Thursday, February 27, 2014

Korandjé music video (Algeria's other language)

As regular readers will know, for some years I've been working on the only language of Algeria that's neither Arabic nor Berber – Korandjé, spoken in a tiny oasis betwen Bechar and Tindouf called Tabelbala. A little while ago, we saw a brief video of one of its closest relatives, the Tagdal language of Niger. Today, for the benefit of anyone who may have wondered what Korandjé sounds like, I'd like to present the first music video in Korandjé to reach YouTube – a nostalgic song in a Middle Eastern style by Abdou Makhloufi:

Musically and poetically, it's rather derivative (and not derivative of Tabelbala's traditions either). But I salute the author's efforts anyway; it's not easy to go against the flow, and the trend in Tabelbala is very much to leave music (and most other domains of life) to Arabic. Here's an attempt at a transcript, minus most of the repetition (almost every line is repeated at least twice):

عباعمير كُارا عباعمير
ʕ-baʕam-yər kʷạrạ, ʕ-baʕam-yər
I-wanna-return town, I-wanna-return
I wanna go back home, I wanna go back,

تكُّاري ندا ادرا ن لهوا ابيسحر
tsəkkʷạrəy ndz’ adṛạ n ləhwa a-b-yisħər
sand and mountain ’s air it-IMPF-enchant
The sand and the mountain air are enchanting,

عباعمير كُارا عباعمير
ʕ-baʕam-yər kʷạrạ, ʕ-baʕam-yər
I-wanna-return town, I-wanna-return
I wanna go back home, I wanna go back.

ومّوغيسي، عباعميرنيسي
wə-ṃṃə̣w-ɣəy-si, ʕ-baʕam-t-ndzi-si
y’all!-listen-me-to, I-wanna-say-y’all-to
Y'all listen up, I wanna tell you all,

اوغ اكّس ان كُارا، توغا اڤُّاسي
uɣ əkkəs an kʷạrạ, tsuɣạ ggwạ-a-si
who abandon his town, what remains-him-to
Someone who abandons his hometown, what's left for him?

عباعمير كُارا عباعمير
ʕ-baʕam-yər kʷạrạ, ʕ-baʕam-yər
I-wanna-return town, I-wanna-return
I wanna go back home, I wanna go back.

الله الله، ڤايو زّينيو بايو
əḷḷạh əḷḷạh, gạ-yu zzin-yu gạ-yu
God God, house-s old-s house-s
O Lord O Lord, the old houses,

ڤايو، بايو ندا لغاديايو
gạ-yu, bạ-yu ndza lɣadya-yu
house-s, person-s and ???-s
The houses, the people and the ???s,

ڤُند عفّكّر كُارا، عاهيو
gundz ʕa-f-fəkkəṛ kʷạṛạ, ʕa-hyu
when I-ed-remember town, I-cry
When I remembered the hometown, I cried.

عباعمير كُارا عباعمير
ʕ-baʕam-yər kʷạrạ, ʕ-baʕam-yər
I-wanna-return town, I-wanna-return
I wanna go back home, I wanna go back.

تاميسا عباعمدغنني، تامسّخ ما كُنّاني
tsamis a ʕ-baʕam-dɣən-ni, tsaməssəx ma kunna ni!
how FOC I-gonna-forget-you, how what find you!
How could I forget you, how – what's wrong with you!

ڤُا بايباهنڤاني، آ نمبغسي واراني
gwạ bạ-i-ba-hanga-ni; a nən bə̣nɣ-si wara ni
stay person-s-have-follow-you, ah your head-to even you
Stay, people are following you; ah, (stay) for yourself too!

تاميسا عباعمدغنني، تامسّخ ما كُنّاني
tsamis a ʕ-baʕam-dɣən-ni, tsaməssəx ma kunna ni!
how FOC I-gonna-forget-you, how what find you!
How could I forget you, how – what's wrong with you!

اقّا عقّوم عمزوني، عمزوني
əgga ʕa-ggum ʕa-m-zəw-ni, ʕa-m-zəw-ni – əgga ʕa-ggum
PAST I-swear I-'d-take-you, I-'d-take-you – PAST I-swear
I had sworn to marry you, to marry you

نزّو افيط نكّسغي
nə-zzəw a-fyəṭ nə-kkəs-ɣi
you-take an-other you-abandon-me;
You married another and left me;

تامسّخ ما كُنّاني
tsaməssəx ma kunna ni!
how what find you!
How – how could you!

