A grammatical sketch of Ghadames Berber (Libya)
 9783896459404, 3896459406

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BERBER STUDIES ISSN 1618-1425 Volume 40

Edited by

Harry Stroomer University of Leiden / The Netherlands

Maarten Kossmann

A Grammatical Sketch of Ghadames Berber (Libya)


The series Berber Studies is a linguistic and text oriented series set up to enrich our knowledge of Berber languages and dialects in general. It is a forum for data-oriented studies of Berber languages, which may include lexical studies, grammatical descriptions, text collections, diachronic and comparative studies, language contact studies as well as studies on specific aspects of the structure of Berber languages. The series will appear at irregular intervals and will comprise monographs and collections of papers.

Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available in the Internet at http://dnb.de. ISBN 978-3-89645-940-4 ISSN 1618-1425 © 2013 The Author

RÜDIGER KÖPPE VERLAG P.O. Box 45 06 43 50881 Cologne Germany www.koeppe.de All rights reserved. Published with financial support from The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Project “How Arabic influenced Berber and the typology of contact-induced change” Production: Heimdall DTP & Verlagsservice, Rheine / Germany

â This book meets the requirements of ISO 9706: 1994, Information and documentation – Paper for documents – Requirements for permanence.

Table of contents Acknowledgements


1. Introduction 1.1 Language and sources 1.2 Notes on transcription and citations 1.3 Abbreviations and other conventions

1 1 5 7

2. Phonology 2.1 Consonants 2.1.1 Consonantal length 2.2 Vowels 2.2.1 Vowel length 2.2.2 Short ǂ and ǎ 2.3 Assimilations 2.3.1 Consonant assimilations 2.3.2 Vowel assimilations 2.4 Accent

9 9 12 14 15 15 16 16 17 18

3. Nouns 3.1 Gender 3.2 State 3.3 Pre-genitive forms of daž ‘house’ 3.4 Number 3.4.1 The initial vowel 3.4.2 Plural formation in the rest of the word 3.4.3 Plural formations with ‫ۑ‬nd3.5 Loans which retain Arabic morphology 3.6 Affiliation prefixes 3.7 Collectives

19 19 20 21 22 22 29 40 40 41 42

4. Pronouns 4.1 Independent personal pronouns 4.2 Direct Object pronouns 4.3 Indirect Object pronouns and pronouns after prepositions and kinship nouns 4.4 Demonstrative pronouns 4.5 Pronominal forms with wa, etc. 4.6 Other pronominal forms: relative heads

48 49 49

5. Deictic elements 5.1 Verbal deictics 5.2 Nominal and pronominal deictics 5.3 Adverbial deictics

53 53 56 59

6. Verbs: stem forms 6.1 Verbal derivations 6.1.1 Sibilant prefix 6.1.2 Nasal prefix 6.1.3 Nasal + sibilant prefix 6.1.4 Prefix tt(u)6.2 Aspectual marking 6.2.1 First apophonic class 6.2.2 Second apophonic class 6.2.3 Third apophonic class 6.2.4 Fourth apophonic class 6.2.5 Apophonic classes of the stative verbs 6.2.6 Irregular verbs 6.2.7 Imperative stem forms 6.2.8 Negative stems 6.2.9 A note on the Future aspectual stem 6.2.10 Verb forms with changes according to the PNG 6.3 Verbal action nouns

61 61 61 62 62 63 63 64 66 69 73 74 76 78 80 82 84 87


45 45 45 47

7. Verbs: inflection 7.1 Person, Number, Gender marking 7.2 Subject-relative forms (“participles”)

91 91 94

8. Quantifiers 8.1 Numerals and numeral constructions 8.2 Some other quantifiers 8.2.1 akk ~ ikk ‘every, each’ 8.2.2 imda ~ imdan ‘entire, all’

99 99 100 100 100

9. The locative clitic 9.1 Form 9.2 Position 9.3 Use

103 103 107 108

10. Prepositions 10.1 i ‘towards, to’ 10.2 s ‘from, through, at, with (instrumental)’ 10.3 d‫‘ ۜۑ‬in’ and ۜ‫ۑ‬d ‘in, with’ 10.4 ‫ܭ‬af ‘on, concerning’ 10.5 ‫ܭ‬ur ‘at’ 10.6 asid ‘until’ 10.7 ۜar ‘between’ 10.8 qăb(ă)l ‘before’ 10.9 Preposition-like elements: ăddo, dat, d‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬r 10.10 Preposition-like nouns: inn‫ۑ‬ž, adda, ammas, ades

111 111 112 114 116 116 117 118 119 119 120

11. Ideophones


12. Possessive constructions 12.1 Nominal possession 12.1.1 Deictic clitics in possessive constructions 12.2 Clausal possession

125 125 126 127


13. Notes on the structure of the noun phrase 13.1 Adjectives 13.2 The element iঌ- ‘other’

129 129 129

14. Verbal clitics 14.1 The clitic complex 14.2 Clitic fronting (“attraction”) 14.3 Multiple contexts of clitic fronting

131 131 131 135

15 Simple verbal sentences: main structures


16. Relative clauses and related constructions 16.1 Relative clauses 16.1.1 Subject and Direct Object relatives 16.1.2 Prepositional relative clauses 16.1.3 Locative relative clauses 16.1.4 Relative clauses without marking 16.1.5 Relative clauses with pronominal markers other than ke 16.2 Constructions related to relative clauses 16.2.1 Cleft sentences 16.2.2 Question word questions

139 139 139 141 142 142

17. Non-verbal sentences and ‘be’-verbs 17.1 Non-verbal clauses without a copula 17.2 Clauses with the copula ‫ۑ‬nte(ni) 17.3 Clefts 17.4 Non-verbal constructions with d 17.5 Be-verbs: ili 17.6 Be-verbs: ăۜ

149 149 149 152 152 153 155

18. Questions



143 145 145 146

19. The use of the aspects and moods 19.1 Perfective 19.2 Imperfective 19.3 a(l) + Imperfective 19.4 d + Future 19.5 Aorist 19.6 Imperative 19.7 Auxiliary verbs?

161 162 163 167 170 171 173 175

20. Negation 20.1 Verbal negation: ak 20.2 Verbal negation: wăl 20.3 Non-verbal negation 20.4 The negator awas 20.5 The element wăllas ‘nobody’

177 177 178 181 183 184

21. Coordination


22. Complement clauses


23. Subordination 23.1 nkud: ‘when, if’, kud ‘when’ 23.2 ilam ‘if’ 23.3 ۜ‫ۑ‬d ‘when’ 23.4 qabăl ‘before’ 23.5 asid ‘until’ 23.6 ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k ‘like, so that’ 23.7 imkud ~ amin kud ‘as if’ 23.8 তafšan ‘because’

191 191 193 193 194 194 195 197 197




Acknowledgements This book was written in the framework of the project “How Arabic influenced Berber and the typology of contact-induced change”, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and hosted by the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics. Many people helped shaping this book by their moral and intellectual support. It would be impossible to list them all here, but I wish to mention some of my colleagues in Leiden and elsewhere (in alphabetical order): Ahmad Al-Jallad, Vermondo Brugnatelli, Mena Lafkioui, Utz Maas, Khalid Mourigh, Maarten Mous, Stanly Oomen, Marijn van Putten, Christian Rapold, Thilo Schadeberg, Lameen Souag, Harry Stroomer, and Catherine Taine-Cheikh. I am very grateful to Lameen Souag, Marijn van Putten and Harry Stroomer, who commented on earlier versions of the manuscript. I wish to thank in particular the management and administrative staff of the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL) for their continuing support. I finally pronounce my utmost gratitude to Silke and Doortje Kossmann for their moral support.

Leiden, February 5, 2013




1.1 Language and sources The oasis of Ghadames lies on the Libyan side of the place where Algeria, Tunisia and Libya meet. Its present population ranges to about 10,000 people, not all of whom are natives of the oasis. According to the figures given by Lanfry (1973:440ff.), the oasis had 1,767 sedentary inhabitants in 1945, 1,632 of whom were speakers of the Ghadames language.1 Traditionally, its inhabitants live from date palm cultivation and longdistance trade, esp. to sub-Saharan Africa. Nowadays, the old town of Ghadames, albeit a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1986, is being abandoned by its inhabitants, who move to modern housing nearby.2 The name of the oasis is ‫ܭ‬adém‫ۑ‬s locally, ܵădem‫ۑ‬s or ܵădam‫ۑ‬s in Tuareg (Ritter 2009:II-298) and ܵdam‫ۑ‬s in local Arabic. In Antiquity it was known as Cydamus. The traditional language of the oasis is Berber. This has been studied by two scholars.3 The first one was Adolphe de Calassanti Motylinski (b. 1854, d. 1907), who published his Le dialecte berbère de R’edamès in 1904. This study is mainly based on information obtained by correspondence from Moh’ammed ben Othman, a merchant from Ghadames who used to spend a couple of months in El Oued every year (Motylinski 1904:v). On Motylinski’s request, he filled in a long lexical questionnaire and also sent a couple of texts, all transcribed in Arabic script. As a follow-up on this, Motylinski himself travelled for two weeks to El Oued, where he worked with speakers from Ghadames. As he puts it himself: “j’ai pu […] vérifier la prononciation de mes textes, en recueillir de nouveaux et augmenter considérablement mon premier vocabulaire” (Motylinski 1904:vi). This suggests that all the written material was checked with speakers; however, traces of the written background of his material remain. Thus the noun ‘camel’, aশămm, is written and ϡϮο΍ in different parts of the book. The first transcription probably represents Motylinski’s own notes, while the rendering of শ by goes back to the Hausa usage to pronounce Arabic ‫ڲ‬Ɨd as [l]. This 1

The 135 inhabitants of the Ulád Băllíl ward (attached to Ayt Wazităn) spoke Arabic and only understood little Berber (Lanfry 1973:445). 2 According to the usually well-informed Libyan Berber website http://www.temehu. com/Cities_sites/Ghadames.htm (viewed June 2012). 3 For earlier word lists and material, see Motylinski (1904:171-312).

last convention is foreign to nineteenth century scientific transcription practices in Algeria and probably reflects the orthography used by Moh’ammed ben Othman, who may have been involved in trans-Saharan trade. Another example is ‘lands’ (p. 164), which represents Arabic ΍ϭέϮϤ˵Η. In view of Lanfry’s t‫ۑ‬muro, the final ’alif is probably an ’alif al-wiqƗya, which has no phonetic meaning. In such cases, Motylinski apparently did not check the form, but based his interpretation only on the written text. Motylinski’s study contains a short grammatical sketch, 22 texts and a 73 page French–Ghadames Berber vocabulary. Unfortunately, the transcription practices used by Motylinski hide many of the phonemic oppositions of Ghadames Berber, and the material is often difficult to interpret. The second scholar who worked seriously on Ghadames was the White Father Jacques Lanfry (b. 1910, d. 2000). In the wake of the allied conquest of Libya, he stayed for almost two years in the oasis (1944-1945). During this time he collected an important amount of material, which he started to publish in the late 1960s. Almost all texts were dictated to Lanfry by Aতmed O-Mal‫ۑ‬k ‫ۑ‬nd-O-F‫ۑ‬ঌal‫ۑ‬t (T‫ۑ‬nna਌én ward, Ayt Wazităn) (Lanfry 1968:xxvii, 1971:1); language study was undertaken with the help of the same speaker and with that of Si ‘Ali O Taleb (Tafărfăra ward, Ayt Wazităn) (Lanfry 1968:xxvii). Lanfry’s first publication (Lanfry 1968) consists of two parts. The first part is a linguistic and ethnographic study of the oasis with Ghadames texts and ethnographical sketches. The second part is a fine-grained study of verbal morphology, followed by grammatical notes on a number of other salient features of the grammar. Unfortunately, the technical process through which the edition went led to a very large number of typographical errors. Most of these were corrected in a short volume of the Fichier de Documentation Berbère (Lanfry 1971), which contains a hand-written corrected transcription of the texts of Lanfry (1968). It does not include the songs in the original volume and adds a few new texts. Finally, in 1973, Lanfry published a lexicon of the language, containing about 2,000 words. The author could not go back to Ghadames after 1945 and decided to publish his notes the way they were. This means that the transcriptions are not always consistent, something Lanfry was well aware of and regularly commented upon in his 1971 and 1973 works. In spite of this, his work is of the highest standards. He gained profound understanding of


the vowel system, which is entirely different from that of most other Berber varieties, and all his work breathes his intimate knowledge of the language. It is on this work that the present sketch is based. Since Lanfry left Ghadames in 1945, no linguists have worked on the spot any more, and all studies concerning Ghadames Berber are based on previous works. Ghadames Berber has gained some notoriety in the historical analysis of the Berber languages and takes an important place in the works of Karl-G. Prasse (1972-1974, 1984, 1998), Werner Vycichl (1966, 1990), and myself (e.g. Kossmann 2000, 2001a, 2001b). Ghadames constitutes a Berber language on its own, which has followed historical paths different from all other languages. It preserves a number of phonological features that are not commonly found elsewhere, such as the consonant phoneme আ (otherwise only preserved in Awdjila, corresponding to Tuareg h), a binary opposition in the central vowel system (otherwise only preserved in Tuareg and, with modifications, in Zenaga), and the ancient Berber vowel e (otherwise only in Tuareg and Siwa). Moreover, its vowel system bears traces of the lost glottal stop, a consonant only preserved in Zenaga (Kossmann 2001a). In its morphology, Ghadames also has a number of highly unusual features. It distinguishes six main apophonic stems in aspectual morphology. In addition to the five pan-Berber stems (Aorist, Perfective, Negative Perfective, Imperfective and Negative Imperfective), there are a Future stem, which also has a special conjugation (cf. Kossmann 2000 for a historical analysis), and an intricate set of injunctives (probably derived from the Future series, cf. Kossmann 2001b). A special feature of Ghadames, not found elsewhere except in Awdjila, is the existence of a locative clitic, which is put after or inserted into the last element of a noun phrase. While much of its syntax follows general Berber patterns, a number of outstanding features occur. For instance, Ghadames is the only Berber language that distinguishes initial from sequential negative forms: initial forms are marked by ak, while sequential forms have wăl. Ghadames Berber lexicon has undergone relatively low influence from Arabic; thus in a count of loanwords (number of different lexemes) in traditional narrative texts, Ghadames has 18% loanwords from Arabic, whereas languages such as Tashelhiyt and Figuig have twice as much (Kossmann fc.). There are a number of recognizable loans from Tuareg,


such as aশămm ‘camel’ (with the Tuareg phonetic development *lܵ > শ) and arăhۜ ‘riches’, originally from Arabic rizg (< rizq), but mediated by northern Tuareg, where *z becomes h and *g becomes ۜ.4 There is also influence from Hausa (Souag fc.), e.g. bărkano ‘cayenne pepper’ (Hausa bàĜkòònóó ‘Chili pepper’); similarly the existence of a series of ideophones (see chapter 11) is due to sub-Saharan influence. One also remarks the presence of Hausa words in songs (cf. the discussion in Lanfry 1973:134). In 1945, there were still some people living in Ghadames who spoke a sub-Saharan language (Lanfry 1973:450). In the sketch grammar, I will regularly refer to the situation in other Berber languages, without being always specific. For more information, the reader can refer to general overviews of Berber, such as Basset (1952), Galand (2010) and Kossmann (2012), as well as to descriptions of specific varieties of Berber. The language of Ghadames is far from homogenous. Lanfry (1973: 441ff.) notes a basic difference between the speech of the two main tribes of the oasis, the Ayt Wazităn and the Ayt Wălid. Among the Ayt Wălid, the Maze‫ܭ‬ăn (known as Imaziܵăn in Tuareg) have some special features that set them apart from the inhabitants of the other Ayt Wălid wards, Tăৢko and Ayt Darar. The speech of the inhabitants of the small oasis of Tunen just outside Ghadames is very close to Maze‫ܭ‬ăn, but still displays some differences (Lanfry 1973:444). The Ayt Wazităn variety, on the other hand, seems to be fairly homogenous within its three Berber-speaking wards, Tafărfăra, T‫ۑ‬nna਌en and ۛarassăn (Lanfry 1973:445). Lanfry’s works are based on the Ayt Wazităn variety and refer to other varieties only on very rare occasions. The collection includes only one short text in the variety of the Maze‫ܭ‬ăn, as well as two proverbs from Maze‫ܭ‬ăn and one marked as Ayt Wălid. It is therefore difficult to assess the dialectal variation from Lanfry’s material. The language reflected in Motylinski (1904) differs considerably from what is described by Lanfry. There are some differences in the verbal conjugation (Motylinski has a 2S suffix -‫ۑ‬d, where Lanfry has -‫ۑ‬t), as well as important differences in the syntax of the relative clause. There are also lexical differences, e.g. Motylinski has a noun ‘house’, which is not given by Lanfry. Although some of the differences may be due to the problematic status of Motylinski’s material, and others to the 40 years time span that lie be4

The latter change is also found in Ghadames, but there it does not affect loans from Arabic, see 2.1.


tween his data collection and Lanfry’s stay in Ghadames, most of the differences are probably due to dialectal variation; it seems safe to assume that Motylinski’s main informant was from Ayt Wălid rather than from Ayt Wazităn. In spite of the importance of Lanfry’s material, in Berber linguistics the language of Ghadames has not yet been given the place it deserves. This may be due to the fact that Lanfry’s studies are difficult to obtain (the reissue of Lanfry 1973, Lanfry 2011, is a great improvement), and that Lanfry’s notations prove somewhat difficult to interpret for a superficial reader. Moreover, while Lanfry provides a detailed description of verbal morphology, other subjects remain underrepresented, such as syntax. This is the reason I decided to write this short grammatical sketch of the language, basing myself on Lanfry’s material. For phonology and verbal morphology I draw extensively on Lanfry’s analyses; for nominal morphology and syntax I mainly use material from his lexicon and texts. No additional data were collected. 1.2 Notes on transcription and citations I have made a number of changes to Lanfry’s transcriptions in order to make them easier to process (both intellectually and technically). The most important changes concern the vowel system, which is represented as follows. The transcriptions chosen by me are inspired by Lanfry’s phonetic explanation (Lanfry 1968:xxxiv-xxxvi). Lanfry e ‫ۑ‬ ӏ ө ҽ ‫ۑ‬ҕ

system used here ă ‫ۑ‬ e o ǂ ǎ

I assume that most of Lanfry’s notations of vowel length represent accented plain vowels (see 2.2.1). Therefore I changed his transcription (with underlining in Lanfry 1968, 1971 and with a macron in Lanfry 1973), using the accent aigu. In the transcription of the consonants, I have


undertaken the following adaptations: Lanfry bࡊ gࡣࡶ ۞ dࡊࡊ h࡟ প tࡊ (Lanfry 1973) Ġ (Lanfry 1968)5

system used here আ ۜ k‫ވ‬ ঎ ত x ৮ ৮

All in all, these adaptations only concern changes in letter form, and there is a one-to-one correspondence between Lanfry’s conventions and those used here. In my citations, I have not interpreted Lanfry’s notations further, and only in a few evident cases (never with vowels!) an error has been corrected silently. The only point where I underrepresent Lanfry’s notations is the way he writes assimilations. Lanfry uses underlining in order to mark that something assimilatory is going on. He is not very consistent in what this means: sometimes the assimilation is written and the underlining underpins that it is an assimilated form, in other cases, the assimilation is apparently not written, and the underlining seems to indicate that an assimilation should be applied. As it is not always clear what the result of the assimilation should be, nor what the underlining represents in every specific case, I have chosen not to take over this convention. Students of assimilation should go back to the source and make their own interpretation. Morphemic segmentation, word boundaries and glosses are all mine. In referencing the citations, I use the following system. Forms only attested in one book are preceded by the sigla L68 (Lanfry 1968), L71 (Lanfry 1971) and L73 (Lanfry 1973). Those forms in Lanfry (1968) that 5

Lanfry (1973) describes as an interdental spirant, while he describes as an affricated dental. The word ‘to beg’, ă৮৮‫ۑ‬r is written in Lanfry 1973:373, but in Lanfry (1968:245). This suggests that in Lanfry (1968) should be interpreted as the same sound as in Lanfry (1973). The word taw৮re ‘fact of being a beggar’ is written in Lanfry 1971:54 and Lanfry 1973:373, while it appears as in Lanfry 1968:84, 245.


were corrected in Lanfry (1971) first give the page number in the 1971 source and then add the page number in the earlier edition, where also the translation can be found. For example, [22/40] refers to page 22 in Lanfry (1971) and page 40 in Lanfry (1968). Of course the transcription of such examples follows the corrected version. Citations from Motylinski (1904) are referenced as [Mot] followed by the page number. When citing Motylinski’s material, I mostly refrain from a phonetic interpretation and give his notation between brackets, e.g. ‘today’ [Mot44]. When citing sentences, I have added a phonetic interpretation, in order to make glossing possible. Of course, this interpretation cannot be but tentative. 1.3 Abbreviations and other conventions In the text and in the glossing line, the following abbreviations have been used: ANP


f. F FUT



Anaphoric deictic clitic Aorist Single consonant Long consonant Copula Demonstrative base Durative marker Direct Object État d’annexion / Annexed State Emphatic (?) marker on deictic clitics Feminine Female Future Future marker Imperfective Injunctive Indirect Object Imperative (non-Imperfective) Imperfective Imperative Itive verbal clitic (‘thither’) Lanfry (1968)


L71 L73 LOC M

m. Mot NEG





Lanfry (1971) Lanfry (1973) Locative Masculine Male Motylinski (1904) Negation Negative Imperfective Negative Perfective Plural Perfective Person/Gender/Number Predicative particle Proximal deictic clitic Participle Relative marker (only Motylinski) Yes/no question Relative clause Singular Plain vowel Central vowel Verbal Noun Ventive verbal clitic (‘hither’)

Apophony is described by means of the convention Ԥ ‘high vowel: ‫ۑ‬, u, or i’ vs. A ‘low vowel: ă or a’. L stands for consonantal lengthening. The sign indicates a clitic boundary; the sign indicates a morpheme boundary.




2.1 Consonants The following table lists the consonants as described in Lanfry (1968, 1973). Consonants between brackets are rare. b


আ f m

(঎) (৮)

d t z s n

ঌ ৬ ਌ ৢ (৆)?

l r

(শ) (৚)

(þ) ž š

ۜ (k‫)ވ‬


g k

q ܵ x

‫ܭ‬ ত



The normal correspondent of Berber *g is ۜ.6 In Arabic words, ۜ corresponds only to Ν. The correspondent of Arabic ϕ is g or q, not ۜ. Examples: < Berber oۜărf ‘crow’ ۜ‫ۑ‬rআ ‘to be last’

< Arabic ălۜamăt ‘Friday’ ălgum ‘group of armed people’ qăll ‘less’

The consonants ۜ and g are in phonemic opposition (pace Lanfry 1973:xiii), cf. the following near-minimal pair: ăۜr‫ۑ‬d ‘play!’


‘shave (a baby)!’

Immediately preceding d and z,7 *g remains g, e.g. ăgd‫ۑ‬d ‘to meet’, ăgd‫ۑ‬f ‘to vomit’, ăgd‫ۑ‬l ‘to shelter’, ‫ۑ‬gzén ‘puppy’, ăgz‫ۑ‬r ‘to cut off grapes of dates’. There may be some instances of a phoneme gg‫އ‬. In the noun azǎggaܵ ‘red’ (also transcribed , Lanfry 1973:419), the rounding of the central vowel probably represents consonantal labialization.

6 7

According to Motylinski (1904:5), this sound is occasionally pronounced ž (). No relevant examples of *gs were found.

The consonant þ is very rare, and probably expressive in nature, cf. sþuþu ‘to whisper’. In the Maze‫ܭ‬ăn dialect as spoken in the small oasis of Tunen, it is found in the verb ‘to eat’, as witnessed by the form t‫ۑ‬tšed (t‫ۑ‬þ(þ)ed) [L73:37] ‘you ate’. In Ayt Wazităn and Ayt Wălid, this verb has šš instead; similarly in the Maze‫ܭ‬ăn variety of Ghadames proper (e.g. ăšš=‫ۑ‬t 41/70). Motylinski (1904) has , corresponding to the Tunen pronunciation. In many words, Berber *ܵ has developed into ‫ ;ܭ‬in others *ܵ is preserved, e.g.: éܵăf áܵil taܵma ăܵr‫ۑ‬s ܵăৢৢ ܵazăr

‘head’ ‘arm’ ‘thigh’ ‘to slaughter’ ‘bone’ ‘hole’

‫ܭ‬af a‫ܭ‬lad ‫ܭ‬ăr ‫ܭ‬úr té‫ܭ‬a৬ ‫ܭ‬ás

‘on’ ‘street (inside the oasis)’ ‘to read’ ‘at’ ‘goat’ ‘only’

The name of the oasis is ‫ܭ‬adém‫ۑ‬s locally, corresponding to forms with ܵ in neighboring languages: Tuareg ܵădem‫ۑ‬s and local Arabic ܵdam‫ۑ‬s. In a few words, š corresponds to ܵ in other Berber languages (Vycichl 1990): éš‫ۑ‬d ‘ashes’ tomarše ‘locust’ tašarঌămt ‘scorpion’ The consonant š also appears in words which have ۜ or g in Arabic or elsewhere in Berber, e.g.: ălšíb ašăllid

‘pocket’8 ‘king’

The cluster *nܵ has become nn (maybe ৆৆, see 6.2.6), e.g. *ănܵ ‘to kill’ > ănn, and, with metathesis, *ănܵ‫ۑ‬l ‘to pour’ > *ănn‫ۑ‬l (ă৆৆‫ۑ‬l?) > ăll‫ۑ‬n (ăশশ‫ۑ‬n?). A form without metathesis, , is given by Motylinski 8

One wonders whether this is a loan from Arabic mediated by Tuareg, where forms such as ‫ۑ‬lhib (Ahaggar), ălšib (Mali Tuareg) occur, which show unusual reflexes of Arabic ۜ (dialectally also ž), cf. Ritter 2009:II-797, Prasse 1986:518.


(1904:168). The noun anܵur ‘wooden bolt’9 did not undergo the assimilation. In many Berber verbs, Ghadames final k corresponds to y in other Berber languages (Kossmann 1999b:186-192), e.g.: ăঌn‫ۑ‬k ăfl‫ۑ‬k ăۜm‫ۑ‬k

‘to be piled up’ ămd‫ۑ‬k ‘to cut up (wood)’ ăzw‫ۑ‬k ‘to spy’ ă਌m‫ۑ‬k

‘to put a trap’ ‘to winnow’ ‘to sew’

In preconsonantal position, Ghadames আ [ȕ]10 normally corresponds to b in other Berber varieties. In other positions, it corresponds to Mali Tuareg h, while it is lost in most other Berber varieties, e.g.: ‫ۑ‬আr ăআ‫ۑ‬r ărn‫ۑ‬আ t‫ۑ‬sআot

‘to want’ ‘to close’ ‘to add’ ‘palm foliole’

éআăঌ ăআۜ‫ۜۑ‬ ăআd‫ۑ‬d an‫ۑ‬আže

‘night’ ‘to be humid’ ‘to stand’ ‘Arab nomad’

In the Maze‫ܭ‬ăn dialect, আ has become b (Lanfry 1968:344), e.g. Ayt Wazităn anăۜۜărআu, Maze‫ܭ‬ăn amaۜărbu ‘last’, (Lanfry 1973:118). Motylinski also notes a variant pronunciation “b prononcé en allongeant les lèvres”, which he characterizes as a “prononciation vicieuse des nègres et âtrias (= freed slaves, MK)”. There is some circumstantial evidence for the existence of long ঄঄ in the verb ă঄঄ ‘to carry’ (see 6.2.6). This is not represented in Lanfry’s transcription. The consonants ঎ [ð] and ৮ [ș] are very rare (Lanfry 1968:xxxi; 1973:xiv); the examples found in Lanfry (1973) suggest that they are realizations of /d/ and /t/ before r, e.g. ă঎r‫ۑ‬z ‘to hit with the heel’, é঎r‫ۑ‬m ‘sum of money in coins’, ‫ۑ‬৮৮‫ۑ‬r ‘to beg’, taw৮re ‘fact of being a beggar’. Motylinski mentions a frequent pronunciation of t as š () (Motylinski 1904:5), e.g. ‘what you have’ for ke t-‫ۑ‬lo-m [Mot25], ‘silver’ for ălfi৬৬ăt [Mot5]. This seems to be a dialect feature of Ayt Wălid, mostly absent in the Ayt Wazităn data of Lanfry. There are, however, a number of instances where the Ayt Wazităn Cf. Tuareg (Ajjer) ănnăܵăr (Ritter 2009:II-667). Ritter considers this a loan from Arabic. I have not been able to identify an Arabic source. 10 This sound is transcribed in Motylinski (1904). 9


dialect has variation between t and š, which could be a lexicalized trace of the same phenomenon. Thus the verb ‘to carry’ occurs in three different forms in Lanfry’s lexicon: ădk‫ۑ‬l, ătk‫ۑ‬l and ăšk‫ۑ‬l. Among these, ăšk‫ۑ‬l is by far the most frequent in the texts (over 50 attestations), while ătk‫ۑ‬l is only found three times, and ădk‫ۑ‬l is not attested in the text corpus at all. Motylinski has forms with (e.g. [Mot81]). A similar lexically specific variation is found between išewe and itewe ‘why’. The consonant শ is rare (Lanfry 1968:xxxii).11 It is found in the loan (from Tuareg) aশămm ‘camel’ and in the assimilated form tăۜăশশemt ‘bite of bread’ (cf. Ouargla tag‫ۑ‬lঌimt ‘little ball of couscous’). Lanfry may not have been very consistent in his notation of this sound; thus he writes the well known Arabic formulas ‘God willing’ and ‘by God’ as i ša Allah and wallahi, while in Arabic normally pharyngealized forms are found. On the possible pronunciation ăশশ‫ۑ‬n ‘to pour’, noted by Lanfry without pharyngealization, see 6.2.6. Pharyngealized rhotics seem to be rare too, cf. however ă৚৚ ‘to play’ (opposed to ărr ‘give back’, Lanfry 1973:xiv), and, from the same root, o৚a৚ ‘festival drum’. The pronunciation of k‫ )>۞, mostly next to w. They are apparently rounded variants of the central vowels (cf. Lanfry 1968:xxxv; Lanfry 1973:xv, xvi); in this sketch they are transcribed ǂ and ǎ,


respectively. I suppose most or all instances are allophonic variants of ă and ‫ۑ‬, respectively; some cases may represent labialization of a preceding consonant (see 2.1 above). 2.3


2.3.1 Consonant assimilations There are a number of consonant assimilations that occur with consonantinitial clitic elements (Lanfry 1968:xxxii; 353):


‫ܭ‬š > তš wătă‫=ܭ‬š‫ۑ‬k

> wătăত=š‫ۑ‬k

‘I hit you’

‫ܭ‬k > তk ufe‫=ܭ‬kum

> ufeত=kum

‘I found you (P)’ [L71:73]

‫ܭ‬t > তত wătă‫=ܭ‬tăt ikf=ană‫=ܭ‬tăn

> wătăত=তăt > ikf=anăত=তăn

‘I hit her’ ‘he gave them to us’

ܵt > xx t‫ۑ‬nzăܵ=tăt=‫ۑ‬n

> t‫ۑ‬nzăx=xăt=‫ۑ‬n ‘he pulled her over there’

kt > kk ‫ۑ‬kfe‫=ܭ‬ák=tăt ak tăt=itt‫ۜۜۑ‬

> ‫ۑ‬kfe‫=ܭ‬ak=kăt > ak kăt=itt‫ۜۜۑ‬

‘I gave her to you’ ‘he shall not do it’ [L71:13]

kt > gd t‫ۜۜۑ‬ar=ak=d

> t‫ۜۜۑ‬ar=ag=d

‘she throws to you’ [L71:43]

st > ss ás=t=idd=yărr

> as=s=idd=yărr

‘he will return it to him’

ft > f(f) tăssităf=t=id

> tăssităf=f=id

‘she let him in’ [L71:24]16

This assimilation is not mentioned in Lanfry (1968:xxxii).


fd > আd tăssităf=d

‘she let in’ [L71:24]17

> tăssităআ-d

bt > pp yăۜawăb=tăn=‫ۑ‬n > yăۜawăp=păn=‫ۑ‬n

‘he answered them’

It is not clear to what extent these assimilations also apply in other contexts; one notes, however, the existence elsewhere of some of the clusters that would undergo assimilation when an object pronoun is concerned,18 e.g. tasămdikt ‘bird trap’, not **tasămdik(k). Voice and place assimilations are also found elsewhere, e.g.: ঌk > ৬k nb > mb

‫ۑ‬ঌkur > ‫ۑ‬৬kur ‘fill!’ (cf. I: iঌ‫ۑ‬kkur ‘he always fills’) ănb‫ۑ‬r > ămb‫ۑ‬r ‘bite!’ (cf. I: inăbbăr ‘he always bites’)

2.3.2 Vowel assimilations There are a number of vowel assimilations. The most important is the lowering of ‫ ۑ‬to ă before r, l, ܵ, x, ত, ‫ ܭ‬which is noted for the Perfective of the first apophonic type by Lanfry (1968:326; corrected 1973:xvi). Lanfry’s notations are not always consistent at this point. There are some indications that ă becomes ‫ ۑ‬before ۜۜ. Thus the Aorist of the verb ‘to go down’ is ‫ۑۜۜۑ‬z rather than expected **ăۜۜ‫ۑ‬z. In similar cases, Lanfry’s notations are inconsistent, showing uncertainty about the vowel quality. When a central vowel is combined with y, a plain vowel appears: ăy > e, while ‫ۑ‬y > i, e.g.: *ăzۜ‫ۑ‬y *ăzۜ‫ۑ‬yăt *y‫ۑ‬zۜăy *t‫ۑ‬zۜăyăm

> > > >

ăzۜi ăzۜiyăt izۜe t‫ۑ‬zۜeyăm

‘spend the night! (Imperative singular)’ ‘spend the night! (Imperative P:M)’ ‘he spent the night (Perfective)’ ‘you (M:P) spent the night (Perfective)’

In initial position, y‫ ۑ‬becomes i, cf. izۜe < *y‫ۑ‬zۜăy above. 17

This assimilation is not mentioned in Lanfry (1968:xxxii). One possible reason for this is that the underlying form of the third person Direct Object pronoun may be h rather than t in these contexts; different from the Ayt Wazităn dialect described by Lanfry, the dialect of Ayt Wălid has h in third person Direct Object pronouns (Lanfry 1968:xxxi), see 4.2.



Different from Tuareg, Ghadames does not seem to display vowel harmony. Thus i and u can freely be followed by ă (e.g. yutăf ‘he entered’, cf. Tuareg yotăঞ, id.), while ă is allowed before the high vowels i and u (e.g. yăbul ‘he urinated’ [1/1]) (cf. 6.2.2 on Aorists of the type ‫ۑ‬CCu). 2.4 Accent Ghadames has word accent, but only little is known about it. Probably, most notations of vowel length in Lanfry’s works represent accent on a plain vowel, although some cases represent sequences of a semivowel followed by a high vowel (e.g. < Ư > = *yi). There are quite some cases that defy interpretation, such as the double accent on énér ‘oil lamp’. Lanfry did not study the accentual system in detail (Lanfry 1968:xxxvi) and has wildly vacillating notations of vowel length, so one may assume that at this point his data are not always fully reliable (or represent intonation rather than lexical information). It seems that the place of the accent is not predictable, cf. tá਌i৬ ‘hen’ as opposed to a਌éঌ ‘donkey’ [L73:414], a਌éd ‘grinding’ [L71:66]. Lanfry points to a number of contexts where the word accent is related to its grammatical function, e.g.: yҳkn‫ۑ‬f táli

‘he roasts (A)’ ‘room’

iknҳf ‘he roasted (P)’ [L68:324] talí ‘in a room’ [L68:366]




Ghadames Berber nouns come in two genders – masculine and feminine – and two numbers – singular and plural. For ease of reference, the following scheme gives the most common morphological expression of these categories:




awǎssar wǎssarăn

tawǎssart twǎssarén

‘old person’

3.1 Gender Feminine gender is marked in most nouns by means of the prefix t-. Moreover, it is marked by the suffixes -t(t) ‘F:S’ and -én ‘F:P’ (always accented). Both suffixes are very frequent, but they are not found with all feminine words. The F:S suffix has two forms, -t and -tt. The latter suffix only appears after vowels. As long consonants are simplified in wordfinal position, the difference only appears when the noun is followed by a vowel-initial clitic, e.g.: taš‫ۑ‬ddut – taš‫ۑ‬ddut=i ‘(this) pot’ taxabit – taxabitt=e ‘(that) jar’ In taxabit(t), the final t is not part of the stem, cf. the plural txubay ‘jars’. Feminine singulars in i, e or a do not all have a suffix, e.g. téle ‘shadow’, tali ‘room’, talta ‘woman’. The gender system seems to function in a similar way to other Berber languages. The opposition between masculine and feminine is one of natural gender when referring to humans and animals, and one of degree (bigger vs. smaller) when referring to objects. Examples: natural gender: aৢli – taৢlet aশăm – taশămt oۜărf – toۜărft

‘bride’ – ‘groom’ ‘camel (male – female)’ ‘crow (male – female)’

degree: as‫ۑ‬ll‫ۑ‬n – tas‫ۑ‬ll‫ۑ‬nt

‘staircase’ – ‘stair’

akorm – takor‫ۑ‬mt ‘back’ – ‘neck’ aۜălzim – taۜălzimt ‘double-edged implement’ – ‘id. but smaller’ ažăršil – tažăršilt ‘ground mat’ – ‘(smaller) mat’ There is no indication that Ghadames uses gender in the formation of a collective – unity noun opposition, as is the case in many other Berber languages. Normally the same gender is used for fruits and for fruit trees, e.g. armun ‘pomegranate fruit, pomegranate tree’; ašašid ‘almond, almond tree’, ălm‫ۑ‬৬k ‘fresh fig, fig tree’. One notes however the difference between aআena (masculine) ‘date’ and taআenawt (feminine) ‘date palm’. 3.2 State Different from Tuareg and Algerian and Moroccan varieties of Berber, but similar to several other Libyan varieties and Zenaga, Ghadames has no opposition between a Free State and an Annexed State. Lanfry (19711972) studies some potential remnants of the Annexed State after prepositions. In the first place, he points to a number of passages in traditional songs that seem to contain Annexed State forms where the current language would have a different form: éআăঌ n w-aۜۜaۜ d




of EA-thunder and

‘night of thunder and rain’ [Lanfry 1971-1972:181] ay anenay n w-orăܵ o


of EA-gold

‘o hook of gold’ [Lanfry 1971-1972:181] a


n w-aআor



of EA-lion

‘o daughter of a lion’ [Lanfry 1971-1972:181] d ‫ۑ‬nnawwar




and flower




‘and the flower whose smell has reached her’ [Lanfry 1971-1972:181]


The last example is also unusual for another reason: the use of wa in a relative clause (see 16.1.5, Lanfry 1973:381). This suggests that the text comes from a different variety of Ghadames, or is in a different Berber variety.19 The second argument comes from plural masculine forms, which have no initial vowel. Following a preposition, these forms have initial i, e.g. (Lanfry 1971-1972:180): শammán ঌarăn

d‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬r iশammán ades n iঌarăn nn-e-s

‘camels – behind the camels’ ‘feet – next to his feet’

This is also the case with some nouns which in other Berber languages do not have a plural suffix i-, e.g.: măddén wǂlle

n imăddén n iwǂlle

‘people – of people’ ‘goats – of goats’

The forms attested in the songs undoubtedly present Annexed State forms; the i- plurals may have a different origin. As argued in Kossmann (1999a), Ghadames i is lost in initial position. One may argue that the position after a preposition (esp. after one-segment prepositions such as n ‘of’) is not to be regarded as word-initial, and that i was therefore preserved. In that case, there would be no immediate historical link to the presence or absence of Annexed State forms. 3.3 Pre-genitive forms of daž ‘house’ The noun daž ‘house’ normally takes the allomorph da before a possessive phrase, e.g.: da


house of



‘the house of her uncle’ [14/26]



‘their house’ [14/26]

house of-3P:M 19

Note that there are no Berber varieties that have Annexed State forms with w- (wellknown from Algerian and Moroccan Berber) as well as relative constructions with wa (as found in Tuareg and similarly in Siwa).


