Friday, May 08, 2009

Some Zenaga (Mauritanian Berber) words

Zenaga is the barely surviving Berber language of southwestern Mauritania around Boutilimit. Here are a few words I think are found only in Zenaga (and in some cases Tetserret), all from Taine-Cheikh. Unfortunately, I haven't found any really comprehensive dictionaries of (for example) Tashelhit, so I could well be wrong. If I am (as I was with agwəḍ), I'd love to hear it!

  • ämkän "young herd animal (eg sheep, goat)" - p. 308
  • ārwiy "scorpion" (< *arwəl) - p. 452
  • täygaḌ "young she-goat" (< *talgaḍ) - p. 577
  • agaḏ̣iy "Moor, bidani (white man)" - p. 181
  • täššänḍuḌ "mirror" - p. 129
  • taʔgaṛḏ̣aS "paper". (Other varieties have similar forms, but without any final s.) - p. 24
  • tämärwuS "bride" (Ahaggar Tuareg has rwəs "to be in rut" - obviously related, but not quite the same sense!) - p. 451


Anonymous said...

Is it possible to place also the pages [page number] where you found these words, i persume its from the dic. of Taine-Shaikh?

khawaji said...

I think most Zenaga speakers are actually further west in the Trarza then Boutilimit - which has always puzzled me, because there is no real reason they should be nearer the coast, that I can think of.
As for the examples of Zenaga words, is it possible tamarwus is just derived from عرس (arabic for wedding). It seems pretty close to me...

Anonymous said...

araggwl: scorpion
The Berber literary tradition of the sous - Nico van den Boogert

tissit: mirror [souss, atlas, tamachek etc..]
C.T-cheikh makes in her book a link with D'D'/T'D' the root that gives the word EYE

ämkän "young herd animal (eg sheep, goat)" & "young she-goat"

I have seen once a similar word but do not remember which book/source.

Lameen Souag said...

Thanks! araggwl clearly works. I suppose the first part of "mirror" could come from tisit, though it seems like a stretch. I doubt "bride" is from Arabic, since the w seems to be part of the root (eg pl. tmərwäššən, v. yəmmərwəš).

Lameen Souag said...

Page numbers added. täygaḌ has a Tuareg cognate, by the way, but there it means "young she-camel" rather than "young she-goat".

Anonymous said...

I didn't had the time but i remember the dic. of taifi has a example close related to the - amkan ; young herd animal

because the -l- and the -n- change in certin words like in anemmas - alemmas : middle
I came up with these examples:
Anugud' (Anagud'):: Agneau: agneau d'un an [ntifa]
Anugud':: mouton de l'année [issafn ghbanin, m.peyron]

And for tämärwuS "bride" it could be from the root [M]RWS; dette
in the context of marriage: amrwas

Anonymous said...

thanx for the page numbers !

abelghad': bouc
animaux -

Lameen Souag said...

Good link - connecting this use of RWS with "debt" seems plausible in such a context.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lameen,

I opend a book and looked and there it was on page 424 in:
-A course in spoken Tamazight: Berber dialects of Ayt Ayache and Ayt Seghrouchen, Abdel-Massih, Ernest T. (1971)

TAMAZIGHT (Moroccan - middle-Atlas)
Amyan/imyan: billy goat

ZENAGA (Mauretanian Berber):
ämkän "young herd animal (eg sheep, goat)" & "young she-goat"

Anonymous said...

forgot to mention also this one:

Amïan/imouïan: bouc

-Manuel de berbère marocain (dialecte rifain),Justinard (Léopold Victor, Commandant)p.114

Lameen Souag said...

Good find. Thank you!