Leafing through it, I was struck by the extension of deg "in" to "from", replacing seg. While this is clearly not a Zenati variety, it seems to have picked up some Zenati characteristics, as you might expect from its westerly location: for instance, "one" is m. iǧ, f. ict. It's kept the word aryaḏ* "lion" (pl. iyraḏen); this explains the form recorded more than a thousand years earlier in Ibn Quraysh (with a slight copying error, 'ry'r), much better then the more widespread Berber form ar/ahar that Cohen (1972) suggested for it. There are some etymological puzzles to be examined - for example, why the prefixed q in iqic "horn", and why the shift d > l in laba "now"? The prefixed j in ijifer "wing" is presumably originally the indefinite article "one", but it occurs in the plural as well (ijufar). The double negative is ur...-k rather than ur... ara, a sort of non-Zenati version of the widespread Northern Zenati ur... -c (which I posted about a long time ago). No doubt plenty more remains to be seen. (* Typo corrected.)
Saturday, November 03, 2012
Blida Atlas Tamazight
In the mountains above the town of Blida south of Algiers, there still survives an isolated variety of Kabyle, a remnant of the era when this region was Berber speaking. If you look through bibliographies for material on this, about the only thing that comes up is Laoust's (1912) Etude sur le dialecte berbère du Chenoua : comparé avec ceux des Beni-Menacer et des Beni-Salah, in which only the Beni-Salah material scattered here and there in the book comes from the region under discussion, while the rest deals with the varieties west of Algiers (almost as badly documented, but not closely related). But I recently came across a PDF that single-handedly changes this. Tamazight de l'Atlas blidéen (from Atlas de Blida) is a 57-page trilingual French-Berber-Arabic dictionary, followed by a sketch grammar, comments on toponymy, and a bibliography. The anonymous authors have done a fine job, and apparently are still working on it.