Berber language resources

This isn’t a complete list of all the resources out there, but these are the ones which I consider worth my time. The list is biased toward Tachelhit because that’s what I’m interested in, not because it has more resources than the other dialects.

Tachelhit (southern dialect, has greatest number of speakers)

  1. There’s the course I’ve been creating which isn’t perfect but it’s a good place to start

2. Initiation Tachelhit by Abdallah el Mountassir (Français(Courtesy of freemorocco.com) Check back later, I’ll upload the audio from the CD that comes with the book

3. Dictionary of Tachelhit verbs compiled by el Mountassir

4. The Wikipedia page on Tachelhit is actually awesome, a must-read.

5. Peace corps Tachelhit textbook (courtesy Friends of Morocco) Check back later, I have the audio for this too

6. Old Peace Corps Tachelhit textbook

7. Tachelhit – English dictionary (Peace Corps)

8. EasyLanguageLearning on Youtube This guy’s channel is fantastic; he mostly does Darija, but the Tachelhit videos he makes are very helpful.

9. Tachelhit PC technical booklet (This seems to be the dialect of the Central High Atlas, less useful if you’re trying to learn the dialect of the Souss)

10. Tachelhit health booklet (I’m not sure what dialect this is)

11. Wikimazigh Tachelhit course (Français)

12. Mylanguages.org  I suspect this is a more generic dialect, and the spelling is non-standard, but the site is a good effort.

13. There are millions of Tachelhit films on Youtube

14. Film of Jesus’s life in Tachelhit (watch this side-by-side with the English version, also on YT, so you can have English subtitles with Tachelhit audio)

15. Supplemental dictionary for finding vocab words (signup required)

 

RESOURCES FOR OTHER MOROCCAN DIALECTS:

Tamazight (High and Central Atlas)

  1. Peace Corps textbook

2. A Grammar of Amazigh

3. Old Peace Corps textbook

4. Tamazight – English dictionary

5. This youtube channel, good for pronunciation practice

6. This weird website

 

Tamazight (IRCAM’s made-up “standard” dialect, which gives me the creeps and I don’t feel comfortable disseminating, but is good to be aware of)

  1. Vocabulary and Grammar (Français)

2. IRCAM Institute website (or a Geocities parody, I can’t tell)

3. Their list of state-approved publications

4. A textbook produced by IRCAM which uses Tifinagh characters, therefore I am including it only as a joke

 

Tarifit

Tarifit is very well studied, and there is a wealth of resources if you do simple searches. To start with, I did find this very helpful series of videos, however.

University of Leiden course on Youtube

 

Other links

Extensive list of Berber-language publications, all dialects including Kabyle and Touareg

This website  is mostly focused on Algerian berbers, but nonetheless it’s a fantastic resource with lots of books for free download

Grammaire berbere by Michel Quitout (all dialects)

Lots of resources listed here, you can trawl through and see if you find anything useful

If you search around on Google Books you can find several grainy scans of Berber-language textbooks written pre-1950, but I don’t think they’re much use compared to the textbooks by Mountassir and the Peace Corps.

 

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Tachelhit in conversation: Transportation

<< Previous lesson: Possessives

You’ve learned the basics of the language, now let’s look at some scenarios you might find yourself in.

When I try to qualify how well I speak Tachelhit I tell people, “I’m not quite conversational but I know enough to argue with a Soussi taxi driver.” Transport is an everyday headache in Tachelhit-speaking regions, whether you’re halfway up a mountain trying to hitchhike a camion into town, or perhaps you find yourself dropped off at the Inezgane bus station at 3AM (I’ve spent more hours of my life there than I care to recall).

Here’s a conversation you might have if you’re hitchhiking, and a car with several people stops. Read the dialogue, trying to understand as much as you can. Then we’ll go over everything. Hint: the verb ‘to go’ is iri. Watch for how it’s conjugated.

Driver: –s-salamu عalaykum. mani trit?

Hitchhiker: –righ ad ddugh s-Tafraoute. 

Driver: –ura nra s-Tafraoute. numz ugharas n-Anezi.

Hitchhiker: –mnchkk ad kilumetru airaman s-Anezi?

Driver: -3chrin d-mraw id kilumetru.

Hitchhiker: –aywa, awiyyi s-Anezi, 3afak.

 

You might remember using the verb iri as ‘want’ — in fact it means both ‘go’ and ‘want’, which is easy enough to remember; imagine asking a traveler “Where are you wanting?”. Listen to this song; the refrain ahiawa, mani trit? basically means “Heya, where are you going?”

