. Ar.  kāġad, the final ṭ is surprising, and might indicate that this word entered the El-Fogaha and regional Arabic language through Turkish.

Yənn-ás:  “ənk-a-tús-əd.”

‘He said:  “ (a paper sandal) doesn’t work (litt. doesn’t come).”

  • Yənn- ‘to say’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -ás Indirect Object 3sg.
  • ənk- neg pref.
  • a-tús ‘to come’ aor.3sg.f.
  • -əd directional suffix. Probably petrified in this verb, similar to how it has in Aujila, as the directional suffix does not seem to be productive anymore.

Yənn-ás:  “əskí-ttət, d a-túġət iməllálən.”

‘He said:  “make it, and you will take (receive) money”

  • Yənn- ‘to say’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -ás Indirect Object 3sg.
  • əskí- ‘to do, make’ imp.sg.
  • -ttət direct object 3sg.f.
  • d ‘and, with’
  • a-túġət ‘to take’ aor.2sg.

Yəsk-ás tasíli s-ġúr əlqáġəṭ.

‘He made a sandal of paper for him’

  • Yəsk- ‘to do, make’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -ás Indirect Object 3sg.
  • tasíli ‘sandal’
  • s-ġúr ‘from’
  • əlqáġəṭ ‘paper’

Iwə́y-tət y-əmmí-s.

‘and he took it to his mother’

  • Iwə́y- ‘to take’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -tət direct object 3sg.f.
  • y- direct object particle
  • əmmí- ‘mother’
  • -s kinship possessive 3sg. suffix.

Yənn-ás: “əls-ét.”

‘He said to her: “put it on.”

  • Yənn- ‘to say’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -ás Indirect Object 3sg.
  • əls- ‘to wear’ imp.sg.
  • -ét direct object 3sg.f. Allomorph of -tət when it directly follows the verb stem. El-Fogaha shares this allomorph with Siwi.

Tənn-ás: “ta əlqáġəṭ, nk-tasíli.”

‘She said to him: “This is paper, not a sandal!”

  • Tənn- ‘to say’ pf.3sg.f.
  • -ás Indirect Object 3sg.
  • ta ‘this’, f.sg. deictic pronoun
  • əlqáġəṭ ‘paper’
  • nk- negative particle
  • tasíli ‘sandal’

Yənn-ás: “kan tiklínnəm am ayə́ḍ, əlqáġəṭ a-yəṭṭə́f-šəm lél atəmmútət.”

‘He said to her: “If your walking is like (your action during the) night, the paper will hold until you die.”

  • Yənn- ‘to say’ pf.3sg.m.
  • -ás Indirect Object 3sg.
  • kan ‘if’, from dial. Ar. kan ‘if’
  • tiklí- verbal noun ‘walking’
  • -nnəm possesive suffix 2sg.f.
  • am ‘like’
  • ayə́ḍ ‘night’
  • əlqáġəṭ ‘paper’
  • a-yəṭṭə́f- ‘to hold’ aor.3sg.m.
  • -šəm direct object 2sg.f.
  • lél ‘until’
  • a-təmmútət ‘to die’ aor.2sg.

– M. van Putten

References

Paradisi, U. 1961. “El-Fógǎha, Oasi Berberofona del Fezzân.” Rivista degli Studi Orientali 36: 293-302.

Paradisi, U. 1963. “Li linguaggio berbero di El-Fóğăha (Fezzân).” Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli. Annali. Nuova Serie 13: 93-126.

Welcome to the Oriental Berber blog

This blog is aimed at studying and exploring the many details of  “oriental” Berber languages.

We use the word “oriental” in a particular sense here. Firstly, we indicate that our scope is the Berber languages of the eastern part of North Africa (mostly Libya, but also parts of Tunisia and Egypt). This is a strictly geographic grouping; we do not claim, nor is there necessarily, a straightforward genetic relationship between the different Berber languages of these countries. Secondly, it is also the case that these languages have on the whole received only marginal attention from researchers, and in some cases are scarcely documented. We thus want to highlight their differences from other, more well-studied varieties of Berber (such as those of western North Africa). Thirdly and poignantly, we also want to point out that, for much of the last century, the only scholarship on these languages was that of colonial Italian, British, or French researchers or travelers. To a certain extent those academic traditions shaped the final form of their studies, and hence the documentation that is today available. Fortunately, some of the languages here have become the subject of recent – and very good – scholarship; part of our goal is to continue this trend.

