Sunday, May 14, 2006

Shawi blog

Shawiyya (Chaouia) is a Zenati Berber language of eastern Algeria, spoken inland on the Sahara-facing side of the Atlas Mountains. While spread over a far larger area than Algeria's other main Berber language, Kabyle, it has only about half the population (1.4 million or so). Unlike the Kabyles, the Shawis, as their Arabic name suggests, were traditionally seminomadic (transhumant, to be exact); after independence, many seized the opportunity to settle down in the cities, and, from what I hear, this major change of lifestyle led to widespread language shift to Arabic. Shawiyya, like other Zenati dialects of northern Algeria (Chenoua, Bissa, etc.), but unlike Kabyle or the Berber varieties of the Sahara, has the interesting sound change t > h initially in many contexts. Anyway, I found a Shawi-language-focused blog the other day, to my immense surprise, which I figured was worth linking:

Awal nu Shawi

It seems to mainly post lyrics, sometimes with translations.


language said...

You turn up the most amazing things!

bulbul said...

I bow to your googling skills and second language hat's motion :o)
Totally off topic: remember how some time ago we discuss Darija and you mentioned that your relatives referred to it as "barbriya" and I said I had heard it before? Well, I finally know where: Alan Corre's webpage ( includes his Corpus of Judeo-Arabic texts. One of the bible translation on that list (no. 250, to be precise) bears the title "Sefer Bere'shit ta'arrab (?) min lughat al-ibrani li-lughat al-barbari". "Sefer Bere'shit" is, as you surely know, the book of Genesis, this particular translation was done by one Eliezer Farhi and the book was published in Tunis.
And sorry for the transcription, it's waaay past my bedtime.

Lameen Souag said...

Nice! Thanks. Confirmation of the use of barbriyya to describe Darja from all the way over in Tunis - I wonder how widely used the term was, and why it went out of use?

David Marjanović said...

Hasn't Scottish Gaelic undergone t --> English voiceless th --> h?