According to Lanfry (1973:57) the difference between da and daž in this construction would be one of belonging (da nnawăn ‘your home’) vs. one of possession (daž ‫ۑ‬nnaw‫ۑ‬n ‘the house you possess’). In the texts, da and daž occur in similar contexts, e.g. da n aৢle [70/110] and daž n aৢle [69/108] ‘the house of the groom’ without any apparent difference in meaning. 3.4 Number Ghadames Berber distinguishes singulars from plurals. Most mass nouns are singular-only or plural-only, e.g.: singular-only yăff ‘milk’ ude ‘oil’

plural-only aman ‘water’ dămmăn ‘blood’

In the presentation of number morphology a distinction will be made between what happens in the first syllable of the word and what happens in the rest of the word, because the processes relating to these two parts work independently from each other. The first part of a noun normally consists of a plain vowel that may be preceded by the gender prefix t-. This will be called the initial vowel. Certain categories are regularly expressed by the absence of the initial vowel. The initial vowel can in many cases be considered a prefix; in other cases, there is no reason to dissolve the vocalic part from the basis. All plain vowels can constitute an initial vowel. Absence of a plain vowel is indicated in the following by . 3.4.1 The initial vowel Regarding initial vowels in the singular and their plural counterparts, the following can be said: 1. Most nouns have the initial vowel a in the singular. This vowel undergoes the following changes in the plural:


a. Most common is S a- / ta-, P ø / t(‫)ۑ‬-, e.g.: abăddădar – băddădárăn aআéঌ – আéঌăn abariঌ – búraঌ taআărۜot – tআ‫ۑ‬rۜo taআale – tআaliwén tab‫ۜۑ‬na – t‫ۑ‬b‫ۜۑ‬niwén

‘bat’ ‘brick’ ‘antelope’ ‘dream’ ‘ewe’ ‘skull’

After prepositions, the masculine plural has an initial vowel i (see 3.2). b. There are a few feminine nouns which have S ta-, P ti-: tadilt – tídal tamaۜrăft – tim‫ۜۑ‬raf tahăt – tihaten taܵ‫ۑ‬ndurt – tiܵ‫ۑ‬ndar tawwawt – tiwwaw ta਌‫ۑ‬kkot – ti਌‫ۑ‬kát

‘kind of bag’ ‘kind of stick’ ‘chameleon’ ‘the beautiful (girls)’ ‘spathe (of dates)’ ‘big couscous plate’

Two masculine nouns are given by Lanfry with the same correlation S a-, i -:


amăzwar – im‫ۑ‬zwar ama‫ܭ‬ri – ima‫ܭ‬ran

‘first’ ‘reading’

The plurals are possibly post-prepositional forms, where i appears anyhow; Lanfry may have taken them from the texts, where they are only attested following the preposition n. There are a number of masculine plural-only forms with i: iܵ‫ۑ‬rb‫ۑ‬bbužăn (P) i਌਌an (P) iman (P)

‘sleep (secretion of the eye)’ ‘excrements’ ‘person’

c. There is a group of some fifty nouns where a is preserved in the plural.


About one third of the nouns of this type have the shape (t)aCCaC(t); other frequent shapes are (t)aCCa and aCCuC. Examples: aškar – aškarăn aškaw – aškáwăn akkăn – akkanăn taddart – taddarén anআ‫ۑ‬s – anআ‫ۑ‬sáwăn armun – armunăn ta਌i৬ – ta਌iঌén tali – taliwén talta – taltawén

‘nail’ ‘horn’ ‘tape worm’ ‘house’ ‘sleeve’ ‘grenade’ ‘chicken’ ‘room’ ‘woman’

d. In one case, a is changed to u: tanut – tunén


2. The second-largest group of nouns has a prefix o-. Nouns with omainly belong to the following structural types: a. (t)oCV oআo ofa ৬óra – ৬orawén tósa – tosawén

‘smoke’ ‘fire’ ‘lung’ ‘liver’

b. (t)oC‫(ۑ‬C)(t),20 e.g.: tóf‫ۑ‬t óf‫ۑ‬d – făddăn óf‫ۑ‬ss – făssăn óۜ‫ۑ‬m – ۜămmăn ók‫ۑ‬z ól‫ۑ‬m

‘sun’ ‘knee’ ‘hand’ ‘heart’ ‘mealworm’ ‘straw’

In the structural schemes the regular change of ‫ ۑ‬to ă before a number of consonants, (2.3.2) is not take into account. Where Lanfry has a, I often tacitly assume this is ă.



tómărt – tomarén óyăr – oyăráwăn

‘beard’ ‘moon’

In other Berber languages, many of the nouns of this type have the structure (a)CuC, e.g. Beni Iznasen fus ‘hand’, fu঎ ‘knee’, lum ‘straw’, yur ‘moon’. This is not the case of all Ghadames (t)oC‫(ۑ‬C)(t) nouns, however, cf. Ghadames torikt ‘saddle’ Iznasen ৮ri঴৮, Ghadames tómărt ‘beard’, Iznasen ৮mar৮. Moreover, Ghadames also has several aCuC nouns, e.g. Ghadames ta਌ult ‘antimony’, Iznasen ৮a਌ult. Cf. also the oCoC noun o਌om ‘fast’, related to the verb ‫ۑ‬਌um ‘to fast’. c. (t)oC‫ۑ‬CCa/e (in the place of the central vowel sometimes i is found), e.g.: ৬oঌ‫ۑ‬আla – tiঌ‫ۑ‬আliwén tolifsa – til‫ۑ‬fsiwén olisma – lismáwăn tomarše – tim‫ۑ‬ršaw tomăzঌe tol‫ۑ‬sse

‘plank for making doors’ ‘viper’ ‘kind of lizard (sand fish)’ ‘locust’ ‘cobweb’ ‘butter’

A form with the feminine suffix -t and ă vocalization is the following: tomăntet – tim‫ۑ‬ntat

‘piece of cloth rolled in the form of a ring to serve as a support for recipients’

d. (t)oCaCiC(t) toআalilt – tiআilal okamir – kúmar omadir – midar olaআiz – luআaz okamin

‘plaited lid’ ‘arch (architecture)’ ‘shoulder blade’ ‘ceiling made of palm stalks’ ‘cumin’

In their plural formation, nouns with initial o show a difference between masculine and feminine forms. Masculine forms normally have no initial


vowel in the plural, e.g.: oۜizám – ۜizámăn

‘palm lizard’

Feminine forms, on the other hand, regularly have ti- in the plural, e.g.: torikt – tirikén


There are only three to-initial feminine nouns, which have a plural without initial plain vowel: tok‫ۑ‬st – t‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬ssén toۜărft – t‫ۜۑ‬ărfén tonest – t‫ۑ‬niso

‘wooden pot’ ‘female crow’ ‘wooden key’

In a number of words, o is retained in the plural: ৬óra – ৬orawén tósa – tosawén tómărt – tomarén ৬onǂwt – ৬onawén óyăr – oyăráwăn

‘lung’ ‘liver’ ‘beard’ ‘light well in a covered road’21 ‘crescent moon’

3. Another frequent initial vowel is e-. The initial vowel e- is often found in nouns of the types (t)eC‫ۑ‬C(t), (t)eCăC(t) and, to a lesser degree, eCeC and eCe, e.g.: éআăঌ – eআăঌawăn éআăr – eআaráwăn élăm – elămáwăn él‫ۑ‬s – elsawăn éš‫ۑ‬d téžărt – težarén tés‫ۑ‬nt ése téle 21

‘night’ ‘ditch’ ‘animal skin’ ‘tongue’ ‘ashes’ ‘time (as in: three times)’ ‘salt’ ‘sun’ ‘shadow’

“puits d’éclairage d’une rue couverte” (Lanfry 1973:252).


énar énér – enerewăn

‘forehead’22 ‘oil lamp’

In most cases, e is preserved in the plural, e.g.: éܵăf – eܵăfawăn téfărt – tefarén

‘head’ ‘favor’

In some cases there is no initial vowel in the plural (in masculines) or i (in feminines), like in o-initial nouns: és‫ۑ‬m – sămmăn éžer – žérăn é঎r‫ۑ‬m – ঎rámăn edarar – durar težănt – tižán téte – títo

‘ear’ ‘weft (thread)’ ‘coins’ ‘hand-mill’ ‘mortar for nuts (in stone)’ ‘blow’

The initial vowels i and u are rare. The vowel u is always preserved in the plural: tubrint – tubrenén udad – udádăn tullezt – tullezén tumঌét – tumঌayén urasăn (pl. tantum) ude

‘finger ring’ ‘mouflon’ ‘story’ ‘gift on return of a journey’ ‘steam, mist’ ‘olive oil’

Among the i-initial nouns there are three examples with the structure (t)iCi. In the plural, the vowel is preserved with some nouns, and absent in others: izi – izan tidi tiঌi ism

‘fly’ ‘sweat’ ‘unfertilized date’ ‘name’


This is the only case with a rather than e. Maybe Lanfry’s notation should be interpreted as representing enăr.


tisǎwt ti਌‫ۑ‬kt tižnăwt – t‫ۑ‬žnaw inn‫ۑ‬ž ~ y‫ۑ‬nn‫ۑ‬ž

‘fine dust during threshing causing coughing’ ‘bitterness’ ‘cloud’ (also: t‫ۑ‬žnawt) ‘the higher part’

Finally, there is a group of nouns that have no initial plain vowel in the singular. The same absence of the initial vowel is observed in the plural:23 fád lá਌ ‫ۑ‬s৬u t‫ۜۜۑ‬i daž – dažiwăn ۜanaw – ۜanҥwăn24 ܵanim – ܵanimăn ܵăss – ܵásăn ‫ۑ‬gzén – ‫ۑ‬gzénăn t‫ۑ‬dra – t‫ۑ‬drawén t‫ۑ‬fra – t‫ۑ‬frawén t‫ۑ‬mmi – tmiwén t‫ۑ‬nzart – t‫ۑ‬nzár t‫ۑ‬rza – t‫ۑ‬rziwén t‫ۑ‬sআot – t‫ۑ‬sআo t‫ۑ‬৬৬ébt – t‫ۑ‬৬৬ébén

‘thirst’ ‘hunger’ ‘warp before being put on the loom’ ‘kind of grass used for thatching huts’ ‘house’ ‘slave’ (F: taۜanawt) ‘palm stalk used as part of the loom’ ‘bone’ ‘puppy’ ‘prickle at the basis of a palm leaf’ ‘leaf of a tree’ ‘eyebrow’ ‘nose’ ‘seed’ ‘sepal of a palm leaf’ ‘drop’

A number of nouns with an initial semivowel belong to this group: wǂššén – w‫ۑ‬ššanăn wǂۜۜid – wǂۜۜidăn wǂlli / wulle / wǂlle wǂzzál yăff yagi

‘jackal’25 ‘man’ ‘goats’ (pl. tantum) ‘iron’ (rare word) ‘milk’ ‘mound’

Because of the confusion between a and ă which sometimes occurs in Lanfry’s notations, I do not enumerate forms transcribed with the initial vowel (t)ă. 24 The meaning of the notation is not clear. It may indicate a certain degree of rounding, as is the case with dotted notations of the central vowels (see 2.2.2). 25 Cf. also taৢlet n ošéna ‘rainbow’, probably meaning originally ‘fiancée of the jackal’. 23


After prepositions, the plural of these semivowel-initial nouns has i, just like other consonant-initial masculine plurals, e.g. n iwǂۜۜídăn, n iwǂlle. 3.4.2 Plural formation in the rest of the word When regarding the rest of the word, one can define a number of different types of plural formation: 1. Plural formations with the suffix -ăn / -én 26 In this group there are three sub-types: a. Without further changes in the basis of the noun b. With addition of an extension to the basis c. With changes to the stem 2. Plural formations with the suffix -án / -én, often accompanied by stem changes 3. Plural formations by apophony only 4. Plural formations by addition of -aw, -ay or -o 5. Plurals not belonging to the aforementioned groups (irregular plurals) 1a. The most common type of plural formation is simple suffixation of -ăn with masculine nouns and -én with feminine nouns, e.g.: aআór – আorăn taআénawt – tআénawén aۜmar – aۜmárăn taۜmart – t‫ۜۑ‬marén

‘lion’ ‘date palm’ ‘stallion’ ‘mare’


Remark that the feminine correspondent of -ăn and -án is -én in both cases. Feminine nouns with -én are classified as belonging to the -ăn / -én group (which is the majority group), except when they have masculine counterparts that have -án, or when the suffixation is accompanied by changes that are otherwise typical for the adjunction of -án.


1b. The suffixes -ăn and -én are sometimes accompanied by an extension to the basis of the noun. These extensions come in three types: those that contain the semivowel w, those that contain the semivowel y and those that contain the consonant t. Extensions with the semivowel w have three forms: -aw-, -iw- and -w-. The extension -aw- is mainly found with consonant-final nouns, often of the shapes VCVC or VCvC, e.g.: éআăঌ – eআăঌawăn éআăr – eআaráwăn aৢor – ৢorawăn élăm – elămáwăn akorm – kormáwăn abríd – bărdan

‘night’ ‘ditch’ ‘little street’ ‘animal skin’ ‘back’ ‘road’

In a few cases, -aw- is attached to a vowel-final basis; the final vowel is deleted in this case: af‫ۑ‬ঌno – f‫ۑ‬ঌnawăn ‘border of a ditch’ (P also f‫ۑ‬ঌno) taۜ‫ۑ‬mme – t‫ۑۜۑ‬mmawén ‘cesspool’ tok‫ۑ‬ffe – tik‫ۑ‬ffawén ‘foam’ The extension -iw- is commonly found with C-final nouns (esp. of the type VCvCC) and with a-final nouns, e.g.: daž – dažiwăn anărz – nărziwăn ásăf – asfiwăn am‫ۑ‬৬৬a – m‫ۑ‬৬৬awăn tos‫ۑ‬nta – tis‫ۑ‬ntiwén tamăksa – t‫ۑ‬m‫ۑ‬ksiwén

‘house’ ‘heel’ ‘day’ ‘tear’ ‘pillow’ (P also tis‫ۑ‬ntawén) ‘melon’

In addition, it sometimes occurs with e-final nouns: taআale – tআaliwén tanaঌre – t‫ۑ‬naঌriwén

‘ewe’ ‘quantity of half a hand’


tawaۜe – twǎۜۜiwén tawa‫ܭ‬né – twă‫ܭ‬niwén

‘bread’ ‘load (taken on the back or the head)’

There is one case of an extension -ew-: énér – enerewăn

‘oil lamp’

Simple adjunction of -w- is commonly found with a-final nouns; it also occurs with i- and e-final nouns. Such cases could also be classified as -aw-, -ew- and -iw-extensions, respectively, assuming vowel coalescence with the stem-final vowel, e.g.: aআéna – আenáwăn t‫ۑ‬fra – t‫ۑ‬frawén t‫ۑ‬mmi – tmiwén amísi – misiwăn ame – mewăn tal‫ۑ‬qqe – tl‫ۑ‬qqewén

‘date’ ‘leaf of a tree’ ‘eyebrow’ ‘dinner’ ‘mouth’ ‘poor person’

All other cases of adjunction of -w- without a preceding vowel involve combinations with the suffix -an and will be treated there. Stem-extensions with y are much rarer than those with w. There are two types: -ay- and -y-. The extension -ay- only occurs with a number of efinal feminine nouns: tumঌét – tumঌayén tarawét – t‫ۑ‬rawayén tamsăksét – t‫ۑ‬msăksayén tazaۜét – t‫ۑ‬zaۜayén

‘present at returning from a journey’ ‘type of dish made of flour’ ‘a measure of yarn’ ‘evening’

In one case, there is an extension -ey-: aৢli – aৢleyăn


The extension -y(y)- is found with several vowel-final nouns:


azăܵwali – zăܵwaliyyăn taš‫ۑ‬ddut – tš‫ۑ‬dduyén akukku – kukkuyăn aziwa – ziwayăn a‫ܭ‬aqqa – ‫ܭ‬aqqayăn

‘miser’ ‘kind of pot’ ‘ogre’ ‘bunch of dates’ ‘grain’

Extensions with -t- are only attested with feminine nouns that have the feminine suffix -tt in the singular.27 Some of these could present cases where the final t is part of the stem, fused to the feminine suffix -t. This does not account for all the cases, cf. the noun taৢlet(t) – t‫ৢۑ‬latén ‘fiancée’, which has a masculine counterpart aৢli – aৢleyăn ‘fiancé’. The extension has either the form -at- or the form -t-. The variant -at- is found with a number of nouns which end in ăt and et(t) in the singular, e.g.: tahăt – tihaten taܵărfet(t) – tܵărfatén tawažet(t) – twažatén

‘chameleon’ ‘terrace covering the kitchen’ ‘girl’

The variant -t- is found with a number of nouns ending in i: tamăddit – t‫ۑ‬m‫ۑ‬dditén tar‫ۜۜۑ‬it – tr‫ۜۜۑ‬itén

‘evening’ ‘embers’

1c. Stem-internal changes accompanying the suffixation of -ăn / -én are of two basic types. The first type, which is not particularly common, involves vowel change in the position before the final consonant of the stem. In about half of such cases, the vowel is changed to a,28 e.g.: é঎r‫ۑ‬m – ঎rámăn asănf‫ۑ‬s – sănfásăn ܵăss – ܵásăn a਌ómăr – ਌omárăn

‘coins’ ‘needle for sewing’ ‘bone’ ‘ram, sheep’


As final consonant length is only realized when the noun is followed by a vowel-initial clitic, the status of the final consonant is uncertain in many of the adduced cases. Where (t) has been added to the word, this means that it is attested with consonantal length in the text corpus. 28 In view of the vacillating notations with ă and a, it is not always clear whether a notation with ă in the singular and a in the plural constitutes a genuine change.


asܵér – asܵárăn wǂššén – w‫ۑ‬ššanăn

‘dry wood’ (also asܵérăn) ‘jackal’

Other cases involve change of a vowel to i, u, or e: tayyent – tayyinén as‫ۑ‬আd‫ۑ‬d – s‫ۑ‬bdidăn as‫ۑ‬ll‫ۑ‬n – s‫ۑ‬llunăn tubrint – tubrenén

‘dish for cooking sauces’ ‘kind of rope (part of the loom)’ ‘staircase’ ‘finger ring’

The second type involves nouns of the structure VCvC and VCVC (also with a long consonant in final position), which have a plural CăCࢎ Căn or CaCࢎ Căn (if this is really an opposition and not a notational variation): óf‫ۑ‬d – făddăn óf‫ۑ‬ss – făssăn óۜ‫ۑ‬m – ۜămmăn és‫ۑ‬m – sămmăn áܵil – ܵallăn aܵúl – ܵăllăn

‘knee’ ‘hand’ ‘heart’ ‘ear’ ‘arm’ ‘wooden coat hook’

Note also the following nouns with a similar structure, but which are problematic in view of the vacillating notations of ă and a: awăll – wallăn azakk – zăkkăn

‘eye’ (S also noted awall, awăl) ‘hair’

2. Adjunction of the masculine plural suffix -án (and its feminine correspondent -én) almost always entails changes in the shape of the stem. These changes are quite regular and lead to a plural shape CvCC-án; the central vowel is ‫ ۑ‬or ă;29 sometimes u (also noted ǎ) is found instead. The feminine form -én is the same as with the suffix -ăn. In nouns with -án for which both the feminine and the masculine are attested one Note that, when taking into account that there is neutralization of ă and ‫ ۑ‬before ۜ, r and in the vicinity of pharyngeal and pharyngealized consonants (not always taken into account by Lanfry), only very few forms remain that provide information on this question. 29


observes that when -én corresponds to -án, the same changes in the stem are observed as with -án, cf. azr‫ۑ‬m – z‫ۑ‬rman tazr‫ۑ‬mt – t‫ۑ‬z‫ۑ‬rmén

‘unmarried young man’ ‘unmarried young woman’

The singular forms of these nouns can be of different shapes and both consonant-final and vowel-final, e.g.: oۜărf – ۜărfan adarăf – d‫ۑ‬rfán abríd – bărdan anaআór – năআrán aۜ‫ۜۜۑ‬i – ۜ‫ۜۜۑ‬án a਌‫ۑ‬৬ko – z‫ۑ‬৬kan a‫ܭ‬lad / ‫ܭ‬alad – ‫ܭ‬ăldán ašăllid – šuldan ~ šǎldan aqa৬ib – qu৬bán

‘crow’ ‘freeman’ ‘road’ (P also bridawăn) ‘weaver’s beam’ ‘camel load’ ‘wooden dish for couscous’ ‘alleyway’ ‘king’ ‘kind of sword’

One longer noun does not undergo full assimilation to the preferred structure: am‫ۑ‬zzél‫ۑ‬l – m‫ۑ‬zzelán


A few CVC nouns also have the suffix -án; comparative evidence suggests that they go back to forms with an internal semivowel: a਌éঌ – ਌éঌán a਌ur – ਌uran a‫ܭ‬íd – ‫ܭ‬idán

‘donkey’ (cf. Kossmann 1999b:232) ‘root (of a plant)’ (cf. Iznasen a਌w‫ۑ‬r) ‘goat kid’ (cf. Iznasen iܵ‫ۑ‬y঎)

There are a few shorter nouns that take the suffix -án: éde – eঌan ~ eyঌan azalé ~ azăle – zălán iri – iran

‘dog’ ‘song’ ‘star’


The suffix -án is sometimes accompanied by the extensions -w- or -y-, accompanied by stem changes. The result is the same structure CvCC-án as with -án plurals without extensions: afara – f‫ۑ‬rwán tamáda – tm‫ۑ‬dwan as‫ۑ‬৬৬a – s‫ۑ‬৬wan taz‫ۑ‬kka – t‫ۑ‬z‫ۑ‬kwan taz‫ۑ‬qqa – t‫ۑ‬z‫ۑ‬qwan tazara – t‫ۑ‬z‫ۑ‬rwan talălle– t‫ۑ‬l‫ۑ‬lwán taܵǂrit – t‫ܵۑ‬ăryén a਌‫ۑ‬dde – ਌‫ۑ‬dyan

‘part of a room’ ‘garden in the palm groves’ ‘loom’ ‘iron comb used in weaving’ ‘brick wall’ (P also t‫ۑ‬z‫ܵۑ‬wan) ‘rope’ ‘thread’ (also tanălle) ‘kind of stick’ ‘spindle’

3. Apophonic plurals basically follow the scheme Ԥ – a. In this scheme, Ԥ stands for a non-low vowel, which may be ‫ۑ‬, u, i (rarely e and o). a appears in the position before the last consonant or, in the case of vowelfinal nouns, in final position. The non-low vowel takes the preceding vowel position (hence: V1). When there is only one vowel in the stem, only a marks the plural: talআ‫ۑ‬਌t – t‫ۑ‬lba਌ t‫ۑ‬nzart – t‫ۑ‬nzár

‘kind of jar’ ‘nose’

When the singular of the noun contains a plain vowel other than a at V1 position, this vowel also appears in the plural, e.g.: tamiঌăzt – t‫ۑ‬miঌaz taআiআi৬ ~ taআiআe৬ – tআiআáঌ taܵur‫ۑ‬৬ – t‫ܵۑ‬uráঌ tasos‫ۑ‬lt – t‫ۑ‬sosal taf‫ۑ‬llél‫ۑ‬st – tf‫ۑ‬llélas taméw‫ۑ‬lt – t‫ۑ‬mewál

‘scissors’ ‘reed flute’ ‘shoulder’ ‘loan for mutual help’ ‘swallow’ ‘ball (for playing)’

In one case o is substituted by u:


tašok‫ۑ‬lt – t‫ۑ‬šukal

‘wooden spoon’

When the vowel in V1 position is a, several options are found. In many cases, a is substituted by u, e.g.: edarar – durar abariঌ – búraঌ amaঌun – muঌan asáۜ‫ۑ‬l – suۜal

‘hand-mill’ ‘antelope’ ‘sick person’ ‘a specific room in the house’

In three words, a is changed into i instead of u: toআalilt – tiআilal omadir – midar tofar‫ۑ‬xt – tifiraܵ

‘plaited lid’ ‘shoulder blade’ ‘entrance of a ditch into the field’

One word, which designates a Tuareg tribe, has a > o. This is a direct loan from Tuareg and has the regular Mali and Algerian Tuareg lowering of u before ܵ (Heath 2005:35): afaܵis – foܵas

‘member of the Ifoghas tribe’

In a number of nouns a is retained in V1 position:30 tanaআuৢৢ – t‫ۑ‬naআa਌ tasad‫ۑ‬lt – t‫ۑ‬sadal takar‫ۑ‬rt – tkarar takabărt – tkabár tanasărt – tnasar tasară৬ – tsaraঌ

‘metal ring for attaching something’ ‘egg’ ‘type of building wood’ ‘Tuareg hut’ (P also tkabarén) ‘incense burner’ ‘furrow made by hand’

When the V1 position is taken by a central vowel in the singular, this becomes by ‫ ۑ‬in the plural, e.g.:

This could be cases where a should be interpreted as ă. This does not solve all problems, however, as in the plural ă should have been changed to ‫ۑ‬, except in those positions where the two are neutralized. 30


azănk‫ۑ‬ঌ – z‫ۑ‬nkáঌ amăzwar – im‫ۑ‬zwar amăššim – m‫ۑ‬ššám

‘gazelle’ ‘first’ ‘straw blades’

Probably, a number of cases where Lanfry notes a in the singular belong to this category, i.e. there has been confusion in the notations between ă and a: tadadăxt – t‫ۑ‬d‫ۑ‬daܵ tamakwărt – tm‫ۑ‬kwar aۜaঌiঌ – ۜ‫ۑ‬ঌaঌ

‘armpit’ (error for tadădăxt ?) ‘gecko’ (error for tamăkwărt ?) ‘bird’ (error for aۜăঌiঌ ?)

In a number of notations by Lanfry ă is retained:31 amăbduz – măbdaz anărzuf – nărzaf tabăžžilt – t‫ۑ‬băžžál

‘lazy person’ ‘traveler’ ‘pile of carded wool prepared for spinning’

The application of the scheme Ԥ – a does not necessarily lead to changes in the stem. In a few words, the categorization as apophonic plurals is only because there is no other plural marker present, e.g.: afunas – funas


4. Unlike most Berber languages, plurals formed by means of a suffix (or extension) to the stem -aw, -ay or -o are very frequent.32 One remarks frequent concomitant changes in the vowels of the stem. Suffixation of -o is found in the following words: taআআurt – t‫ۑ‬আuro taআăৢৢ – t‫ۑ‬আuৢo tammurt – tmuro

‘door’ ‘carving knife’ (P also t‫ۑ‬আiৢo) ‘earth’

Note that in the case of nărzaf this is regular, as ‫ > ۑ‬ă before r. One wonders whether there is a similar tendency to neutralize ‫ ۑ‬and ă before žž as found before ۜۜ (see 23.2); in that case differentiating between t‫ۑ‬băžžál and t‫ۑ‬b‫ۑ‬žžál could be impossible. Under such circumstances, only măbdaz would represent a genuine exception. 32 They seem to be relatively frequent in nearby El-Fogaha. Elsewhere only occasional examples are found, e.g. Iznasen ৮਌iwa – ৮i਌iwaw ‘large dish for couscous’, Ayt Seghrushen (Tahala, personal notes) ৮i৬৬ – ৮i৬৬aw ‘eye’, ৮immi – ৮immaw ‘eyebrow’. 31


tonest – t‫ۑ‬niso téte – títo

‘wooden key’ ‘blow’

A number of nouns have a singular in -o, which is retained in the plural, without adjunction of a suffix: taআărۜot – tআ‫ۑ‬rۜo taঌaআot – t‫ۑ‬ঌaআo af‫ۑ‬ঌno – f‫ۑ‬ঌno taf‫ۑ‬zܵot – t‫ۑ‬f‫ۑ‬zܵo taۜizot – t‫ۜۑ‬izo tanaআott – tnaআo tasqimott – t‫ۑ‬sqimo t‫ۑ‬sআot – t‫ۑ‬sআo tasirot – t‫ۑ‬siro tă਌rot – t‫ۑ‬਌ro

‘dream’ ‘silver ring’ ‘border of a ditch’ (P also f‫ۑ‬ঌnawăn) ‘split between the two boards of a door’ ‘vine’ ‘hole in the ceiling for light’ ‘little bank made in bricks’ ‘palm foliole’ ‘wooden splinter’ ‘mirror’

The adjunction of -aw and -ay is accompanied by vowel changes reminiscent of the apophonic schemes under (3). The suffix -aw occurs in two nouns: ta਌uঌa – t‫ۑ‬਌iঌaw tomarše – tim‫ۑ‬ršaw

‘kind of earthenware dish’ ‘locust’

The suffix -ay is attested in some more nouns: abălso – b‫ۑ‬lsay asănsu – sunsay an‫ۜۜۑ‬ărআu – n‫ۑۜۜۑ‬rআay am‫ۑ‬nzu – m‫ۑ‬nzay aniআu – niআay taআăqqa – t‫ۑ‬আ‫ۑ‬qqay takóka – t‫ۑ‬kokay tasile – t‫ۑ‬silay tadurét – t‫ۑ‬dúray

‘lump of clay’ ‘ceiling made of palm shaft’ ‘last’ ‘start’ ‘bastard’ ‘thread of weft’ ‘rind of a pumpkin’ ‘travelling sandal’ ‘turtledove’


There are also some i-final nouns which have -ay in the plural. Assuming that i may come from ‫ۑ‬y, these forms can be analyzed as normal apophonic plurals, e.g.: tašašit – t‫ۑ‬šušay tareতit – t‫ۑ‬reতay

‘skull cap’ (< tašaš‫ۑ‬yt – t‫ۑ‬šušay) ‘type of slippers’ (< tareত‫ۑ‬yt – t‫ۑ‬reতay)

5. There are a number of plurals that change in a manner not described above. They are listed below: taআআurt – t‫ۑ‬আuro ‘door’ tammurt – tmuro ‘earth’ (P also noted t‫ۑ‬mmuro) t‫ۑ‬mmi – tmiwén ‘eyebrow’ ta਌‫ۑ‬kkot – ti਌‫ۑ‬kát ‘big wooden dish for couscous’33 aঌ‫ۑ‬kk‫ۑ‬d – ঌuঌán ‘finger’ tadܵ‫ۑ‬rt – t‫ۑ‬dܵrarén ‘fireplace in the kitchen’ (P also t‫ۑ‬dܵar) taktet – t‫ۑ‬katkatén [Wălid] ‘chick’ (Wazităn: P t‫ۑ‬ktetén) ălm‫ۑ‬৬k – mă৬kan ‘fig tree’ ara / tarwa – tariwén ‘child’ tawažet – twatén [Wălid] ‘girl’ (Wazităn: P twažatén) éde – eঌan ~ eyঌan ‘dog’ ayiddéd – ‫ۑ‬ddídăn ‘water bag’ (P also ayiddídăn)34 ót‫ۑ‬m – w‫ۑ‬tmán ‘male’ tót‫ۑ‬mt – tuw‫ۑ‬tmén ‘female’ The following terms have suppletive plurals: aks‫ۑ‬m – ísan tók‫ۑ‬lt– tílo té‫ܭ‬a৬ – wǎlle an৬fal – ‫ۑ‬ddrari aruma – ritma alătma ~ walătma – sătma

33 34

‘meat’ ‘palm leaf, palm branch’ ‘goat’ ‘child’ ‘brother’ ‘sister’

Maze‫ܭ‬ăn: a਌‫ۑ‬৬ko – z‫ۑ‬৬kan. For a historical interpretation of this form, see Kossmann 1999b:137.


3.4.3 Plural formations with ϷndIn addition to the plural formations described above, Ghadames has a passe-partout plural prefix, ‫ۑ‬nd-, which is prefixed to the singular noun without causing further changes. The distribution of this plural prefix is difficult to determine. Different from other Berber languages, it is quite often found with concrete nouns that can easily occur as plurals, e.g.: abarkus – ‫ۑ‬nd-abarkus alfaqqi – ‫ۑ‬nd-ălfaqqi baܵrér – ‫ۑ‬nd-baܵrér

‘lamb of a certain age’ ‘schoolmaster in a Coranic school’ ‘little earthenware bottle’

It is used with many kinship terms: dădda – ‫ۑ‬nd-dădda yălle – ‫ۑ‬nd-yălle tătti – ‫ۑ‬nd-tătti xáli – ‫ۑ‬nd-xáli xál‫ۑ‬t – ‫ۑ‬nd-xálăt

‘father’ ‘daughter’ ‘paternal aunt’ ‘maternal uncle’ ‘maternal aunt’

Quite some terms show variation between plurals with ‫ۑ‬nd- and with other formations, e.g.: a਌ܵ‫ۑ‬n – ‫ۑ‬nd-a਌ܵ‫ۑ‬n ‘big pestle’ (P also ਌‫ܵۑ‬nán) él‫ۑ‬s – ‫ۑ‬nd-él‫ۑ‬s ‘tongue’ (P also elsawăn) aruma – ‫ۑ‬nd-aruma ‘brother’ (P also ritma) alătma – ‫ۑ‬nd-alătma ‘sister’ (P also sătma) = walătma – ‫ۑ‬nd-walătma 3.5 Loans which retain Arabic morphology Arabic nouns are often taken over without being integrated into Berber morphology. In such cases, the Arabic article ăl- is taken over as part of the word and assimilates to the initial consonant where it does so in Arabic. The Arabic feminine ending -a is substituted by -ăt. The initial vowel of the Arabic article is ă when the article has the form ăl, and ‫ ۑ‬when there is assimilation of the article to the following consonant. Examples:


ălۜamá‫ܭ‬ăt ălžarăt ălqăndil ‫ۑ‬ssămăn ‫ۑ‬ssínaka ‫ۑ‬nnúbăt

‘local assembly’ ‘(female) neighbor’ ‘big earthenware lamp’ ‘grease’ ‘carrots’ ‘type of song melody’

Plural formation follows the Arabic model or uses the prefix ‫ۑ‬nd-, e.g.: ălqărd‫ۑ‬š – ălqrad‫ۑ‬š (‫)ۑ‬ššáră‫ – ܭ‬ššwáră‫ܭ‬ ălx‫ۑ‬rúf – ‫ۑ‬nd-ălx‫ۑ‬rúf

‘card (for wool)’ ‘ward’ (P also: ‫ۑ‬nd-ššáră‫)ܭ‬ ‘lamb’

3.6 Affiliation prefixes There is a series of prenominal elements that are mainly used with words of affiliation and association. This is as follows:




o, ogg alăt, walăt

ayt, ay‫ۑ‬t, ‫ۑ‬lt, ălt, ‫ۑ‬nd-o sat, sălt

There is a clear etymological connection between (w)alăt, the kinship term (w)alătma ‘sister’ and the noun talta ‘woman’. The form ogg is found in combination with some nouns starting in u or w: ogg-‫ۑ‬lid ogg-azităn


‫ۑ‬lt-ulid ayt-wazităn

‘member of the Ayt Wălid’ ‘member of the Ayt Wazităn’

Otherwise the use of the different forms, esp. in the plural, seems to be arbitrary, cf. (Lanfry 1973:379): ‫ۑ‬nd-o-Brahím ‘people belonging to the Brahim family in Maze‫ܭ‬ăn’ ayt-Brahím ‘people belonging to the Brahim family in A. Wazităn’ Instead of o, ogg, sometimes awa is found, e.g. in the name Lm‫ۑ‬hdi awaBrahím.


These elements are mainly used with proper names in order to express affiliation to a city, a tribe or family group, e.g.: wal‫ۑ‬t-‫ܭ‬adém‫ۑ‬s ‘a Ghadames woman’ sălt-ulid ‘women belonging to the Ayt Wălid tribe’ o-Brahím ‘man belonging to the Brahim lineage’ They also appear in constructions with normal nouns, conveying a sense of association to a certain place, e.g. (Lanfry 1973:379-380): o-daž ‫ۑ‬nn-ăm35 ‘a person belonging to your (F) house’ ayt-adda ‘those of below = djinns’ ayt-ălm‫ۑ‬xázăn ‘those of the shops = shopkeepers’ ayt-‫ۑ‬nnarárăn ‘those of the threshing floors = threshers’36 ayt-talta=ye ‘the family of the woman’ [68/106] The element depending on the affiliation prefix may be a coordinated noun phrase, e.g.: sm‫ۜۜۑ‬iy-ăn




those.of-groom=ANP:S and

taৢlett=e bride=ANP:S

‘the people of the groom and of the bride speak (with each other)’ [68/106] 3.7 Collectives For quite a number of vegetables and herbs, the singular denotes a collective. This seems to be basically a lexical choice, cf. the following enumeration, part of which are singular collectives, part of which are plurals. In the translation, collective singulars are marked by small capitals and plurals by italic font:

The original notation is o-daž ănn-‫ۑ‬m, which is without doubt a typographical error. In order to explain the initial length of ‫ۑ‬nnarárăn, Lanfry (1973:380) derives this from *ayt-‫ۑ‬nd-narárăn. This is not very probable, as ‫ۑ‬nd- is always attached to the singular stem. One would have expected **ayt-‫ۑ‬nnarar from anarar ‘threshing floor’, while in ‫ۑ‬nnarárăn the second part here is clearly derived from the plural narárăn ‘threshing floors’. Moreover, in other constructions ‫ۑ‬nd- precedes the affiliation prefix. 35 36


kablu=ye ‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬rt‫ۑ‬k-năt=ás ‘in the CORIANDER (?) they mix ălg‫ۑ‬ziz i-আzărăn ‫ۑ‬d wăl-ăn i-আzér, ground and unground MELON SEEDS

d išašidăn ‫ۑ‬আzăr-nin d ălতalwa d ‫ۑ‬ssúkr d ălতimm‫ۑ‬਌. galiyya=ye ‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬rt‫ۑ‬k-năt=ás azarăn ‫ۑ‬d tazarén d iz‫ۑ‬mmurăn d ălkittan d ălb‫ۑ‬šmaঌ d ălতimm‫ۑ‬਌ ‫ۑ‬d tomarše t-‫ۑ‬আzăr-ăt d iআenáwăn ăqqur-nin ‫ܭ‬ăžib-nin

and peeled almonds and SWEETS and sugar and CHICK PEAS. In the GRILLED CEREALS they mix jujube berries and dried figs and olives and “KITTAN”37 and BISCUITS and CHICK PEAS and peeled GRASSHOPPERS and good dried dates’ [L71/102]

Most singulars in this passage are borrowings from Arabic. However, tomarše ‘grasshoppers’ is an indigenous Berber word, which also allows for a plural (tim‫ۑ‬ršaw). A similar situation is found with aflelo ‘onion’. In one and the same text (text 4 [4/6]), it is twice coordinated with the invariable (singular) collective ‫ۑ‬ssinaka ‘carrot(s)’. In the first case, it is in the plural, in the second place it is in the singular38 – apparently with collective meaning: y-úfe=n

dos ۜăততa i-ttăkkăs

3S:M-find:P=ITV there ۛăততa 3S:M-pull.out:I

‫ۑ‬ssínaka d


carrot(s) and


‘he found there ۛăততa pulling out carrot(s) and onions’ [4/6]


Meaning unknown. Lanfry remarks that his notations here have ‫ۑ‬flelo rather than aflelo and he suggests that this might be a difference between a collective (without initial a) and a singulative (with initial a). For the time being, I prefer considering it a transcription error or a case of free variation.



isse d=t-‫ۑ‬kkăs-ăt



‫ۑ‬flelo=yo ?

why VNT=2S-pull.out:P-2S




‘why have you pulled out these carrots and these onions (lit. … this carrot and this onion)’ [4/6] Different from many other Berber languages, gender change does not seem to be used to differentiate collectives from unity nouns. Instead, quantifying idioms are used, e.g. ălতăbbăt n ălতimm‫ۑ‬਌ ‘one single chick pea (lit. a grain of chick pea)’ [30/54]. The situation is not entirely clear, however. In the texts one notes the use of collective ‫ۑ‬ttuffăত [71/112] ‘apples’ vs. individual sát ‫ۑ‬ttuffaতát ‘seven apples’ [25/44]. This could very well represent gender change within the group of Arabic loans that keep their original morphology, as ‫ۑ‬ttuffaতát is feminine plural, while ‫ۑ‬ttuffăত is masculine singular. Unfortunately we have no information about how to refer to one single apple.