Also remember that when you see or hear ma-, it’s always a question. When the driver asks you mani trit he’s asking very simply ‘Where are you going’? (Remember the personal indicator for ‘you’ is t-t, so the verb iri becomes trit when it’s conjugated for the 2nd person singular.)

You, the hitchhiker, respond righ ad ddugh s-Tafraoute. “I want to go to Tafraoute.”

Notice how you’re using the verb iri in the other sense, meaning ‘want’.

“You go/ you want” – trit

“I go/ I want” – righ

You’re using the verb ddu “go, depart” as your action verb, to explain “I want to go to Tafraoute” — righ ad ddugh s-Tafraoute.

When you use two verbs in a row, join them with adWe haven’t touched on verb aspects yet (Tachelhit’s version of our past/present tense) but just know that the conjuctions ad/rad always mark a verb in the future tense, in this example the verb ddu.

“I will go/depart” – rad ddugh

“I want to go/depart” – righ ad ddugh

Whether you use rad or ad simply depends on how the verb is conjugated, but we’ll cover that in a different lesson.

The prefix u- always indicates a negative, so when you see ura/urad, that’s a conjunction preceding a negative verb in the present (ura) or future (urad) tense 

The driver says “We aren’t going to Tafraoute” — ura nra s-Tafraoute

We’re going — nra

I’m going — righ

You’re going — trit

Instead, they will take (amz) the road (agharas) toward the small market town of Anezi: numz ugharas n-Anezi.

Remember the word agharas changes to ugharas because it’s in the state of attachment (the road of/to Anezi).

br

The driver’s only going as far as Anezi, so you ask how many kilometers away that is: mnchkk ad kilumetru airaman s-Anezi? Literally translated that reads “how many of kilometers remain to Anezi?”

The preposition s- is an important one. It’s the preposition you use when movement is involved, as in

“I want to go to Tafraoute” – righ ad ddugh s-Tafraoute.

“They leave for the beach” – nddu s-taghart

The driver responds 3chrin d-mraw id kilumetru, that it’s 30 kilometers to Anezi. We’ll learn numbers in a later lesson.

That’s a pretty good chunk of the distance to your destination of Tafraoute, and you’ve heard that Anezi produces really excellent babouches and you’d like to buy a pair. So you say aywa, awiyyi s-Anezi, 3afak — “Okay, take me to Anezi, please!”

aywa just means OK, all right, and it’s a great word to know.

awiyyi is the verb awid, “bring”. You can use that to ask a taxi driver to bring you somewhere, or to ask a waiter to bring you a salad. The suffix -iyyi is used when the verb applies to you.

‘Excuse’ is samH; ‘excuse me’ is samHiyyi

‘Give’ is fk; ‘give me’ is fkiyyi

iyyi is an object pronoun, words which are used to say things like “he gave me” or “I told him”. We’ll learn the rest of them in the next lesson!

3afak means ‘please’. Good to know!

Now go back to the dialogue on top of the page and see if you can read it! Hopefully by now you’re comfortable with everything we’ve learned.

Here are some further expressions you’ll use or hear when dealing with transport.

Please take me to… awiyyi عafak s…

Stop here please – bidd ghid, 3afak

Is the meter on? – is ixdm l-kuntur?

Turn on the meter, please – ssxdm l-kuntur, 3afak.

How much? – mnchkk a dari?

How far is it from here? – mnchkk as iba d f ghid?

Are you going (to the souk) today? – is trit (s-suq) ghas-ad?

Where is the taxi stand? – manigh tlla l-maHt a n t-taksiyat?

Which bus do I need to take if I want to go to…? (you already know most of the words in this sentence) – man t-ubis rad amzgh igh righ ad ddugh s…?

Hitchhiking expressions

I don’t have money. – ura dari iqariDn

Is that OK? – is waxxa?

Are you going to… – is trit…

Take me to… – awiyyi عafak s…

the next village – aduwwar dyuchkan

the next road – agharas dyuchkan

the checkpoint – barrage

Where is the road to…? – manigh illa ugharas n-…

Take the road to the left/right – amz agharas aZlmad/afasi

My name is… – isminu

What’s your name? (m/f) madak/madam ism?

Nice to meet you. – mtsharfin

Thanks so much! – lla yrнm l-walidin (literally “may God bless your parents”, used when someone helps you).

 

Tachelhit lesson 7: Possessives

<<Previous lesson: “This and That”

We’ve already learned how to indicate possession using suffixes. Remember how easy these were?

-inu – my

-nk – your (m)

-nm – your (f)

-ns – his/her

-nغ/-ngh – ours

-nsn – their (m)

-nsnt – their (f)

-nun – your (pl. m)

-nunt – your (pl. f)

Another way to express possession is with the words win (m) and tin (f) which, as in French, must agree with the gender of the noun.

