« A deceptively small country | Main | 999 Pounds »




been waiting impatiently for the next text! :p it's interesting that we're starting to see a few Arabic loans with g rather than q:

əlgəfán-nəs - this is Arabic, but not ELA. gǝfǝn 'nape (back) of the neck'
yəddúgg - ELA īdugg 'to knock'

millím - this wouldn't be 'thousand' i don't think, as in "7,000 dinars". at that time in libya, the millim was the subunit of the girsh which was the subunit of the dinar, so there were 100 girsh in a dinar, and 1000 milliemes in a dinar. him selling molokhiya for ~ 7 milliemes sounds about right for the 1960s.

bə́ss - 'only, just', common in many dialects.

yaʕžəb - also common in dial. Ar. as a way of saying "to like" e.g. yǝ‘žǝb-ak "does it please you? (do you like it?)". it takes the suffixed obj. pronouns.

blaš - dial. Ar. in Libya meaning 'free' usually. i can't think of using it to say 'too bad', but a shift wouldn't be implausible.

axér-lək-ká - you've analyzed it correctly. it's Ar. xēyr l-ak "better for you (m.)"

əl-bulís < Ar. būlīs 'police' - i think it could be english or italian as well, since the french were never really in libya and i don't see why the libyans would have borrowed the word from another arabic dialect.

u tăqqím am əžžaḥím fəll-ís - i think you've translated it nicely. "and it stayed like hell upon him" > "(the sun) continued (to shine) like hell on him"


"been waiting impatiently for the next text! :p"

Glad you're enjoying it!

After this one only 2 more shorter text and one reaaaallly long one.

I'm not sure what I'll do after that, I might look into the el-foqaha texts. But I'll probably have to prioritize some research on Aujila instead.


''žənqín-i'': don't you mean źənqín-i? (ź in his notation = dz.)

''gž, not sure what that root would mean'': one might compare Siwi ggəz "go down", with cognates widespread in Berber. But then why would a causative prefix be needed?

''This is a pretty clear example of proof that the -ís is an obligatory indirect object'': yes, nice one.

''lúda'': looks like a compound with Arabic lā, but I have no idea what the second element might be.

''əlgəfán-nəs'': surely əlgəfa-nnəs? (Ar. qafā = nape)

''U yăxzə́r nəttín ġár-əs'' - "looks at her" might be more precise.

''ssə́baʕa'': surely s- inst. + sə́baʕa?

''can anyone explain the use of s- here'': s- is "for" with prices (at least in Siwi), so "for 7 milliemes".

''ʕažaba'': the relevant form is ʔaʕjaba "to please".

''it's interesting to see that Aujila seems to consistently render C1aC2C2a verbs as C1C1úC2C2'': both these examples come from verbs with -u- imperfects in Arabic (yaduqqu, yamuddu)

''inə́vva with a prefix n-'': no, biconsonantal verbs of the form *ənC become iC in Awjila, so the original form of this verb is *ənv. Cp. "sell", "sleep".


"''žənqín-i'': don't you mean źənqín-i? (ź in his notation = dz.)"

You're probably right. I work off a photocopy of a photocopy, and while the quality is pretty good, when I saw the ź, I assumed it was an artifact developed due to copying., and there's not exactly enough of that letter to be proven wrong.

"''əlgəfán-nəs'': surely əlgəfa-nnəs? (Ar. qafā = nape)"

A of course. Classical Arabic melted my brain for a second.

"''ssə́baʕa'': surely s- inst. + sə́baʕa?" Ah! of course.

"both these examples come from verbs with -u- imperfects in Arabic (yaduqqu, yamuddu)"

I realized that. I was more struck by the fact that the initial consonant was also lengthened in Aujili.

But... It still sort of confused me. As far as I understood from most other words found in Aujili, Libyan Arabic retained a two way opposition from Classical Arabic a, i, u to a, ə, ə.

Why is u retained in this specific context?

It also speaks for some inelegance in the vowel system of Aujila:

In the native system:
/aː/, /iː/, /uː/, /ə/

With /ə/ shifting to /ɐ/ in the vicinity of emphatic consonants.

In the Arabic system:
/aː/, /iː/, /uː/, /eː/, /oː/, /ə/, /ɐ/, /u/

Where /u/ is exclusively found in an extremely small group of words. I think it's only the CaCCa/CuCCu verbs. əddə́mləž simply has Schwa for /u/.

I'd rather find some way to explain away this /u/ as an allophone of /ə/.

Does anyone know what exactly the status of /u/ < Cl. Ar. u is in (Eastern) Libyan Arabic?

Else I should really get my hands on Owen's book soon.

What a nice soundshift *ənC > iC. Kind of reminds me of Hebrew and Akkadian.


Given that dduqq retains the q, we can safely assume that the dialect it was borrowed from was quite different from Eastern Libyan Arabic...


Ah of course, good catch.

Still surprising that Aujila allows for such a broad variety in phonology of loaned words. Seems like it did very little effort to 'nativize' the loaned vocabulary at all.

Aujila doesn't seem to have any other short vowel but /ə/, still in the loaned vocabulary it has up to three short vowels, with more or lesser presence.


The status of ELA vowels from CA I think could use a bit more study. I can't explain it all here. However, the Awjili data is probably a better indicator of the phonology of the loaning dialect than it is of the dialect spoken now. Contemporary ELA has retained a, i, u, and also has o and ǝ. Owens 1984 grammar has some comments on this. On the other hand, the old urban dialect of Tripoli Jewish has reduced all short vowels to ǝ.

Regarding *əlgəfa-nnəs. Good catch. ELA gǝfā, however, is 'lower back', which is maybe a semantic shift which has occurred in ELA recently, given the g of the borrowing.

In this text, yəddúgg has g, unless that's a misprint. Didn't we see it before with q, though? In that case ELA could be a candidate, but most of the other words with q not g would have come from a different dialect, yes.


In this text, yəddúgg has g, unless that's a misprint.

Haha silly me, I completely missed that I had g here, I assumed it was q since Lameen said it.

I really doubt that's a missprint, in the font of Paradisi g looks very different for q. I don't recall seeing this word in earlier texts with q.


The subject of which dialects influenced Aujila is quite confusing. There is definitely two strata of influencing Arabic languages.

One q dialect and one g dialect. One seems to retain a vs i/u, and the other either retains a/i vs u or a, i, u.

Once I have all the data collected from these texts I can say something more educated about this. ;-)


There are definitely two influencing Arabic dialects. Problem is...one of them doesn't exist anymore. So the question becomes: what can we discover about it by looking at languages which borrowed from it or were otherwise influenced? If I may, Lameen's written on this problem for Siwi at http://sites.google.com/site/lameen/siwi-arabic.pdf?attredirects=0

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)