There are several series of personal pronouns (Lanfry 1968:349-353; Lanfry 1971-1972). 4.1 Independent personal pronouns The first series are the non-bound (independent) forms. They appear mainly in non-verbal sentences and in pre-verbal (topicalized) position (see chapter 15): 1S 2S:M 2S:F 3S:M 3S:F

năšš šăgg šămm nitto nittát

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

năšš‫ۑ‬n šăgg‫ۑ‬n šămm‫ۑ‬n itto ittát

1P 2P:M 2P:F 3P:M 3P:F

năkkănén š‫ۑ‬kwén š‫ۑ‬kmatén ‫ۑ‬nt‫ۑ‬nén ‫ۑ‬ntnatén



Motylinski (1904:21) has 3P:F , which could represent nit‫ۑ‬ntén. 4.2 Direct Object pronouns The second series are the Direct Object pronouns. The Direct Object pronouns appear in two rows. The first row is the default, used in contexts where the other row is not used. It is found, among others, in pre-verbal position and after other pronominal clitics. The second row is used with the verb type vCC (Prasse’s type IA7, Prasse 1972-1974) and related verb types, which have the changing vowel ø / i in the Aorist and e / o in the Perfective (see 6.2.10). It only appears when the verb has no PNG suffix. The final vowel in the Perfective of these verbs is e before a clitic instead of o.39 The final vowel is absent before the first person clitics i and ană‫ܭ‬. 39

One could also consider the e part of the clitical pronoun and propose a third row (Lanfry 1071-1972), which only appears after Perfectives of the vCC type, i.e. i-šš=ettăn

Row II differs from row I by the presence of an initial t in the second and third person. In the first person the two are identical. 1S 2S:M 2S:F 3S:M 3S:F

Row I i š‫ۑ‬k kăm ‫ۑ‬t tăt

Row II i ‫ۑ‬tš‫ۑ‬k ‫ۑ‬tkăm ‫ۑ‬tt ‫ۑ‬ttăt

1P 2P:M 2P:F 3P:M 3P:F

ană‫ܭ‬ kum kmăt tăn t‫ۑ‬năt

ană‫ܭ‬ ‫ۑ‬tkum ‫ۑ‬tkmăt ‫ۑ‬ttăn ‫ۑ‬tnăt

Examples (all from Lanfry 1971-1972:176-177): Row I y-aআă‫=ܭ‬tăt t-‫ۑ‬আro kum=t-‫ۑ‬ssn‫ۑ‬ddăm ăۜi-n=tăn=‫ۑ‬n y-ăۜۜ=ană‫=ܭ‬kăm

‘he took her’ ‘she wants to lull you asleep’ ‘they left them there’ ‘may He guard you for us’

Row II y-ăšš=‫ۑ‬tt y-ăۜ=‫ۑ‬ttăt=‫ۑ‬n y-ăۜۜ=‫ۑ‬tkum i-আre=tkăm i-šše=ttăn t-‫ۜۑ‬e=tt=in

‘he ate (Aorist) him’ ‘he put (Aorist) her there’ ‘may he guard (Aorist) you’ ‘he loves (Perfective) you’ ‘he ate (Perfective) them’ ‘she put (Perfective) him there’

The forms without pronominal clitics are y-ăšš; y-ăۜ; y-ăۜۜ and i-আro; i-ššo; t-‫ۜۑ‬o. On assimilations occurring when 3rd person pronouns of series I are attached to certain verb-final consonants, see 2.3.1. rather than i-šše=ttăn. As one would have to propose a similar allomorphy for the deictic clitic (see 5.1), I consider this solution less elegant.


In the Tăৢko ward (Ayt Wălid), 3P:M hăn is used (Lanfry 1973:127); Motylinski (1904:23) also gives 3P:M and 3P:F as alternative forms to and ; also 3S:F is attested, e.g.: y-‫ۑ‬ss‫ܵۑ‬ím=hăn ‘he makes them rest’ [L73:127] ‘they touch them’ [Mot63] ‘they place it’ [Mot69] 4.3

Indirect Object pronouns and pronouns after prepositions and kinship nouns Indirect Objects, pronouns after prepositions and direct annexation after kinship nouns all basically use the same set of pronouns: IO


with n ‘of’

1S 2S:M 2S:F 3S

i ak am as

-i -‫ۑ‬k -‫ۑ‬m -‫ۑ‬s

‫ۑ‬nnúk ‫ۑ‬nn-ăk ‫ۑ‬nn-ăm ‫ۑ‬nn-ăs

kinship terms (ex. ma ‘mother’) imma má-ik má-im má-is

1P 2P:M 2P:F 3P:M 3P:F

ană‫ܭ‬40 aw‫ۑ‬n akmăt asăn asnăt

-nă‫ܭ‬ -w‫ۑ‬n -‫ۑ‬kmăt -săn -‫ۑ‬snăt

‫ۑ‬nn-ană‫ܭ‬ ‫ۑ‬nn-aw‫ۑ‬n ‫ۑ‬nn-ăkmăt ‫ۑ‬nn-asăn ‫ۑ‬nn-ăsnăt

má-y‫ۑ‬tnă‫ܭ‬ má-itw‫ۑ‬n má-it‫ۑ‬kmăt má-itsăn má-it‫ۑ‬snăt

The Indirect Object pronouns are marked by the presence of a (frequently transcribed as a long vowel, i.e. with stress); the kinship terms by i in the singular and it in the plural. The pronouns after the preposition n ‘of’ are different from those after other prepositions. Thus they have forms starting in ă rather than ‫ۑ‬.41 The 1S pronoun ‫ۑ‬nnúk ‘my’ is irregular. In one marriage song, an alternative form, ino, appears (Lanfry 1973:229). Motylinski has . 40

Motylinski’s grammatical notes (1904:23) have ~ , which represent aܵ ~ anăܵ. In his vocabulary forms in ‫ ܭ‬and ত are found: ‫ܭ‬ur-n‫< ~ ܭ‬âournih’> ‫ܭ‬urniত ‘at our place’ (141). 41 In the texts, often forms are found with a instead of ă. This may be due to Lanfry’s more general uncertainty in the notation of these vowels.


The series after kinship nouns is attested with the following nouns. They sometimes have special forms for the 1S: 1S 1S 1S 1S 1S 1S 1S 1S

y‫ۑ‬mma ~ imma arumo (w)alătmo yălle ‫ܭ‬ammi tătti xáli xalăti

3S 2S:M 3S 3S 3S 3S 3S 3S

má-is ‘my/his mother’ aruma-ik ‘my/your brother’ (w)alătma-yis ‘my/his sister’ yălle-s ‘my/his daughter’ ‫ܭ‬ammi-s ‘my/his paternal uncle’ tătti-s ‘my/his paternal aunt’ xali-s ‘my/his maternal uncle’ xalăti-s ‘my/his maternal aunt’

Other kinship terms are constructed with the preposition n, e.g.: dădda nn-ăsnăt

‘their father’ [L73:53]

On irregularities in the behavior of this latter noun regarding the adjunction of deictic clitics, see 12.1.1. 4.4 Demonstrative pronouns Demonstrative pronouns consist of a pronominal basis, which marks gender, but is unspecific to number. To this basis deictic suffixes are added, which, in turn, are unmarked for gender, but mark number. The same deictic suffixes are found with nouns.


proximal w-o ~ w-o-dăt t-o ~ t-o-dăt

distal w-ănn ~ w-ănn-ăt t-ănn ~ t-ănn-ăt t-onn ~ t-onn-ăt

anaphoric w-e t-e


w-i ~ w-i-dăt t-i ~ w-i-dăt

w-inn ~ w-inn-ăt t-inn ~ t-inn-ăt

w-íd t-íd

On the demonstrative forms in Motylinski’s material, see 5.2.


4.5 Pronominal forms with wa, etc. The pronominal bases w- and t- also appear with additional vowels in some set constructions. The first one is the question ‘which one’: M:S F:S

wa-din ta-din


w‫ۑ‬-dnin t‫ۑ‬-dnin

The second is the combination ‘another’, in which the element iঌ is added to the pronominal basis (Lanfry 1968:364): M:S F:S

wa-yiঌ ta-yiঌ


wi-yyiঌ42 ti-yyiঌ

In one interrogative idiom, an element wa is found: te wa nte ? COP what DEM:M:S ‘what is this?’ [L73:381] Pronominal forms with wa (etc.) may be less definite in meaning than pronominal bases with deictic clitics. Thus, for ‘other’ both constructions with wa and with demonstrative pronouns followed by clitics are found. From the texts it seems that the former has indefinite reference (‘another’, ‘some others’), while the latter has definite reference (‘the other’), see 13.2. 4.6 Other pronominal forms: relative heads Demonstrative pronouns with deictic suffixes can appear as heads of relative clauses, e.g.: t-e



NEG-PTC:M:S PTC:M:S-give.birth:NP








‘the one that did not have a child said continuously’ [16/28]


Lanfry also has notations with schwa: wi-yy‫ۑ‬ঌ, ti-yy‫ۑ‬ঌ.


In addition to this, there are two invariable pronouns that also function as heads of relative clauses. The first one is inanimate ke ‘what’, e.g.: ăss‫ۑ‬knó-năt=as





show:P-3P:F=3S:IO what PTC:M:S-be:P-PTC:M:S house=ANP:S=LOC all

‘they showed him everything in the house (lit. what was in the house entirely)’ [24/42] ke


imda t-ăn-ás

what 3S:F-do:I all


‘everything she used to do, she told him’ [16/28] ke





have:NP-1S what 3S:IO=VNT=give:F-1S

‘what I have I will give him’ [17/30] The element ke also functions as the question word ‘what’, e.g.: ke

t-tăۜۜ-‫ۑ‬t da ?

what 2S-do:I-2S here

‘what are you doing here?’ [4/6] It is also used in relative clauses with prepositional relatives (see 16.1.2). In this case, reference can also be to animates, e.g.: i

‫ܭ‬úr ke


to DEM:F-ANP:S at


t-‫ۑ‬făttăk 3S:F-ask:I

‘to the one from whom she asks’ [3/4] Finally it seems to be part of the element la ke(-ni), whose function is unclear: nkud la ke when ?



what VNT=say:P-3P:F bad.things

‘when they say something bad’ [71/112]


la ke









‘wouldn’t you have some eyes?’ [29/52] la ké


na talălle n abaltum





thread of old.garment

‘wouldn’t you have a thread of an old garment’ [3/4] The second pronoun is me ‘what’, which is used in the same contexts as ke (albeit less frequently in the texts), except for prepositional relative clause formation, e.g.: ăn=i

me wăr t-‫ۑ‬lé-m,

what NEG 2P:M-have:NP-2P:M say:IPT:S=1S:IO

‘tell me what you don’t have’ [L73:191] The third pronoun is was, which refers to animates and can be translated as ‘who’. Like ke and me, it is invariable for gender and number: was

iy azale=ye



to song=ANP:S


ۜ‫ۑ‬d i-lla


with 3S:M-be:P DEM:REL PTC:M:S-travel:P-PTC:M:S



‘he who hears this song knows that it is one that has traveled’ [11/20] am‫ۑ‬zwar n was first




of DEM:REL to what 3S:F:DO=VNT=give:P-3P:M

‘the first of those to whom they gave it’ [13/24] Although was can mark both singular and plural referents, it is always constructed as a singular.



Deictic elements

Deictic elements are associated to nouns, demonstrative pronominal bases and to verbs. 5.1 Verbal deictics There are two verbal deictics, which indicate that the action takes place towards the speaker (ventive) or away from the speaker (itive). The deictics appear in two rows. In addition, there is variation in consonantal length, for which the conditions have not been determined (Lanfry 1973:46, 224):

‘hither’ ‘thither’

Row I ‫ۑ‬d(d) ‫ۑ‬n(n)

Row II id in

Form I is found everywhere, except following a 3S:M clitic. When following a suffix-less form of a Perfective of the verb type vCC (Prasse’s class IA7) or related verb types with changing vowel e / o in final position (see 6.2.10), the vowel is e rather than o.43 Examples:


Form I tăqqim=‫ۑ‬n yútăf=‫ۑ‬d tăbb=‫ۑ‬d ărr=‫ۑ‬d iman nn-ăk tăt=d=iškăl

‘she sat down there’ [L73:225] ‘he came in (here)’ [L73:47] ‘and she brings (Aorist) here’ [28/50] ‘pretend! (Imperative)’ [L73:47] ‘he will take it back (to here)’ [L73:48]

Form II t-udăn=t=in sit‫ۑ‬f=t=id i=t=idd=t-‫ۑ‬kf-‫ۑ‬t t-úse=n i-ۜe=n

‘she covered her there’ [L73:225] ‘make him come in’ [L73:47] ‘you shall give it to me’ [L73:48] ‘she came there’ [L73:225] ‘he put there’ [L73:48]

An alternative analysis would be to consider the e part of the deictic clitic and propose a third row of deictics, occurring when they follow a Perfective of the vCC class, i.e. tăbb=ed rather than t-ăbbe=d. As the same situation is found with Direct Object pronominal clitics (see 4.2), I consider the present analysis more elegant.

y-use=d t-ăbbe=dd

‘he came here’ [L73:47] ‘she brought (Perfective) here’ [28/50]

The verbal deictic clitics basically express movement towards or from the deictic center. The deictic center is the place of ego at the moment of speaking. When the ego is not part of the text, as is often the case in narratives and descriptions, a deictic center may be constructed within the space delimited by the story-telling. This can be interpreted as an intervention of the narrator in the story: while not part of the action, (s)he places him/herself as an observer inside the narrative space. Such an intervention belongs to proper narrative style, and narratives abound in verbal deictic clitics. It is not unlike the camera perspective in a movie. The deictic center is basically the ego’s body, or, more specifically, the head (possibly the eyes). This is shown by the importance of visibility vs. non-visibility (see below), as well as the possibility to have the deictic clitics concern movements of the own body: ‫ۑ‬ssúr‫ۑ‬s-‫ۑ=ܭ‬n ঌarăn nnúk t‫ۑ‬kurmén ‫ۑ‬nn-é-s put:A-1S=ITV





‘and I will put (thither) my feet on his back’ [2/2] The ventive clitic (‘hither’) marks all movement towards the deictic center. Its basic reference to the ego makes it common with first person Direct and especially Indirect Objects. The itive clitic (‘thither’) marks movement towards a place that is far from the deictic center. Movement verbs do not obligatorily combine with the deictic clitics (an exception may be as ‘to go to’). The lack of a deictic clitic can be interpreted as the absence of a deictic center (in certain descriptions) or, more commonly, as suggesting that the movement falls within the general space surrounding the deictic center. Of course, such interpretations are difficult to prove on the basis of a text corpus without further verification with a native speaker. A number of verbs apparently have default itive meaning. In the texts, they occur freely with the ventive clitic (overruling the default), but are not attested with the itive clitic. This is the case of ăšk‫ۑ‬l ‘to carry (away)’


and ăbb ‘to take (away)’. The irregular verb awas ‘to go away’ is not combined with any of the clitics; in this case, one may assume that the itive semantics are a defining part of the verbal meaning, which precludes it from being used in a meaning where the ventive clitic would be acceptable. Other movement verbs are neutral as to the direction of the movement. Thus, verbs like ‫ۑ‬kri ‘to come back’, as ‘to go to’, aw‫ۑ‬ঌ ‘arrive’, ăffă‫ܭ‬ ‘to go out’, and at‫ۑ‬f ‘to go in’ occur with (and without) both clitics, e.g.: i-kri=yasăn=dd,


3S:M-return:P=3P:M:IO=VNT 3S:M-say:P=3P:M:IO

‘he came back to them (over here) and said to them’ [9/16] t-‫ۑ‬kre=yin44

iy ‫ۑ‬ššu=ye


to food=ANP

‘she went back (over there) to the food’ [18/32] i-kre



to Tunen


‘he went back to Tunen’ [2/2] The same is true for verbs of speaking, such as ăn ‘to say’, ‫ۑ‬slil ‘to call’, and ăsm‫ۜۜۑ‬i ‘to speak’. The use of the itive clitic with such verbs may stress the physical distance between the speaker and the hearer (i.e. the hearer is far from the deictic center), or reflect a previous movement of the speaker from the deictic center. An important entailment of the ego-centrism of the deictic meanings is their use with changes from invisibility to visibility. Movements by which something that had been invisible before becomes visible are marked by means of the ventive clitic. This is true, for example, for things that were in the ground before, e.g.: isse d=t-‫ۑ‬kkăs-ăt



‫ۑ‬flelo=yo ?

why VNT=3S:F-uproot:P-2S




‘why did you uproot (hither) these carrots and onions?’ [4/6]


One would have expected t-‫ۑ‬kre=y‫ۑ‬n.


It also concerns things that were non-existent before, or that had a different nature. Thus, the ventive clitic is obligatorily present with verbs of ‘becoming’, such as the verb ‫ۑ‬kri ‘to return, to become’. When this verb has a movement reading, it can be combined with either of the clitics, or lack them (see the examples above). When it is to be translated as ‘become’,45 it always has the ventive clitic, e.g.: n ‫ۑ‬lm‫ৢۑ‬áyib !




quantity of problems

‘may they become as numerous as (there are) problems!’ [8/14] ۜ‫ۑ‬d d=i-kre


when VNT=3S:M-return:P

be.big:P:3S:M boy=ANP:S 3S:M-travel:P

an৬fal=e, y-ăziyyăz

‘when the boy had become old, he went on a voyage’ [16/28] Similarly, there is a strong tendency to use the ventive clitic with the verb ar‫ۑ‬w ‘to give birth, to get a child’, e.g.: arumo



brother:1S 3S:M-give.birth:P=VNT boy

‘my brother has got a boy’ [9/16] The itive clitic, on the other hand, is favored when something moves into a place that is not easily visible. This is the case, for instance, when something falls into a hole, e.g.: y-úঌa=y‫ۑ‬n




‘he fell into the hole’ [10/18] 5.2 Nominal and pronominal deictics Nominal and pronominal deictics are cliticized to the noun or to a pronominal basis, respectively. There are three deictic meanings expressed: proximal (near the speaker), distal (away from the speaker) and anaphoric (not necessarily present, but known from the context). The deictic clitics have different forms for singular and plural. 45

This is best analyzed as a case of polysemy. In its ‘become’ reading, the new state is not necessarily one that existed before; there is no sense of returning here.



proximal o ~ o-dăt i ~ i-dăt

distal ănn ~ ănn-ăt ~ onn ~ onn-ăt inn ~ inn-ăt

anaphoric e íd

When following a vowel-final word, the clitics are preceded by the semivowel y. Examples with nouns: an৬fál=o tawažett=o

‘this boy over here’ ‘this girl over here’

wǎۜۜid=ănn ‘that man over there’ talta=yănn, talta=yonn ‘that woman over there’ an৬fál=e tawažett=e

‘the boy in question’ ‘the girl in question’

‫ۑ‬ddrari=yi twažatén=i

‘these boys over here’ ‘these girls over here’

wǎۜۜidăn=inn taltawén=inn

‘those men over there’ ‘those women over there’

‫ۑ‬ddrari=yíd twažatén=íd

‘the boys in question’ ‘the girls in question’

The combination of deictic clitics and the locative clitic leads to specific forms (Lanfry 1968:367):


proximal + locative distal + locative anaphoric + locative o=da a=dănn e=den i=da46 not attested i=din47

The same deictics are used with the pronominal bases w- (M) and t- (F):


In the form as‫ۑ‬fiwăn=i=da ‘on these days’ [61/108]. According to Lanfry (1968:367). Lanfry 1973:69 is a somewhat unclear discussion of the same facts.




proximal w-o ~ w-o-dăt t-o ~ t-o-dăt

distal w-ănn ~ w-ănn-ăt t-ănn ~ t-ănn-ăt t-onn ~ t-onn-ăt

anaphoric w-e t-e


w-i ~ w-i-dăt t-i ~ w-i-dăt

w-inn ~ w-inn-ăt t-inn ~ t-inn-ăt

w-íd t-íd

It is possible to have double marking of deixis on a pronominal form, e.g. w-o-dăt=o ‘this one’. When occurring in the presentative kăt + DEMONSTRATIVE, the singular proximal demonstratives are w-e and t-e: kăt-w-e kăt-t-e

‘here he is (close by)’ kăt-w-i ‘here she is (close by)’ kăt-t-i

‘here they are (close)’ ‘here they are (close)’

The distal demonstratives are regular in this construction: kăt-w-ănn ‘there he is (far away)’ kăt-w-inn ‘there they are (far)’ kăt-t-ănn ‘there he is (far away)’ kăt-t-inn ‘there they are (far)’ Forms with ănn-ăt seem to mark further distance (Lanfry 1973:169), e.g.: kăt-w-ănn-ăt ‘there he is (really far away)’ The forms provided by Motylinski (1904:24) only partly correspond to what is given by Lanfry. As Motylinski does not make a difference between different types of deixis, translating everything by ‘ce’, the interpretation of his forms is difficult. Fortunately the texts sometimes clarify the meaning of a deictic. For proximal deixis, (singular) and (plural) correspond to Lanfry’s notations. For anaphoric deixis, Motylinski has and (both singular), e.g. ‘the aforementioned man’ (78), (69). The anaphoric deictics can be followed by an element , e.g. < amakan adin> ‘this place’ (24). The combination of demonstrative bases with deictic suffixes is also quite different from what is described by Lanfry (Motylinski 1904:24):



ouou touou


ououahi tououahi


inaouahi tinaouahi

ouidas tidas


cf. w-odas (?) (a)ۜanaw ‫ۑ‬nnuk DEM:M-ANP:S



‘this is my slave’ [Mot109] It is unclear whether the different rows represent different deictics, or simply different variants of the same deictic. Moreover, the phonetic interpretation of the forms is sometimes difficult, esp. with forms such as . It is clear, however, that Motylinski’s forms with -ahi and -das have no equivalent in Lanfry’s material. Moreover, the demonstrative bases M:P ina- F:P tina- are absent in the variety described by Lanfry. 5.3 Adverbial deictics The place adverb ‘here/there’ has forms reminiscent of the nominal and pronominal deictics: proximal distal anaphoric

da ~ dadăt dănn ~ dănnăt dén (?)

‘here’ ‘over there’ ‘the place we were talking about’

The elements da and dén also function as allomorphs of the locative deictic after a proximal and an anaphoric clitic, respectively. While da is attested as a genuine adverb, dén only occurs in the position after a noun with an anaphoric clitic. It is very well possible that Lanfry was wrong in considering it an adverbial deictic (at least synchronically). In addition, there is an adverb dos, ‘there’, which may be a grammaticalization of dos ‘in it’. In the present language, it is not possible to have different personal pronouns with this word (no do-săn ‘in them’), and the element is best considered an invariable adverb.48


There is one instance of dos‫ۑ‬n [16/28]. There is no obvious reference to a plural unity here. Maybe the form is dos followed by the otherwise verbal deictic =‫ۑ‬n ‘thither’.



Verbs: stem forms

The Ghadames verbal system has been studied comprehensively in Lanfry (1968). When studying the verb, a number of subjects must be taken into consideration. These are: 1. verbal derivations 2. aspectual apophony 3. Person/Number/Gender (PNG) marking 4. marking of the subject-relative form (so-called participle) In this chapter, verbal derivations and aspectual apophony will be treated. PNG forms and subject relatives are the subject of chapter 7. 6.1 Verbal derivations The derivational system of Ghadames basically consists of two prefixes, a sibilant prefix which conveys notions such as causative and a nasal prefix that marks passive and medial meanings. The two prefixes can be combined to mark the passive of a causative. 6.1.1 Sibilant prefix The sibilant prefix is normally ss-. It undergoes sibilant harmony, i.e. when another sibilant is present in the stem, the prefix takes its form. Examples: ăkf ăsl‫ۑ‬k ănz

‘to give’ ‘to be rinsed’ ‘to be sold’

‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬kf ‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬sl‫ۑ‬k ‫ۑ‬zz‫ۑ‬nz

‘to cause to give’ ‘to rinse’ ‘to sell’

The sibilant prefix is used to form causatives. Most examples in Lanfry’s works are based on intransitive underived verbs. There are, however, quite some verbs with a transitive basis, e.g.: ‫ۑ‬ttu or‫ۑ‬আ

‘to forget’ ‘to write’

‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬ttu ‫ۑ‬ssir‫ۑ‬আ

‘to make forget’ ‘to be charged with signing the marriage contract’

There are a few cases where the sibilant derivation seems to be used to derive a verb from a noun, e.g.: skur‫ۑ‬r (IPT) ‘to sing the marriage song starting with the word karura’ Similarly, quite a number of sibilant derivations seem to be based on onomatopoeia: sn‫ۑ‬sn‫ۑ‬s (IPT) sq‫ۑ‬zq‫ۑ‬z (IPT) st‫ۑ‬ft‫ۑ‬f (IPT) s৬‫ۑ‬q৬‫ۑ‬q (IPT)

‘try to get information secretly’ ‘to clap one’s hand for sorrow’ ‘to grope’ ‘to tickle’

6.1.2 Nasal prefix The nasal prefix is always mm-. Examples: ăkn‫ۑ‬f át‫ۑ‬f ăkf ‫ۑ‬mud

‘to roast’ ‘to come in’ ‘to give’ ‘to pray’

‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬kn‫ۑ‬f ‫ۑ‬mmít‫ۑ‬f ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬kf ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬mud

‘to be roasted’ ‘to be entered’ ‘to be given’ ‘to be carried (prayer)’

The great majority of the examples given by Lanfry are translated as passives. There are a few mm- derivations which have medial interpretation: ăbb‫ۑ‬k ár

‘to bring together’ ‘to open sth.’

‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬bb‫ۑ‬k ‫ۑ‬mmár

‘to come together’ ‘to open oneself’

Although narrative style does not necessarily favor the use of passive forms, these are far from infrequent in the corpus. No less than 31 mmderived forms occur (most of them with passive semantics), 19 in descriptions and proverbs, and 12 in narratives. 6.1.3 Nasal + sibilant prefix The combination of the two prefixes is only attested as ms-. Examples:


át‫ۑ‬f ‘to come in’ ăkf ‘to give’

‫ۑ‬msít‫ۑ‬f ‫ۑ‬ms‫ۑ‬kf

‘to be introduced’ ‘to be made to give’

The meaning is the combination of passive with the causative. 6.1.4 Prefix tt(u)In the dialect described by Lanfry, no derivational prefix tt(u)- occurs. Motylinski (1904:33) cites a number of forms: ‘to write’ ‘to go in’ ‘to eat’

‘to be written’ ‘to be entered’ ‘to be eaten’

Corresponding forms in Lanfry’s works are ‫ۑ‬mmír‫ۑ‬আ ‘to be written’ and ‫ۑ‬mmít‫ۑ‬f ‘to be entered’, which have the regular mm-prefix. No passive form of ăšš ‘to eat’ is given by Lanfry. 6.2 Aspectual marking Ghadames has four positive aspectual stems and two negative aspectual stems. The differences are illustrated by the following four verbs. In most cases, the bare stem is given, i.e. the abstracted form without PNG marking; only in the case of ‘wear’, the 3S:F is given (except the Verbal Noun), in order to highlight its behavior. ‘roast’ Aorist Future Perfective Imperfective Negative Perfective Negative Imperfective Verbal Noun

‘enter’ ăkn‫ۑ‬f ‫ۑ‬knăf ‫ۑ‬knăf ‫ۑ‬kănnăf ‫ۑ‬knéf ‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬nn‫ۑ‬f ak‫ۑ‬nn‫ۑ‬f

‘bleed (nose)’ át‫ۑ‬f ‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬nz‫ۑ‬r útăf ‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬nz‫ۑ‬r útăf ăff‫ۑ‬nzăr ‫ۑ‬ttátăf ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬f‫ۑ‬nz‫ۑ‬r útéf ăff‫ۑ‬nzer ‫ۑ‬ttităf ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬f‫ۑ‬nz‫ۑ‬r atit‫ۑ‬f af‫ۑ‬nz‫ۑ‬r

‘she wears’ t-ăls t-‫ۑ‬ls t-‫ۑ‬lso t-‫ۑ‬lăss t-‫ۑ‬lse t-‫ۑ‬l‫ۑ‬ss al‫ۑ‬ssi

In addition, there are two Imperative stems (normal and Imperfective), which are different from the other aspectual stems in a few verb classes (see 6.2.7 for details).


The existence of a “Future” stem (only used with the particle d ‘nonreal’) is a typical feature of Ghadames Berber; only a few other Libyan dialects have the same form (cf. Kossmann 2000). It has special PNG marking (see 7.1). The Verbal Noun, although not part of aspectual marking, is also given here, as it has, in Ghadames, a highly regular formation, with strong formal links to the Negative Imperfective form. As appears from the examples above, apophonic processes are central to the marking of aspect. The only non-apophonic element in the stem formation is the prefix ‫ۑ‬tt- which appears in many Imperfective formations. Note that ‫ۑ‬tt- is incompatible with the causative prefix. Apophony is described using the abstract features Ԥ – A (non-low – low), referring to vowel quality. Ԥ (non-low) stands for the vowels ‫ۑ‬, i, u, while A (low) stands for ă, a, and more rarely o and e. In addition to this, lengthening of a consonant plays a role, referred to here as L. Using these abstract features, most verb types can be described. In the following presentation, I will distinguish four apophonic classes. The first and the second class are relatively homogenous and clearly different from each other. The third and the fourth class are much less homogenous, and the decision to put one or another form in one of these classes, as well as the decision to distinguish the two, is to some degree arbitrary. 6.2.1 First apophonic class The large majority of disyllabic verbs belong to the first apophonic class. ‘roast’ (verb type) vCCvC A A-Ԥ ăkn‫ۑ‬f F Ԥ-A ‫ۑ‬knăf P Ԥ-A ‫ۑ‬knăf I Ԥ-A-L-A ‫ۑ‬kănnăf or: ‫ۑ‬tt-A-A NP Ԥ-e ‫ۑ‬knef NI Ԥ-Ԥ-L-Ԥ ‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬nn‫ۑ‬f or: ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-Ԥ/A VN a-Ԥ-L-Ԥ ak‫ۑ‬nn‫ۑ‬f a-t-Ԥ-Ԥ -

‘enter’ VCvC at‫ۑ‬f utăf utăf ‫ۑ‬ttatăf utef ‫ۑ‬ttit‫ۑ‬f49 atit‫ۑ‬f

‘throw’ vCvC ăۜ‫ۑ‬r ‫ۜۑ‬ăr ‫ۜۑ‬ăr ‫ۜۜۑ‬ar ‫ۜۑ‬er ‫ۜۜۑ‬er aۜۜir -

‘grind’ ‘fell’ vCࢎ CvC vCCVC ădd‫ۑ‬আ ăৢruw ‫ۑ‬ddăআ ‫ৢۑ‬raw ‫ۑ‬ddăb ‫ৢۑ‬raw ‫ৢۑ‬ărraw ‫ۑ‬ttăddăআ ‫ۑ‬ddeb not attested not attested ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬dd‫ۑ‬আ aৢ‫ۑ‬rruw at‫ۑ‬dd‫ۑ‬আ -

Lanfry 1968:254 has ‫ۑ‬ttităf. This is probably a typo, cf. the Imperfective Imperative (often similar to the NI) tit‫ۑ‬f, and, with a related verb type (oCvC): ‫ۑ‬ttir‫ۑ‬আ. 49


Imperfectives with ‫ۑ‬tt- are regularly found when the verb starts with a long consonant, as in ădd‫ۑ‬আ above, or when it starts in a plain vowel, as in at‫ۑ‬f. One remarks the irregular – but pan-Berber – insertion of a plain vowel in the Imperfective of the vCvC verbs, i.e. ‫ۜۜۑ‬ar instead of expected **‫ۜۜۑ‬ăr. Note that a number of vCvC verbs belong to the second apophonic class. The vowel ‫ ۑ‬of the Perfective is regularly lowered to ă before r, l, ܵ, x, ত, ‫( ܭ‬Lanfry 1968:326; corrected 1973:xvi), e.g. Perfective y-ărঌăl < *y-‫ۑ‬rঌăl ‘he lent’. A few verbs with vCVC structure on the surface belong to the first apophonic class. They are best analyzed as vCyvC verbs with assimilations and tt-Imperfective: Aorist ăkif (< *ăky‫ۑ‬f); Future ‫ۑ‬kef (< *‫ۑ‬kyăf); Perfective ‫ۑ‬kef (< *‫ۑ‬kyăf); Imperfective ‫ۑ‬ttăkef (< *‫ۑ‬ttăkyăf); Verbal Noun at‫ۑ‬kif (< *at‫ۑ‬ky‫ۑ‬f) ‘to hide’ (similarly ăzik ‘to heal’). There are a number of verb types associated to the first apophonic class which present special characteristics. In the first place, verbs with initial o do not change this vowel in apophony, except in the Negative Imperfective and the Verbal Noun. Otherwise, the apophonic changes are regular: Aorist ok‫ۑ‬r; Future okăr; Perfective okăr; Imperfective ‫ۑ‬ttokăr; Negative Perfective oker; Negative Imperfective ‫ۑ‬ttik‫ۑ‬r; Verbal Noun atik‫ۑ‬r ‘to steal’. A number of these verbs have the Verbal Noun structure oCࢎ CaC, e.g. Aorist ol‫ۑ‬l, Verbal Noun ollal (also: atil‫ۑ‬l) ‘to help’ (see also 6.3). Verbs of the structure VwvC change the plain vowel to a central vowel50 in the Future and the Perfective:


Most examples in Lanfry (1958, 1973) are 3rd person singular masculine. As both *y‫ۑ‬ and *yi surface as i in Ghadames, they could be analyzed as iCăC or as ‫ۑ‬CăC. Other PNG forms show clearly that the analysis should be (‫)ۑ‬CăC, e.g. Perfective 3P:M wănăn ‘they went up’ [L73:391]; Perfective 3P:F w‫ۑ‬ঌ-năt ‘they arrived’ [L73:383].


Aorist aw‫ۑ‬ঌ; Future ‫ۑ‬w‫ۑ‬ঌ; Perfective ‫ۑ‬w‫ۑ‬ঌ; Imperfective ‫ۑ‬ttawăঌ; Verbal Noun atiw‫ۑ‬ঌ ‘to arrive’ A special case is provided by verbs of the structure vCC. In addition to normal apophonic changes, these verbs have vowel alternation according to PNG-marking and aspect. The following table illustrates this with the verb ‘to wear’: 2S 3S:F 3P:M NOUN Aorist t-ăls-‫ۑ‬t t-ăls ălsi-n Future t-‫ۑ‬ls-‫ۑ‬t t-‫ۑ‬ls ‫ۑ‬lso-n Perfective t-‫ۑ‬lse-t t-‫ۑ‬lso ‫ۑ‬lso-n Imperfective t-‫ۑ‬lăss-‫ۑ‬t t-‫ۑ‬lăss lăsso-n Neg. Perf. not attested t-‫ۑ‬lse not attested Neg. Imperf. not attested t-‫ۑ‬l‫ۑ‬ss not attested Verbal Noun al‫ۑ‬ssi 1S and 2S have the same vocalization of the stem. 3S:F represents all PNGs without a suffix (i.e. 3S:M, 3S:F and 1P), while 3P:M represents the plural forms with PNG suffixes (see also 6.2.10). In the Future and in the Imperfective of these verbs, the apophonic scheme seems to be Ԥ-Ԥ in the 2S and 3S:F, while it is Ԥ-A in the third person plural (assuming that o represents A here, cf. Kossmann 2001a) (see also 6.2.10). When pronominal or deictic clitics follow vowel-final forms of these verbs, the final vowel is absent when the clitic starts in a plain vowel (i.e. with Indirect Object clitics and with first person forms of Direct Object clitics). Otherwise, the final vowel is e instead of o (cf. also 4.2, 5.1), e.g.: i-ššo ‘he ate (P)’ vs. i-šše=ttăn t-ăbbo ‘she brought (P)’ t-ăbbe=dd

‘he ate (P) them’ ‘she brought (P) here’

6.2.2 Second apophonic class The second apophonic class is by far the most common class in trisyllabic verbs.51 It has the following basic structure: With reduplicating verbs, Perfective (?) forms with the scheme Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ are found, e.g. y‫ۑ‬bb‫ۜۑ‬b‫‘ ۜۑ‬he is hasty’. It is difficult to assess the status of these forms. From the lists in Lanfry (1968) it is not entirely clear whether they are Aorist or Perfective forms; notations in Lanfry (1973) suggest they are Perfectives rather than Aorists, as one would 51


‘become adult’ IPT (Ԥ-)Ԥ-Ԥ (‫)ۑ‬br‫ۑ‬nš‫ۑ‬l A Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ ‫ۑ‬br‫ۑ‬nš‫ۑ‬l F Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ ‫ۑ‬br‫ۑ‬nš‫ۑ‬l P A-Ԥ-A ăbr‫ۑ‬nšăl I ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-Ԥ- Ԥ ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬br‫ۑ‬nš‫ۑ‬l NP A-Ԥ-e ăbr‫ۑ‬nšel NI ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-Ԥ- Ԥ ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬br‫ۑ‬nš‫ۑ‬l VN a-Ԥ-Ԥ abr‫ۑ‬nš‫ۑ‬l

‘bleed ‘squint’ (nose)’ f‫ۑ‬nz‫ۑ‬r ziw‫ۑ‬l ‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬nz‫ۑ‬r ‫ۑ‬zziw‫ۑ‬l ‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬nz‫ۑ‬r ‫ۑ‬zziw‫ۑ‬l ăff‫ۑ‬nzăr ăzziwăl ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬f‫ۑ‬nz‫ۑ‬r ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬ziw‫ۑ‬l ăff‫ۑ‬nzer not attested ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬f‫ۑ‬nz‫ۑ‬r not attested af‫ۑ‬nz‫ۑ‬r aziw‫ۑ‬l

‘place’ sur‫ۑ‬s ‫ۑ‬ssur‫ۑ‬s ‫ۑ‬ssur‫ۑ‬s ăssurăs ‫ۑ‬ssur‫ۑ‬s not attested52 not attested asur‫ۑ‬s

Some disyllabic verbs belong to the same class. They have no initial vowel in the Imperative. When showing internal vowels, these do not undergo apophony; remark however the change of i to e in the Perfective of the vCiC verbs:53


V Ԥ-V Ԥ-V A-V ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-V A-V ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-V a-t-Ԥ-V

‘pray’ vCuC mud ‫ۑ‬mud ‫ۑ‬mud ămud ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬mud ămud ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬mud at‫ۑ‬mud

‘yawn’ vCaC fat ‫ۑ‬fat ‫ۑ‬fat ăfat ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬fat ăfat ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬fat at‫ۑ‬fat

‘dance’ vCiC diz ‫ۑ‬diz ‫ۑ‬diz ădez ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬diz not attested not attested at‫ۑ‬diz

expect from their forms. Moreover, the initial sequence y‫( ۑ‬for the 3S:M marker) is unexpected, as one would expect either i (as the regular outcome of *y‫ )ۑ‬or yă. A number of reduplicating verbs have regular A-Ԥ-A Perfective apophony, e.g. yăۜۜ‫ۑ‬nۜăn ‘he has a low voice’. 52 Lanfry (1968:309) notes about this verb that “le prétérit prend l’i de la négation; l’aoriste intensif ne le prend pas”. This suggests that the Negative Perfective is ăssures, while the Negative Imperfective is ‫ۑ‬ssur‫ۑ‬s. 53 This seems to derive from *ădyăz, which, however, would have an otherwise unattested pattern A-A.


