Monday, January 09, 2012

Do you speak Tashelhit?

If you speak Tashelhit (or, indeed, another Berber language) and feel like helping me test a hypothesis, I would really appreciate it if you can send me a translation of these two slightly inane short stories (preferably by email). I'll be happy to explain later...

Abdallah had two sons, Brahim and Cherif. Brahim told Cherif: “I can run faster than you can.” Cherif told Brahim: “Let's have a race.” Brahim said: “All right.” They raced 100 metres. Cherif won. Cherif said: “You thought you could run faster than I can?” Brahim got angry. He told his father Abdallah: “Cherif is bad, he went running instead of doing his homework.” His father laughed and told Brahim: “Who was running with him?”

Khaled and Youcef were friends; they lived in a village. Khaled went on a long trip to the city with his son. A few days later Youcef went to the doctor, and the doctor told him: You need a medicine called such-and-such.” So Youcef called Khaled and asked him: “While you're in the city, can you get me this medicine?” Khaled was busy, so he told his son to find the medicine. His son went to the pharmacy; he said they didn't have it, but they might have it in another city nearby. So he went there and got the medicine. Then he came back and gave it to his father. When they got back his father gave it to Y.


John Cowan said...

OT: I just finished reading your thesis yesterday (several long bus rides lately). Wonderful stuff! It's great to see the old idea that syntactic borrowing doesn't exist or is completely marginal drowned in a flood of detailed counterexamples. I also enjoyed the subtle satire on movement grammars (which explain everything and therefore nothing) in your conclusion.

Even more OT question: You mention in passing that Classical Arabic j was /ɟ/. As is well known, in Egyptian Arabic this becomes /g/. However, the evidence of the abjad ordering shows that the j letter corresponds to the gimel letter in the 22-character West Semitic abjads. This suggests to me that there was a pre-Classical realization as /g/. If so, is Egyptian /g/ a survival or a secondary shift? Alternatively, is it possible that the writing system arose in a part of Arabia where /g/ was already in use?

David Marjanović said...

I can't wait to learn what your hypothesis is! :-)

If so, is Egyptian /g/ a survival or a secondary shift?

There has been a post on this blog that explained the surprising evidence for the hypothesis that the Egyptian [g] is indeed a reversal.

Don't use slashes; it's the same phoneme all over.

Lameen Souag said...

Glad you liked it! It's certainly possible that (some varieties of) Arabic still had [g] when they first borrowed the Nabataean alphabet, centuries before what we know as Classical Arabic, but it's not necessary to suppose this; since Aramaic had no [ɟ] and Classical Arabic no [g], and since the two occurred regularly in obvious cognates, the two sounds could be identified with one another without difficulty. (Rather like Hausa ended up using Arabic qāf to transcribe an ejective k'; Hausa had no q, Arabic had no k', and the two sounds corresponded to each other in Arabic loans.) As David notes, there is in fact evidence that [g] in Egypt is not a retention, but I don't remember offhand what it is.

Nacer said...


Here you go a kabyle translation of your texts. I did my best, if you have any question or concern, please feel free to contact me. These texts are written in the most current berber latin alphabet under unicode font.

Thanks and good luck in your reserch

Єbdella ɣur-es sin warrac, Bṛahim d Crif. Bṛahim yenna i Crif : “Zemreɣ ad azzel akteṛ-ik.” Crif yerra-yas “Yya-n a nazzel ihi.” Bṛahim yenna : “Yya-n!” Uzzlen azal n 100 n lmitrat. D Crif i d amezwaru. Crif yenna : “Tɣilleḍ ad tazzleḍ akteṛ-iw?” Bṛahim yerfa, yenna i baba-s : “Crif diri-t. Iṛuḥ yettazzal, ur ikemmel ara taɣuri-s.” Dɣa baba-s yeḍsa syin yenna-yas i Bṛahim : “Anwa i yuzzlen yid-es?”

Xaled d Yusef d imeddukal; kkren-d deg yiwet n taddart. Xaled iṛuḥ netta d mmi-s ɣer temdint ibeεden. Kra n wussan sseg-s ɣer da, Yusef iṛuḥ ad iẓer ṭbib, ṭbib yenna-yas : “Ilaq-ak yiwen usafar (ddwa), isem-is ay-a d way-a.” Dɣa Yusef yessawel i Xaled iseqsa-t (yetter-it) : “Imi telliḍ di temdint, ma tzemreḍ a yi d-tafeḍ asafar-agi?” Xaled yella yelti (ur yestufa ara), ihi yuzen mmi-s a d-inadi asafar-nni. Mmi-s yerra ɣer ufermasyan, ur tesεin ara maca (lameεna) yezmer ad yili deg yiwet n temdint iqerben. Dɣa iṛuḥ ɣer-s yawi-d asafar-nni. Syin yuɣal a t yefk i baba-s. Mi uɣalen ɣer taddart, Xaled yefka-t i Yusef.

Lameen Souag said...

Nacer: thanks a lot / tanemmirt!

abdallah amennou said...

Ɛbdullah iṭṭaf sin tarwa , Brahim d Cirif.
Inna Brahim i Cirif :«ẓḍarɣ ad azzlɣ uggar nnk."
irar Cirif awal i Brahim inna as: «ad nn ng cala "
inna as brahim «ha-nn awal"
azzln 100 n uttcbiḥ. innru Cirif , yini d:« tɣalm is tzḍaṛm ad ttizzalm uggar inu?"
Brahim iṛufẓ.inna i babas Ɛbdullah: « Cirif ur (ifulki/iẓil) idda ar ittizzal, ifl tiɣri nns"
inkr babas ar iḍṣṣa yini i Brahim : «Mad d -is ittazzaln?"

Xalid d yussf gan imddukkal , zdɣn ɣ yan iɣrm. Xalid idda s yan umuddu mqqurn s tmdint ntta d iwis. lliɣ zrin yan mnnaw ussan Yussf iddu s dar umjijjiy, yini as umjijjiy: "nsɣawsa s yan usafar ar as ttinin kra d kra"
awa isawl Yussf i Xalid issutr as :« lliɣ tllit ɣ tmdint ,af iyyi asafar ad ?"
Xalid ur t id yaγ azmz ann, awa inna i iwis ad d isiggl asafar ann. iddu iwis s tmssasfrt , nnan as ur darsn illi, macc ẓḍaṛn ad t id awin γ yat tmdint yaḍnin lli d yaẓn.
awa, iftu yawi d asafar ann. yurri d ifk t i babas. lliɣ d urrin ifk babas asafar i Yussf.

PhoeniX said...

"I'll be happy to explain later..."

Please do!