Masculine:

winu – mine

wink – yours (m)

winm – yours (f)

wins – his/hers

winغ/-wingh – ours

winnun – yours (pl. m)

winnunt – yours (pl. f)

winsn – theirs (m)

winsnt – theirs (f)

For feminine nouns, the above words are exactly the same, simply replacing with t. 

Examples: (See previous lesson to learn words for ‘this, that, these, those’)

 ghwad iga l-ktabinu  – this is my book

ghwad iga winu – this is mine

ghwid gan iDuDaninu – these are my fingers

ghwid gan winu – these are mine

win mit a yga ghwad? – whose is this? (m)

ghwad iga wingh – this is ours

tin mit a tga xttad?  whose is this? (f)

xttad tga tinsnt – this is theirs (f)

 

Next lesson: Scenario 1: Transportation >>

 

Cooling down in Casamance

 

SAM_3891

I crawled out of Niokolo-Koba national park like Wile E. Coyote crawls out of a smoking crater. I’d avoided crippling sunburn by wearing long sleeves and pants despite 110º heat. The four days I’d spent hiking through burnt-over forest had left me coated in ash. I resembled a grilled fish.

Besides the heat, I was having a great time overall. I was sad to leave my friends at Campement du Lion after such a short time. When the park ranger dropped me off on the main highway it was with an air of never wanting to see my face again. But after driving off he pulled a U-turn and came back toward me.

“You’ll never catch a lift in this place; I might as well drive you to the next town.” He drove me another 5km and refused any sort of payment.

At a busy little roadside town I went on a mission to find the bottle of Pomme (apple soda) which I’d been hallucinating about for days. It was lukewarm and disappointing. I sat on a bench making a mess of a baguette and a bag of mangoes. I got into a conversation with a Catalan who’d just bicycled there from Casablanca, and Niokolo-Koba was going to be his finishing point.

“Congratulations on almost finishing,” I told him, “but I think you’ll find the Gambia was more impressive.”

His stories were really inspiring. Although he had a tent, he’d been hosted almost every night by a Senegalese family. This made me realize my vacation was half over and time was running out to really get under the skin of the country. So far I’d had contact with nobody outside the tourism industry.

Worse still, I’d only just now discovered that mangoes were at their peak ripeness and cost less than a dime. I’d have to spend my remaining week making up for lost mango-eating time.

It took me two days to get into Casamance. Sharing a taxi with a Peace Corps volunteer did me good; hearing the perspective of someone who was in Senegal with a real purpose helped me to take my own objectives less seriously. I felt as though I put my foot in my mouth more than once during the conversation. From that point, I’ve tried to use very reserved language when talking about cultures alien to me (which should be evident in this series of blog posts). Meeting her left me wishing I could conduct myself with as much finesse in life as a PCV can in the chaos of a Senegalese bus station.

SAM_3918

Once in Ziguinchour, I slipped back into dissatisfaction. Casamance was beautiful, and I wanted to spend a lot of time here. But to get back north for my return flight would eat up half of my remaining time. The obstacle was Gambia, which, much like the wrought-iron fence at the Dakar airport, seemed always to be in my way. Without the necessary paperwork to cross the Gambia, it looked like I’d have to retrace my steps the whole damn way. I stood on a pile of rubbish under a palm tree by the river, sucking moodily on a mango and tossing flecks of peel into the water.

I ran to an internet cafe and with sticky fingers typed an email to my wife.

“I feel helpless,” I said. “I need to get back to Dakar but I’m staring down a 36 hour taxi ride in one direction, and Gambia’s diplomatic hanky-panky in the other. My plans have been flipped upside down and I don’t know what to do.”

She wrote back, “There’s always a way to take control; it’s just that there’s something blinding you from seeing how. Do whatever it takes, spend whatever you have to, talk to whomever you need to. The answer’s likely staring you in the face.”

She was right. Across the street from the cybercafe was a travel agent’s office where I was able to book a flight for Dakar, meaning I could spend the next three days exploring Casamance rather than sitting in taxis retracing my steps. Sorted.

I bought six mangoes and took a taxi to the woodsy village of M’lomp, and then found passage on a pirogue going to Île de Carabane.

SAM_3940

If I ever decide to knuckle down to write my novel, Carabane is where I’m going to do it. This was evidently the low season for tourism, and I envied the handful of other westerners who had clearly been here for some time, having settled into a routine of fishing off the beach and getting tipsy on the terrace of their homestays between meals.