Disyllabic verbs of the types vCࢎ CvCC and vCvCࢎ C are similar, but have additional vowels with some person-number-gender suffixes (see 6.2.10), represented by (-Ԥ) and (-A) in the table below:


Ԥ Ԥ-Ԥ(-Ԥ) Ԥ-Ԥ(-A) A-Ԥ(-A) ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-Ԥ(-A) A-Ԥ ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-Ԥ a-Ԥ-i

‘be last’ vCࢎ CvCC ۜ‫ۑ‬rআ ‫ۑۜۜۑ‬rআ ‫ۑۜۜۑ‬rআ ăۜۜ‫ۑ‬rআ ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑۜۑ‬rআ ăۜۜ‫ۑ‬rআ ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑۜۑ‬rআ aۜ‫ۑ‬rbi

‘hide’ vCvCࢎ C k‫ۑ‬nn ‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬nn ‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬nn ăk‫ۑ‬nn ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬nn not attested not attested ak‫ۑ‬nni

A variant of this apophonic class has Ԥ-A in the Perfective, just like the first apophonic class. This is mainly found in the verb types ending in a vowel (mainly vCCV)54 and in the verb ‫ۑ‬৬kur ‘to fill’. In the vCCV type there occur some vowel changes according to PNG: 2S ‘finish’ A Ԥ-Ԥ t-‫ۑ‬mdu-t F Ԥ-Ԥ t-‫ۑ‬mdu-t P Ԥ-A t-‫ۑ‬mde-t I Ԥ-Ԥ-L-Ԥ t-‫ۑ‬m‫ۑ‬ddu-t NP Ԥ-A/e not attested NI Ԥ-Ԥ-L-Ԥ not attested VN a-Ԥ-L-Ԥ

3S:F ‘finish’ t-‫ۑ‬mdu t-‫ۑ‬mdu t-‫ۑ‬mda t-‫ۑ‬m‫ۑ‬ddu t-‫ۑ‬mde t-‫ۑ‬m‫ۑ‬ddu am‫ۑ‬ddu

3P:M ‘finish’ ‫ۑ‬mdu-n ‫ۑ‬mdu-n ‫ۑ‬mda-n m‫ۑ‬ddu-n not attested not attested aঌ‫ۑ‬kkur

‘fill’ ‫ۑ‬৬kur ‫ۑ‬৬kur ‫ۑ‬৬kar ‫ۑ‬ঌ‫ۑ‬kkur ‫ۑ‬৬kar ‫ۑ‬ঌ‫ۑ‬kkur

A special kind of apophony is found with a number of (v)CvC verbs, normally a verb structure belonging to the first apophonic class. In these 54

An alternative (and historically defensible) explanation would be to consider the schwa vocalization in pre-radical position the effect of vowel raising because of the following u (*ămdu > ‫ۑ‬mdu, *‫ۑ‬măddu > ‫ۑ‬m‫ۑ‬ddu). Different from Tuareg, in Ghadames, such a vowel harmony rule does not operate synchronically (e.g. y-ăbul ‘he urinated’ [1/1]), thence the analysis of these verb as belonging to the second apophonic class.


verbs, the Perfective also has the apophony Ԥ-Ԥ. Interestingly, these verbs have Imperatives without an initial vowel (forms according to Lanfry 1973; different in Lanfry 1968). ‘be shaken’ vCvC IPT Ԥ l‫ۑ‬z A Ԥ-Ԥ ‫ۑ‬l‫ۑ‬z F not attested not attested P Ԥ- Ԥ ‫ۑ‬l‫ۑ‬z I ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-Ԥ ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬l‫ۑ‬z VN a-t-Ԥ-Ԥ at‫ۑ‬l‫ۑ‬z

‘divide’ vCvC ਌‫ۑ‬n ‫ۑ‬਌‫ۑ‬n55 not attested ‫ۑ‬਌‫ۑ‬n ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬਌‫ۑ‬n at‫ۑ‬਌‫ۑ‬n (also irregular ta਌uni)

Lanfry (1973:188, 427) notes that the Aorist and the Perfective have a different accentuation: Aorist (3S:M) í਌‫ۑ‬n; Perfective (3S:M) i਌‫ࡾۑ‬n [L73:427]. 6.2.3 Third apophonic class The third apophonic class is similar to the second class, but has A-vowels in the Imperfective. This class has a number of sub-classes with slightly different vowel schemes in the Future and in the Perfective. In the Future, some verbs have A-vowels, while others have Ԥ-vowels. There is no apparent distribution of the two sub-classes, e.g. ‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬f‫ۑ‬l ‘make go’ and ‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬dm‫ۑ‬r ‘to answer’ with A-Future and ‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬আ‫ۑ‬ঌ ‘blow away the dust’ and s‫ۑ‬ms‫ۑ‬d (IPT) ‘to sharpen’ with Ԥ-Future. It is mainly found with derived verbs.

Normally ‫ ۑ‬becomes ă before ਌; however, Lanfry’s notation i਌‫ۑ‬n [L68:239], with i < *y‫ۑ‬, clearly shows that the basic form has ‫ۑ‬.



Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ Ԥ-A-A Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ P A-Ԥ-A ăss‫ۑ‬আăঌ I ‫ۑ‬tt-A-A-(A) NP A-Ԥ-e NI ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ ‫ۑ‬tt-A-A-A VN a-Ԥ-Ԥ


‘raise’ ‘be roasted’ ‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬kk‫ۑ‬r ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬kn‫ۑ‬f ‫ۑ‬ssăkkăr ăss‫ۑ‬kkăr

‘sharpen’ ‘blow’ not attested56‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬আ‫ۑ‬ঌ ‫ۑ‬mmăknăf - ‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬ms‫ۑ‬d ‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬আ‫ۑ‬ঌ ămm‫ۑ‬knăf ăss‫ۑ‬msăd

‫ۑ‬ssăkkăr57 ‫ۑ‬ttămăknăf ăss‫ۑ‬kker ămm‫ۑ‬knif ‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬kk‫ۑ‬r ‫ۑ‬ttămăknăf58 as‫ۑ‬kk‫ۑ‬r non-existent

‫ۑ‬ssămsăd not attested not attested not attested as‫ۑ‬ms‫ۑ‬d

‫ۑ‬ssăআăঌ not attested not attested not attested as‫ۑ‬আ‫ۑ‬ঌ

This class also includes the only four-syllable type attested in Ghadames: ‘pierce’ Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ Ԥ-A-A-A Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ P A-Ԥ-A-A I ‫ۑ‬tt-A-A-A-(A) VN a-Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ A F

‘be pierced’ ‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬nf‫ۑ‬r‫ۑ‬g ‫ۑ‬ssănfărăg ăss‫ۑ‬nfărăg ‫ۑ‬ssănfărăg59 as‫ۑ‬nf‫ۑ‬r‫ۑ‬g

‫ۑ‬ms‫ۑ‬nf‫ۑ‬r‫ۑ‬g ‫ۑ‬ms‫ۑ‬nf‫ۑ‬r‫ۑ‬g ăms‫ۑ‬nfărăg ‫ۑ‬ttămsănfărăg not attested/non-existent?

Cf. however: Imperative (= Aorist?) s‫ۑ‬bl‫ۑ‬lli (< *s‫ۑ‬bl‫ۑ‬ll‫ۑ‬y); Perfective ăss‫ۑ‬bl‫ۑ‬lle (< ăs‫ۑ‬bl‫ۑ‬llăy) ‘make turn around’ with a slightly different vowel scheme (A-Ԥ-Ԥ-A) in the Perfective. Derived verbs with an underived stem of the type VCC have interesting apophonic patterns, where Ԥ surfaces as i in the Aorist and as u or i in the Perfective. An unexpected variation i – e, as well as an irregular Imperative formation appear in the verb ‫ۜۜۑ‬iwăn ‘have enough’:


The Imperative form is s‫ۑ‬ms‫ۑ‬d. Note that the Imperfective prefix ‫ۑ‬tt- is incompatible with the causative prefix ss-. 58 Is this a lapsus? Cf. ak itt‫ۑ‬m‫ۑۜۑ‬r ‘he will not be thrown away’ [L68:320] with expected ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ. 59 Note that the Imperfective prefix ‫ۑ‬tt- is incompatible with the causative prefix ss-. 57



Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ Ԥ-A-A A-Ԥ-A ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ/A-A-A a-Ԥ-Ԥ

‘be entered’ ‫ۑ‬mmit‫ۑ‬f ‫ۑ‬mmit‫ۑ‬f ‫ۑ‬mmatăf ămmutăf ‫ۑ‬ttămatăf non-existent

‘make enter’ sit‫ۑ‬f ‫ۑ‬ssit‫ۑ‬f ‫ۑ‬ssatăf ăssităf ‫ۑ‬ssatăf asit‫ۑ‬f

‘have enough’ ۜewăn ‫ۜۜۑ‬iw‫ۑ‬n ‫ۜۜۑ‬ewăn ăۜۜewăn ‫ۑ‬ttăۜewăn aۜiw‫ۑ‬n (also tewant)

Verbs derived from the type oCvC retain their o, except in the Imperative, the Aorist, and the Verbal Noun:


Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ Ԥ-A-A A-Ԥ-A ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ/A-A-A a-Ԥ-Ԥ

‘be written’ ‫ۑ‬mmir‫ۑ‬আ ‫ۑ‬mmir‫ۑ‬আ ‫ۑ‬mmorăআ ămmorăআ ‫ۑ‬ttămorăআ non-existent

‘sign for’ sir‫ۑ‬আ ‫ۑ‬ssir‫ۑ‬আ ‫ۑ‬ssorăআ ăssorăআ ‫ۑ‬ssorăআ asir‫ۑ‬আ

A number of verbs with M-derivations of this type have different apophonic schemes in the Imperative than in the Aorist. There are two slightly different apophonic schemes:


A-A Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ Ԥ-A-A A-Ԥ-A ‫ۑ‬tt-A-A-A A-Ԥ-e ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ a-Ԥ-Ԥ

‘take lunch’ măklaw ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬kluw ‫ۑ‬mmăklaw ămm‫ۑ‬klaw ‫ۑ‬ttămăklaw not attested not attested am‫ۑ‬kluw


‘take dinner’ mănsaw ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬nsuw ‫ۑ‬mmănsaw ămm‫ۑ‬nsaw ‫ۑ‬ttămănsaw not attested not attested am‫ۑ‬nsuw

‘be thrown’ măۜăr ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑۜۑ‬r ‫ۑ‬mmăۜăr ămm‫ۜۑ‬ăr ‫ۑ‬ttămăۜăr ămm‫ۜۑ‬er ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬m‫ۑۜۑ‬r non-existent

‘be uprooted’ ‘open up’ mmaw‫ۑ‬k mar














‫ۑ‬tt-A/Ԥ-A-Ԥ/A ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬maw‫ۑ‬k


NP NI ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ

not attested not attested

not attested not attested

VN a-Ԥ-Ԥ



‘be covered’60 1. mmad‫ۑ‬n 2. mid‫ۑ‬n~mad‫ۑ‬n 1. not attested 2. ‫ۑ‬mmid‫ۑ‬n 1. ‫ۑ‬mmad‫ۑ‬n 2. not attested 1. ămmudăn 2. ămmudăn 1. ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬mad‫ۑ‬n 2. ‫ۑ‬ttămadăn not attested 1. not attested 2. ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬mid‫ۑ‬n non-existent

A similar situation is found in the verb ‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬ss ‘to be silent’ (forms according to Lanfry 1973; different in Lanfry 1968). This verb has additional vowels with some person-number-gender suffixes (see 6.2.10), represented by (-Ԥ) and (-A) in the table below:


A-(A) Ԥ-Ԥ-(Ԥ) Ԥ-A(-Ԥ) A-Ԥ(-Ԥ) ‫ۑ‬tt-A-A(-Ԥ) t-A-Ԥ A-Ԥ ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-Ԥ a- Ԥ-i

‘be silent’ făss ‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬ss ‫ۑ‬ffăss ăff‫ۑ‬ss ‫ۑ‬ttăfăss tăf‫ۑ‬ss ăff‫ۑ‬ss ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬f‫ۑ‬ss af‫ۑ‬ssi

One further sub-class of the third apophonic class occurs with three verbs, all of which have the Arabic stem VII prefix n-. They have the same difference between Imperative and Aorist vocalic schemes as the 60

Lanfry (1968) and Lanfry (1973) have different forms. The first forms represent those in Lanfry (1968), the second those in Lanfry (1973). 61 Also: ‫ۑ‬mmar.


examples above. Moreover, the Perfective scheme is different in that it is all-A rather than A-Ԥ-A. ‘be holed’ IPT Ԥ-A-A ‫ۑ‬nfărăg A Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ ‫ۑ‬nf‫ۑ‬r‫ۑ‬g F Ԥ-A-A ‫ۑ‬nfărăg P A-A-A ănfărăg I ‫ۑ‬tt-A-A-A ‫ۑ‬ttănfărăg NP A-A-e ănfăreg NI ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ- Ԥ-Ԥ ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬nf‫ۑ‬r‫ۑ‬g VN a-Ԥ-Ԥ anf‫ۑ‬r‫ۑ‬g

‘slip from hand’ ‫ۑ‬nsălăb ‫ۑ‬ns‫ۑ‬l‫ۑ‬b ‫ۑ‬nsălăb ănsălăb not attested not attested not attested not attested

‘be calm’62 ‫ۑ‬n৬ărăত ‫ۑ‬n৬‫ۑ‬răত ‫ۑ‬n৬ărăত ăn৬ărăত not attested not attested not attested an৬‫ۑ‬r‫ۑ‬ত

6.2.4 Fourth apophonic class The fourth apophonic class, which is relatively small, is quite similar to the third class. The principal difference lies in the form of the Aorist, which has A-vowels in class 4 and Ԥ-vowels in class 3. Considering that a number of sub-classes in class 3 have A-vowels in the Imperative and Ԥ-vowels in the Aorist (normally Imperative and Aorist are identical) one could also consider class 4 a sub-class of class 3 rather than a class by itself. It is mainly found with a number of disyllabic verbs of Berber origin. These verbs have additional vowels with some person-numbergender suffixes (see 6.2.10), represented by (-Ԥ) and (-A) in the table below: ‘be thirsty’ ‘be dry’ 63 IPT (Ԥ )-A(-Ԥ) fad ‫ۑ‬qqar A Ԥ-A(-Ԥ) ‫ۑ‬ffad ‫ۑ‬qqar F Ԥ-A(-Ԥ) ‫ۑ‬ffad ‫ۑ‬qqar P A-Ԥ(-Ԥ) ăffud ăqqur I ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-A(-Ԥ) ‫ۑ‬ttfad ‫ۑ‬tt‫ܵۑ‬ar NP A-Ԥ ăffud ăqqur NI ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-A ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬fad ‫ۑ‬tt‫ܵۑ‬ar VN a-t-Ԥ-A fad [irregular] at‫ܵۑ‬ar 62

Based on Lanfry 1973:252 for the Imperative and the Verbal Noun, and on Lanfry 1968:223 for the other forms. The opposition between ‫ ۑ‬and ă is neutralized before r and ত. It is therefore not entirely clear what the notations represent. 63 In the Imperative plural, both forms with and without a full vowel occur: fad-ăt ~ fadu-t (2P:M), fad-măt ~ fadu-măt (2P:F).


Borrowed Arabic second stem verbs also belong to the fourth apophonic class:


A-A Ԥ-A-A Ԥ-A-A A-Ԥ-A ‫ۑ‬tt-A-Ԥ-A ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-Ԥ-Ԥ VN a-Ԥ-Ԥ

‘separate’ făৢৢăl not attested not attested ăf‫ৢৢۑ‬ăl ‫ۑ‬ttăf‫ৢৢۑ‬ăl af‫ۑৢৢۑ‬l

‘finish’ kămmăl not attested not attested ăk‫ۑ‬mmăl ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬l ak‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬l

‘lose’64 wǂddăr ‫ۑ‬wǂddăr ‫ۑ‬wăddăr ăwǎddăr not attested aw‫ۑ‬dd‫ۑ‬r

A number of vCvCࢎ CvC verbs belong to the second apophonic class: আ‫ۑ‬qq‫ۑ‬r ‘to burn (sauce)’; d‫ۑ‬bb‫ۑ‬z ‘to be blunt’; f‫ۑ‬৬৬‫ۑ‬š ‘to have a flat nose’; ত‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬š ‘to be jealous’; lǎww‫ۑ‬s ‘to be flabby’; n‫ۑ‬dd‫ۑ‬m ‘to sleep’; n‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬r ‘to be blessed’; r‫ۑ‬bb‫ۑ‬ঌ ‘to be stained’; ܵ‫ۑ‬ll‫ۑ‬l ‘to be late’; ঌ‫ۑ‬šš‫ۑ‬ঌ ‘to have fear in the dark’. It seems that most of these verbs do not go back to Arabic stem II verbs. 6.2.5 Apophonic classes of the stative verbs Stative verbs are a category on their own because of their special PNGmarking (see 7.1). In addition, they have specific apophonic classes. There are a number of general remarks to be made: a. All stative verbs have all-Ԥ vocalization in the Aorist, the Future and the Imperfective. Only in the Perfective the classes are different. b. If the Aorist form of the verb has a plain vowel, this vowel remains unchanged in the other aspectual stems; there is one exception (which has a unique shape): ‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬syiy ‘to be sparse’, which has a in the Perfective. On the basis of the vocalization in the Perfective, the following classes can be distinguished:


Unfortunately, because of the influence of initial w on the following central vowel, the analysis of some of the forms of this verb is not entirely clear. Probably ‫ۑ‬wăddăr and ‫ۑ‬wǂddăr represent the same form.


Class 1a. Perfective: apophony A-L-A Class 1b. Perfective: apophony A-L-Ԥ Class 2a. Perfective: apophony A-A (syllabic structure: CACAC) Class 2b. Perfective: apophony A-Ԥ Examples: ‘be black’ Class 1a IPT Ԥ-Ԥ ‫ۑ‬zঌ‫ۑ‬f A (Ԥ-)Ԥ-Ԥ ‫ۑ‬zঌ‫ۑ‬f F (Ԥ-)Ԥ-Ԥ ‫ۑ‬sঌ‫ۑ‬f P A-(L)-Ԥ A-(L)-A să৬৬ăf I ‫ۑ‬tt-(Ԥ-)Ԥ-Ԥ ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬sঌ‫ۑ‬f VN ta-(Ԥ-)Ԥ-i taৢ‫ۑ‬৬fi

‘be white’ Class 1b ‫ۑ‬ml‫ۑ‬l ‫ۑ‬ml‫ۑ‬l ‫ۑ‬ml‫ۑ‬l măll‫ۑ‬l65 ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬ml‫ۑ‬l tam‫ۑ‬lli

‘be sparse’ Class 2a f‫ۑ‬syiy ‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬syiy ‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬syiy făsyay ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬f‫ۑ‬syiy not attested

‘be short’ Class 2b ۜ‫ۑ‬zz‫ۑ‬l ‫ۑۜۑ‬zz‫ۑ‬l ‫ۑۜۑ‬zz‫ۑ‬l (~ ‫ۜۑ‬z‫ۑ‬l) ۜăzz‫ۑ‬l ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑۜۑ‬zz‫ۑ‬l taۜ‫ۑ‬zz‫ۑ‬lt (~ taۜ‫ۑ‬zz‫ۑ‬la)

Verbs of the structure vCCVC either belong to class 1 or to class 2; as the plain vowel remains the same, there is no difference between class 1a and 1b, or 2a and 2b:


Ԥ-Ԥ Ԥ-V Ԥ-V A-(L)-V ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-V t-Ԥ-V-t

‘be small’ Class 1 ‫ۑ‬mtit ‫ۑ‬mtit ‫ۑ‬mtit măttit ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬mtit t‫ۑ‬mtit

‘be big’ Class 1 ‫ۑ‬mqor ‫ۑ‬mqor ‫ۑ‬mqor măqqor ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬mqor t‫ۑ‬mqort

‘be thin’ Class 2 ‫ۑ‬sdid ‫ۑ‬sdid ‫ۑ‬sdid sădid ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬sdid t‫ۑ‬sditt

‘be bad’ Class 2 ‫ۑ‬lkuk ‫ۑ‬lkuk ‫ۑ‬lkuk lakuk66 ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬lkuk t‫ۑ‬lkukt

The verb ‫ۑ‬mray ‘be painful’ has a different syllable structure in the Perfective: ămray. Verbs of the structure vCVC fall into the same two classes as vCCVC verbs. There are a number of cases where a plain vowel i appears before the first consonant in the Future and in the Imperfective. The following table lists all examples: 65 66

PL măllulit. Probably for lăkuk, cf. Lanfry 1973:180.



V Ԥ-V Ԥ-V A-(L)-V ‫ۑ‬tt-Ԥ-V a-t-Ԥ-V

‘be heavy’ Class 1 ਌ak not attested ‫ۑ‬਌ak ~ i਌ak ă਌਌ak ‫ۑ‬tti਌ak at‫ۑ‬਌ak ~ ti਌akt

‘be bitter’ Class 1 ਌ik ‫ۑ‬਌ik i਌ik ă਌਌ik ‫ۑ‬tti਌ik at‫ۑ‬਌ik ~ ti਌‫ۑ‬kt

‘be bland’ Class 2 lam67 ‫ۑ‬lam ‫ۑ‬lam ălam ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬lam at‫ۑ‬lam

There are a few irregularities with some verbs:


‘be long’ z‫ۜۑ‬r‫ۑ‬t ‫ۑ‬zz‫ۜۑ‬r‫ۑ‬t ‫ۑ‬zz‫ۜۑ‬r‫ۑ‬t z‫ۜۑ‬rut ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬z‫ۜۑ‬r‫ۑ‬t taz‫ۜۑ‬rătt

‘be small’ (rare word) m‫ۑ‬ঌri (< *m‫ۑ‬ঌr‫ۑ‬y) not attested not attested măঌray not attested not attested

‘be fat’ k‫ۑ‬r਌‫ۑ‬਌ not attested ‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬r਌‫ۑ‬਌ kăr‫ۑ‬਌਌ not attested not attested

The verb ‫ۑ‬ml‫ۑ‬l ‘to be white’ has Perfective măll‫ۑ‬l in 3S:M, but măllul-it with plain u in the plural. Similarly, k‫ۑ‬r਌‫ۑ‬਌ ‘be fat’ has Perfective kăr‫ۑ‬਌਌ in 3S:M,. but variation between kăr‫ۑ‬਌਌-it and kăr਌u਌-it in the plural. 6.2.6 Irregular verbs68 A number of verbs show changes which are not captured by the classes and sub-classes described above. They will be considered irregular.


Imperative plural according to Lanfry (1968:287): lamo-t. Some irregular cases where I assume that Lanfry’s notations are unreliable have been left out of the discussion.




‘be’ ili ili ili ‫ۑ‬lla ‫ۑ‬ttili atili

‘say’ ăn ăn69 ăn ‫ۑ‬nna ‫ۑ‬qqar aqqir

‘die’ ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬t ămm‫ۑ‬t ‫ۑ‬mmăt ămmut ‫ۑ‬ttămăttăt tamăttant

‘stay’ IPT qem A ‫ۑ‬qqim F ‫ۑ‬qqim P ăqqim I ‫ۑ‬tt‫ܵۑ‬im VN at‫ܵۑ‬im ~ tăܵimit

‘have enough’ ۜewăn ‫ۜۜۑ‬iwăn ‫ۜۜۑ‬ewăn ăۜۜewăn ‫ۑ‬ttăۜewăn aۜiw‫ۑ‬n

‘go down’ IPT wiۜۜ‫ۑ‬z A ‫ۑۜۜۑ‬z71 F ‫ۜۜۑ‬ăz P ‫ۜۜۑ‬ăz I ‫ۑ‬t‫ۑۜۜۑ‬z VN at‫ۑۜۜۑ‬z

‘pour’70 ăll‫ۑ‬n ăll‫ۑ‬n ăllăn72 ăllăn năqqăl at‫ۑ‬ll‫ۑ‬n ~ an‫ۑ‬qq‫ۑ‬l

‘hit’ ǂw‫ۑ‬t ǂw‫ۑ‬t ǎwăt ǎwăt ‫ۑ‬kkot akkit ~ tete

‘see’ ăll‫ۑ‬m ăll‫ۑ‬m ‫ۑ‬llăm ‫ۑ‬llăm ‫ۑ‬zăllăm az‫ۑ‬ll‫ۑ‬m

‘take’ ăbb ăbb ăbb ăbbe/o ‫ۑ‬ttăbăbb at‫ۑ‬b‫ۑ‬bbi

‘eat’ ăss ăšš ‫ۑ‬šš ‫ۑ‬šše/o ‫ۑ‬ttătt at‫ۑ‬tti ~ ‫ۑ‬ššu

‘kill’ ănn ănn ănn ănne/o ‫ۑ‬năqq anăqqi

‘do’ ăۜ ăۜ ‫ۜۑ‬ ‫ۜۑ‬e/o ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۜۜۑ‬ at‫ۜۜۑ‬i

‘be dented’ k‫ۑ‬lbu ‫ۑ‬kk‫ۑ‬lbi ‫ۑ‬kk‫ۑ‬lbu ăkk‫ۑ‬lbe ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬lbi ak‫ۑ‬lbu ‘drink’ ăsw ăsw ‫ۑ‬sw ‫ۑ‬swe/o ‫ۑ‬săss as‫ۑ‬ssi

In a few verbs, the Future and the Perfective have an initial vowel ă where one would expect ‫ۑ‬: ăll‫ۑ‬n, ănn and ăbb. This could be explained if one assumes that the initial consonant in these verbs is pharyngealized, as ‫ ۑ‬is automatically lowered before pharyngealized consonants. Two out of 69

The Imperative and the Aorist have the same vowel changes due to PNG adjunction as found in vCC verbs. The Perfective follows the vowel changes of vCCV verbs, see 6.2.10. 70 Lanfry (1968) has Perfectives of this verb both with initial ‫ ۑ‬and with initial ă. Lanfry (1973) and the texts only give evidence for initial ă. 71 Lanfry (1973) has ‫ۑۜۜۑ‬z, while Lanfry (1968:244) gives ăۜۜ‫ۑ‬z. Uncertainty over the central vowel is not uncommon before ۜۜ. 72 Lanfry (1968:230) gives ‫ۑ‬d y‫ۑ‬llăn; one would expect either ‫ۑ‬d illăn (with *y‫ > ۑ‬i) or ‫ۑ‬d yăllăn. In view of the Perfective, I assume ăllăn is the correct form.


three verbs have assimilated *ܵ: ănn < *ănܵ ‘to kill’, and ăll‫ۑ‬n < *ănn‫ۑ‬l (cf. Motylinski 1904:168 ) < *ănܵ‫ۑ‬l. If one assumes that the assimilation of *ܵ led to pharyngealization of the assimilated consonant, a pronunciation ă৆৆, ăশশ‫ۑ‬n (< *ă৆৆‫ۑ‬l) should not come as a surprise. Although there is no historical evidence for this, ăbb may in fact represent /ă঄঄/.73 6.2.7 Imperative stem forms There are two Imperative forms, which correspond to a large degree to the Aorist and the Imperfective. The Imperfective Imperative expresses an order to do something habitually (Lanfry 1968:338). Different from most Berber languages, where Imperatives are either identical to the positive stem formations or regularly derived from them, Ghadames has a number of interesting deviations from this. Two general rules can be formulated. The first is that in the apophonic classes two, three and four, the Imperative has no initial vowel in structures where the first consonant is immediately followed by a plain or a central vowel. The second rule is that in the apophonic classes two, three and four, the Imperative has no initial vowel when the first consonant is a shortened long consonant. This follows from the general prohibition of word-initial long consonants (see 2.1.1), e.g.: A A A

‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬sk‫ۑ‬r ‫ۑ‬ffad ‫ۑ‬আআ‫ۑ‬rۜ

IPT:A74 f‫ۑ‬sk‫ۑ‬r IPT:A fad IPT:A আ‫ۑ‬rۜ

‘to repudiate’ ‘to be hungry’ ‘to dream’

This is not the case for verbs with an initial long consonant in class one, i.e. those belonging to the stem shapes vCࢎ CvC and vCࢎ C. In such verbs, the initial vowel is retained and consonant length is preserved:

For < *ăbw? One remarks that ăbb has a similar irregular formation with reduplication in the Imperfective as other originally semivowel-final biradical verbs (cf. Kossmann 2008), ‫ۑ‬ttăbăbb. Motylinski has a form with final i, ([Mot100]), cognate with Ouargla ‫ۑ‬bbi ‘take’, suggesting that the final semivowel was *y rather than *w. In this case, pharyngealization would hardly be expected. 74 For the sake of clarity, I here use the gloss IPT:A for non-imperfective Imperatives. Otherwise, such Imperatives are simply glossed IPT. 73



ăkk‫ۑ‬r ăkk


ăkk‫ۑ‬r ăkk

‘to get up’ ‘to come from’

Whatever apophonic class they belong to, Imperfectives starting in vtthave no initial vowel and shorten the initial long consonant, e.g.: I




‘to write’

For most verbs, the normal Imperative is identical to the Aorist. One remarks however a number of deviations. Sometimes, Imperative forms are closer to the Future than to the Aorist – which is normally not the case. 1. Verbs which have an alternation between ø and a plain vowel in stemfinal position, have the vowel o or u in the Imperative of the plural forms with a suffix, while they have i in the Aorist, e.g.: Imperative 2S ăls 2P:M ălso-t 2P:F ălso-măt

Aorist t-ăls-‫ۑ‬t t-ălsi-m t-ălsi-măt

Future t-‫ۑ‬ls-‫ۑ‬t t-‫ۑ‬lso-m t-‫ۑ‬lso-măt

2. In a number of verbs, the Imperative has different vowels than the Aorist (see also 6.2.2, 6.2.3), e.g.: Imperative ‘take lunch’ măklaw ‘take dinner’ mănsaw ‘be thrown’ măۜăr ‘be uprooted’ mmawăk ‘be holed’ ‫ۑ‬nfărăg ‘die’ ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬t ‘stay’ qem ‘have enough’ ۜewăn ‘be dented’ k‫ۑ‬lbu

Aorist ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬kluw ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬nsuw ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑۜۑ‬r ‫ۑ‬mmuw‫ۑ‬k ‫ۑ‬nf‫ۑ‬r‫ۑ‬g ămm‫ۑ‬t ‫ۑ‬qqim ‫ۜۜۑ‬iwăn ‫ۑ‬kk‫ۑ‬lbi (< *‫ۑ‬y)


Future ‫ۑ‬mmăklaw ‫ۑ‬mmănsaw ‫ۑ‬mmăۜăr ‫ۑ‬mmaw‫ۑ‬k ‫ۑ‬nfărăg ‫ۑ‬mmăt ‫ۑ‬qqim ‫ۜۜۑ‬ewăn ‫ۑ‬kk‫ۑ‬lbu

The Imperative of the Imperfective is often different from the positive Imperfective and rather resembles the negative forms of the Imperfective (Lanfry 1973:492ff.). The negation of the Imperative is made by means of the negative particle wăl followed by a positive Imperfective form with Imperative endings. The only feature shared with other Imperatives is the simplification of initial vCࢎ C- to C-. I ‘cultivate’ ‫ۑ‬kărrăz ‘throw’ ‫ۜۜۑ‬ar ‘write’ ‫ۑ‬ttorăআ ‘come in’ ‫ۑ‬ttatăf ‘stand up’ ‫ۑ‬ttăkkăr ‘wear’ ‫ۑ‬lăss ‘come from’ ‫ۑ‬tăkk ‘yawn’ ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬fat

NI ‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬rr‫ۑ‬z ‫ۜۜۑ‬er ‫ۑ‬ttir‫ۑ‬আ ‫ۑ‬ttităf ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬kk‫ۑ‬r ‫ۑ‬l‫ۑ‬ss ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬kk ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬fat

positive IPT:I ‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬rr‫ۑ‬z ‫ۜۜۑ‬ir tir‫ۑ‬আ tit‫ۑ‬f tăkkăr lăss tăkk t‫ۑ‬fat

negated IPT (wăl kărrăz)75 wăl ‫ۜۜۑ‬ar wăl tor‫ۑ‬আ76 wăl tatăf wăl tăkkăr (wăl lăss) wăl tăkk (wăl t‫ۑ‬fat)

NB the verb ăۜ‫ۑ‬l ‘to put powder or flour in the mouth’ has irregular variation both in the Imperfective Imperative and in the Verbal Noun: Imperfective: ‫ۜۜۑ‬al, Verbal Noun: aۜۜil ~ at‫ۑۜۑ‬l, Imperfective Imperative: ‫ۜۜۑ‬il ~ t‫ۑۜۑ‬l. 6.2.8 Negative stems The negative verb stems are only used after the negative markers ak and wăl. While they have been included in the apophonic schemes above, it is insightful also to present them in relationship to their positive schemes. The negative Perfective is differentiated from the positive Perfective by substituting the last vowel by e. This only happens when the last vowel in the Perfective is ă, e.g.: Perfective ‘he roasted’ i-knăf ‘he had a nose-bleed’ y-ăff‫ۑ‬nzăr ‘he raised’ y-ăss‫ۑ‬kkăr


Negative Perfective i-knef y-ăff‫ۑ‬nzer y-ăss‫ۑ‬kker

Class I Class II Class III

Examples between brackets have been constructed from examples with different verbs of the same type in Lanfry (1968:338-340). 76 Possibly a typo for wăl torăআ.


The vowel e also comes in place of a final plain vowel, whether belonging to a V-final verb type or to the alternating ø – V verb type, e.g.77

‘he agreed’ ‘he wore’ ‘they wore’

Perfective i-rঌa i-lso ‫ۑ‬lso-n

Negative Perfective i-rঌe i-lse ‫ۑ‬lse-n

Class II Class I Class I

When the last vowel of the Perfective is ‫ ۑ‬or a non-final plain vowel, there is no substitution, e.g.:

‘he is last’ ‘he is silent’ ‘he yawned’

Perfective y-ăۜۜ‫ۑ‬rআ y-ăff‫ۑ‬ss y-ăfat

Negative Perfective y-ăۜۜ‫ۑ‬rআ y-ăff‫ۑ‬ss y-ăfat

Class II Class IV Class II

The negative Imperfective can be derived from the positive Imperfective by two procedures: a. Change of any ă in the Imperfective to ‫ۑ‬, e.g.: ‘he roasts’ ‘he wears’ ‘he grinds’ ‘he raises’

Imperfective i-kănnăf i-lăss i-ttăddăআ y-ăss‫ۑ‬kkăr

Negative Imperfective i-k‫ۑ‬nn‫ۑ‬f i-l‫ۑ‬ss i-tt‫ۑ‬dd‫ۑ‬আ i-s‫ۑ‬kk‫ۑ‬r (< *y‫ۑ‬s‫ۑ‬kk‫ۑ‬r)

Class I Class I Class I Class III

b. In verbs which have a or o as their initial vowel in the Aorist, this vowel is changed to i, e.g.: ‘he comes in’ ‘he writes’ ‘he opens’

Imperfective i-ttatăf i-ttorăআ i-ttar


Negative Imperfective i-ttităf (sic for ittit‫ۑ‬f?) Class I i-ttir‫ۑ‬আ Class I i-ttir Class I

We have no relevant information on the plural forms of verbs which have no final full vowel in the 3rd person singular, but have o in the 3rd person plural.


c. In verbs of the type vCvC (apophonic class I), the Imperfective has the form ‫ۑ‬Cࢎ CaC. In the Negative Imperfective, the vowel a is changed to e (according to notations in Lanfry 1973; Lanfry 1968 has i instead), e.g.: Imperfective i-ۜۜar

‘he throws’

Negative Imperfective i-ۜۜer (L68: i-ۜۜir) Class I

Cf. also the suppletive Imperfective of the verb ăn ‘to say’, ‫ۑ‬qqar, which has the negative form ‫ۑ‬qqir according to Lanfry (1968) and is not mentioned in Lanfry (1973). 6.2.9 A note on the Future aspectual stem The Future aspectual stem is unique to Ghadames. It only appears after the Future particle d.78 Its aspectual stem-forms are often similar to those of either the Aorist or the Perfective. In the first apophonic class, the Future is basically identical to the Perfective, e.g.: Future Perfective

‘roast’ ‫ۑ‬knăf ‫ۑ‬knăf

‘enter’ utăf utăf

‘throw’ ‫ۜۑ‬ăr ‫ۜۑ‬ăr

‘grind’ ‫ۑ‬ddăআ ‫ۑ‬ddăb

‘fell’ ‫ৢۑ‬raw ‫ৢۑ‬raw

In most other apophonic classes, the Future is basically identical to the Aorist. This is the case in the second apophonic class, parts of the third apophonic class, the fourth apophonic class, and in the stative apophonic classes, e.g.:

Aorist Future

‘bleed (nose)’ Class II ‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬nz‫ۑ‬r ‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬nz‫ۑ‬r

‘pierce’ Class III ‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬আ‫ۑ‬ঌ ‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬আ‫ۑ‬ঌ

‘be silent’ Class IV ‫ۑ‬făss ‫ۑ‬făss

‘be white’ Stative Class ‫ۑ‬ml‫ۑ‬l ‫ۑ‬ml‫ۑ‬l

There are a number of instances, however, where the Future is different from both the Aorist and the Perfective. This is the case in a sub-group of apophonic class III:


This particle has a zero-allomorph when there are pronominal clitics preceding the verb. The Future is still used in such contexts.