نن لقبيلت اسبغغي، اسبغغي - نن لقبيلت
nn ləqbilət a-s-bəɣ-ɣəy, a-s-bəɣ-ɣəy – nn ləqbilət
your tribe it-not-like-me, it-not-like-me – your tribe
Your tribe doesn't like me, doesn't like me – your tribe;

إدرامن اسباغيسي
idṛạmən əs-bạ-ɣəy-si
money not-be-me-to
I don't have money

آغي عمبين اكُّاري، نبّي مسّخ من بكري
aɣəy ʕan bin ək-kwạrəy, nə-b-bəy məssəx mən bəkri
Me my heart is-white, you-PF-know thus from long_ago
But my heart is clear, you've always known that

تامسّخ ما كُنّا ني
tsaməssəx ma kunna ni!
how what find you!
How – how could you!

9 comments:

David Marjanović said...

Impressive.

I'm unpleasantly surprised to find just how bad I am at hearing [ʕ]. I hear ʕ-baʕam- as [abaam] – I hear the syllable break, and I hear it doesn't begin with a glottal stop, but that's it. :-(

The ɣ threw me off almost every single time for a different reason: except for its long version (in a-s-bəɣ-ɣəy), it's not so much [ʁ] as [ʁʀ], so I heard just [ʀ] at first and tried to interpret uɣ əkkəs as French. >.>

tsaməssəx has an extra [ə] at the end; is that purely epenthetic?

Lameen Souag الأمين سواق said...

If it's any consolation, the ʕ is some distance from the corresponding IPA symbol – it may well be epiglottal rather than pharyngeal, and it's certainly an approximant rather than a fricative. I've noticed that even non-Belbali Algerians' transcriptions sometimes omit it, although I've never had any trouble hearing it.

Not sure I'd accept a transcription [ʁʀ], but I think I hear what you mean – it kind of shades from a fricative into an approximant as the closure is relaxed.

Yeah, insofar as there's an extra [ə], it's definitely epenthentic – there's no morpheme that would have any business being there.

David Marjanović said...

Oh. ʕ and ħ are definitely epiglottal (IPA [ʢ], [ʜ]). To use the symbol ʕ for an approximant is fine, the IPA doesn't distinguish any postvelar approximants from the corresponding voiced fricatives.

The easiest way to hear the difference between pharyngeals and epiglottals, for me, is to ignore them :-] and pay attention to the vowels instead: pharyngeal (like uvular) consonants pull them towards [ɑ], epiglottals pull them towards [æ]. Soundfiles from an East Caucasian language that uses pharyngeals around back vowels and epiglottals around front vowels are here.

Maybe I can hear it between vowels now. But the initial ʕ is still just a probably epiglottalized [a~æ] to me.

I found another epenthetic [ə] in the cluster /hg/. That's very satisfying from a German perspective. ;-)

Say, does every initial ts turn into dz?

David Marjanović said...

Oh, and, I used to completely miss nn ləqbilət because, quite unsurprisingly in hindsight, the [nː] is completely assimilated. The line begins with [lː].

PhoeniX said...

For a language whose consonant and vowel inventory looks basically identical to any random Berber language, this sound shockingly unlike Berber. Very cool.

Lameen Souag الأمين سواق said...

"does every initial ts turn into dz?" – no, none of them do in fact.

"the [nː] is completely assimilated" – also in adṛạ n ləhwa.

"shockingly unlike Berber":
As might be expected for a song, this is a rather puristic text compared to most that I've checked: 94 words (tokens) from Songhay, vs. 9 each from Berber and Arabic. By types:
Berber: adṛạ "mountain", a "FOC", gum "swear", idṛạmən "money", wara "even".
Arabic: ləhwa "air", yisħər "enchant", əḷḷạh "God", lɣadya ???, fəkkəṛ "remember", ləqbilət "tribe", mən bəkri "from long ago".

David Marjanović said...

no, none of them do in fact.

They're all fully voiced.

Lameen Souag الأمين سواق said...

/ts/ and /dz/ are fully contrastive in Korandje, eg:

/tsa/ "say it"
/dza/ "do"

/attsən/ "it is heavy"
/addzən/ "it afflicted"

/tsəwka/ "worm"
/dzəwka/ "on the ground"

It would be very strange if the distinction were neutralised here, and I think that in, say, the second line, the /ts/ is noticeably less voiced than the /dz/.

David Marjanović said...

...Sorry. That one is voiceless in all repetitions, and so is tsamis in all repetitions. Most occurrences of tsaməssəx, however, have [dz]; it may be significant that the lead singer (but not the chorus) puts n or nə in front of most of them.