There were perhaps ten of them in total, all dressed in whites and khakis, all smoking cigarettes like it was their last day on earth. All the ones I spoke to were German. Germans tend to materialize at all seasons and locations, in contrast to the French and Spanish who, as far as I’ve seen, keep their mass migrations to predictable schedules, coming and going like the tide from the beach towns of Africa.

After I spent a couple days swatting at mosquitoes and walking on beaches, a family I stayed with on Ile de Carabane offered me a place in their boat to Cap Skirring, Casamance’s tourist hub. I was happy not to have to deal with any more taxis or bus drivers.

SAM_3944

Cap Skirring is interesting. Evidently it sees a lot of tourism, but I was there at the off-season. I couldn’t decide if that was better or worse. The only tourists I saw there were old French men and women, each arm-in-arm with a young Senegalese sugar-baby. But overall it seemed like a very good place for young backpackers. There’s a strong rasta culture among the young locals.

I bought a bag of mangoes and walked down to the beach, which was alive with guitar music. The only stretch of beach accessible from town belongs to the fishermen, who have a pleasant little shanty-town set up on it, and all their boats lined up on the sand. Luxury hotels outside the town keep their beaches clean of trash and undesirable humans, but I was content here.

I hung out with some restauranteurs who had closed up shop for the season. One of them contented himself with sitting on a pile of fishing nets playing guitar, and I recorded him.

SAM_3961

The beach was buzzing with fishermen who’d returned from their morning’s work. Small fires were popping up here and there, and women with baskets of fish on their heads were busy unloading the beached pirogues. I walked down toward the water to get a better look at the boats, when a couple of guys squatting by a fire whistled me over.

“Come eat with us,” they said. “We’re having lunch.”

This was one of those caricature moments of travel, when you can’t believe your luck. These guys were Usman and Hamed, cool young dudes who’d been fishing for most of their adult lives. They’d sold their catch, and were cooking the left-overs, an exotic melange of fresh sea creatures.

SAM_3955

“Actually I’m trained to work at a restaurant,” Usman said, as he used his fingers to flip the fish over on the hot coals, “but where are the restaurants?”

We tore apart fish, crustaceans, snails, singeing our greasy fingers as we plucked them off the coals. I sat back in a gluttonous ecstasy, sucking clean the legs of a crab.

SAM_3956

“That was just an appetizer,” said Usman, smiling “Come with us, we’re going for a proper lunch.”

I hoped he was joking, but he took me to a three-walled beach shack made out of wicker and bamboo. There were about 10 other guys there, one of whom was “le capitain” of their fishing boat. The captain’s wife had fixed an enormous platter to be eaten by everyone. She was a very cool lady. It was a pleasing contrast to the Arabic world, where women never dine with men, to see this lady nudging men out of her way, grabbing bigger fistfuls of rice than anyone, and making jokes at our expense. Her kids were adorable too, and I made myself useful by keeping them occupied with a pack of crayons and my notebook while their mother washed dishes.

I was allowed to sleep in the beach shack, with my belongings hidden under a pile of fishing net.

Hamed mentioned that if I paid the captain, I could go out with them on the next morning’s fishing trip. Waking up at 5am, however, I found they’d decided conditions weren’t right to go out. I’ve never been more disappointed. I still passed a nice day with Usman, exploring the outlying villages and chopping vegetables for lunch and dinner. That night a group of us sat on the front step of a derelict building on the beach, eating haut-cuisine by the light of our cell phones and singing:

Manamanama, eh eh
Waka waka eh eh
Manamanama zangalewa
‘Cause this is Africa

Which was perfectly true.

SAM_3978

 

 

 

Tachelhit lesson 6: This and That

These lessons have been getting a huge amount of traffic, and it’s awesome that so many people want to learn Tachelhit, but makes me feel bad that I’ve been updating so infrequently. A big obstacle for me is not knowing in which direction to take these lessons, so I’d really appreciate if you left a comment with feedback. What do you like about these posts, what do you dislike, what do you want to learn next? Are you learning this language for academic or for tourism purposes? Is my transliteration sloppy? Do you want more cat pictures?

<< Previous lesson: Noun genders

Here’s a short lesson on how to say this, that, these, and those, otherwise known as demonstratives. The major difference with English is that in Tachelhit, we need to think of whether we’re using these words as an adjective or a pronoun:

Used as demonstrative adjectives: this car, that cat, these things

Used as demonstrative pronouns: I want that, what are thosethis car is John’s

In Tachelhit we use a separate word for a demonstrative pronoun, and we use a suffix for demonstrative adjectives. Just keep reading and you’ll understand.