Aorist Future Perfective

‘raise’ Class III ‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬kk‫ۑ‬r ‫ۑ‬ssăkkăr ăss‫ۑ‬kkăr

‘be roasted’ Class III ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬kn‫ۑ‬f ‫ۑ‬mmăknăf ămm‫ۑ‬knăf

Moreover, in the verbs which have the alternation ø – V in stem-final position (see 6.2.10), the vocalization of the Future tends to be different from that of both the Aorist and the Perfective. It is similar, however, to that of the Imperative, e.g.: 1/2S ‘wear’



‘be hungry’ IPT A F P


3S/1P/IPT:S ăls -ăls -‫ۑ‬ls -‫ۑ‬lso

2/3P/IPT:P ălso-ălsi-‫ۑ‬lso-‫ۑ‬lso-


k‫ۑ‬nn -‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬nn -‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬nn -ăk‫ۑ‬nn

not attested -‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬nni-‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬nno-ăk‫ۑ‬nno-


la਌ -‫ۑ‬lla਌ -‫ۑ‬lla਌ -ăllu਌


Cf. the difference between

Aorist Future Perfective

3S:M-wear y-ăls i-ls (< *y-‫ۑ‬ls) i-lso (< *y-‫ۑ‬lso)

be.hungry-3P:M ‫ۑ‬lla਌i-n ‫ۑ‬lla਌u-n ăllu਌-ăn


6.2.10 Verb forms with changes according to the PNG There are two main groups of verb forms where the form changes according to the person of the verb. The first are verb forms ending in a (in 3S:M), which have e in the first and second person singular. They occur in the Perfective of vowel-final verbs; in other stem forms, which have final u, no change occurs, e.g.:

1S 2S 3S:M 3S:F

‘start (Aorist)’ ‫ۑ‬bdu-‫ܭ‬ t-‫ۑ‬bdu-t i-bdu t-‫ۑ‬bdu

‘start (Perfective)’ ‫ۑ‬bde-‫ܭ‬ t-‫ۑ‬bde-t i-bda t-‫ۑ‬bda

1P 1P:M 1P:F 2P:M 2P:F 3P:M 3P:F

n-‫ۑ‬bdu n-‫ۑ‬bdu-t n-‫ۑ‬bdu-măt t-‫ۑ‬bdu-m t-‫ۑ‬bdu-măt ‫ۑ‬bdu-n ‫ۑ‬bdu-năt

n-‫ۑ‬bda n-‫ۑ‬bda-t n-‫ۑ‬bda-măt t-‫ۑ‬bda-m t-‫ۑ‬bda-măt ‫ۑ‬bda-n ‫ۑ‬bda-năt

These forms occur in the Perfective of verbs that have a plain vowel in the final position of the Aorist stem. The two irregular verbs ili ‘to be’ and ăn ‘to say’ have the same alternation in their Perfective forms ‫ۑ‬lle-‫ ܭ‬/ i-lla ‘I am / he is’; ‫ۑ‬nne-‫ ܭ‬/ i-nna ‘I said / he said’. Verbs of the second group have an alternation between ø in some PNGs and aspects and a stem-final plain vowel in others. There are three sub-types to this. The first sub-type has plain vowels in the plural forms which have a suffix (i.e. all but the gender-neutral 1P form) in the Imperative, the Aorist, the Future and the Imperfective, and in all persons with the Perfective. It appears in verbs of the first apophonic class which have the stem shapes vCC, vC, vCࢎ C and VC. The following example uses the verb ‘to wear’:


IPT 1S 2S 3S:M 3S:F 1P 1P:M 1P:F 2P:M 2P:F 3P:M 3P:F


A ăls-ă‫ܭ‬ t-ăls-‫ۑ‬t y-ăls t-ăls

n-ăls n-ălsi-t n-ălsi-măt ălso-t t-ălsi-m ălso-măt t-ălsi-măt ălsi-n ălsi-năt

F ‫ۑ‬ls-ă‫ܭ‬ t-‫ۑ‬ls-‫ۑ‬t i-ls t-‫ۑ‬ls

P ‫ۑ‬lse-‫ܭ‬ t-‫ۑ‬lse-t i-lso t-‫ۑ‬lso

I lăss-ă‫ܭ‬ t-‫ۑ‬lăss-‫ۑ‬t i-lăss t-‫ۑ‬lăss

n-‫ۑ‬ls n-‫ۑ‬lso-t n-‫ۑ‬lso-măt t-‫ۑ‬lso-m t-‫ۑ‬lso-măt ‫ۑ‬lso-n ‫ۑ‬lso-năt

n-‫ۑ‬lso n-‫ۑ‬lso-t n-‫ۑ‬lso-măt t-‫ۑ‬lso-m t-‫ۑ‬lso-măt ‫ۑ‬lso-n ‫ۑ‬lso-năt

n-‫ۑ‬lăss n-‫ۑ‬lăsso-t n-‫ۑ‬lăsso-măt t-‫ۑ‬lăsso-m t-‫ۑ‬lăsso-măt ‫ۑ‬lăsso-n ‫ۑ‬lăsso-năt

Remark the difference between the Imperative plural and corresponding Aorist forms. The Injunctive, which is based on the Aorist + a suffix (n)et always has the vowel i in these verbs, e.g.: 1S 3S:M

ăkfi-net-ă‫ܭ‬ y-ăkfi-net

‘may I give’ ‘may he give’

The vowel changes can be schematized as follows:

1/2S 3S/1P 1/2/3P

Imperative Aorist ø ø ø o i

Future ø ø o

Perfective e o o

Imperfective ø ø o

The verb of ‘to swell’ has the vowel o instead of i in the plural forms of the Aorist: 3S:M y-of 3P:M ofo-n (cf. Perfective 3S:M y-ofo). The second sub-type is found with verbs of the stem shapes vCvCࢎ C, vCࢎ CvCC, vCࢎ CvCࢎ C, vCࢎ CVC, which belong to the second and third apophonic classes. No full paradigm of these forms is provided by Lanfry; however, many relevant forms are attested. This sub-type is identical to the first sub-type, except for the fact that the Perfective only


has a plain vowel in the plural forms with a suffix. The following forms use the example ‘to hide’: IPT

1S 2S 3S:M 2P:M 3P:M

A k‫ۑ‬nn-ă‫ܭ‬ k‫ۑ‬nn not attested i-k‫ۑ‬nn not attested not attested k‫ۑ‬nni-n

F k‫ۑ‬nn-ă‫ܭ‬ not attested i-k‫ۑ‬nn not attested k‫ۑ‬nno-n

P ăk‫ۑ‬nn-ă‫ܭ‬ not attested y-ăk‫ۑ‬nn not attested ăk‫ۑ‬nno-n

I t‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬nn-ă‫ܭ‬ not attested i-tt‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬nn not attested t‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬nno-n


1/2S 3S/1P 1/2/3P

Imperative Aorist ø ø ø not attested i

Future ø ø o

Perfective ø ø o

Imperfective ø ø o

The third sub-type is found with verbs of the type vCࢎ CVC, which belong to the fourth apophonic class, as well as with some derived verbs (the exact distribution of this is not clear, because not all relevant forms are attested with all verb types). This sub-type is almost the same as the first and second sub-type, except for the Perfective, where no plain vowel occurs in any environment. Moreover, instead of the vowel o, the vowel u is found. This is illustrated by the verb ‘to be hungry’: IPT 1S 2S 3S:M 2P:M 3P:M

la਌ la਌u-t

A ‫ۑ‬lla਌-ă‫ܭ‬ not attested i-lla਌ not attested lla਌i-n

F ‫ۑ‬lla਌-ă‫ܭ‬ not attested i-lla਌ not attested ‫ۑ‬lla਌u-n


P ăllu਌-ă‫ܭ‬ not attested y-ăllu਌ not attested ăllu਌-ăn

I t‫ۑ‬la਌-ă‫ܭ‬ not attested i-tt‫ۑ‬la਌ not attested t‫ۑ‬la਌u-n

Schematically: 1/2S 3S/1P 1/2/3p

Imperative Aorist ø ø ø u i

Future ø ø u

Perfective ø ø ø

Imperfective ø ø u

Still a different type is attested in the irregular verb (Perfective/Future:) aw-as. Basically, it has i in all pre-suffixal forms of the Imperative and the Aorist, and e in all pre-suffixal forms of the Future, the Perfective and the Imperfective. For details, see 7.1. 6.3 Verbal action nouns All Ghadames verbs have a verbal action noun, ‘the fact/action of X-ing’, with the exception of most nasal derivations, which use underived action nouns instead. Often the verbal action noun is used alongside other nominal formations, e.g. aۜiw‫ۑ‬n ‘the fact of having (eaten) enough’ vs. tewant ‘one’s fill’; atik‫ۑ‬r ‘the act of stealing’ vs. tuk‫ۑ‬rঌa ‘theft’; at‫ۑ‬mud ‘the act of praying’ vs. amud ~ ammud ‘prayer’. The formation of the verbal action nouns is relatively regular. With the exception of the stative verbs, they have the masculine nominal marker aand an all-Ԥ apophonic form. In verb stems which, in the Aorist, consist of two syllables, the stem form of the Verbal Noun is mostly similar to that of the Negative Imperfective. Those verbal types which have consonant lengthening in the Imperfective also have it in the Verbal Noun; those disyllabic verbs that have the prefix ‫ۑ‬tt- in the Imperfective have a-t- in the Verbal Noun, e.g.:

‘to roast’ ‘to grind’ ‘to fell’ ‘to enter’ ‘to steal’ ‘to throw’ ‘to finish’

Verbal Noun ak‫ۑ‬nn‫ۑ‬f at‫ۑ‬dd‫ۑ‬আ ‫ৢۑ‬ărraw atit‫ۑ‬f atik‫ۑ‬r aۜۜir am‫ۑ‬ddu

Imperfective ‫ۑ‬kănnăf ‫ۑ‬ttăddăআ aৢ‫ۑ‬rruw ‫ۑ‬ttatăf ‫ۑ‬ttokăr ‫ۜۜۑ‬ar ‫ۑ‬m‫ۑ‬ddu


Negative Imperfective ‫ۑ‬k‫ۑ‬nn‫ۑ‬f ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬dd‫ۑ‬আ not attested ‫ۑ‬ttităf (sic for ‫ۑ‬ttit‫ۑ‬f?) ‫ۑ‬ttik‫ۑ‬r ‫ۜۜۑ‬er ‫ۑ‬m‫ۑ‬ddu

‘to fill’ ‘to be dry’

aঌ‫ۑ‬kkur at‫ܵۑ‬ar

‫ۑ‬ঌ‫ۑ‬kkur ‫ۑ‬tt‫ܵۑ‬ar

‫ۑ‬ঌ‫ۑ‬kkur ‫ۑ‬tt‫ܵۑ‬ar

When the verb stem has more than two syllables in the Aorist, the verbal action noun is also formed by adding the nominal marker a- to the stem and applying the all-Ԥ scheme. However, the prefix ‫ۑ‬tt-, which is used with all polysyllabic verb types in the Imperfective, does not show up in the verbal action noun. Polysyllabic verbs which have an initial long consonant shorten it in the verbal action noun. Examples: Verbal Noun ‘to become adult’ abr‫ۑ‬nš‫ۑ‬l ‘to bleed (nose)’ af‫ۑ‬nz‫ۑ‬r ‘to raise’ as‫ۑ‬kk‫ۑ‬r ‘to take lunch’ am‫ۑ‬kluw ‘to separate’ af‫ۑৢৢۑ‬l

Imperfective ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬br‫ۑ‬nš‫ۑ‬l ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬f‫ۑ‬nz‫ۑ‬r ‫ۑ‬ssăkkăr ‫ۑ‬ttămăklaw ‫ۑ‬ttăf‫ৢৢۑ‬ăl

Negative Imperfective ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬br‫ۑ‬nš‫ۑ‬l ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬f‫ۑ‬nz‫ۑ‬r ‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬kk‫ۑ‬r not attested not attested

Verbs which have the alternating vowel ø / V and belong to the first two sub-types of this group (i.e. all those that do not belong to the verbal type vCࢎ CVC), add the vowel i after the stem. Depending on the verb type, the Verbal Noun is similar to the Negative Imperfective or not. Examples:

‘to wear’ ‘to be silent’ ‘to be last’

Verbal Noun al‫ۑ‬ssi af‫ۑ‬ssi aۜ‫ۑ‬rআi

Imperfective ‫ۑ‬lăss ‫ۑ‬ttăfăss ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑۜۑ‬rআ

Negative Imperfective ‫ۑ‬l‫ۑ‬ss ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬f‫ۑ‬ss ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑۜۑ‬rআ

Stative verbs have different verbal action nouns. The main types are: Aorist a-Ԥ-L-Ԥ ‫ۑ‬ws‫ۑ‬r not attested a-t-Ԥ-V ‫ۑ‬lam (‫)ۑ‬਌ak ‫ۑ‬mray

Perfective wăssăr sămmăm lam ă਌਌ak ămray

Verbal Noun aw‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬r as‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬m at‫ۑ‬lam at‫ۑ‬਌ak at‫ۑ‬mray


‘be old’ ‘be sour’ ‘be bland’ ‘be heavy’ ‘be painful’

‫ৢۑ‬d‫ۑ‬f ‫ۑ‬ml‫ۑ‬l not attested ta-Ԥ-Ԥ-t ‫ۑۜۑ‬zz‫ۑ‬l ‫ۑ‬zz‫ۜۑ‬r‫ۑ‬t ‫ۑ‬zw‫ۑ‬r t-Ԥ-Ԥ-t ‫ۑ‬਌ik t-Ԥ-V-t (‫)ۑ‬਌ak ‫ۑ‬mray ‫ۑ‬sdid ‫ۑ‬lkuk ‫ۑ‬mtit ‫ۑ‬mqor ta-Ԥ-Ԥ-a ۜ‫ۑ‬zz‫ۑ‬l t-A-A-t ‫ۑ‬mray ta-Ԥ-i

să৬৬ăf măll‫ۑ‬l zaggaܵ79 ۜăzz‫ۑ‬l z‫ۜۑ‬rut zuww‫ۑ‬r ă਌਌ek ă਌਌ak ămray šadid lakuk81 măttit măqqor ۜăzz‫ۑ‬l ămray

taৢ‫ۑ‬Ġfi tam‫ۑ‬lli tazăܵwi80 taۜ‫ۑ‬zz‫ۑ‬lt taz‫ۜۑ‬r‫ۑ‬tt tazuww‫ۑ‬rt ti਌‫ۑ‬kt ti਌akt t‫ۑ‬mrayt t‫ۑ‬sditt t‫ۑ‬lkukt t‫ۑ‬mtit t‫ۑ‬mqort taۜ‫ۑ‬zz‫ۑ‬la tămret

‘be black’ ‘be white’ ‘be red’ ‘be short’ ‘be long’ ‘thick’ ‘be bitter’ ‘be heavy’ ‘be painful’ ‘be thin’ ‘be bad’ ‘be small’ ‘be big’ ‘be short’ ‘be painful’

Some non-stative verbs have action nouns that are different from what would be expected in view of their type. They are listed below: Aorist ‘pick dates’ ăgz‫ۑ‬r ‘spend the evening’ ăzۜi ‘divide’ ‫ۑ‬਌‫ۑ‬n ‘run’ ăzz‫ۑ‬l ‘hit’ ăw‫ۑ‬t ‘construct’ os‫ۑ‬k ‘read’ ‫ܭ‬ăr82 ‘play’ ă৚৚ ‘plant’ ă਌਌ ‘be dry’ ‫ۑ‬qqar ‘die’ ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬t ‘stay’ ‫ۑ‬qqim ‘blow up’ of ‘go away’ ăf‫ۑ‬l

Verbal Noun tag‫ۑ‬zra (~ ag‫ۑ‬zz‫ۑ‬r) taz‫ۜۑ‬et (~ az‫ۜۜۑ‬i) ta਌uni (~ at‫ۑ‬਌‫ۑ‬n), cf. I ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬਌‫ۑ‬n t‫ۑ‬zz‫ۑ‬la (for tazz‫ۑ‬la? L73:424) tete (plural: tito) ~ akkit; cf. I ‫ۑ‬kkot tas‫ۑ‬kke (~ atis‫ۑ‬k) ta‫ܭ‬ri tă৚৚e tă਌਌e t‫ܵۑ‬art (~ at‫ܵۑ‬ar) tamăttant tăܵimit (~ at‫ܵۑ‬im) toffe at‫ۑ‬f‫ۑ‬l (~ affil); cf. I ‫ۑ‬ffal


Probably zăggaܵ. Probably *‫ > ۑ‬ă after ܵ. 81 Probably lăkuk. 82 Maybe ă‫ܭ‬r, Lanfry 1973:463. 80


‘put flour in mouth’ ăۜ‫ۑ‬l ‘grind’ ă਌‫ۑ‬d ‘come back’ ăkri ‘be ill’ aঌ‫ۑ‬n ‘rub’ om‫ۑ‬s ‘sift’ on‫ۜۑ‬ ‘write’ or‫ۑ‬আ ‘weigh’ oz‫ۑ‬n ‘help’ ol‫ۑ‬l ‘be used to’ on‫ۑ‬n ‘boil’ aআ‫ۑ‬r ‘do’ ăۜ ‘eat’ ăšš ‘drink’ ăsw ‘kill’ ănn ‘say’ ăn ‘be thirsty’ ‫ۑ‬ffad ‘be hungry’ ‫ۑ‬lla਌

at‫ۑۜۑ‬l (~ aۜۜil); cf. I ‫ۜۜۑ‬al a਌id, cf. Imperf. ‫ۑ‬਌਌ad ak‫ۑ‬rray a৬৬an ommas (~ atim‫ۑ‬s) onnaۜ (~ atin‫)ۜۑ‬ orraআ (~ atir‫ۑ‬আ) ozzan (~ atiz‫ۑ‬n) ollal onnan oআআar (~ atiআă‫ܭ‬83) at‫ۜۜۑ‬i, cf. I ‫ۑ‬ttăۜۜ at‫ۑ‬tti ~ ‫ۑ‬ššo, cf. I ‫ۑ‬ttătt as‫ۑ‬ssi, cf. I ‫ۑ‬săss anăqqi, cf. I ‫ۑ‬năqq aqqir, cf. I ‫ۑ‬qqar fad ‘thirst’ la਌ ‘hunger’

Cf. also the following cases where the Verbal Noun has irregular consonantal correspondences:

‘bury’ ‘lend’


Aorist ănঌ‫ۑ‬l ărঌ‫ۑ‬l

Imperfective ‫ۑ‬nă৬৬ăl ‫ۑ‬răঌঌăl

Probably with *‫ > ۑ‬ă before ‫ܭ‬.


Verbal Noun an‫ۑ‬৬৬‫ۑ‬l (~ an‫ۑ‬ঌঌ‫ۑ‬l) ar‫ۑ‬৬৬‫ۑ‬l


Verbs: inflection

7.1 Person, Number, Gender marking Berber verbs obligatorily express the person, number and gender of the subject. There are several sets of PNG markers, depending on mood, aspect, and stativity. In the following, the four basic sets are shown: Imperative, ‘normal’, Future and Stative Perfective. The Imperative set is used with Imperatives (both Aorist-based and Imperfective-based); the Future set is used with most verbs in the Future aspect, the Injunctive is used in injunctives based on the Aorist, the Stative Perfective is used with a limited number of verbs that express permanent state. The last set is used in all situations not covered by the four other sets; as it seems to be rather a default set than marking an easily labeled category, it will be called ‘normal’. In the following table, X stands for an aspectual stem form. 1S 2S 3S:M 3S:F

Imperative X -

‘normal’ X-ă‫ܭ‬ t-X-‫ۑ‬t (~ -‫ۑ‬d) y-X t-X

Future X t-X y-X t-X

Injunctive X-(n)et-‫ܭۑ‬ y-X-(n)et t-X-(n)et

Stative X-ă‫ܭ‬ X-‫ۑ‬t X X-ăt

1P 1P:M 1P:F 2P:M 2P:F 3P:M 3P:F

X-ăt X-măt -

n-X n-X-ăt n-X-măt t-X-ăm t-X-măt X-ăn X-năt

n-X n-X-ăt n-X-măt t-X-ăm t-X-măt X-ăn X-năt

n-X-(n)et X-(n)et ?84

X-it X-it X-it X-it X-it X-it X-it

Example: ‫ۑ‬mtit ‘be small’ (the ‘normal’ set is exemplified by means of the Aorist):


From the discussion in Lanfry (1968), it is not entirely clear whether the 3P:F of the Injunctive is identical to the 3P:M or simply unattested.

1S 2S 3S:M 3S:F

Imperative ‫ۑ‬mtit -

‘normal’ ‫ۑ‬mtit-ă‫ܭ‬ t-‫ۑ‬mtit-‫ۑ‬t i-mtit t-‫ۑ‬mtit

Future ‫ۑ‬mtit85 t-‫ۑ‬mtit i-mtit t-‫ۑ‬mtit

Injunctive ‫ۑ‬mtit-net-‫ܭۑ‬ i-mtit-net t-‫ۑ‬mtit-net

1P 1P:M 1P:F 2P:M 2P:F 3P:M 3P:F

‫ۑ‬mtit-ăt ‫ۑ‬mtit-măt -

n-‫ۑ‬mtit n-‫ۑ‬mtit-ăt n-‫ۑ‬mtit-măt t-‫ۑ‬mtit-ăm t-‫ۑ‬mtit-măt ‫ۑ‬mtit-ăn ‫ۑ‬mtit-năt

n-‫ۑ‬mtit n-‫ۑ‬mtit-net n-‫ۑ‬mtit-ăt n-‫ۑ‬mtit-măt t-‫ۑ‬mtit-ăm t-‫ۑ‬mtit-măt ‫ۑ‬mtit-ăn mtit-net86 ‫ۑ‬mtit-năt ?

Stative măttit-ă‫ܭ‬ ăttit-‫ۑ‬t măttit măttit-ăt măttit-it măttit-it măttit-it măttit-it măttit-it măttit-it măttit-it

After vowels, suffix-initial central vowels are absent, e.g. t-‫ۑ‬mdu-t ‘you complete (Aorist)’; ‫ۑ‬mdu-n ‘they complete (Aorist)’ The 2nd person singular of the ‘normal’ set has the suffix -d when followed by a plain vowel (Lanfry 1968:377; probably referring only to clitics) or by the deictic clitic ‫ۑ‬n ‘thither’, e.g.: ‫ۑ‬nঌeআăd t-‫ۑ‬kfe-d=i yesterday


‘yesterday you have given me’ [L68:377] siআ‫ܵۑ‬

annur t-ăۜ-‫ۑ‬d=‫ۑ‬n






‘light the oven and put a bread there’ [L68:377] In the dialects of the Ayt Wălid and Maze‫ܭ‬ăn, the suffix seems to be -‫ۑ‬d throughout, e.g. Ayt Wazităn: t‫ۑ‬ššet = Ayt Wălid t‫ۑ‬ššed = Maze‫ܭ‬ăn t‫ۑ‬tšed ‘you ate’ [L73:37]. Both -‫ۑ‬d and -‫ۑ‬t appear in Motylinski’s material (e.g. Motylinski 1904:28).87

Lanfry (1968:285) has ămtit, which is almost certainly a typo. Lanfry (1968:285) has mtitnăt, which is almost certainly a typo. 87 Forms with -‫ۑ‬d also occur in the Arabic manuscript on Ghadames from El Oued given as an appendix in Motylinski’s grammar: ‘you lied’, to be interpreted as t-ăsnawăt-‫ۑ‬d (cf. Lanfry 1973:366). 85 86


The 1st person plural comes in two sets. The set without a suffix is used both for masculine and feminine subjects, the set with suffixes differentiates between masculine and feminine subjects. The uses are as follows (Lanfry 1968:327ff.): without suffix: dual inclusive dual/plural exclusive

with suffix: plural (more than 2) inclusive

E.g. n-ăkf ‘we give (Aorist)’ either means ‘you and I give’, or ‘(s)he and I give’ or ‘they and I give’. n-ăkf-ăt ‘we give (Aorist)’, on the other hand, can only mean ‘you (P) and I give’. In the Future aspect, the ‘normal’ series is used with those verbs whose stem ends in a vowel, or which have the alternation ø / V, e.g.:

‘agree’ ‘wear’ ‘hide’ ‘be hungry’

1S Future ‫ۑ‬rঌu-‫ܭ‬ ‫ۑ‬ls-ă‫ܭ‬ k‫ۑ‬nn-ă‫ܭ‬ ‫ۑ‬lla਌-ă‫ܭ‬

2S Future t-‫ۑ‬rঌu-t t-‫ۑ‬ls-‫ۑ‬t not attested not attested

3P:M Future ‫ۑ‬rঌu-n ‫ۑ‬lso-n k‫ۑ‬nno-n ‫ۑ‬lla਌u-n

In the variety described by Motylinski (1904:29), the suffixes are used throughout in the Future aspect, e.g. 1S ‘I will carry’, ‘I will marry’ [Mot82], 2S ‘you will carry’. The Injunctive has variation between the suffixal form -net and the suffixal form -et with many verbs. Verbs with the alternating vowel ø / V always have the stem-final vowel i before the Injunctive suffix. In this case, the suffix is -net, never -et. The verb awas ‘to go away’ has an irregular conjugation. Historically this verb consists of a basis Vw88 with an alternating vowel, combined with the 3S Indirect Object clitic as. As a result, the element as follows the PNG markers, e.g.: Aorist 3P:M Perfective 1S

aw-in-as awe-‫ܭ‬-as


Like other Vw-initial verbs, Perfective and Future have a central vowel instead of the plain vowel, see 6.2.1.


Nowadays, the element as is no more interpreted as a clitic, which is shown by the fact that it is never put in preverbal position, cf. d we-‫ܭ‬-as w-e i-wi-n-as

‘I shall go away’ (not *as=wă-‫)ܭ‬ ‘the one who went away’ (not *w-e as=i-wo-n)

Moreover, the verb shows aberrant forms of the alternating vowel, which are schematized below. When the verb form has no PNG suffix, there is nothing to say about the underlying vowel, as the former indirect clitic pronoun always comes in place of the alternating vowel. In this case (a) is put in the scheme. Imperative 1/2S (a) 3S/1P 1/2/3p i 2S 3S:F 3P:M

Aorist i (a) i

Imperative Aorist aw-as t-awi-d-as t-aw-as awi-t-as awi-n-as

Future e (a) e

Perfective e (a) e

Imperfective e (a) e

Future t-we-d-as t-w-as we-n-as

Perfective t-we-d-as t-w-as we-n-as

Imperfective ‫ۑ‬t-tawe-d-as t-‫ۑ‬ttaw-as tawe-n-as

7.2 Subject-relative forms (“participles”) Like most Berber languages, Ghadames Berber has a special form used in relative clauses (and RC-like constructions, such as clefts) when the head functions as the subject in the RC. This subject-relative form is known in Berber linguistics as the participle (Lanfry 1968:332-337). Different from what the name suggests, it is a purely verbal form, which has no nominal characteristics. Participles are found with the positive and negative Perfective, Future and Imperfective aspectual stems. The participle consists of two parts, a prefixal part and a suffixal part. Participles have a two-gender contrast in the singular as opposed to a plural used for both genders. It is also possible to use the same (basically masculine) form in the singular for both genders, thereby leaving only a number contrast.89 There are two basic types of participles, corresponding to the dynamic and the stative conjugation: 89

In glossing, I will still mark such cases as PTC:M:S, even when the reference is F:S.


dynamic y-X-ăn t-X-ăt ~ y-X-ăn X-nin


stative X-ăn X-ăt X-nin

Examples: an৬fal=e



child=ANP:S 3S:IO=VNT=PTC:S:M-bring:P-PTC:S:M wood

‘the child that had brought him wood’ [L68:334] w‫ۜۜۑ‬id=e


tamáda nnúk




sido ak yet



NEG VNT=3S:M-come:PN

‘the man who will cultivate my garden has not yet arrived’ [L68:333] w‫ۜۜۑ‬idăn=íd măžžăr-nin men=ANP:P

tamáda nnúk

cultivate:I-PTC:P garden


‘the men who will cultivate my garden …’ [L68:333] taশămt=e


/ i-făl-ăn

camel:F=ANP:S PTC:F:S-go:P-PTC:F:S / PTC:M:S-go:P=PTC:M:S

‘the camel that went away …’ [L68:332] taltawén=íd




women=ANP:P do.hair:I-PTC:P to bride

‘the women that (always) do the hair of the bride’ [L68:333] anno da=i-kfó-n

তăbba iy azăܵwali

who FUT=PTC:S:M-give:F-PTC:S:M thing

to poor.person

‘who will give something to a poor man?’ [L68:334] In negative forms of the participle the participial suffixes are joined to the negation marker wăl.90 The verb only has prefixes; in the plural the prefix 90

Some historical analyses consider wăl an ancient stative verb (cf. Prasse 1972-1974: VI, 11-12).


y- is found. We have no information about stative negative participles. M:S F:S P

dynamic wăl-ăn wăl-ăt wăl-nin

y-X t-X ~ wăl-ăn t-X y-X

The great majority of negated participles is in the negative Perfective, which is used both for past and for future events. However, negated participles of the Imperfective are also possible (Lanfry 1968:336). Examples: w‫ۜۜۑ‬íd wăl-ăn man






আenawăn ‫ۑ‬nn-ăs






‘the man that will not pick this week will not sell his dates’ [L68:335-6] taziri

n oyăr=o




moonlight of moon=PRX:S NEG-PTC:S:F PTC:S:F-have:NP spot

‘o light of the moon that has no spot’ [L68:335] w‫ۜۜۑ‬íd wăl-nin man





‘the men that will not pick this week …’ [L68:336] w‫ۜۜۑ‬íd wăl-ăn man





‘the man that will not pick this week will not sell his dates’ [L68:336] When pronominal clitics come in between wăl and the verb they follow the suffixal participial markers. In this case, the forms are slightly different. The feminine form always has the suffix -ăn, and in the plural the verb lacks the prefix y-, i. e. (dynamic forms):



wăl-ăn … y-X wăl-ăn … t-X wăl-nin … X




~ wăl-ăn … y-X

ak=k=íd=y-ăbbe 2S:M:IO=3S:M:DO=VNT=PTC:S:M-bring:NP

‘he that did not bring it here to you’ [L68:336] w=íd



i=d=use 1S:IO=VNT=come:NP

‘those that have not come to me’ [L68:336] t-e






‘he that did not bring it here to you’ [L68:337] talta=ye



woman=ANP:S NEG-PTC:S 3S:IO=3S:M:DO=PTC:S-give:NP

‘the woman that did not give it to him’ [L68:337]




8.1 Numerals and numeral constructions Numerals from one to ten have the following forms:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

M yón s‫ۑ‬n kárăঌ aqqoz s‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬s ৢu਌਌91 sá tám t‫ৢۑ‬ó maraw

F yót s‫ۑ‬năt kărঌăt aqqozăt s‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬săt ৢu৬săt ~ ৢuঌsăt sát támăt t‫ৢۑ‬ót maráwăt

Numbers over 10 are expressed by means of Arabic numerals (Lanfry 1968:378); only one example appears in the description and the corpus: ‫ۑ‬rbă‫ ܭ‬miyya [L73:299] ‘four hundred’. Instead of the Arabic numerals, in the 1940s some people still used Berber expressions for numbers between 11 and 99 (Lanfry 1968:378), e.g.: 20 30 31

s‫ۑ‬n m maraw ~ s‫ۑ‬n ‫ۑ‬nd-maraw kárăঌ m maraw kárăঌ ‫ۑ‬nd-maraw ‫ۑ‬d yón

This construction was more generally used earlier in the twentieth century, cf. Motylinski’s notations ‘11’, ‘20’, ‘200’, ‘million (lit. thousand thousands)’ [Mot40]. Constructions with numerals are of two types: NUMERAL NUMERAL


Normally ৢu਌. The final length shows up before a vowel, e.g. ৢu਌਌=id ‘these six’ [25/44].


With masculine nouns, both constructions are found; with feminine nouns only the construction without n is attested. Examples: kárăঌ er‫ۜۑ‬ăn aqqoz n asfiwăn yót talta 8.2

‘three stones’ ‘four days (lit. four of days)’ ‘one woman’

Some other quantifiers

8.2.1 akk ~ ikk ‘every, each’ The quantifier akk ~ ikk ‘every, each’ stands immediately before the element it quantifies. In the texts, ikk is found before a noun (in the corpus only the temporal nouns ‘day’, ‘night’, ‘year’), while akk is used with the numeral yon (M), yot (F) ‘one’, e.g.: ikk






‘they quarreled every day’ [5/8] akk



one:M 3S:M-say:I to DEM:M-other-PTC:M:S




‘everyone said to the other’ [9/16] 8.2.2 imda ~ imdan ‘entire, all’ This quantifier follows the element it quantifies, e.g.: eআăঌ

‫ۑ‬nn-ăs imda

night of-3S


‘the whole following night’ [2/2] tăltawén n ‫ۑ‬ššáră‫ ܭ‬n aৢle women

of street


of groom all

‘all the women of the street of the bridegroom’ [69/108] Historically, imda(n) is derived from the verb ‫ۑ‬mdu ‘to complete’, probably from the Perfective participle. Nowadays it is no more


analyzable as such; thus, in the preceding sentence, the regular participial form would have been ‫ۑ‬mdanin. The form imda can be used both with singular and with plural referents; the form imdan is only attested with plural nouns, e.g.: tăltawén imdan women


‘all the women’ [70/110] It can be used in quantification over a pronominalized element, e.g.: y-ăšše=tt


3S:M-eat:A=3S:M:DO all

‘he ate it entirely’ [19/34] Sometimes, imda is strengthened by a (pronominalized) genitival phrase: a


imda nn-asăn





‘they went to sleep all of them’ [27/48]



The locative clitic

Ghadames is one of the few Berber languages which have a post-noun phrase clitic92 in order to express location. The clitic is very frequent in texts. In Ghadames, it has a great lot of allomorphic variation. 9.1 Form The locative clitic has different forms according to the form of the word it follows: 1. Non-accented (?) =i when the clitic follows a noun ending in two consonants or a consonant preceded by a vowel other than ă, e.g.: y-ăbul=az=d




‘he pissed in his ear’ [2/2] nitto y-ăss‫ۑ‬kkăr=d he

‫ۑ‬nd-aruma-yis=id s


3S:M-make.rise:P=VNT P-brother-3S=ANP:P from sleep=LOC

‘he woke up his brothers from (in) sleep’ [28/50] y-ăssúrăs arakot=e n ude tammurt=i 3S:M-put:P pot=ANP:S of oil


‘he put that pot with oil on the ground’ [2/2] allún=i ‘in the hole’ [L68:366] 2. Vowel lengthening/accentuation (see 2.2.1; 2.4)93 of the final vowel of a vowel-final noun. This is, according to Lanfry (1968:366), regular with nouns ending in i; in this case, notations with vowel length may represent *i=yi > í.94 92

Lameen Souag (p.c.) correctly points out that the term “clitic” is not unproblematic for an element that is often an infix. I consider the locative a clitic because it is noun phrasefinal rather than noun-final, and because it follows the deictic clitics. 93 Brugnatelli (2005:375ff.), who does not take the length notations into account of his analysis of the Ghadames accent, points to the same phenomenon on comparative grounds. 94 The sequence iyi seems to be impossible in Ghadames.



(without clitic: táli)

put:IPT:S=3S:M:DO=ITV room:LOC

‘put it in the room’ [L41/70] Nouns ending in other vowels sometimes have vowel lengthening (accentuation?), but, more commonly (Lanfry 1968:366), take the suffix -yi, e.g.: tamadá ‘in a garden’ [L68:366]

(without clitic: tamada)

tamasná ‘in a/the desert’ [L68:366]

(without clitic: tamasna)

almudú ‘in a mosque’ [L68:366]

(without clitic: almúdu)

ófa=yi ‘in the fire’ [L68:366] 3. Words ending in a single consonant preceded by the vowel ă often (but not always) have infixation of the locative element: the central vowel is changed to a long/accentuated vowel e, e.g.: msur‫ۑ‬s-ăn

঎ramăn ‫ۑ‬llóléb

be.put:P-3P:M money

(without clitic: ‫ۑ‬llólăb)


‘the money is put in a box’ [70/110] ܵazer ‘in a ditch’ [L68:366]

(without clitic: ܵazăr)

This is regular with the nominal suffixes -ăn (M:P) and -ăt (F:S in Arabic loans), e.g.:


wăl ‫ۑ‬smăۜۜe NEG

ălۜăddét wala tallăss=i (without clitic: ălۜăddăt)


grove:LOC as.well dark=LOC

‘do not speak in a palm grove road or in the dark’ [44/74] allúnén ‘in the holes’ [L68:366]

(without clitic: allúnăn)

It is also found with the noun áman ‘water’, which has the plural suffix -an: y-uঌa=y‫ۑ‬n




(without clitic: áman)

‘he fell in the water’ [L68:366] With a number of nouns ending ăC, there is no infixation. All examples are disyllabic nouns: t-ăssúrăs=‫ۑ‬n făssăn nn-ăs éܵăf=i 3S:F-put:P=ITV hands of-3S


‘she put her hands on the head’ [17/30] azakka



tomorrow of-LOC-3S night=LOC

‘on the following day, at night’ [19/34] Infixation is regular with possessive suffixes other than ‫ۑ‬nnúk ‘my’, e.g.: t-‫ۜۑ‬e=ttăt=‫ۑ‬n



(without clitic: (‫)ۑ‬nn-ăs)

3S:F-put:P=3S:F:DO=ITV mouth of-LOC-3S

‘she put it in her mouth’ [18/32] kúd i-lla

ălgum dáž

when 3S:M-be:P



house of-LOC-2S

‘when there is an army in your house’ [45/75]


(without clitic: ‫ۑ‬nn-ăk)

Lanfry (1968:367) remarks that the possessive nn-aw‫ۑ‬n ‘your (P:M)’ has the infixed form nn-aw-í-n, with i rather than e. This is probably because i comes in the place of ‫ ۑ‬in this form, while e takes the place of ă. Note that this is the only example in the language of infixation in the place of ‫ۑ‬, as nouns ending in ‫ۑ‬C have suffixation (see above), e.g.: tamada nn-awín garden

(without clitic: nn-aw‫ۑ‬n)


‘in your garden’ [L68:367] 4. In combination with the 1S possessive, the form of the locative clitic is =én, e.g.: kum=ăbb-ă‫ܭ‬






‘I shall take you into my house’ [27/48] dima

óۜ‫ۑ‬m ‫ۑ‬nnúk=én t-‫ۑ‬lla-m

always heart of:1S=LOC 2P:M-be:P-2P:M

‘you (P:M) will always be in my heart’ [L71:74] 5. In combination with the deictic clitics, special forms appear (only attested with singular deictic clitics, see also 5.2): singular proximal + locative o=da distal + locative a=dănn anaphoric + locative e=den ~ e=din

plural i=da not attested i=din95

Examples: y-úঌa=y‫ۑ‬n




‘he fell into that well’ [6/10]


In view of the plural anaphoric pronoun =id, a segmentation id=in would be equally possible (cf. Lanfry 1968:367).