The position of all of these varieties is somewhat precarious, spoken as they are by geographically scattered minorities, and the smaller ones are seriously threatened: in particular, Awjili is endangered, and El-Fogaha and Sokni may already be extinct.  While recent political changes in Libya have opened up new opportunities for the use of Berber in the public sphere, particularly in the northwest, the long-term effects remain to be seen.

This blog will focus on several aspects on the study of the “oriental” Berber languages. A large part of the content of the blog, initially, will consist of the (re)translation of texts, provided with more extensive grammatical analysis, and sometimes, retranscription based on a more phonemic approach than the common transcription methods used by the Italian scholars who have dominated the field.

Other posts will include notes on linguistic history, discussions regarding interesting grammatical features, phonemic analysis, and so forth, and notes about these languages’ interactions with the surrounding (dominant) Arabic dialects.

Through this, we attempt to get, and give, as complete an overview of the knowledge there is to be gained from studying these fascinating languages with the documentation that currently exists. Through this blog, we also hope to bring them to the attention of a wider scholarship, and to encourage further research in the field.

Research on these Berber varieties is particularly timely, for the important reason that, especially in Libya, they are now coming to be used increasingly in the media. Prior to this year, there was essentially no media – written or audio – in Berber in Libya; it was suppressed by the regime. We also take an interest in this, and from time to time will post and comment on Berber media. There is no doubt that some interesting sociolinguistic and inter-dialectal phenomenon are going on.

We will finish off with a short overview of some of the languages to be discussed on this blog:

  • Awjila Berber (Awjili) is spoken in the oasis of Awjila, Libya. From a historical point of view, it is a fascinating language, as it is one of the few that retains Proto-Berber (as v). Other languages that have retained this consonant are the Tuareg languages (as h) and Ghadames (as β). Syntactically and morphologically Awjila is an interesting language, as it has lost much of the typically Berber features such as ‘state’, clitic fronting and has quite a different verbal system from other Berber languages.
  • The only Berber language that is spoken in Egypt is Siwa Berber (Siwi), in the oasis of Siwa in the western desert. Like Awjila, it has undergone intensive restructuring of the grammatical system, and fascinatingly, seems to share several of these grammatical features with Awjila.
  • Ghadames, an oasis in western  Libya on the border with Tunisia, is the home of Ghadames Berber (Ghadamsi), the other Libyan language that retains the Proto-Berber Ghadames is a fascinating language for historical linguists as it also shows some traces of the long lost Proto-Berber consonant . Patterns in the oriental Berber languages are the lack of ‘state’ marking, and a radically different verbal system than the more familiar Berber languages of western North-Africa. The verbal system of Ghadames may just be the most exotic reconfiguration of all the languages of this region.
  • North of Ghadames, still in western Libya, we find the Nefusa Berber (Nefusi) languages spoken around the Nefusa mountains, in the cities of Nalut, Jadu, Kabaw, and Yefren (to name a few). These languages have received quite substantial academic attention, from the perspective of oriental Berber. Nevertheless, further research, especially into its linguistic history, will be well worth it.
  • High up north on the coast of Libya, we find Zwara, where the Zwara Berber language is spoken. This language has received quite considerable attention due to the recent posthumous publication of Mitchell’s work, edited by Harry Stroomer and Stanley Oomen (Mitchell et al. 2009). The Zwara language is not generally considered to be part of the Eastern Berber group, and is rather associated with the Northern Berber languages, similar to Tunisian Berber. Nevertheless, this language could use more attention, and maybe in the future of this blog we will focus on it.
  • Sokna Berber (Sokni) was (or is still) spoken in the oasis of Sokna in west-central Libya. Our only record of Sokni comes from 1924, when only a few dozen people were reported to still speak the language. Though distinct from Fogaha Berber, there is some historical relationship between the two.
  • El-Fogaha Berber, traditionally considered to be the same language as Sokna Berber, seems to be lexically quite divergent. A more in-depth study of this language, will definitely give a clearer indication of the underlying relations between these two languages.