Sunday, February 22, 2009

`baskundza igwạḍən!

I don't suppose there are more than about two or three people on earth who care, but I just figured out an etymology that's been puzzling me for a while. In Kwaṛandzyəy, the word for "genie" is agwəḍ, plural igwạḍən. It looks Berber for its form alone, but I had never found it in any dictionary - until now, going through Taine-Cheikh's new Zenaga dictionary, when I came across ugṛuđ̣an (original singular *ugṛuḍ) "démons, diables (plus dangereux, plus forts que les autres)". It turns out to have been borrowed into Hassaniya too - īgṛäwṭən. The loss of is more or less regular in Kwarandzyey (usually it's restricted to intervocalic positions, but there are a few other examples like this); so is the shortening of a long vowel to ə in a final closed syllable, with a w remaining to indicate its former quality. Quite possibly the next commenter will tell me that actually this word is well-known in Kabylie or Morocco or something, but for now it's another piece of evidence for my claim that Kwarandzyey includes a number of loanwords specifically from the Zenaga branch of Berber.

UPDATE: see comments - it wasn't the next commented, but the third one who established that this word is attested in southern Morocco too, which makes sense both since that region is also fairly close to Tabelbala and since it tends to be easier to find Zenaga cognates there than further north or east.

5 comments:

Michael Grant said...

I like the feeling I get from some of your blog posts that you're discovering things and putting things together that no one has before—I'm used to such levels of relating languages being already long-ago mined out in Indo-European languages.

Anonymous said...

Can please shed some light on this mysteriously unknown tongue of Kwaṛandzyəy? Where is it spoken? I can't find any useful information on it on the mighty Google machine!

Is it related to Berber somehow?

The word "agwəḍ", and certainly its plural "igwạḍən" look very Berber.

Moubarik Belkasim
tussna@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

You said: "Quite possibly the next commenter will tell me that actually this word is well-known in Kabylie or Morocco or something, but for now it's another piece of evidence for my claim that Kwarandzyey includes a number of loanwords specifically from the Zenaga branch of Berber."

Well here i am with the first example; in the region of Demnat (ntifa etc..) (south-central-Morocco):
agrud'/tagrud't: monstre(monster)

khawaji said...

I suppose I am one of the 2 or 3 people who care about this, as a Hassaniyaphile, but I have to admit that I haven't heard of igrawten... did you find in the Taine-Cheikh Hassaniya dictionary? Or is there some context which you can place it in that might jog the memory? I wonder if it is regionally restricted in usage (there are some areas of تراب البيضان where Zenaga influences Hassaniya more).

Lameen Souag said...

Moubarik: Kwarandzyey = "Korandje" = the language of Tabelbala (between Bechar and Tindouf.)

Anon from Demnati: Thank you very much!

Khawaji: Got it from the Zenaga dictionary, but it's by the same author. I've certainly never heard it.