3S:F-throw:P=3P:M:DO=ITV well=ANP:S=LOC

‘she threw them into that well’ [21/38] t-ăতkăm ‫ۑ‬ddrari=yíd, yón


yón óf‫ۑ‬s=o=da

3S:F-take:P children=ANP:P one:M hand=PRX:S=LOC one:M hand=PRX:S=LOC

‘she took the children, one in this hand, one in this hand’ [13/24] allúnăn=í=din holes=ANP:P=LOC

‘in those holes’ [L68:367] The elements =da, =dănn and =din are identical to the deictic adverbs ‘here’, ‘there’ and ‘the aforementioned place’ (if the latter exists, cf. 4.4). The element den is unique to the locative construction. =e=den is much more frequent in the corpus than =e=din. 9.2 Position The locative clitic follows the noun + anaphoric clitic (see examples above). Locative clitics appear normally after a possessive phrase, e.g.: tali n t‫ۑ‬m਌en=i room of barley=LOC

‘in the room of the barley’ [14/26] asíd s‫ۑ‬llúnăn n ažărঌ=i until stairs

of entrance=LOC

‘until (in) the stairs of the entrance’ [19/34] daž ‫ۑ‬nnuk=én house of:1S=LOC

‘in my house’ [27/48] ăssúrăs-ăn=t=in


put:P-3P:M=3S:M:DO=ITV room

n oraܵ=i of gold=LOC

‘they put him in the room of gold’ [14/26]


However, when the first part of the noun phrase has a deictic clitic, the locative clitic is attached to the deictic clitic, e.g.: dáž=e=den

n aৢle


of groom

‘in this house of the groom’ [68/106] y-ăssúrăs=‫ۑ‬n iktu=yid

n iআenáwăn ame=ye=den

3S:M-put:P=ITV little=ANP:P of dates

n taxabitt=e

mouth=ANP:S=LOC of jar=ANP:S

‘he put these little bits of dates in that mouth of that jar’ [9/16] ásf=e=den

n aziyy‫ۑ‬z, i-ss‫ۑ‬nn

day=ANP:S=LOC of travel


3S:M-cook:A evening.meal

‘on that day of the voyage, he cooks a dinner’ [10/18] The locative clitic can follow a relative clause, as in the case of the stative participle below: d



go.in:F-3P:M to garden


tamada s

t‫ۑ‬wfarext măttít-é-n

from conduit


‘they will enter the garden through little conduit (lit. a conduit that is small)’ [6/10] 9.3 Use The locative clitic is used in order to express a location. It is mostly found in definite contexts; it appears only rarely in indefinite contexts and never with nouns determined by the indefinite marker yón / yót ‘a, one’. In indefinite contexts, the locative preposition d‫ۑۜ ~( ۜۑ‬d) is preferred, e.g.: ăssúrăs-ăn=t

d‫ ۜۑ‬yót

put:P-3P:M=3S:M:DO in


tali room

‘they put him in a room’ [5/8] The locative clitic is mostly used to convey a static location. It also occurs in directional contexts, but the preposition i seems to be preferred here:




3S:M-go.to:P house=LOC

‘he went to the house’ [L68:369] i-was



3S:M-go.to:P to house

‘he went to the house’ [L68:369] The locative is obligatory in combination with the preposition s when the latter has a locational interpretation (‘from, through, at’), e.g.: y-ăffă‫ܭ‬



3S:M-go.out:P from land=LOC

‘he went out of the land’ [11/20] ărwăl-ăn



from conduit=ANP:S=LOC


‘they fled through that conduit’ [7/10] t-‫ۑ‬škăl=tăt



3S:F-take:P=3S:F:DO from feet:LOC

‘she took her (somewhere) by the feet’ [22/40] When the preposition s is used as an instrumental, it does not combine with the locative clitic.96


Lanfry has one example, without a context, which would show the use of the locative clitic in an instrumental phrase: s wăllén ‘with the eyes’ [L73:326]. Without the clitic, this would have been wăllăn. Note the absence of the plural marker i-, which would have been expected after a preposition. The phrase does not come from the corpus, and the translation may be erroneous: maybe the meaning is rather ‘from the eyes’.




In addition to the locative clitic, Ghadames Berber also has prepositions. In this chapter, a number of them will be presented. The prepositions d ‘and’ and n ‘of’ are treated in chapter 21 and in 12.1, respectively. 10.1 i ‘towards, to’ The preposition i is used to convey direction and also marks the Indirect Object. i only occurs before nouns. When marking an Indirect Object, it can be pronominalized by means of the Indirect Object pronominal clitics (see 4.3). In this function, the prepositional phrase with i is normally doubled by an Indirect Object pronoun. There are no unambiguous cases of pronominalization of a prepositional phrase with directional i in the corpus. There is no doubling when the preposition is used as a directional. Examples: t-útăf



3S:F-enter:P to room=ANP:S

‘she entered (into) the room’ [28/50] y-use=dd



3S:M-come:P=VNT to Ghadames

‘he came to Ghadames’ [2/2] i-nna-yás



to father of-3S

dădda nn-ăs

‘he said to his father’ [26/46] t-‫ۑ‬kf=ás

žž‫ۑ‬ni i



tamaঌrăst ‫ۑ‬nn-ăs

to hairdresser of-3S

‘she gave (her) a half to the woman who did her hair’ [25/44] Motylinski gives , as the directional preposition. He may have been confused by the preposition al ‘until’ (Motylinski 1904:42, not in Lanfry), e.g.:

i-was al amăzdă‫ܭ‬ 3S:M-go.to:P until


‘he went until the town (i.e. to the border of the town)’ [Mot41] The use of i as a directional preposition outside the Ayt Wazităn ward is shown by its appearance in Motylinski’s texts, as well as in the Maze‫ܭ‬ăn text published by Lanfry:

tarwa n ‫ܭ‬ămmi-s, ism ‫ۑ‬nn-ăs ‫ܭ‬ăli i-was son

of uncle-3S name of-3S



Ali 3S:M-go:P to Tunis

‘his cousin, whose name was Ali, went to Tunis’ [Mot82] t-útăf=‫ۑ‬n

i tali=ye


3S:F-go.in:P=ITV to room=ANP:S

‘she went into the room’ [41/70] 10.2 s ‘from, through, at, with (instrumental)’ The preposition s occurs as an ablative preposition, ‘from’, and as an instrumental preposition. When used as a an ablative, it is always combined with the locative clitic. It basically means ‘from’, but the movement may include the noun marked by the preposition, leading to a translation ‘away through’: ăšší-n



eat:A-3P:M from things=ANP:S=LOC





‘and would eat from the things that were there’ [6/10] ttă‫ܭ‬lăb=e t

tăۜăr਌e਌t=e ărwăl-ăn


fox=ANP:S and


from conduit=ANP:S=LOC



‘the fox and the hare fled (away) through the conduit’ [7/12] i-nna=yás

‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k as=y-ăৢar

3S:M-say:P=3S:IO how


amăzwar=i asíd…

3S:IO=3S:M-happen:P from first=LOC


‘he told him what had happened from the beginning until …’ [8/14]


In its instrumental use, s is not combined with the locative clitic: i-kkót

tazaqqa s



éܵăf ‫ۑ‬nn-ăs

with head of-3S

‘he beat the wall with his head’ [36/62] taxabitt=e s


3S:M-fill:P jar-ANP:S


with plaster

‘he filled the jar with plaster’ [9/16] The preposition s also appears in a number of special constructions. In the first place, it is used with numerals to convey the translation ‘the NUMBER (of them)’, e.g.: ‫ۑ‬ntănin s they


with four

‘they are four (of them)’ [70/110] In the second place, s is combined with a number of adverbial or nounlike elements. In these constructions it refers to a location or a time, e.g.: s



with here and



with here

‘at this place and at this place’ [11/20] wǂۜۜid y-ălso man

dafásăn sameত-nin



3S:M-wear clothes

be.good:P-PTC:P with below





inn‫ۑ‬ž (aflelo)

3S:M-wear:P=ITV one:M be.ugly:P-PTC:M:S with above (onion)

‘a man has put on good clothes inside and a bad one outside (riddle; answer: the onion)’ [62/92] qabăl ăl‫ܭ‬aৢăr



before evening.prayer with little

‘a little bit before the evening prayer’ [69/108]


When combined with a pronoun, the preposition takes the form ਌ar-. All examples in the corpus have instrumental meaning, e.g.: admarăn nn-ăs, t-‫ۑ‬আnăz=‫ۑ‬n


3S:F-pull:P=VNT breasts



3S:F-cleanse:I oven=ANP:S




annur=e=den, oven=ANP=LOC


‘she pulled (out) her breasts, bowed into this oven and cleansed it with them (i.e. with her breasts)’ [21/40] 10.3 dϷЂ ‘in’ and ЂϷd ‘in, with’ The prepositions d‫( ۜۑ‬also d‫ )ۜۜۑ‬and ۜ‫ۑ‬d seem to be in free variation before nouns (similar to the conjunction d‫ۑۜ ~ ۜۑ‬d ‘when’, 23.2). In the texts, the form d‫ ۜۑ‬is rather rare. Where it appears, it means ‘in’ rather than ‘with’, but this may be coincidence. In the Maze‫ܭ‬ăn variety, did is used (cf. also Motylinski 1904:41). Examples: ăssúrăs-ăn=t

d‫ ۜۑ‬yót

put:P-3P:M=3S:M:DO in


tali room

‘they put him in a room’ [5/8] usó-n=‫ۑ‬d

ۜ‫ۑ‬d amakan y-ăb‫ܭ‬ăd-ăn

come:P-3P:M=VNT with place


‘they came at a far place’ [21/38] আre-‫ܭ‬



iy ‫ۑ‬zzawyăt

ۜ‫ۑ‬d ‫ۑ‬nd-arumo

want:P-1S FUT go.in:F:1S to Coran.school with P-brother

‘I want to enter Coran school together with my brothers’ [26/46] ta-din

ۜ‫ۑ‬d-‫ۑ‬snăt š‫ۑ‬k=i-আró-n




‘which one among them loves you’ [18/32]


ás‫ۑ‬f did asfiwăn (Maze‫ܭ‬ăn) day with days

‘one day among the days’ [41/70] As remarked by Lanfry, the Ayt Wazităn equivalent of the last example would have ۜ‫ۑ‬d. There is a clear difference between the locative/comitative preposition d‫ۑۜ ~ ۜۑ‬d on the one hand and the coordinating preposition d on the other hand (on which see chapter 21). Only in some idiomatic expressions, d can occur in other than coordinative function: twažatén=íd ăqqimó-năt ‫ۑ‬nnatén d ‫ۑ‬lxér ‫ۑ‬nn-ăsnăt girls=ANP:P





happiness of-3P:F



and good


‘the girls remained in a good (situation) and happiness’ [25/44] When combined with a pronoun, the comitative preposition has the form ۜ‫ۑ‬d- or ddid-, e.g.: আre-‫ܭ‬



want:P-1S FUT go.away:F:1S

ۜ‫ۑ‬d-w‫ۑ‬n with-2P:M

‘I want to go with you’ [6/10] y-ăšš






‘and he eats with them’ [11/20] All examples of pronominalized d‫ۑۜ ~ ۜۑ‬d have comitative meaning. It seems that instead of a locative preposition + pronoun, one rather uses the adverb dos ‘there’. Historically, this may come from *do-s ‘in it’, but in its present form it is invariable. Motylinski (1904:41) notes a locative preposition . This may be a wrong interpretation of the verbal deictic ‫ۑ‬n:






‘he hid her in the rooms’ [Mot82] 10.4 ѓaf ‘on, concerning’ The preposition ‫ܭ‬af has the same form before nouns and before pronouns. It is used in a topological sense, meaning ‘on’ or ‘onto’, e.g.: t-ăllăn=‫ۑ‬n

‫ܭ‬áf-‫ۑ‬s ălmluxiyya=ye d

3S:F-pour:P=ITV on-3S okra=ANP:S




‘she poured the okra and the meat onto him’ [18/32] talta




iঌarăn nn-ăs







‘the woman does not walk on her feet’ [64/94] ‫ܭ‬af is also used meaning ‘concerning, about’, e.g.: awal ‫ܭ‬áf


word on


‘a word (description) on marriage’ [68/106] ak

t‫ۑ‬n‫ۑۜۜۑ‬m-ă‫ ܭ‬d




say:F-1S on-2P:M except good


‫ܭ‬af-w‫ۑ‬n xáf


‘I cannot say anything about you but good things’ [L71:74] wăl i-ssén NEG


3S:M-know:NP on-3S

‘and he did not know about him’ [L71:39] 10.5 ѓur ‘at’ The preposition ‫ܭ‬ur has the same form before nouns and before pronouns. It conveys the meaning ‘with a certain person, at a certain person’s place’, similar to French ‘chez’, e.g.:



‫ܭ‬úr-‫ۑ‬s tawažett=e




‘the girl stayed with her’ [22/40] ‫ܭ‬úr wǂۜۜid




3S:F-have:P daughter-3S at



‘the ogress had a girl at a man’s place (i.e. that was married to a man)’ [29/52] nkúd aziyy‫ۑ‬z

‫ۑ‬nn-ăs am‫ۑ‬zwar ‫ۑ‬nte ‫ܭ‬úr-‫ۑ‬s







‘if his first travel (of the husband) is the first one for her’ [11/20] ‫ܭ‬ur can be combined with the preposition s, meaning ‘from the place of …’, e.g.: y-ăss‫ۑ‬kn=‫ۑ‬d

dafasăn d ‫ۑ‬nd-kara n oraܵ d

3S:M-borrow:P=VNT clothes







and P-thing

of gold and

ălfi৬৬ăt silver

‘he borrowed clothes and things of gold and silver from (at) people(’s places)’ [20/36] The preposition ‫ܭ‬ur is not used in possessive constructions. 10.6 asid ‘until’ The preposition asid only occurs before nouns. It is used in locational and in temporal contexts. It is often combined with the locative clitic, but not necessarily so, e.g.: t-ăgnunne asíd s‫ۑ‬llúnăn n ažărঌ=i 3S:F-roll:P until stairs

of entrance=LOC

‘she rolled until at the stairs at the entrance’ [19/34]


tabúrett ‫ۑ‬nn-ăs asíd inn‫ۑ‬ž n éܵăf


3S:M-carry:P stick


until above of head

‫ۑ‬nn-ăs of-3S

‘he put his stick (until) above his head’ [36/62] ăۜۜ=i d

‫ܭ‬úr-‫ۑ‬m asíd tamăddit


leave:IPT:S=1S:DO FUT hold.siesta:F:1S


until afternoon

‘let me hold my siesta at your place until the afternoon’ [4/6] Motylinski (1904:42) gives an alternative form , e.g. ‘until tomorrow’. 10.7 Ђar ‘between’ The preposition ۜar means ‘between’, e.g.: ۜar




between mouth of-2S:M and

t‫ۑ‬nzar ‫ۑ‬nn-ăk nose


‘between your mouth and your nose’ [8/14] tadist ‫ۑ‬nn-é-s


3S:M-put:P=3S:F:DO=ITV belly


dafásăn nn-ăs

of-LOC-3S between clothes


‘he put it on his belly between his clothes’ [29/52] Before a pronoun, the preposition has the form ۜara-, e.g.: taltawén n ‫ܭ‬adém‫ۑ‬s tăۜۜó-năt

ălxér ۜára-snăt



of Ghadames do:I-3P:F


‘the women of Ghadames do good things among them’ [3/4] There is only one case of ۜar connecting two nouns. In this example, ۜar precedes both nouns, which are not coordinated and simply follow each other: ălfitnăt ۜar conflict

w‫ۑ‬lid awazit

between Wălid Wazit

‘a conflict between Ayt Wălid and Ayt Wazităn’ [12/22]


One can also have, according to Lanfry (1973:390) more commonly, the preposition d ‘and’ between the two nouns, i.e. ۜar

w‫ۑ‬lid ‫ۑ‬d


between Wălid and


‘between the Ayt Wălid and the Ayt Wazităn’ [L73:390] 10.8 qăb(ă)l ‘before’ All instances of this preposition are with a noun; they all have temporal reference, e.g.: ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k da=i-mmă਌ăd

qăbăl ás‫ۑ‬f=e


before day=ANP:S of travel


n aziyy‫ۑ‬z

‘so that they be ground before the day of travel’ [10/18] 10.9 Preposition-like elements: ăddo, dat, dϷffϷr There are a number of elements that function partly like prepositions, partly like adverbs. Most important among them are ăddo ‘under’, dat ‘before’ and d‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬r ‘behind’. In the corpus, the elements dat and d‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬r are always accompanied by the preposition s, which may assimilate to the following d, becoming z, e.g.: ăwt-ă‫=ܭ‬t



beat:A-1S=3S:M:DO with behind

‘and I will beat it on the rear’ [2/2] They can be followed by a prepositional pronominal suffix, or by a noun without further linking element, e.g.: t-ăll‫ۑ‬n=t



3S:F-pour:A=3S:M:DO with before-3S





‘and she pours it before him and behind him’ [11/20] When followed by a plural noun, the noun can have the post-prepositional


i or it can lack it (see 3.2), e.g.: d‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬r

iশămmăn = d‫ۑ‬ff‫ۑ‬r শămmăn



‘behind the camels’ [L73:55] The element ăddo is normally not preceded by a preposition and is followed by a noun, e.g.: ăddo măkan


3S:F-sleep:P under blankets

‘she is sleeping under blankets’ [13/24] Before a pronoun, it takes the form addaw (Lanfry 1973:78, no example available). The element ăddo is similar to the preposition-like noun adda (see below). 10.10 Preposition-like nouns: innϷž, adda, ammas, ades The elements inn‫ۑ‬ž ‘above’, adda ‘under’, ammas ‘inside’, and ades ‘beside’ are similar to topological prepositions in their semantics. They appear in two syntactic constructions. In the first construction, they function like nouns. In this case they are preceded by a preposition, or accompanied by the locative clitic, and have no possessive complement. The default preposition is s (see above); however, under some circumstances other prepositions or the locative clitic are used. Examples: ‫ۑ‬nn-ăs s


wǂۜۜid=e i


man=ANP:S to house of-3S



with below

‘the man came to his house below (i.e. at the lower side, not by means of the roof terrace)’ [19/34] s‫ۑ‬llúnăn n





‘the stairs of above (i.e. of upstairs)’ [33/58]


taআআurt=e n ammas door=ANP:S of middle

‘the middle door’ [31/56] t-ǎwăn

iy inn‫ۑ‬ž

3S:F-go.up:P to above

‘she went to above’ [32/58] t-ăqqím




‘she remained above (i.e. on the roof terrace)’ [34/60] More preposition-like is their behavior when followed by a genitival complement. In this case the initial preposition does not appear, e.g.: y-ăssúrăs=‫ۑ‬n

tayyint inn‫ۑ‬ž n tadܵ‫ۑ‬rt



above of hearth

‘he put the pot on the hearth’ [31/56] t-‫ۑۜۜۑ‬z

‫ܭ‬áf-‫ۑ‬s ‫ۑ‬s


on-3S with sticks=ANP:P middle

t‫ۑ‬bóray=íd ammas n t‫ۑ‬ঌ‫ۑ‬nfas=íd of rugs=ANP:P

‘she came down upon him with the sticks in the middle of the rugs’ [14/26] y-ăssúrăs arakot=e

n ude tammurt=i adés n iঌarăn nn-ăs

3S:M-put:P recipient=ANP:S of oil

ground=LOC side of feet


‘he put the pot with oil on the ground next to his feet’ [2/2] The element adda is not attested with an accompanying complement; instead ăddo is used (see 10.9, 10.10).




Different from most Berber languages, but not unlike Tuareg, Ghadames has a large number of ideophones. This is clearly the effect of subSaharan influence on the language, and Souag (fc.) presents a large number of convincing parallels with Hausa and other sub-Saharan languages. Lanfry (1968:374-375; cf. also Lanfry 1973) provides a list of 35 ideophones, most set in a verbal frame, which will be repeated here. Ideophones are underlined: măll‫ۑ‬l f‫ۑ‬rr măll‫ۑ‬l k‫ވ‬ăতত să৬৬ăf k‫ވ‬l‫ۑ‬k i-ৢfa făqq tod‫ۑ‬ft z‫ۑ‬rr i-šše=t xaww y-ús=az=d qăbb y-ús=az=d qăzz i-š‫ܭ‬ăl wăqq y-ărră਌ qăšš y-ărră਌ qrăšš i-ۜăr=t baww y-ăতkăm=t šăšš y-ăffăs k‫ۑވ‬mm y-ăffăs krus i-zgăr g‫ۑ‬rr y-ăqqim ৬ăšš i-আdăd dăkk i-srăd tăkk y-ăx৬ăm s‫ۑ‬rr y-ămmút k‫ۑ‬ff y-ămmút mitt y-ălsăq ৬ăqq i-wăk=t dăqq i-qáb‫ۑ‬l qayy i-৬kár ৬b‫ۑ‬q y-uঌa=y‫ۑ‬n ৬l‫ۑ‬b

‘it is very white’ ‘it is of a dubious/unpleasant white color’ ‘it is black, nothing to do about it’ ‘it(s color) is perfectly pure’ ‘perfectly pure wool’ ‘he ate it in a single bite’ ‘it fits him perfectly’ ‘it fits him perfectly’ ‘(the fire) lights magnificently’ ‘it is plainly broken’ ‘it is plainly broken’ ‘he threw him out (a slave) violently and definitively’ ‘he held him firmly’ ‘he kept total silence’ ‘he shut up and didn’t say a word any more’ ‘he remains absolutely immobile and silent’ ‘he sat down on the ground, just like that’ ‘he stands straight’ ‘it is perfectly straight (stick, pole)’ ‘he left straightaway’ ‘he is dead, no doubt’ ‘it is absolutely dead (fire)’ ‘it is fixed solidly’ ‘he has pulled it out in one movement’ ‘he is exactly in front’ ‘it is full to the edge’ ‘he fell, splash (? French: plouf )’

y-ăn‫ۑ‬ggăz tr‫ۑ‬k ‘he jumped vividly’ y-útăf sl‫ۑ‬k ‘he suddenly entered’ y-uঌa আk‫ۑވ‬k ~ আ‫ۑ‬k‫ۑވ‬k ‘he fell down without being able to keep standing’ y-uঌa brit ‘he fell down bang!’ i-zzăf ܵli৬ ‘he is naked, nothing to do’ i-nna fyuw, yărwăl ‘in one jump he fled (lit. he said: fyuw and fled)’ i-nna তaত, yărwăl ‘in one jump he fled (lit. he said: তaত and fled)’ i-nna frit, yărwăl ‘in one jump he fled (lit. he said: frit and fled)’ Ideophones tend to have the structure CvCࢎ C, CvCC, or CCVC. The number of consonants attested in ideophones is small; the rare phonemes k‫ ވ‬and ৬ are quite frequent in ideophones (4x k‫ވ‬, 5x ৬); k and q are even more frequent (9 and 10 instances, resp.). Taken together, the phonemes k, k‫ ވ‬and q appear in more than half of the attested ideophones. Other frequently encountered phonemes are r (5x, not in initial position), b (5x), f (5x), š (5x) and t (5x). In Lanfry’s texts, the type of ideophones given above does not occur at all. This may be an effect of the way they were collected – during dictation certain expressive devices may not have been used by the informant. It may also have to do with local conventions of narrative style.



Possessive constructions

12.1 Nominal possession Nominal possession is expressed in different ways. With most nouns the possessive phrase is introduced by the preposition n. The possessive phrase can be nominal or pronominal, e.g.: i


n oআ‫ۜۜۑ‬an=e

to house of rat=ANP:S

‘to the house of that rat’ [2/2] i



to house of-3S

‘to his house’ [19/34] It is possible to have several embedded possessive phrases: w-o



amisi nn-ăs n éআăঌ am‫ۑ‬zwar n tamasna dinner of-3S

of night


of desert

‘this is his evening meal of the first night in (lit. of) the desert’ [11/20] A restricted group of kinship terms is obligatorily marked for possession (i.e. relation). With these words, the form without a suffix denotes a relation to the speaker, while other relations are expressed by means of pronominal suffixes, which immediately follow the kinship term (see 4.3), e.g. imma ‘my mother’, ma-yik ‘your (M) mother’. In order to relate nouns to these kinship terms, they take a third person pronoun, followed by a prepositional phrase with n, e.g.: ‫ܭ‬ammi-s n tawažett=e uncle-3S

of girl=ANP:S

‘the uncle of the girl’ [13/24] Quantification is often constructed by means of a possessive phrase. On numerals, see 8.1. Other instances are, for example: hál n arăhۜ lot

of treasure

‘a lot of riches’ [5/8]

n ‫ۑ‬lm‫ৢۑ‬áyib


‘as much as there is misery’ [8/14]

quantity of problems

12.1.1 Deictic clitics in possessive constructions Among the post-nominal elements, the possessive pronominal suffixes always follow the noun immediately. Deictic clitics follow, e.g.: yălle-s=e

‘this daughter of her’ [13/24]


When deictic clitics are combined with prepositional possessive phrases, the deictic appears on the head of the construction (i.e. the possessed) when it has scope over the whole phrase, e.g.: ás‫ۑ‬f=e

n aziyy‫ۑ‬z

‘this day of travel’ [10/18]

day=ANP:S of travel


n aৢle

‘this house of the groom’ [71/112]

house=ANP:S of groom



‘this treasure of them’ [6/10]

treasure=ANP:S of-3P:M

When the deictic has scope over the possessor only, it is put on the possessor, e.g.: daž

n oআ‫ۜۜۑ‬an=e

‘the house of this rat’ [2/2]

house of rat=ANP:S

In similar constructions, the deictic is found twice, once on the possessed and once on the possessor. Whether this implies double anaphora, or whether this is a kind of deictic doubling is impossible to make out from the material.



n tam਌a=ye

treasure=ANP:S of ogress=ANP:S

‘the treasure of this ogress’[24/42] The kinship term dădda ‘father’ has different behavior. Although it takes a normal prepositional phrase in possessor constructions, the deictic clitic always follows the genitival phrase. At this point it is similar to kinship terms with direct suffixing of the possessive pronouns. Example: dădda nn-ăs=e father

‘this father of her’ [7/12]


12.2 Clausal possession Ghadames has dedicated verbs for ‘to have’. Most frequent seems to be the Perfective form le/lo (P) (not to be confused with ili ‘to be’). There seems to be an Imperative ăl (Lanfry 1968:259). The defective verb is suppleted by an alternative verb, s‫ۑ‬n ‘to have’, which has the forms A ‫ۑ‬s‫ۑ‬n (?), P ‫ۑ‬săn, F ‫ۑ‬săn, I ‫ۑ‬tt‫ۑ‬s‫ۑ‬n (Lanfry 1973:344). It is not attested in the texts, nor is any example provided in the grammatical and lexical studies by Lanfry. Examples of le/lo: kud



be:P-3P:M brothers have:P-PTC:P house

ălixwa lón-in


‘when there are (two) brothers that possess a house (together)’ [L73:173] w-e



be.big:P-PTC:M:S 3S:M-have:P woman



‘the older one had a wife and children’ [5/8] was








i-le PTC:M:S-have:NP

‘those that have and those that have not’ [L71:74]









n admár (taআআurt / tasărsărt)

woman 3S:F-have:P one:M of breast (door

/ door.knocker)

‘the woman has one breast (riddle; answer: the door / the door knocker)’ [62/92] Different from other Berber languages, the preposition ‫ܭ‬ur ‘at’ is not used in possessive constructions in Ghadames.



Notes on the structure of the noun phrase

13.1 Adjectives Ghadames Berber does not have adjectives. There exists a marginal possibility of simple adposition of nouns, attested only once in the corpus: t-‫ۑ‬llăm=‫ۑ‬n

wǂۜۜid awǎssár

3S:F-see:P=ITV man


‘she saw there a man, an old man’ [24/42] It is possible to analyze this phrase as a non-verbal relative clause, i.e. ‘a man who was an old man’. Attribution of adjectival concepts is basically achieved by means of relative clauses with stative verbs in the participial (i.e. subject-relative) form, e.g.: tawažett=e măttít-ăt girl=ANP


‘this small girl (lit. this girl that was small)’ [13/24] 13.2 The element i‫ڲ‬- ‘other’ The element iঌ- is morphologically constructed as a stative participle, which stands as a relative clause behind the noun. The verb does not occur in other forms than the following (Lanfry 1968:364): M:S F:S P

iঌ-ăn iঌ-ăt iঌ-nin

e.g. éআăr iঌ-ăn ‘another canal’ tá਌it iঌ-ăt ‘another chicken’ taltawén ‫ۑ‬ঌ-nin ‘other women’

The element iঌ also appears together with the demonstrative pronouns (see 4.5). In this context, the pronouns have a vowel a in the singular and i in the plural, while the element ‘other’ is invariably (y)yiঌ (Lanfry 1968:364): M:S F:S

wa-yiঌ ta-yiঌ


wi-yyiঌ ti-yyiঌ

In addition to these forms, it is also possible to use the demonstrative bases (without the additional vowel), followed by the participial forms. The two constructions are illustrated in the following examples: y-uআă‫=ܭ‬d




‘he married another’ [20/36] akk yón




each one:M 3S:M-say:I to DEM:M-be.other:P-PTC:M:S

‘everyone said to the other’ [9/16] From the examples in the text it seems that constructions of the type ta-yiঌ are used with indefinite reference (‘another’, ‘some others’), while the regular constructions with demonstrative bases (type w-iঌ-ăn) are used with definite reference (‘the other(s)’).



Verbal clitics

14.1 The clitic complex The clitic complex consists of maximally three elements, which always have the same order: the Indirect Object pronominal clitic, the Direct Object pronominal clitic, and the verbal deictics (see 5.1), e.g.: răbbi




‘may the Lord keep you (F) for us’ [3/4] i=t=idd=t-‫ۑ‬kf-‫ۑ‬t ? 1S:IO=3S:M:DO=VNT=2S-give:F-2S

‘will you give it to me?’ [3/4] ۜe-‫=ܭ‬am=tăt do:P-1S=2S:F:IO=3S:F:DO

‘I have done it to you’ [19/34] y-ăۜۜ=as‫ۑ‬n=kum 3S:M-leave:A=3P:M:IO=2P:M:DO

‘(and) he left you (P:M) for them’ [L71:74] 14.2 Clitic fronting (“attraction”) The verbal clitics stand before or after the verb, depending on syntactic conditions. The conditions of pre-verbal placement (known as “attraction” in the literature on Berber) will be described below; postverbal placement is found otherwise. Only the three elements of the clitic complex undergo clitic fronting. Different from many other Berber languages, prepositions with a pronominal suffix always remain in postverbal position, e.g.: s


asíd d=i-wăঌ


from beginning-LOC until VNT=3S:M-arrive:P at-3S

‘from the start until when he arrived here at his place’ [8/14] s




from situation=ANP=LOC PTC:M:S-be:P-PTC:M:S there

‘from among the things that were there’ [6/10]

Clitic fronting occurs under the following circumstances: a. after the negative particles ak and wăl, e.g.: wăl kăm=y-úfe NEG


‘he did not find you (F)’ [17/30] yót ak



one:F NEG 3S:IO=3S:F-give.birth:NP anything

‘one (woman) did not give birth for him to anything’ [16/28] When combined with the negative particles awas and a d (see 20.3, 20.4), the clitics remain in postverbal position, e.g.: awas tás-ă‫=ܭ‬d NEG


‘I will not come’ [L68:341] a





come:I=VNT COP

‘I will not come’ [L68:341] b. after the imperfective particle al ~ a, e.g.: năšš al









‘while I bring out a sweet odor’ [5/8] c. after the future particle d. This particle has a zero-allomorph when followed by clitic elements,97 e.g.:


Lanfry (1968:312) gives alternative forms with initial d for vowel-initial clitics, e.g. d ak=ărnăআ ~ ak=ărnăআ ‘I will add for you’. These forms do not occur in the texts.





[FUT] 3S:IO=ITV=call:F:1S to mother-2S:M


taআআurt n

[FUT] 2S:M:IO=3S:F-open:F door




house of-2P:M

‘I will call your mother and she will open the door of your house’ [17/30] d. in Subject and Direct Object relative clauses. As there is no relative clause marker, the preverbal position is sometimes the only indication that a certain clause is relativized. Examples: asi-năt=‫ۑ‬dd

taltawén as=ăqrăb-nin

come:A-3P:F=VNT women


‘the women come that are close(ly related) to him’ [11/20] t-‫ۑ‬škăl=d


3S:F-carry:P=VNT dinner=ANP:S



3S:IO=3S:F-bring:P mother-3S

‘she took the evening meal that his mother had brought her’ [17/30] e. in question word questions (basically a subtype of relative clauses, see 16.2.2), e.g.: anno tăn=‫ۑ‬nn=i-ۜó-n

tamaৢuss=o=dá ?

who 3P:M:DO=ITV=PTC:M.s-do:P-PTC:M.s


‘who has put them in this basket?’ [4/6] isse d=t-‫ۑ‬kkăs-ăt

‫ۑ‬ssínaka=yo d

why VNT=2S-take:P-2S

carrot=PRX:S with onion=PRX:S

‫ۑ‬flelo=yo ?

‘why did you uproot these carrots and onions?’ [4/6] f. in clefts (basically a subtype of relative clauses, see 16.2.1). Different from other Berber languages, there is no cleft marker in Ghadames. šăgg

tăt=i-ššó-n !



‘it is you that ate it!’ [9/16]


g. in subordinated clauses introduced by the subordinators asíd ‘until’, ۜ‫ۑ‬d ‘when’, imkúd ‘as if’, ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k ‘as, so that’, nkúd ‘if, when’, e.g.: wăl ás=t-ăsm‫ۜۜۑ‬e



to daughter-3S


asíd ás=iআăঌ


daততăn wǂۜۜid=e

until 3S:IO=3S:M-vow:P similarly man=ANP:S

‘she does not speak to her daughter until the man has vowed her the same’ [13/24] ۜ‫ۑ‬d as=‫ۑ‬slón when 3S:IO=hear:P-3P:M

‘when they heard him’ [8/12] ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k ás=dá=i-ml‫ۑ‬l like


3S:IO=FUT=3S:M-be.white:F road

‘so that the road is white (favorable) for him’ [11/20] imkud az=‫ۑ‬dd=y-ăsslíl as.if


3S:IO=VNT=3S:M-call:P person

‘as if somebody had called him’ [9/16] ăۜ=i




nkúd as=yăff‫ۑ‬skăr if



3S:IO=3S:M-divorce:P to DEM:F-be.other-PTC:F:S

‘give me a promise when he divorces the other’ [20/36] e. after the imprecation wallahi ‘by God’, followed by a Perfective with negative interpretation, e.g.: wallahi, ttăt=‫ۑ‬llăm-ă‫ܭ‬ by.God


‘by God, I haven’t seen her!’ [9/16]


tăsm‫ۜۜۑ‬e instead of t‫ۑ‬sm‫ۜۜۑ‬e suggests a Negative Perfective; a habitual interpretation is clearly intended.


14.3 Multiple contexts of clitic fronting The contexts of clitic fronting enumerated above are not always mutually exclusive. Thus the preverbal particles wăl and d (~ ø) can occur in subordinated contexts such as relative clauses and adverbial subordination. al and ak never occur in subordinated clauses. Subordinated negations always have wăl (see 20.2). The clitics come between wăl and the verb, e.g.: arăhۜ

‫ۑ‬nnúk wăl am=ăss‫ۑ‬kn-ă‫ܭ‬

treasure of:1S



‘my treasure that I did not show you’ [24/42] izi=ye,

ۜ‫ۑ‬d wăl as=i-zmér

তăbba, i-৬৬ómăs

fly=ANP:S when NEG 3S:IO=3S:M-can:NP thing

făssăn nn-ăs

3S:M-rub:I hands of-3S

‘the fly, as he could do nothing for him, rubbed his hands continuously’ [6/10] iše

wăl t=id=t-ăbbé-t ?

why NEG 3S:M:DO=VNT=2S-bring:P-2S

‘why did you not bring him here?’ [1/2] In subject-relative clauses, the fronted participial element occurs between the negation and the clitic complex. It is considered here a suffix to the negative particle (see 7.2), e.g.: w-e






‘he who has not brought it here to you’ [L68:336] The particle d takes the allomorph da when used in subordinated contexts. da precedes the verb immediately, and the clitic complex precedes da, e.g.: k(e) asăn=da=n-‫? ۜۑ‬ what 3P:M:IO=FUT=1P-do:F

‘what shall we do to them?’ [30/54]



‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k ană‫=ܭ‬da=t-‫ۑ‬qqím

make.get.lost:IPT:S=3P:F:DO like

takneft=e …

1P:IO=FUT=3S:F-stay:F loaf=ANP:S

‘get rid of them so that the loaf […] remains for us (alone)’ [20/36] The same is true in the rare cases when da is preceded by the negation ak, e.g.: ak




‘may you not forget me’ [L71:74]



Simple verbal sentences: main structures

The basic constituent structure is verb-initial. The verb has obligatory subject agreement. Even though it is rare to have both the subject and the object expressed lexically and in post-verbal position, this is very well possible: t-ăkf=ás=‫ۑ‬n


arakót n yăff

3S:F-give:A=3S:IO=ITV mother-3S pot

of milk

‘his mother gives him a pot of milk’ [11/20] When used pronominally, the Indirect Object is expressed by special pronominal clitics (see 4.3). When there is a lexical Indirect Object, the clitic is normally also present. There seem to be two constructions as to the lexical expression of the Indirect Object. When there is no lexical Direct Object in the same sentence, or when the lexical Indirect Object follows the lexical Direct Object, the Indirect Object is marked with the preposition i, e.g.: t-‫ۑ‬kf=ás

žž‫ۑ‬ni i



tamaঌrăst ‫ۑ‬nn-ăs

to hairdresser of-3S

‘she gave half to the girl who did her hair’ [25/30] t-ăsm‫ۜۜۑ‬e=yás



3S:F-speak:P=3S:IO to daughter-3S=ANP:S

‘she spoke to this daughter of her’ [13/24] t-ăbb=as=t



3S:F-bring:A=3S:IO=3S:M:DO to goat

‘she brought it to the goat’ [39/68] In one example, the lexical Indirect Object precedes the Direct Object: i-kf=ásăn

dădda nn-asăn=e

3S:M-give:P=3P:M:IO father of-3S=ANP:S

akk yón

aশămm d

each one:M camel


‫ۑ‬lm‫ۑ‬kতalăt gun

‘their father gave to each one a camel and a gun’ [26/46]

In this case, pronominal reference is with the Indirect Object pronoun (asăn), but the lexical Indirect Object (akk yón) is not marked by the preposition i. The construction is therefore in between a construction with two Direct Objects and one with an Indirect Object and a Direct Object. Constituents can be topicalized by placing them to the left of the verb. Except for adverbial phrases, pre-verbal constituents have pronominal reference in the second part of the sentence. In the texts, topicalization is not extremely frequent, and it may be more pragmatically marked than in other Berber languages. tawažett=e t-úrăw=dd





‘this girl gave birth to a child’ [13/24] tawažett=e măttít-ăt girl=ANP:S


be.small:P-PTC:Fc 3S:F-take:P

t‫ܵۑ‬oraঌ=í shoulder=LOC

‘the little girl, she put her on her shoulder’ [13/24] tatăۜۜărt=e,



rich.woman=ANP:S 3S:M-want:P=3P:F:DO much

tal‫ۑ‬qqe=ye, ak





‘the rich woman he liked a lot, the poor one he did not like’ [18/32] ‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬rt‫ۑ‬k-năt=ás azarăn


grilled.grain=ANP:S mix:I-3P:F=3S:IO jujubes

‘this grilled grain, they mix to it jujubes’ [71/112] Strong topicalization can be achieved by means of the particle amma ‘concerning’, e.g.: amma

wǂۜۜídăn ak

concerning men




make.rise:NI-3P:M much

n awal of word

‘as for men, they do not use many words’ [3/4] Focalization is achieved by means of clefting, see 16.2.1, 17.3.



Relative clauses and related constructions

Relative clauses have different structures depending on the function of the head within the relative clause. On the invariable pronouns ke ‘what’ and was ‘who’, that are specialized as relative heads, see 4.6. 16.1

Relative clauses

16.1.1 Subject and Direct Object relatives Subject relatives and Direct Object relatives are made without a dedicated relative linking element. Clitics are in preverbal position, and the future marker element d takes the allomorph da. In Subject relative clauses the verb takes the participial form (see 7.2). Direct Object relative clauses have normal verb forms and no pronominal reference to the head. When there are no preverbal clitics, nor the Future element da, there is no formal difference between a Direct Object relative clause and a normal clause. Examples: Subject relatives: ‫ۑ‬d măddén ‫ۑ‬nn-ăs ás=তalal-nin and




‘and his people that are close relatives’ [11/20] ăl‫ܭ‬ăskăr, ‫ۑ‬qqăn-nin

tali t-‫ۑ‬৬kár


room 3S:F-be.full:P

with soldiers


fasten:P-PTC:P skullcaps

‘the room is full of soldiers that have put on their skullcaps’ (riddle; answer: a box of matches) [62/92] Direct Object relatives: ilam wăl d amési=ye if



evening.meal=ANAP:S 1S:IO-VNT-2S-give:P-2S

‘if not the evening meal that you gave to me’ [17/30] t-ăbbe=dd



things=ANP:S 3S:IO=3S:M-say:P


‘she brought the things that he had told her’ [28/50] Coordinated phrases in a relative clause have relative syntax in all their parts, e.g.:

‫ۑ‬ss‫ۑ‬rt‫ۑ‬k-năt=ás ălg‫ۑ‬ziz



coriander=ANP:S mix:I-3P:F=3S:IO melon.seed PTC:M:S-be.peeled:P-PTC:M:S




NEG-PTC:M:S PTC:M:S-be.peeled:NP


‘this coriander they mix into it peeled and unpeeled melon seeds (lit. … melon seeds that are peeled and not peeled)’ [71/112] With Subject and Direct Object relative clauses, the scope of cliticfronting and use of da is the full clause, also when further subordination occurs within the relative clause, e.g.: lতal=e


thing=ANP:S 2S-want:P-2S


i=da=t-‫ۜۑ‬-‫ۑ‬t 1S:IO=FUT=2S-do:F-2S


‘the thing that you wanted to do to me, I did it to you’ [24/42] was



DEM:REL PTC:M:S-want:P-PTC:M:S FUT=3S:M-travel:F

‘who wants to travel’ [10/18] Normally, verbs like ăআr ‘to want’, ăzm‫ۑ‬r ‘can’, and ‫ۑ‬sif ‘to prefer’ are followed by a secondary predicate with the regular non-subordinated future marker d. The choice of da in the above sentences is clearly because the whole construction is part of a relative clause. This is exclusively a feature of relative constructions; in other cliticfronting contexts, only the first verb is concerned, e.g.: d=‫ۑ‬ffă‫ܭ‬




can:NP-1S FUT=go.out:F:1S

‘I cannot go out’ [7/12] wǂۜۜid nkúd i-আro man





3S:M-want:P FUT 3S:M-take:F woman

‘a man, when he wants to marry a woman’ [68/106]


In these examples, the future particle is d, not da, which shows that the presence of the negative particle ak and the subordinating conjunction nkud have no effect on the secondary predicate governed by the verbs ăzm‫ۑ‬r and ăআr. 16.1.2 Prepositional relative clauses Relative clauses in which the head functions as the complement of a preposition in the relative clause have a different structure from relatives with Subjects and Direct Objects. Such relative clauses are introduced by the preposition followed by the pronoun ke. Otherwise, the relative clause looks like a Direct Object relative: no use of the participial form of the verb, preverbal position of clitics, and use of the allomorph da of the Future particle. Different from other constructions, in prepositional relative clauses ke can refer both to animates and to inanimates. Examples: aۜur ‫ܭ‬áf


3S:F-give:A=2S:M:DO goat on



what FUT=2S-mount:F

‘and she will give you a goat on which you can mount’ [26/46] nittát t-‫ۑ‬škăl=d

taআ‫ ৢৢۑ‬a









kum=da=t-ăܵrăs !

with what 2P:M:DO=FUT=3S:F-slaughter:F

‘she has brought a knife and sharpens it, with which she will slaughter you’ [28/50] yót ‫ܭ‬úr ke


kara wăl t=t-‫ۑ‬le

one:F with what 3S:M.be.asked:P thing NEG 3S:M:DO=3S:F-have:NP

‘a woman from whom something is asked and that does not have it’ [3/4] The same construction is used for Indirect Objects, featuring the dative preposition i:




am‫ۑ‬zwar n






to what 3S:F:DO=VNT=give:P-3P:M


of girl=ANP:S

‫ܭ‬ammi-s n tawažett=e

‘the first of those to whom they gave it was the uncle of the girl’ [13/24] 16.1.3 Locative relative clauses Locative relative clauses, corresponding to nouns with the locative clitic, are formed by means of the question word din ‘where’. For the rest, the relative clause looks like a Direct Object relative: no use of the participial form of the verb, preverbal position of clitics, and use of the allomorph da of the Future particle. Examples: aۜassa আrăk-năt tazăqqa=ye=den until


dig:P-3P:F room=ANP=LOC




where 3S:IO=hear:P-3P:F to


‘until they dug in the room where they had heard the [sound of a] mill’ [21/38] ۜ‫ۑ‬d ‫ۑ‬nn=i-wăঌ

iy eআăr=e

when ITV=3S:M-arrive:P to ditch=ANP







‘when he arrived at the ditch where he made the sheep drink’ [36/62] 16.1.4 Relative clauses without marking There are a number of attestations of relative clauses which are not marked at all. They follow the head and only the syntactic context shows that they must be interpreted as relative clauses, e.g.: y-ăqqim=‫ۑ‬d

yón n kara

3S:M-sit:P=VNT one

of thing



3S:F-do:I=1S:IO=3S:M:DO mother

‘there remains one thing that my mother always does to me’ [28/50]



wǂۜۜid awǎssár i-৬৬ăf

3S:F-see:P=ITV man

tawa‫ܭ‬ne n asܵérăn

old.man 3S:M-hold:P load

of wood

‘she saw there an old man who held a load of wood’ [24/42] was



DEM:REL PTC:M:S-want:P-PTC:M:S FUT=3S:M-travel,




3S:M-make.go.out:A cereal.supply 3S:M-be.chosen:P



măddén nn-ăs

3S:M-be.divided:P to people


‘who wants to travel brings out supplies of chosen and divided cereals to his people (lit. … cereals that are chosen and that are divided)’ [10/18] All attestations have indefinite heads; it is however very well possible to have an indefinite head with a marked relative clause, e.g.: y-ălse=n



one:M be.ugly:P-PTC:M:S at above




‘and wears an ugly one above’ [62/92] 16.1.5 Relative clauses with pronominal markers other than ke The structures given above account for basically all relative clauses attested in the variety described by Lanfry. In his corpus, there is one instance of a relative clause using an element wa, an obscure passage from a song: d

‫ۑ‬nnawwar wa




3S:M-work:P=3S:M:DO EA-wind



‘and the flower whose smell has reached her’ [Lanfry 1971-1972:181] The sentence is unusual for other reasons too, as it is one of the few instances of an Annexed State form in the language (see 3.2). While marginal in Lanfry’s material, a similar element is well-attested in the material published by Motylinski (1904), which belongs to a different variety of the language. In this material, three forms appear: wa


with a masculine singular head noun, wi () with a masculine plural head noun, and ti with a feminine plural noun. No attestations of feminine singular nouns with this type of relative clause were found. All examples are subject relatives. Examples:

‫ۑ‬nঌăl-ăn wǂۜۜid wa i-mmut-ăn bury:P-3P:M man


‘they buried the man that had died’ [Mot25]

‫ۑ‬s‫ܭ‬-ă‫ ܭ‬t‫ۑ‬শămmen ti ămmokăr-nin buy:P-1S female.camels REL:F:P


‘I bought the camels that had been stolen’ [Mot25]

utăf-ăn ۜara-săn mădden wi măqqor-nin enter:P-3P:M between-3P:M people



‘the old people (lit. the people that are old) come to them’ [Mot70]

kud ‫ۑ‬llăm-ăn ammas n amăzdă‫ܭ‬ when see:P-3P:M

lamteyăn wi Tuaregs


of town





‘when they see Tuaregs in town that have taken camels’ [Mot70-71]

‫ۑ‬t-taf-‫ۑ‬t lamteyăn wi d=uso-nin


2S-find:I-2S Tuaregs

to (?) Ghadames



‘you find Tuaregs who have come here to Ghadames’ [Mot71]

i-ssăn aman wi d=‫ۑ‬lla-nin


3S:M-know:P water



‘he knows the water that is in the desert’ [Mot74]99 99

The use of ventive d ‘hither’ is unexpected here, as the text clearly takes the oasis as its point of reference. Moreover, the verb ili ‘to be (somewhere)’ is normally not


In addition to this relative construction, Motylinski also has instances of the construction without a relative marker (Motylinski 1904:25). 16.2 Constructions related to relative clauses There are two constructions that are related to, or special instances of, relative clause formation: question word questions and cleft sentences. When the head functions as the Subject of the relative clause, the verb takes the participial form. Clitics are in preverbal position and the allomorph da of the future particle is used. 16.2.1 Cleft sentences Cleft sentences consist of a nominal predicate followed by a relative clause. The nominal predicate can include the copula ‫ۑ‬nte (see 17.2) but, as with non-cleft non-verbal sentences, this is not obligatory. Different from all other Berber languages, there is no element joining the clefted element to the relative clause: the relative clause determines the clefted element immediately. Examples: Subject cleft šăgg tăt=i-ššó-n you:M


‘it is you that ate it!’ [9/16] w-o-dăt

‫ۑ‬nte an‫=ܭۑ‬i-ttătto-n



আenáwăn ‫ۑ‬nn-ană‫ ܭ‬d dates




ălxuঌrăt ‫ۑ‬nn-ană‫ܭ‬ vergetables of-1P

‘it is this one that always eats our dates and our vegetables’ [7/12] Direct Object cleft t-ufo azi‫ۑ ܭ‬nd-yălle-s

‫ۑ‬nte t-ăܵrăs

3S:F-find:P thus P-daughter-3S COP 3S:F-slaughter:P

‘she found that it was her daughters that she had slaughtered’ [29/52]

constructed with a deictic clitic. Possibly wi has a variant wid, and the phrase should be read wid ‫ۑ‬lla-nin tam‫ۑ‬sná.


Prepositional cleft óআ‫ۑ‬nt=e pounding.stone=ANP:S



da=mm‫ۑ‬gzăm-ăn eܵăfawăn nn-ăsnăt

with what FUT=be.hit:F-3P:M heads


‘it is this pounding stone with which their heads will be hit’ [71/112] 16.2.2 Question word questions Question word questions basically consist of a cleft in which the question word is the nominal predicate. Adverbial questions (i.e. such that would correspond to prepositional phrases in non-question syntax) have DirectObject-like relative clauses, i.e. they are not attached to the head by means of ke. Examples: Subject question anno tăn=‫ۑ‬nn=i-ۜó-n

tamaৢuss=o=dá ?

who 3P:M:DO=ITV=PTC:M:S-do:P-PTC:M:S


‘who has put them in this basket?’ [4/6] Direct Object question ke za da=(ă)n-ă‫? ܭ‬ what then FUT=say:F-1S

‘what shall I say then?’ [8/14] Adverbial question išewe i=dd=t-‫ۑ‬qqár-‫ۑ‬t why

sa ?

1S:IO=VNT=2S-say:I-2S thus

‘why do you say such a thing to me?’ [8/14] ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k i-ۜo how

aঌo nnúk ?

3S:M-do:P wind of:1S

‘how is my smell?’ [5/8] Like with normal relative clauses, clitic fronting and the use of da extends over subordinated clauses within the question word sentence, e.g.:




š‫ۑ‬g=da=n-‫ۑ‬ssúr‫ۑ‬s ?




‘where do you prefer us to put you?’ [16/28] In this example, the question word din triggers preverbal position of the clitics and the use of the allomorph da of the future particle in the object clause depending on t-ăšef-‫ۑ‬t.



Non-verbal sentences and ‘be’-verbs

Non-verbal sentences are sentences that do not contain a verb. They consist of an optional topic (or “subject”) and a predicate that consists of a noun phrase, a prepositional phrase or an adverbial phrase. They convey meanings of attribution and existence, i.e. ‘being something’. For locative ‘being’, the verb ili is used. 17.1 Non-verbal clauses without a copula With prepositional and adverbial phrases, there is no marker of the nonverbal sentence, e.g.: năšš ۜ‫ۑ‬d-w‫ۑ‬n I


‘I am with you’ [46/76] ikk

as‫ۑ‬f sa

every day


‘it was everyday like that’ [1/1] With noun phrases, there may also be no marker, e.g.: năšš xalăti-tw‫ۑ‬n I


‘I am your aunt’ [27/48] i

first of


to what 3S:F:DO=VNT=give:P-3P:M


of girl

‫ܭ‬ammi-s n tawažett



am‫ۑ‬zwar n was

‘the first of those to whom they gave it was the uncle of the girl’ [13/24] 17.2 Clauses with the copula Ϸnte(ni) Quite often, non-verbal sentences with a noun phrase as their predicate have a copular particle ‫ۑ‬nte, which is put after the noun phrase, e.g.:

wǂۜۜid=e n=‫ۑ‬llăm-ă‫ܭ‬, aziত

dădda nn-ană‫ۑ ܭ‬nte

man=ANP:S ITV=see:P-1S really father of-1P


‘the man I saw there was in fact our father’ [24/42] nkúd aziyy‫ۑ‬z ‫ۑ‬nn-ăs am‫ۑ‬zwar ‫ۑ‬nte ‫ܭ‬úr-‫ۑ‬s when travel





‘when his travel is the first one for her’ [11/20] amísi nnúk ‫ۑ‬nte dinner of:1S COP

‘it is my evening meal’ [19/34] wăl as=‫ۑ‬nné-năt NEG

ۜ‫ۑ‬d ‫ۑ‬nd-yălle-s


3S:IO=say:NP-3P:F with P-daughter-3S COP

‘and they did not tell her that they were her daughters’ [24/42] When the topic (“subject”) is an independent pronoun, ‫ۑ‬nte stands between the pronoun and the predicate, e.g.: năšš ‫ۑ‬nte mgéd‫ۑ‬š I



‘I am Mgedesh (personal name)’ [30/54] šăgg


you:M COP

am‫ۑ‬qqar ‫ۑ‬nn-ană‫ܭ‬ big


‘you are the oldest among us’ [30/54] This construction could be interpreted as a cleft (see below), i.e. ‘it is me, that is Mgedesh’ and ‘it is you that are oldest among us’. The copula ‫ۑ‬nte also appears with verbal sentences, where it provides additional expressivity. The only example in the texts is the following: ‫ۑ‬nnăbt ‫ۑ‬nn-ăs i-আro ?



‫ۑ‬nte wǂۜۜid ‫ۑ‬nnúk

3S:M-want:P 1S:DO=3S:M-divorce:F COP man


‘no doubt, my husband wants to divorce me (lit. no doubt, it is that my husband wants to divorce me)’ [20/36]


The same construction occurs with the non-verbal negation a d (see 20.3), cf. a





enter:P-1S COP

‘I have not entered’ [L68:340] In addition to ‫ۑ‬nte, there is an element ‫ۑ‬nteni, which seems to be restricted to conditionals, e.g.: nkúd ‫ۑ‬nteni,







‘if it is like that, they will harvest’ [L73:250] ilam da=i-krăz

ilam ‫ۑ‬nteni d








‘if he would sow, if it were like that, he would harvest’ [L73:181] The copula ‫ۑ‬nte is typical for the Ayt Wazităn and the Maze‫ܭ‬ăn (Tunen) wards. In Ayt Wălid, an alternative form, ahi, is used, e.g.: t-e


(a)he t-‫ۑ‬šše-d


(Ayt Wălid)


‘what is it that you have eaten’ [L73:37] The same construction would be te wa nte t-‫ۑ‬šše-t in Ayt Wazităn and te wá nte t-‫ۑ‬tše-d in Maze‫ܭ‬ăn (Tunen) (Lanfry 1973:37). The copula ahi also occurs in Motylinski’s material, which provides no evidence for ‫ۑ‬nte:

d imk‫ۑ‬n nitto ahi (?) tarwa nn-ăk and

possibly he




‘and maybe he is your child’ [Mot78]


The version of the text in Arabic script has , i.e. only once and before .


17.3 Clefts The first part of a cleft construction is a non-verbal predicate. When this is a noun phrase, it may, but must not be accompanied by the copula ‫ۑ‬nte. Examples (see also 16.2.1): ‫ۑ‬n=y-óঌa-n





nitto tăt=i-ššó-n he


‘who falls into that hole, he is it that has eaten her’ [9/16] w-o-dăt

‫ۑ‬nte i=d=t-ufé-t




1S:DO=VNT=2S-find:P=2S ponder:I-1S

‘that was it that you found me pondering (about)’ [4/6] 17.4 Non-verbal constructions with d The particle d, which functions as a marker of the non-verbal predicate in many Berber languages (Galand 2009), only appears in a limited number of constructions in Ghadames. There is only one attestation of it in a simple non-verbal sentence, which is found in one of the songs sung during the marriage ceremony: ay‫ۑ‬t-‫ܭ‬ammi-m



those.of-uncle-2S:F PRED lions

‘the family of your uncle are lions’ [L68:174] Otherwise, the conditions of its use are the following. In the first place, it appears in the negation of the non-verbal predicate, combined with the negative particles wăl and a (see 20.3). In the second place, d is used in non-verbal secondary predicates, i.e., when a verb has a non-verbal predicate as its complement, this predicate is preceded by d. This only happens when the non-verbal predicate is a noun phrase. This is quite common with the verb ăkri ‘to come back’, which, when combined with a secondary predicate, translates as ‘become’, e.g.:


asíd d=ăkri-năt






give.birth:I-3P:F until VNT=come.back:A-3P:F PRED much

‘and they give birth until they have become a lot’ [2/2] One can compare this sentence with the following example, in which the secondary predicate is verbal in nature and d is absent: ۜ‫ۑ‬d






‘when they will become big’ [26/46] Non-verbal secondary predicates with other verbs also have d, e.g.: t-ăsm‫ۜۜۑ‬e=yás,



dădda nn-ăs

3S:F-speak:P=3S:IO 3S:F-find:P=3S:M:DO PRED father of-3S

‘she spoke to him and found that it was her father’ [24/42] ăyya


come! 2S:F:DO=VNT=do:F-1S





‘come! I will make you my daughter’ [22/40] mgéd‫ۑ‬š=e


iman nn-ăs ‫ۑ‬d

Mgedesh=ANP:S 3S:M-render:P=VNT self



talta woman

‘Mgedesh changed himself into a woman (i.e. disguised himself as a woman)’ [29/52] The element d is never combined with the copula ‫ۑ‬nte. 17.5 Be-verbs: ili The verb ili (A: ili, P: lle/lla, F: ili, I: ‫ۑ‬ttili) means ‘to be in a place’. The Perfective can refer both to a present state and to a past situation, e.g.: am=ssăkn-ă‫ܭ‬


ssă‫ܭ‬d ‫ۑ‬nnúk


2S:F:IO=show:F-1S where 3S:M-be:P luck

‘I will show you where my luck is’ [22/40]




dós ánu

3S:M-be:P there well

‘there was a well there’ [21/38] dima óۜ‫ۑ‬m ‫ۑ‬nnúk-én t-‫ۑ‬lla-m always heart

of:1S=LOC 2S-be:P-2S

‘you are always in my heart’ [L71:74] ili is conventionally used in the introduction of the first protagonist in the initial lines of a story, e.g.: yót talta

one:F time

one:F woman 3S:F-have:P two:M of children




n ‫ۑ‬ddrári

yót téžărt t-‫ۑ‬lla

‘once upon a time there was a woman (and) she had two children’ [5/8] In one case, i-lla is used as a substitute of a verb, with a past meaning: ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k i-lla




3S:M-see:I how


‘he has become being able to see like he did before (he got blind)’ [30/54] The verb ili also occurs in the set expression mad illa (always 3S:M) ‘how great is, what a …’, featuring an element mad that is not used otherwise, e.g.: mad i-lla ?


3S:M-be:P oil

‘what a (great) oil!’ [L73:174] mad i-lla ?


3S:M-be:P woman

‘what a (great) woman!’ [L73:174]


mad i-lla ?


3S:M-be:P dates

‘what a (great) dates!’ [L73:174] 17.6 Be-verbs: ăЂ The verb ăۜ ‘to do, to make’ is sometimes employed in a similative construction, in which two terms are compared, e.g.: ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k i-ۜo how

aঌo nnúk ?

3S:M-do:P wind of:1S

‘how is my smell?’ [5/8] yón

ak i-ۜe




n w-é

3S:M-do:NP better of DEM:M-ANP:S

iঌ-ăn be.other-PTC:M:S

‘one is not better than the other’ [L73:104] i-ۜ=i


3S:M-do:P=1S:IO king

‘he is a king to me’ [L68:194, from a marriage song] The verb ăۜ does not seem to have any other usages that would be translated as ‘be’ in English.




Yes/no questions can do without segmental marking. Probably intonation is used to mark such an utterance as a question, e.g.: š‫ۑ‬k=t-‫ۑ‬šš ?




2S-fear:NP-2S 2S:M:DO=3S:F-eat:F

‘aren’t you afraid that she will eat you?’ [2/2] Otherwise, they are marked by the particle na. It normally comes at the end of the sentence, but it can also be put immediately after the verb, e.g.: ak


na ?




‘aren’t you asleep?’ [28/50] ‫ۑ‬dd=us-ă‫ܭ‬

na ‫ৢৢۑ‬ala




n-ăxdăm iktu ?

morning FUT 1P-work:F little




morning FUT 1P-work:F little Q


n-ăxdăm iktu na ?

‘shall I come in the morning so we can work a little bit?’ [L68:372] There is a second sentence-final question particle, wa, which, according to Lanfry (1968:372), has the same meaning as a tag in European languages, e.g.: ás=‫ۑ‬dd


wa ?

come:IPT:S=VNT morning Q

‘come in the morning, or won’t you?’ [L68:372] t-‫ۑ‬kre=yin


amakan ‫ۑ‬nn-é-s




wa ?

of-LOC-3S Q

‘you are feeling peaceful now, don’t you? (lit. your liver returned to its place, didn’t it?)’ [L71:77] Negative yes/no questions can be expressed by the element mahum. Unfortunately the examples do not allow us to decide whether the verb has positive or negative aspectual forms, e.g.:

mahum t-‫ۑ‬nne-t ? Q:NEG

2S-say:P-2S (or: 2S-say:NP-2S)

‘didn’t you say to me?’ [L68:163] mahum z-dos Q:NEG

‫ۑ‬d=t-use-t ?

from-there VNT=2S-come:P-2S (or: VNT=2S-come:NP-2S)

‘isn’t it from there that you have come?’ [L73:207] Yes/no questions can receive a shade of doubt by using the sentenceinitial particle o਌ar, e.g.: o਌ar



2S-say:P-2S=3S:IO Q

na ?

‘would you really have said to him?’ [L73:431] o਌ar y-ăܵrăs

na ?

really 3S:M-slaughter:P Q

‘would he really have slaughtered?’ [L73:431] Question word questions are special instances of cleft sentences in which the question word is the first part of the cleft. The following question words are attested: anno ‘who’ (Motylinski: , ; Mot27) tamaৢuss=o=dá ? anno tăn=‫ۑ‬nn=i-ۜó-n who 3P:M:DO=ITV=PTC:M:S-do:P-PTC:M:S


‘who put them in this basket?’ [4/6] ke ‘what’ (on other uses of ke, see 4.6 and 16.1.2) ke t-tăۜۜ-‫ۑ‬t da ? what 2S-do:I-2S here

‘what are you doing here?’ [4/6]


me ‘what’ (on other uses of me, see 4.6) me da=n-să‫? ܭ‬ what FUT=1P-buy:F

‘what shall we buy?’ [31/56] din ‘where’ (on other uses of din, see 9.1 and 16.1.3) din t-ăséf-‫ۑ‬t š‫ۑ‬g=da=n-‫ۑ‬ssúr‫ۑ‬s ? where

2S-prefer:P-2S 2S:M:DO=FUT=1P-put:F

‘where do you prefer that we put you?’ [16/28] z-din, s-din ‘whence’ s-din ‫ۑ‬d=t-use-t ? from-where


‘whence have you come?’ [L68:373] simman ‘when’ (Lanfry 1973:343; no examples of interrogative use) iše = išewe = isse = itewe101 ‘why’ iše wăl t=id=t-ăbbé-t ? why NEG 3S:M:DO=VNT=take:NP-2S

‘why did you not bring him here?’ [2/2] išewe wăl t-ăn‫ۑ‬ddém-‫ۑ‬t ? why



‘why don’t you sleep?’ [27/48] isse d=t-‫ۑ‬kkăs-ăt



‫ۑ‬flelo=yo ?

why VNT=2S-take:P-2S




‘why did you uproot these carrots and onions?’ [4/6] ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k ‘how’ (on other uses of ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k, see 23.6) ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k i-ۜo aঌo nnúk ? how

3S:M-do:P wind of:1S

‘how is my smell?’ [5/8] The concept ‘how much’ is expressed by means of a quantifier phrase


On itewe see below. Historically, iše(we) may be a phonetic variant of itewe, see 2.1.


with the word eket ‘quantity’, e.g.: n ‫ۑ‬nd-ălmudd taܵrărt=o=da ?


quantity of P-moudd


‘how many moudds (a unit of measure) are there in the bag?’ [L68:373] Finally there are a few interrogative idioms consisting of an interrogative element ta / te combined with the copula ‫ۑ‬nte: ta

nte w-i ?


‘what are these things?’ [L73:368] te


nte ?

what DEM:M:S COP

‘what is this?’ [L73:381] Note also the form itewe (Lanfry 1973:374) ‘why’, which may be interpreted as: i



to what DEM:M-ANP:S

‘to what (is) this?’ The interrogative ta does not appear elsewhere in the variety described by Lanfry. It corresponds however to the form given by Motylinski meaning ‘what’, e.g.:

ta (a)k=i-nna

tarwa nn=ăk

what 2S:M:IO=3S:M-say:P



‘what did your son say to you?’ [Mot27]



The use of the aspects and moods

There are a number of formally differentiated means of expressing aspect and mood in Ghadames. In the apophonic system, the language makes a number of distinctions that are absent elsewhere in Berber. The most important morphological distinctions are the following: positive Perfective d + Future

negative ak/wăl + Negative Perfective ak/wăl + Negative Imperfective (statement) wăl + da + Future (wish) Imperfective ak/wăl + Negative Imperfective a(l) + Imperfective not documented Aorist normal Imperative* wăl + (positive) Imperfective* Imperfective Imperative not documented Injunctive Aorist** wăl + Aorist * with Imperative endings ** with the injunctive ending net

In this section, the use of the positive aspects will be treated; the negative forms are the subject of chapter 20. In Ghadames, there is an important distinction between initial and sequential forms. Clauses with initial forms are typically found at the start of an utterance or, in longer texts, when there is a break in the story line or in the text. Sequential forms are used in the other situations. A number of forms only occur in initial (i.e. non-sequential) position. This is the case of the d + Future construction and of negations with ak. The Imperative is mainly used in initial position, but sequences of Imperatives are not impossible. The main sequential forms are the Aorist and negations with wăl. The Aorist substitutes for d + Future, for the Imperative, and for Imperfectives used as habituals. Negations with wăl substitute for negations with ak. The durative construction a(l) + Imperfective is almost exclusively found in sequential constructions, but does not clearly substitute for another form. Positive Perfectives have no sequential forms; the same forms are used in initial position and in sequences.

Subordinate clauses have initial forms of the aspects. Sequences within a subordinate clause are only marginally attested, so we do not know whether sequential forms can appear in such contexts. 19.1 Perfective The Perfective is used to convey two basic meanings: a past dynamic event and a state. When attested in dynamic use, all examples in the corpus refer to past events. When referring to a state, the temporal setting can be both the past and the present. When there is present reference, or simultaneity to an event mentioned in the text, the Perfective is used for states, while the Imperfective is used for dynamic events. Compare the list of simultaneous events and states in the following example: t-ăláqa





3S:M-meet:P DEM:M:P-other go.up:I-3P:M DEM:M:P-other go.down:I-3P:M


ăqqímó-n, wi-yy‫ۑ‬ঌ






‘she witnessed some others who were going up (I), some others who were going down (I), some others who were sitting (P), some others who were standing (P)’ [33/55] There is no difference between initial and sequential forms in the positive Perfective. The following passage illustrates this: i-ঌrăn=‫ۑ‬n

‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k ás=t-‫ۑ‬nna.





‫ۑ‬n(d)-kara=yid ‫ۑ‬nn-ăs d






and P-sisters=3S


3S:F-throw:P=3P:M:DO=ITV well=ANP:S=LOC



3S:F-jump:P=ITV 3S:F-say:P=3S:IO

‘he turned around (P) as she had told him (P); then she took (P) her things and her sisters, threw (P) them in the well and jumped (P) (into it) and said (P) to him’ [21/38]


In the negation of the Perfective, the choice of wăl instead of ak marks a sequential form, as illustrated in the following example: y-úse=d





3S:M-come:P=VNT jackal=ANP:S 3S:M-want:P FUT 3S:M-go.out:F

wăl i-zmér NEG


‘the jackal came (P), he wanted (P) to go out (d + F), but he could not (wăl + NP)’ [7/12] 19.2 Imperfective The Imperfective is used in the expression of habitual and progressive events. In its habitual use, it can refer to the past. Cf. the following examples: habitual taltawén n ‫ܭ‬adém‫ۑ‬s

tăۜۜó-năt ălxér ۜara-snăt


of Ghadames


užar n


more of


good between-3P:F

‘the women of Ghadames do (I) more good things among themselves than the men’ [3/4] zamán, i-ttămăwăt orar formerly 3S:M-be.hit:I festivity.drum

ۜ‫ۑ‬d aআ‫ۑ‬nn‫ۑ‬আ‫ۑ‬n asíd


with evening

morning terrace=LOC



‘formerly, the festivity drum used to be beaten from evening until morning on the terrace’ [70/110] progressive t‫ۑ‬qq‫ۑ‬l-‫ۑ‬n=ám102


wait.for:I-3P:M=2S:F:IO witnesses

‘the witnesses are waiting for you’ [L68:292, from a marriage song]

This is the transcription in the source. One would have expected ‫ۑ‬ttăqqălăn=ám. The song in question has not been included among the corrected texts in Lanfry (1971).




t-tăۜۜ-‫ۑ‬t da ?

what 2S-do:I-2S here

‘what are you doing here?’ [4/6] An important usage of the Imperfective is the expression of simultaneity with another event mentioned in the text, e.g.: simultaneity ‫ۑ‬llăm-năt=‫ۑ‬n taw‫ۑ‬ssărt



see:P-3P:F=ITV old.woman



‘they saw (P) a blind old woman grinding (I)’ [21/38] t-‫ۜۑ‬e=tt


3S:F-leave:P=3S:M:DO 3S:M-eat:I

‘she left (P) him eating (I)’ [17/30] This usage is particularly common with verbs such as af ‘find’ and ăsl ‘hear’, which may have a clause as their complement, e.g.: y-úfe=n

dos ۜăততa i-ttăkkăs

‫ۑ‬ssínaka d

3S:M-find:P=ITV there ۛăততa 3S:M-pull.out:I carrots


with onions

‘he found (P) there ۛăততa pulling out (I) carrots and onions’ [4/6] sle-‫ܭ‬






‘I heard (P) you come (I)’ [27/48] Simultaneity can also be to a durative event, marked by al + Imperfective (see below): ăqqímó-năt dós a sit:P-3P:F

tăttó-năt, săssó-năt,

there DUR eat:I-3P:F


drink:I-3P:F wear:I-3P:F

‘they stayed (P) there and started to eat (al + I), drink (I) and put on (clothes) (I)’ [24/42] The use of the bare Imperfective in the verbs săssó-năt and lăssó-năt


expresses their simultaneity to the al + Imperfective of a tăttó-năt. There are a few cases in which the Imperfective seems to mark a future event. Normally in such contexts d + Future would be used: future was y-uró-n







le-‫! ܭ‬

marry:I-1S=3S:M:DO give:A-1S=3S:IO what


‘he who opens (P) this box, I will marry (I) him and give (A) him what I have (P)’ [29/52] nkúd n-ăqqím


when 1P-sit:P

3S:F-eat:I=1S:DO one:M one:M



‘if we stay (P) she will eat (I) us one by one’ [30/54] In the second example above, there is distributive semantics, which could to some degree account for the use of the Imperfective – note however that otherwise distributives do not take the Imperfective, e.g.: ššo-năt=tnăt,


eat:P-3P:F=3P:F:DO one:F

yót one:F

‘they ate (P) them, one by one’ [25/44] Lanfry (1968:333) points to the use of the Imperfective in (subject) relative clauses to convey a future that is certain, e.g.: w‫ۜۜۑ‬id=e i-măžžăr-ăn

tamáda nnúk

man=ANP:S PTC:M:S-harvest:I-PTC:M:S garden

sido ak yet



NEG VNT=3S:M-come:NP

‘the man who is going to harvest our garden has not yet arrived’ [L68:333] The bare Imperfective is normally not used for durative meaning; instead al + Imperfective is used. However, in combination with the adverb baqi


‘still’, durative semantics is attested once: durative i-wăn,

nittát báqi t-‫ۑ‬qqár

3S:M-go.up:A she

still 3S:F-say:I

‘he went up and she continued saying …’ [17/30] Durative usage of the Imperfective without al is also found in main clauses preceded by a subordinate clause with ۜ‫ۑ‬d ‘when’, e.g.: izi=ye,

ۜ‫ۑ‬d wăl as=i-zmér

তăbba, i-৬৬ómăs

fly=ANP:S when NEG 3S:IO=3S:M-can:NP thing

făssăn nn-ăs

3S:M-rub:I hands of-3S

‘the fly, as he could do nothing for him, rubbed his hands continuously’ [6/10] ۜ‫ۑ‬d




iy eআăr=e=dín to canal=ANP:S=LOC





‘when he arrived there, he started to water the sheep’ [36/62] In habitual sequences the first Imperfective is followed by Aorist forms, e.g.: as‫ۑ‬f n ălar‫ۑ‬b‫ܭ‬a,



day of Wednesday, make.drink:I-3P:F “dames d’honneur”



be.made.to.rise:A-3P:M pastry

‘on Wednesday the “dames d’honneur” put (I) on henna and pastry is prepared (A)” [70/110] The text from which this citation comes (a description of marriage practices, Lanfry 1968:106-114) is almost entirely in the sequential Aorist describing usages. The first part of the text starts with a nkud (‘when’) phrase, followed by a sequential Aorist (see 19.5). The second part starts with the example above and carries on until the end of the text. The use of


the (initial) Imperfective instead of a further sequential Aorist in the example above is because the paragraph before it ends in a short note on earlier practices (‘formerly, the festivity drum used to be beaten from evening until morning on the terrace’). This breaks the sequence of habituals and necessitates the use of the (habitual) Imperfective to restart it. Similar long sequences of Aorists in habitual usage can be found in text 3 [3/4] and in text 12 [10-11/18-20]. 19.3 a(l) + Imperfective The Imperfective also occurs with a preverbal particle al ~ a. The two forms are to a large extent in free variation, whereby al is more frequent when the verb or the preverbal clitic starts in a vowel, while a is more frequent with verbs or preverbal clitics starting in a consonant. Constructions with a(l) + Imperfective have durative meaning. They are almost exclusively found in sequential position. They typically occur when a (punctual) Perfective is followed by a verb denoting an event with longer duration. In an English translation one would express this normally by ‘and started to …’, even though it seems that the durative semantics is more important than the inchoative semantics. The frequency of the inchoative translation is best considered an entailment of the sequence of a punctual and a durative event, which in European languages (which lack a proper sequential durative) can only be expressed by an inchoative construction. A(l) + Imperfective basically expresses a durative action that follows the action mentioned before. It is different from the expression of simultaneous events, which – for dynamic events – is achieved by means of the Imperfective without a(l) (see 19.2). wǎššén=e



jackal=ANP:S 3S:M-fall:P on

asíd i-৬kar

‫ۑ‬ššu=ye, food=ANP:S






3S:M-eat:I until 3S:M-fill:P stomach of-3S

‘the jackal fell (P) on the food and ate (al + I) until he had filled his stomach’ [7/12]



tali n oraܵ=i



oraܵ asíd…

put:P-3P:M=3S:M:DO=ITV room of gold=LOC DUR 3S:M-eat:I gold until

‘they put (P) him in the room with gold and he ate (al + I) gold until …’ [14/26] t-‫ۑ‬kkăr,



3S:F-stand:P DUR 3S:F-jump



‘she rose (P) and stood (P) and started to jump (al + I)’ [18/32] t-‫ۑ‬škăl=d

iktu n asese

3S:F-take:P=VNT little of mass

n ik‫ۑ‬llésăn


of low.quality.dates and

n ălbazin


cooking.water=ANP:S of polenta






mass=ANP:S DUR 3S:F-drink:I





from cooking.water

‘she took (P) some low quality date mass and the cooking water of the polenta and started to eat (al + I) the dates and to drink (al + I) from the cooking water’ [19/34] A(l) + Imperfective can also be a sequence to other aspects than the Perfective, e.g.: awád‫ۑ‬m i-kănnăf=i, human


năšš al



3S:IO=VNT=make.go.out:I-1S smell be.good:P-PTC:M:S


aঌo তălw-ăn

‘Man burns (I) me and (as a consequence) I exhale (al + I) a good smell for him’ [5/8] There are a few examples, where a(l) + Imperfective seems to convey a notion of simultaneity, as is mostly conveyed by the Imperfective without a(l), for example the following riddle:


‫ۑ‬ddrari nn-ăs

wǂۜۜid i-năqq man

3S:M-kill:I children of-3S






neighbors of-3S

‫ۑ‬nn-ăs (edarar) (hand-mill)

‘a man kills his children while his neighbors hear him (riddle; answer: the hand-mill)’ [59/89] When several durative events follow each other (whether simultaneous or in sequence to each other), al + Imperfective can be repeated, or the sole Imperfective is used. Both may appear in the same sequence. In the latter case, the Imperfective always comes after al + Imperfective, e.g.: a



3S:F-grind:I DUR 3S:IO=collect:I-3P:F






make.rise:I-3P:F zemmita

aআărn=e, flour=ANP:S

ta਌‫ۑ‬mmit, tătto-năt eat:I-3P:F

‘and she grinded (al + I) and they collected (al + I) the flour and made (al + I) zemmita and ate (I) it’ [21/38] In this example, the Imperfective tătton-ăt is clearly not simultaneous to the preparing of the dish, and its use may mark a major break in the sequence. tawažett=e măttít-ăt girl=ANP:S



be.small:P-PTC:F 3S:F-take:P=3S:F:DO shoulder=LOC




3S:F-go.up:I DUR 3S:F-go.down:I







‘she put (P) the little girl on her shoulder and started to go up (al + I) and to go down (al + I), saying (al + I) …’ [13/24] In this example, the act of saying is simultaneous to the going up and down. In spite of this simultaneity, al + Imperfective is used in this sequence.


19.4 d + Future The particle d is always followed by a verb in the Future aspectual stem. Different from the cognate particle ad in other Berber languages, there is no indication that d can also be combined with the Imperfective aspect. The Future aspect is a stem form unique to Ghadames and a few other eastern Berber varieties (Kossmann 2000). It is formally different from the Imperative and from the Aorist (see 6.2.9). The Future is exclusively attested in combination with d or its allomorphs. The particle d is absent when there are preverbal clitics. It becomes da in subordinate contexts. In these cases, still the Future is used. The usage of d + Future is highly reminiscent of that of ad + Aorist in many other Berber varieties. d + Future can convey a wish: răbb(i) aw‫ۑ‬n=i-ۜۜ

tariwén (n)n-aw‫ۑ‬n


children of-2P:M


‘may the Lord keep your children’ [L71:74] amăzză‫ۑ ܭ‬nn-aw‫ۑ‬n d


God.willing town





ălxér díma

3S:M-be.full:F with good always

‘God willing, may your town always be full of good things’ [L71:74] It is also used to refer to events in the future, e.g.: edo





go.to:F:1S to Tunen




‫ۑ‬zzănz-ă‫ ܭ‬iktu n ude=yo=da





little of oil=PRX:S=LOC with eggs

‘today I will go to Tunen and I will sell some of this oil for eggs’ [2/2] In sequential constructions, d + Future is continued by an Aorist, e.g.: išaশশa,


‫ۑ‬qqáró-n y-ăۜl‫ۑ‬p=păn

aঌo !

God.willing FUT dry:F-3P:M 3S:M-take.away:A=3P:M:DO wind

‘God willing, may they dry out (d + F) and may the wind take them away (A)’ [8/14]


Similarly the preceding example about the man who was going to Tunen is carried on in the Aorist: edo





go.to:F:1S to Tunen




‫ۑ‬zzănz-ă‫ ܭ‬iktu n ude=yo=da






little of oil=PRX:S=LOC with eggs







to chicken return:A-3P:M=VNT PRED chicks

‫ۑ‬zz‫ۑ‬nz-ă‫=ܭ‬t‫ۑ‬năt ăsă‫ܭ‬-ă‫ܭ‬


sell:A-1S=3P:F:DO buy:A-1S


‘today I will go (d + F) to Tunen and I will sell (d + F) some of this oil for eggs. I will make the hen brood (A) on them and they will become (A) chicken, and I will sell (A) them and I will buy (A) a goat’ [2/2] The construction d + Future is much used in secondary predicates of verbs of wanting and ability, e.g.: wala năšš,




also I



go.in:F to Coran.school

iy ‫ۑ‬zzawyăt

‘I also want to go to Coran school’ [26/46] ak

t‫ۑ‬n‫ۑۜۜۑ‬m-ă‫ ܭ‬d




be.naked with-before-2S:M



‘I can not denude myself before you’ [21/38] In relative clauses, d + Future is substituted by the Imperfective when denoting a future considered to be certain. The use of d + Future in a relative clause conveys an idea of probability without certainty (see 9.2, Lanfry 1968:333). 19.5 Aorist The Aorist is mainly used in sequential constructions to a habitual Imperfective (see 19.2) and to d + Future (see 19.4). As remarked above, Aorist sequences can be extremely long in these contexts. The Aorist is not used as a sequential to the Perfective.


A special use of the Aorist in habitual usage is in (semantically habitual) main clauses preceded by a subordinate clause with nkud ‘when’. In such cases the Aorist is sequential to the subordinate clause, and does not depend on an earlier Imperfective or Future form, e.g.: nkúd



be.finished:P-3P:M 3S:M-die:A


‘when they are finished (P) he dies (A)’ [58/88] nkúd


alele, y-ázn=ás



millet 3S:M-send:A=3S:IO ears


‘when the millet is ripe (P) he sends (A) her ears (of grain)’ [68/106] It also appears in sequences to Imperatives (note that the Imperative stem is not always identical to the Aorist, see 6.2.7). In such sequences, the second element is often a ‘normal’ (i.e. non-imperative) second person form of the Aorist, e.g.: ăkk‫ۑ‬s-măt

‫ۑ‬n(d)-kara=yíd t-ălsó-măt,

take.away:IPT-2P:F P-thing-ANP:S






well=PRX:S=LOC 2P:F-redo:A-2P:F washing


‘take off (IPT) the clothes that you wear (P), jump (A) into this well and redo (A) the washing (i.e. wash yourselves again)’ [21/38] The Aorist is sometimes found in non-sequential contexts. In the first place, this is the case in injunctives with or without the injunctive marker -net (see 7.1): ăšši-n-et eat:A-3P:M-INJ

‘let them eat!’ [L68:331] ‫ۑ‬ffad-net-ă‫ܭ‬ be.thirsty-INJ-1S

‘may I be thirsty (in the sense of: I don’t mind being thirsty)’ [L68:331]


akk yón



each one:M 3S:M-take:A=1S:DO 3S:M-smell:A=1S:DO

‘let each one take me and smell me’ [5/8] Otherwise it is found in proverbs and similar types of text, e.g.: abăddădar y-ás=‫ۑ‬d bat

i আ‫ۜۜۑ‬ánăn,

3S:M-come:A=VNT to rats

năšš ۜ‫ۑ‬d-w‫ۑ‬n !


3S:M-say:A=3P:M:IO I





3S:M-come:A=VNT to birds


năšš ۜ‫ۑ‬d-w‫ۑ‬n !

3S:M-say:A=3P:M:IO I


‘the bat comes (A) to the rats and says (A): I am one of you! He comes (A) to the birds and says (A): I am one of you!’ [46/76] A special usage of the Aorist is found in subordinate clauses with asid ‘until’, expressing future or habitual events (cf. 23.5), e.g.: asíd d=ăkri-năt





give.birth:I-3P:F until VNT=come.back:A-3P:F PRED

hál much

‘and they give birth until they have become a lot’ [2/2] ak

t‫ۑ‬n‫ۑ‬dd‫ۑ‬m-ă‫ ܭ‬asíd i=t-‫ۑ‬৬kur



ălšib ‫ۑ‬nnúk s

until 1S:IO=3S:F-fill:A pocket of:1S


with almonds

‘I don’t sleep (as a habit) until she has filled my pocket with almonds’ [27/48] Finally, the Aorist can appear in negative injunctives with wăl (see 20.2). 19.6 Imperative The normal Imperative and the Imperfective Imperative constitute two apophonic stem forms (see 6.2.7) different, at least in some forms, from other apophonic stems. They have special Imperative inflection. The negation is formed by means of the negative particle wăl followed by the


(positive!) Imperfective with imperative endings. The normal Imperative is used to convey simple orders. When several orders follow each other, the sequential may be another Imperative, but can also be a non-imperative second person Aorist form (see 19.5), e.g.: ă৬৬‫ۑ‬s-ăt


go.in:IPT:2P:M sleep:IPT:2P:M

‘go in and sleep’ [27/48] The Imperfective Imperative is used to convey the order to do something habitually. In sequences, it can be followed by an Aorist, e.g.: tíw‫ۑ‬n=d


go.up:IIPT:S=VNT 2S-read:A-2S

‘go upstairs (as a habit) and read’ [L68:338] There are three words that only occur with Imperative marking. Note the form -wăt (2P:M) instead of regular -ăt in some of the forms. The first element iyya, ăyya, ăyyu is ‘come!, come on!’, e.g.: iyy(a)



come:IPT:S eat:IPT:S=3S:M:DO

‘come on, eat it!’ [41/70] iyya-w‫ۑ‬t






‘come here, I will tell you a story’ [5/8] ayyu-wăt



come:IPT:2P:M FUT 1P-go.to:F

‘come let’s go!’ [9/16] The second element is alle ‘permit me’, e.g.:



kmăt=‫ܭ‬áwăn !

permit:IPT:S 2P:F:DO=help:F:1S

‘please let me help you!’ [33/58] aw‫ۑ‬n=d=‫ۑ‬să‫ܭ‬


permit:IPT-2P:M 2P:M:IO=VNT=buy:F:1S

‘please let me buy for you’ [31/56] The third one is os‫ۑ‬k (2P:M: osk-ăt, 2P:F: os‫ۑ‬k-măt) ‘take! here you are! ós‫ۑ‬k




‘take this evening meal!’ [17/30, corrected according to L73:333] In Maze‫ܭ‬ăn, os‫ۑ‬k is a full verb, meaning ‘to contain (said of a container)’ (Lanfry 1973:333). 19.7 Auxiliary verbs? Ghadames Berber hardly makes any use of auxiliary verbs for expressing aspectual nuances. There are three verbs that can be interpreted this way, although in all cases examples could also be interpreted according to their literal meaning. The first verb is ‫ۑ‬qqim ‘to sit, to stay’, which, when followed by an Imperfective, may take durative meaning, while the basic semantics is bleached, e.g.: use-‫=ܭ‬d

‫ۑ‬qqím-ă‫ ܭ‬tăqqăl-‫=ܭ‬áw‫ۑ‬n




‘I came here and started waiting for you’ [27/48] t-ăqqím




‘she started helping her’103 [38/66] Examples of ‫ۑ‬qqim + Imperfective in this usage are not very frequent – durative semantics is rather achieved by means of the construction al + Imperfective – and most examples also allow for an interpretation in 103

Lanfry (1968:67) translates “elle s’assit pour l’aider”; as the subject is a chicken, the aspectual interpretation may be preferable here.


which the subject of ‫ۑ‬qqim first sits down. Thus the first example above could also be interpreted as ‘I came here and sat down waiting for you’. The second verb is ăkk‫ۑ‬r ‘to stand up, to rise’, which may be interpreted as a fairly bleached verb initiating further events, e.g.: t-‫ۑ‬kkăr

tawažett=e t-ăqqím wazitén

3S:F-rise:P girl=ANP:S

asíd t-‫ۑ‬mlăk

3S:F-sit:P Wazităn:LOC until 3S:F-marry:P

‘the girl rose and stayed in Ayt Wazităn until she married’ [13/24] In the above example, the girl first changes places (she was not in Ayt Wazităn before). All cases also allow for an interpretation in which ăkk‫ۑ‬r takes its literal meaning (change from a lying or sitting position). The third verb is ăআr ‘to want’, which in some contexts seems to convey a notion of ‘being about to’, e.g.: nkud



3S:M-want:P FUT 3S:M-go.down:F



i-ۜۜ‫ۑ‬z, má-is

arakót n yăff

3S:F-give:A=3S:IO=ITV mother-3S pot

of milk

‘when he is about to descend, his mother gives him a pot of milk’ [11/20]




Ghadames has an intricate system of negation marking, with different forms for initial and sequential negations and for verbal and non-verbal negations. Verbal negation makes use of two elements, ak and wăl. In both cases, the following verb takes a negative stem form (see 6.2.8) and clitics appear in preverbal position. The negative element can be followed by a Negative Perfective or a Negative Imperfective and marginally by the Future with da. 20.1 Verbal negation: ak The element ak is used in non-subordinated and non-prohibitive clauses and is the most common negator in the language. Examples: ak



2S-fear:NP=2S 2S:DO=3S:F-eat:F

š‫ۑ‬k=t-‫ۑ‬šš ?

‘don’t you fear that she will eat you?’ [2/2] šăgg



you:M NEG 2S-know:NP-2S

তăbba anything

‘you don’t know anything’ [27/48] ame




mouth PTC:M-be.shut:P-PTC:M:S NEG 3S:M:DO=enter:NI-3P:M

izan flies

‘flies do not enter a shut mouth’ [48/78] năšš ak

kum=t‫ۑ‬ttu-‫]…[ ܭ‬




wala š‫ۑ‬kwén, ak


also you:M:P NEG 1S:DO=FUT=2P:M-forget:F-2P:M

‘I shall not forget you […] and you also, may you not forget me’ [L71:74]

20.2 Verbal negation: wăl The element wăl is used in a number of contexts: 1. In subordinated clauses, e.g.: relative clause: t-e wăl-ăn




dima t-‫ۑ‬qqár

always always 3S:F-say:I

‘the one that had not given birth says all the time’ [16/28] tawažet wăl-ăn girl


NEG-PTC:M:S PTC:S:M-be.industrious:NP





better of-3S

‘as for a girl that is not industrious, a storage pitcher is better than her’ [48/78] question word clause: iše wăl t=id=t-ăbbé-t ? why NEG 3S:M:DO=VNT=2S-bring:P-2S

‘why did you not bring him here?’ [1/1] clause with a subordinating conjunction: ilam wăl i-zwér ‫ۑ‬ssalam ‫ۑ‬nn-ăm iy ‫ۑ‬nnúk if


3S:M-precede:NP greeting of-2S:F

to of:1S

‘if your greeting had not preceded mine’ [22/40] t-‫ۑ‬sতăr=as 3S:F-enchant:P=3S:IO

‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k wăl t=tá=y-ur like




3S:M:DO=FUT=3S:M-open:F except Mgedesh=ANP:S

‘she put a spell on it so that nobody would open it except this Mgedesh (personal name)’ [29/52]


2. As a sequential, marking that the different clauses are temporarily and informationally connected. The negation can continue both a positive and a negative preceding clause; the preceding clause can be in the Perfective or in the Imperfective aspect, e.g.: sequence to a positive Perfective: wǎššén=e i-আro y-úse=d



3S:M-come:P=VNT jackal=ANP:S 3S:M-want:P FUT 3S:M-go.out:F

wăl i-zmér NEG


‘the jackal came, he wanted to go out, (but) he could not’ [7/12] t-‫ۑ‬kkăr






3S:F-rise:P 3S:F-go.in:P to room=ANP:S where sleep:P-3P:F

wăl t‫ۑ‬năt=t-úfe NEG


‘she rose and went into the room where they slept, (but) she did not find them’ [29/52] sequence to a positive Imperfective: ikk ás‫ۑ‬f kănnăs-ăn, wăl t-úfe

k(e) asăn=da=t-‫ۜۑ‬

every day quarrel:I-3P:M NEG 3S:F-find:NP what 3P:M:IO=FUT=3S:F-do:F

‘they quarreled every day and she did not find what she could do to them’ [5/8] t-tătt

wăl t-‫ۑ‬săss;



(ălmǎngálăt) 104

t-‫ۑ‬smăۜۜe wăl t-‫ۑ‬făss

3S:F-drink:I 3S:F-speak:I NEG 3S:F-be.silent:?


‘she eats and does not drink, she speaks and does not shut up (riddle; answer: watch)’ [61/91] sequence to a negative Perfective: ayiddíd, ak y-ăn‫ۑ‬ff‫ۜۑ‬105 NEG


wăl ăllen-ăn


water.bag NEG flow.out:NP-3P:M water

‘the water bag has no hole and the water has not run out’ [50/80] 104

The use of the positive Imperfective wăl t-‫ۑ‬săss is unexpected; the aspectual stem form of wăl t-‫ۑ‬făss could not be determined with certainty. 105 Possibly a transcription error for yăn‫ۑ‬ffég (Lanfry 1971:50).




wăl t-‫ۑ‬šše




wăl t-‫ۑ‬swe

3S:F-eat:NP NEG 3S:F-drink:NP

‘she did not cook, nor eat, nor drink’ [19/34] In contrastive pairs, only ak is used, e.g.: yót t-úrăw=az=d


one:F 3S:F-give.birth:P=3S:IO=VNT


yót ak



one:F NEG 3S:IO=3S:F-give.birth anything

‘one bore him a boy, one did not bear him anything’ [16/28] tatăۜۜărt=e, i-আre=ttăt


rich:F=ANP:S 3S:M-want:P=3S:F:DO much

tal‫ۑ‬qqe=ye, ak





‘he loved the rich woman, and he did not love the poor woman’ [18/32] 3. As a prohibitive, followed by a positive (!) Imperfective Imperative, e.g.: wăl ‫ۑ‬qqár NEG

sa !

say:IIPT:S thus

‘do not say like that!’ [8/14] awál n im‫ۑ‬zwar,

wăl t=‫ۜۜۑ‬ár !

word of preceding:P



‘do not throw away the words of the ancestors!’ [44/74] In a number of cases, wăl conveys a negative injunction, or a strong (negative) commitment. In this context, the verb is in the negative Perfective, the positive Imperfective or, most frequently, in the Aorist (Lanfry 1968:331). Examples:


wăl ăn‫ۜۜۑ‬em-ă‫ ܭ‬tăt=‫ۑ‬šš-ă‫ܭ‬ NEG

be.able:NP-1S 3S:F:DO-eat:F-1S

‘I (really?) cannot eat it’ [19/34] t-‫ۑ‬qqa


3S:F-be.finished:P story

wăl t-‫ۑ‬qqe NEG

rrăতmăt ‫ۑ‬n Răbbi

3S:F-be.finished:NP mercy

of Lord

‘the story is finished, may the mercy of the Lord not be finished!’ [2/2] al

‫ۑ‬਌਌ád-ă‫ ܭ‬wăl i-tt‫ۑ‬n‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬r


grind:I-1S NEG 3S:M-be.blessed:NI

‘I am grinding and may he not be blessed’ [22/40] wăl t-ás‫ۑ‬r-‫ۑ‬t NEG


ălxér ! good

‘may you not be without good things!’ [L71:76] wăl ak=i-qqár NEG


2S:M=3S:M-dry.out:A water.bag

‘may the water bag not dry out for you’ [L68:214] wăl y-áঌ‫ۑ‬n NEG


bába, wăl y-ămm‫ۑ‬t master NEG 3S:M-die:A

‘may my master not become ill, may he not die’ [L68:216, 331] 20.3 Non-verbal negation The negation of non-verbal clauses uses similar devices as verbal negation, combined with a marker of the non-verbal predicate. The first construction has wăl followed by the otherwise marginal nonverbal predicate marker d (see 17.4). The construction is not necessarily sequential or subordinate in nature. Examples: wăl d


wăl d






‘it isn’t water, it isn’t dry wood’ [57/87]


ilam wăl d



dinner=ANP:S 1S:IO=VNT=2S-give:P-2S



‘if it were not the evening meal that you gave me’ [17/30] The second construction uses an element a (probably from ak) followed by the non-verbal predicate marker d. The non-verbal predicate can be followed by the copula ‫ۑ‬nte, e.g.: a



nitto nte, w‫ۜۜۑ‬id=e llăm-ă‫ܭ‬ he

man=ANP:S see:P-1S


‘it is not he, the man that I saw’ [L68:341] ššakwat


Răbbi á

complaint to Lord



iy ălܵér to other

‘complaints be to God, not to another (i.e. a fellow human being)’ [57/87] ‫ۑ‬žž‫ۑ‬ni


3S:M-leave:A=VNT half






like every

eআăঌ night

‘he left half of it, not like always’ [19/34] The same construction is used in the negation of the first part of a cleft sentence: a




‫ۑ‬nte d=y-usó-n




‘it is not me that has come’ [L68:341] The construction with a d and facultatively ‫ۑ‬nte can also be combined with a verbal sentence. The only examples are found in Lanfry’s grammatical overview, which only discusses the morphosyntactic properties of this construction. Therefore the exact meaning cannot be established with certainty. One remarks, however, that it is possible to combine ‫ۑ‬nte with positive verbal sentences too, where it seems to convey stronger emphasis (see 17.2). The construction a d … (‫ۑ‬nte) can be combined with


the Perfective and Imperfective aspects, but not with the Future (Lanfry 1968:240-241). The aspects keep their positive form, and future events are expressed by means of the positive Imperfective. Verbal clitics remain in postverbal position. Example: a





‘I have not come’ [L68:340] a





come:I-1S=VNT COP

‘I shall not come’ [L68:341] 20.4 The negator awas In addition to ak, wăl, wăl d and a d, there is a fifth particle expressing negation: awas. It seems to consist of the same negative element a which was encountered in a d and the relative head pronoun was ‘the one that’. As this does not add up to a clear understanding of the syntactic constructions involved, I consider it a single element. The element awas is not attested in Lanfry’s texts, which makes it difficult to analyze its function. From the few examples in Lanfry (1968), it seems that it is similar to a d. The examples only illustrate negated clefts and negation with verb phrases, e.g.: awas

năšš ‫ۑ‬nte d=y-usó-n





‘it is not me that has come’ [L68:341] awas tás-ă‫=ܭ‬d NEG


‘I shall not come’ [L68:341]


20.5 The element wăllas ‘nobody’ There is one instance in the corpus of an element wăllas ‘nobody’: ‫ۑ‬t=y-ur





asíd ‫ۑ‬d=y-us



until VNT=3S:M-come:F one:M

‘nobody could open it until one came …’ [29/52] The short discussion in Lanfry (1973:388) shows that the author did not have more information on this element than the example above. In the example, wăllas is apparently the nominal part of a cleft construction, followed by a relative clause. This explains the use of the participle i-zmăr-ăn as well as the use of the positive Perfective. Note that the verb ăzm‫ۑ‬r is constructed with an Indirect Object; so it is not impossible that the element as in wăllas is in fact a preverbal Indirect Object clitic, and that the element denoting ‘nobody’ is wăll.




Simple noun phrase coordination (‘and’) is achieved by means of the preposition d. This preposition is almost exclusively used as a noun phrase coordinator and different from the comitative preposition ۜ‫ۑ‬d ‘with’ (see 10.3). When the coordinated pair follows the verb, the verb only agrees with the first element. When the coordinated pair is topicalized and therefore precedes the verb, the verb has plural subject marking, e.g.: yót

téžărt t-‫ۑ‬lla

one:F time


taka৬৬uss d cat


and rat

‘once upon a time there were a cat and a rat’ [1/1] gărrăd-‫ ܭۑ‬năšš







‘me and the rat have been playing together’ [1/1] ăqqimó-n






woman=ANP:S sit:P-3P:M

sáwe thus

‘as for the man and the woman, they remained like that’ [21/38] In coordination of more than two elements, all elements are linked by means of d, e.g.: yót téžărt


one:F time

3S:M-be:P camel





donkey and

aশămm d




a਌ómăr d

éঌe d



dog and



‘once upon a time there were a camel, a horse, a donkey, a sheep, a dog, and a rooster’ [9/16] The coordinator d can also be used between two adverbs, e.g.: i-nna=yi

dadda sa


3S:M-say:P=1S:IO father like.this and

sa like.this

‘my father told me thus and thus’ [26/46]

The following example shows coordination within a possessive phrase. The first part of the coordination is a pronominal suffix: t-‫ۑ‬bbăk

‫ۑ‬n(d)-kara=yid ‫ۑ‬nn-ăs d







‘she gathered the things of her and her sisters’ [21/38] The element d is not used to coordinate clauses, except within a relative clause, e.g.: t-ǎwas


3S:F-come:P 3S:F-take:P






‫ۑ‬mmurăw-nin asf=o




‘she came and brought those (eggs) that were good and laid today’ [39/68] ălg‫ۑ‬ziz


melon.seed PTC:M:S-be.peeled:P-PTC:M:S




NEG-PTC:M:S PTC:M:S-be.peeled:NP


‘peeled and unpeeled melon seeds (lit. melon seeds that are peeled and not peeled)’ [71/112] The coordinator ană‫‘ ܭ‬or’ has different syntax. It is used in disjunction of noun phrases, prepositional phrases, and clauses, e.g.: ák=t-‫ۑ‬kf


2S:M:IO=3S:F=give:F ladle

ana‫ ܭ‬tašok‫ۑ‬lt or


‘she will give you a ladle or a spoon’ [26/46] s‫ۑ‬n

ana‫ ܭ‬aqqo਌ ana‫ৢ ܭ‬u਌

two:M or

four:M or


‘two or four or six’ [11/20]



addo ss‫ۑ‬rír ană‫ ܭ‬addo s‫ۑ‬llunăn n inn‫ۑ‬ž

be.raised:A-3P:M under bed


under stairs

of above

‘they are set up under the bed or under the stairs above’ [70/110] ăll‫ۑ‬m-ăn

tănăggăm-ăn d


look:A-3P:M be.able:I-3P:M FUT go.out:F-3P:F

ana‫ ܭ‬oho or


‘and they looked (regularly) whether they could go out or not’ [7/12] nkúd fărrăn-năt when


sort.out:I-3P:F or

‫ۑ‬਌਌ád-năt grind:I-3P:F

‘when they were sorting out (grain) or grinding’ [10/18] ‫ۑۜۜۑ‬z


go.down:IPT:S or

ák=‫ۑ‬nn=uwăn 2S:M:IO=ITV=go.up:F:1S

‘come down, or I’ll go up to you’ [52/82] When more than two elements are coordinated by ană‫ܭ‬, the coordinator may be absent after the first pair, e.g.: ăkf=i=d

tanaঌre n i‫ܭ‬aqqayăn, ana‫ ܭ‬éܵăf n aflélo,



of grains

asén n aۜelum,

af‫ۑ‬rঌus n a৬ăm৬um

tooth of garlic



head of onion

of tomatoes

‘give me a handful of grain or an onion (or) a clove of garlic (or) a slice of tomato’ [3/4]



Complement clauses

Complement clauses of verbs such as ‘to know’, ‘to say’, can be introduced by the element ۜ‫ۑ‬d ‘with, when’ (Maze‫ܭ‬ăn: did), e.g.: was

iy azale=ye



to song=ANP:S


ۜ‫ۑ‬d i-lla


with 3S:M-be:P DEM:REL PTC:M:S-travel:P-PTC:M:S



‘he who hears this song knows that there is one that has traveled’ [11/20] wăl as=‫ۑ‬nné-năt NEG


3S:IO=day:NP-3P:F when





‘they did not say that they were his daughters’ [24/42] Cf. also the following example from Maze‫ܭ‬ăn with a second embedded clause: did ‫ۑ‬ssăn-ăn

wăl t-‫ۑ‬ssén-‫ۑ‬t


with know:P-3P:M people did wăl t-‫ۑ‬ssén-‫ۑ‬t তabba (Maze‫ܭ‬ăn) with NEG 2S-know:NP-2S anything NEG


‘and you don’t know that people know that you don’t know anything’ [51/81] In complement clauses that express a doubt or an alternative, the element nkud ‘if’ is used, similar to English, e.g.: awinas


go.away:A:3P:M see:A-3P:M

nkúd tăn=t-‫ۑ‬ssăffă‫ܭ‬ if


3P:M:DO=3S:F-make.go.out:P conduit=ANP:S

‘and they (all the time) went and looked if the conduit (the little hole in the garden wall where the irrigation canal comes in) would let them out (i.e. if they would still fit through it)’ [6/10]



23.1 nkud ‘when, if’, kud ‘when’ The subordinator nkud appears basically in two constructions: a. Hypothetical ‘if’, e.g.: t-ăsm‫ۑ‬gge-d=ás






2S-come:P-2S 2S-speak:P-2S=3S:IO to daughter-2S:F

kăm=‫ۑ‬bb-ă‫ ܭ‬i


2S:F:DO=take:F to Egypt

‘if you come and speak to your daughter, I will take you to Egypt’ [13/24] išalla,

nkúd ‫ۑ‬d=y-ăqqim

God.willing when

aškar s

VNT=3S:M-remain:P nail

‫ৢৢۑ‬aতăt ‫ۑ‬nnúk=in,

from health


kăm=i-xăyyăr ! 2S:F:DO=3S:M-harm:F

‘God willing, if (only) a nail from my body remains, it will harm you!’ [24/42] In this usage, the verb in the subordinated clause is always in the Perfective. The verb in the main clause normally has d + Future. In one case, the Imperfective is found in the main clause: nkúd n-ăqqím


when 1P-sit:P

3S:F-eat:I=1S:DO one:M one:M



‘if we stay (P) she will eat (I) us one by one’ [30/54] b. Habitual ‘when’, e.g.: nkúd y-útăf



when 3S:M-go.in:P DEM:M-ANP:S




3S:M-take:A=VNT from part



be.big:P-PTC:M:S to room=ANP:S



‘(always) when the older one came into that room, he would bring there (some money) from his part’ [5/8]

nkúd i-আro



when 3S:M-want:P FUT 3S:M-say.goodbye:F


taltawén as=ăqrăb-nin

come:A-3P:F=VNT women


‘when he wants to say goodbye, the women that are close(ly related) to him come there’ [11/20] In this usage, the subordinated verb is mostly in the Perfective, while the main clause has an Aorist (see 19.5). There are a few instances where the subordinate clause, or the main clause, or both, have the Imperfective or al + Imperfective: wala nkúd t-‫ۑ‬lo even when


3S:F-have:P little



3S:F-share:I=3S:M:DO with-3S

‘even if she has only little, she shares it with her’ [3/4] măddén nn-ăs nkúd i-tt‫ۑ‬mܵ‫ۑ‬nnu








ۜămmăn nn-asăn

be.affected:I-3P:M hearts


‘his people, when this song is sung, their hearts are moved’ [11/20] nkúd



sort.out:I-3P:F or





t‫ۑܵۑ‬nnu-năt azale n







‘while they are sorting out (grain) or grinding they sing the travel song’ [10/18] In this usage, also the form kud is found, e.g.: kúd t-‫ۑ‬kkăr,



when 3S:F-rise:P 3S:F-say:A=3S:IO similarly

nkúd t-‫ۑ‬৬৬ăs





‘when she rose she would say so, when she lay down, the same’ [16/28]


23.2 ilam ‘if’ The subordinator ilam (Maze‫ܭ‬ăn: lam) is used in counterfactuals. Often, the main clause is introduced by ilam ‫ۑ‬nteni ‘if it would be like that’, e.g.: lam t-ă‫ۜܭ‬ăl-‫ۑ‬d



2S-find:P-2S=VNT mother-2S:M here



da (Maze‫ܭ‬ăn)

‘if you had been here earlier, you would have found your mother here’ [41/70] ilam da=i-krăz


‫ۑ‬nteni d








‘if he would sow, if it were like that, he would harvest’ [L73:181] ilam wăl i-zwér if




‫ۑ‬ssalam ‫ۑ‬nn-ăm iy ‫ۑ‬nnúk,

3S:M-precede:NP greeting of-2S:F

ilam ‫ۑ‬nteni isan nn-ăm ‫ۑ‬d

to of:1S

tasirot, dămmăn nn-ăm ‫ۑ‬d t‫ۑ‬৬৬ebt

meat of-2S:F PRED splinter





‘if your greeting had not preceded mine, if it were like that, your meat would (have become) a splinter, your blood a sip’ [22/40] As to the use of the aspects, there seem to be two constructions. In the first construction, both parts of the sentence have the Perfective. This basically denotes a single event that could have happened in the past, but did not. In the second construction, both parts have d + Future. In this case, the contradicted event is mostly of a more general nature. 23.3 ЂϷd ‘when’ The element ۜ‫ۑ‬d (also d‫ ;ۜۑ‬did in Maze‫ܭ‬ăn) has a number of different usages. It appears as a preposition, ‘with’ (10.3), as a complementizer (chapter 22) and as a temporal subordinator. In its latter function, it is used for a single event preceding the event of the main clause.




when 3S:IO=hear:P-3P:M

nna-n=d say:P-3P:M=VNT

‘when they heard him, they said …’ [7/12] ۜ‫ۑ‬d




when VNT=3S:M-return:P be.big:3S:M


child=ANP:S 3S:M-travel:P

‘when the child had become older, he travelled’ [16/28] The subordinated clause always has the verb in the Perfective. The main clause can be Perfective of Imperfective, depending on whether the action in the main clause is of long or short duration (cf. also 19.2), e.g.: ۜ‫ۑ‬d wăl as=i-zmér


তăbba, i-৬৬ómăs

fly=ANP:S when NEG 3S:IO=3S:M-can:NP thing

făssăn nn-ăs

3S:M-rub:I hands of-3S

‘the fly, as he could do nothing for him, rubbed his hands continuously’ [6/10] 23.4 qabăl ‘before’ The Arabic loanword qabăl is used both as an adverb (‘formerly’, Lanfry 1973:291) and as a conjunction. It is related to the preposition qăbl ‘before’. All examples with qabăl have d + Future in the subordinate clause. The allomorph d used here is the one that normally occurs in nonsubordinate position. There are no examples of qabăl followed by a verb with pronominal clitics, so it is impossible to study their position. Example: nkúd d=wăঌ-năt

t‫ۑ‬m਌én qabăl d





before FUT marry:F-3P:M

y-ázn=ás 3S:M-send:A=3S:IO

‘when the barley is ripe before they marry, he sends her …’ [68/106] 23.5 asid ‘until’ The element asid functions both as a preposition (10.6) and as a conjunction. Different from the other conjunctions, it mostly follows the main clause. When the subordinate clause expresses an event that is still


to happen, or when it expresses a habit, it takes the Aorist, e.g.: asíd d=ăkri-năt




give.birth:I-3P:F until VNT=come.back:A-3P:F





‘and they give birth until they have become a lot’ [2/2] ak

t‫ۑ‬n‫ۑ‬dd‫ۑ‬m-ă‫ ܭ‬asíd i=t-‫ۑ‬৬kur



ălšib ‫ۑ‬nnúk s

until 1S:IO=3S:F-fill:A pocket of:1S


with almonds

‘I don’t sleep (as a habit) until she has filled my pocket with almonds’ [27/48] When the subordinate clause expresses a non-habitual past event, the Perfective is used, e.g.: asíd i-৬kar






3S:M-eat:I until 3S:M-fill:P stomach of-3S

‘he started to eat until he had filled his stomach’ [7/12] t-‫ۑ‬kf=ás


asíd y-ămmut

3S:F-give:P=3S:IO beating until 3S:M-die:P

‘she gave him a beating until he died’ [16/28] t-‫ۑ‬kkăr

tawažett=e t-ăqqím wazitén

3S:F-rise:P girl=ANP:S

asíd t-‫ۑ‬mlăk

3S:F-sit:P Wazităn:LOC until 3S:F-marry:P

‘and the girl remained in Ayt Wazităn until she married’ [13/24] 23.6 ϷmmϷk ‘like, so that’ The element ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k is used both as a subordinator ‘like, so that’ and as a question word ‘how’ (see chapter 18). As a subordinator, it occurs in two constructions. When the verb in the subordinated clause is in the Perfective, it has similative meaning ‘as, like’, e.g.:


ăssirăd-năt, ‫ۑ‬srăۜ-năt wash:P-3P:F dress.up:P-3P:F



like 3P:F:IO=3S:M-say:P

dadda nn-ăsnăt father


‘they washed and dressed up, like their father had told them’ [21/38] ‫ۑ‬t


‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k t-‫ۑ‬আró-m


God.willing FUT 2P:M-sit:F-2P:M like


‘God willing, you will stay like you want’ [L71:74] In a text from Maze‫ܭ‬ăn, ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k + Perfective is used as a simple temporal subordinator, similar to ۜ‫ۑ‬d in Ayt Wazităn: ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k t-‫ۑ‬făl like



tarwa=ye nn-ăs

3S:F-go.away:P 3S:M-come:P=VNT son=ANP:S of-3S

t‫ۑ‬mbuktu (Maze‫ܭ‬ăn)

from Timbuktu

‘when she had gone, her son came (back) from Timbuktu’ [41/70] The second construction has ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k with d + Future. The preverbal particle always has the allomorph da after ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k. This construction is used to convey finality, ‘so that’, e.g.: t-ăll‫ۑ‬n=t



with before-3S

‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k ás=dá=i-ml‫ۑ‬l like







3S:IO=FUT=3S:M-be.white:F road

‘she pours it before and behind him so that his road will be white (favorable)’ [11/20] tam਌a=ye


t-‫ۑ‬sk‫ۑ‬r਌‫ۑ‬਌ tawažett=e

ogress=ANP:S DUR 3S:F-fatten:I girl=ANP:S

‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k tăt=da=t-‫ۑ‬šš like


‘the ogress started to fatten the girl in order to eat her’ [22/40]


When ‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k introduces a negative final clause, the verb always has wăl d(a) + F, e.g.: t-‫ۑ‬sতăr=as 3S:F-enchant:P=3S:IO

‫ۑ‬mm‫ۑ‬k wăl t=tá=y-ur like




3S:M:DO=FUT=3S:M-open:F except Mgedesh=ANP:S

‘she put a spell on it so that nobody would open it except this Mgedesh (personal name)’ [29/52] 23.7 imkud ~ amin kud ‘as if’ The conjunction imkud is derived from amin (n)kud ‘like if’, with the preposition amin ‘like’ and the hypothetical conjunction nkud. imkud az=‫ۑ‬dd=y-ăsslíl as.if


3S:IO=VNT=3S:M-call:P person

‘as if somebody had called him’ [9/16] 23.8 ‫ۊ‬afšan ‘because’ The conjunction তafšan ‘because’ is borrowed from local Arabic, where fƯ šƗn is used (Lanfry 1973:129). Example: la ke

na t-‫ۑ‬lé-t




wăllăn i=tăn=t-‫ۑ‬kf-‫ۑ‬t



তafšan wǂۜۜid ‫ۑ‬nnúk y-ăbbe=dd because man





3S:M-take:P=VNT wood

wăllăn ‫ۑ‬nn-ăs

3S:M-cut.out:P eyes


‘don’t you have some eyes, that you might give me, because my husband has taken wood and cut out (with it) his eyes’ [29/52]


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