Demonstrative pronouns:

ghwad – this (m)

ghwan – that (m)

ghwid – these (m)

ghwin – those (m)

xttad – this (f)

xttan – that (f)

xttid – these (f)

xttin – those (f)

Yes, memorizing these will make you want to cry. Here’s a hint: the letter i is drawn with two parts, and it refers to two or more things. ghwad = this one, ghwid = these ones

I’ll link to my Quizlet flashcards at the bottom of this page.

Demonstrative adjectives:

-ad – this

-an – that

agharas-ad this road

agharas-an that road

igharasn-ad these roads

igharasn-an those roads

To facilitate pronunciation, add a sound to nouns that end in vowels:

baTaTa-yad – these potatoes

tasga-yad this side

tasga-yan the other side

gh-id here

gh-in there


Practice

  1. Fill in the blank with the proper suffix.

Example: This book (m) – lktab___         = lktab-ad

This cat (m) – amush___

That cat (m) – amush___

This house (f) – tigmmi___

That house (f) – tigmmi___

Those men – irgazn___

These women – tifrxin___

2. Finish translating these sentences using the right demonstrative pronouns.

Example: I want that one (m) – righ _______       = righ ghwan

I want that one (f) – righ _______

Hmad wants this one (m) – ira Hmad _______

What’s this? (f) – ma tga _______?

Those (m) are ours – _______ gan wingh

Those (f) are delicious – _______ tmmim

 

Link to Quizlet flashcards

Next lesson: Possessives >>

 

 

Noun Genders in Tachelhit

<< Previous lesson: Noun states and Directions

Noun genders in Tachelhit are very straightforward, and much easier to cope with as a student than any European language I’ve studied.

As in most languages, a noun’s gender can often seem completely arbitrary. But unlike in, for example, German, where a student has to learn the gender of each noun as he goes along, nouns in Tachelhit are kind enough to tell you what gender they are (99% of the time).

We’ve already looked at this, but just to recap:

Nouns beginning with a vowel are almost always masculine. 

Examples: argaz (man)afrux (boy)igr (field), aduwwar (village), anzar (rain)

Nouns beginning (and usually ending) with are always feminine.

Examples: tamghart (woman), tafruxt (girl)tigmmi (house)taqr3it (bottle)tafukt (sun)

In many cases, the base root of a noun can take either gender by adding or dropping the feminine marker:

afrux (boy) –> tafruxt (girl)

afullus (rooster) –> tafullust (hen)

asli (groom) –> taslit (bride)

axddam (male worker) –> taxddamt (female worker)

achelhi (male Berber) –> tachelhit (female Berber)

N.B. this is not always true. Some examples of nouns where the female form does not resemble the male:

argaz (man), tamghart (woman)

azgr (bull), tafunast (cow)

izimmr (ram), tili (ewe)

gwma (my brother), ultma (my sister)

iwi (my son), illi (my daughter)

Another use of the feminine marker t-t is to form the diminutive of an object (similar to how in Spanish burro ‘donkey’ can become burrito ‘little donkey’ just by changing the form of the word).

This rule was explained to me by a native Tachelhit speaker, and the example he used was:

agayyu (head) –> tagayyut (cute little headsy-weadsy)

That’s the example he gave me, OK?

Often two similar or related things can have the same noun root, but different genders:

aggu (smoke), taggut (mist)

achelhi (Berber man), tachelhit (Berber language)

ayyur (moon), tamayyurt (full moon)

I find learning these words in pairs helps with memorization.

 

Loanwords

A significant percentage of spoken Tachelhit includes Arabic loanwords. These fall into two categories: those that have been absorbed into Tachelhit, and those that have kept their Arabic form.

Here are some Arabic nouns that behave as Tachelhit words:

Masculine:

a3skri – soldier

anjjar – carpenter

aHddad/s-sudur – welder

Feminine:

tashttabt – broom

tal3rst – garden

talxnsht – bag

taqr3it – bottle

 

And here are some Arabic nouns which keep their Arabic form:

Masculine:

l-kas – glass

s-suq – market

l-bab – door, gate

s-snduq – box

Feminine:

d-dunit – world, everything

l-mdrasa – school

l-bit – room

t-tumubil – car

Next lesson: Demonstratives >>

Tachelhit Lesson 4: Noun States and Asking Directions

Here is a dialogue of a man asking directions to the city of Tafraoute. Read it and try to figure out the words you don’t know. Play the above video for audio.

Ali: -manigh illa ugharas n-Tafraoute i-Rbbi?

argaz: -amZ agharas afasi.

Ali: -akk issrbH rbbi a gwma.

argaz: -mani ygan tamazirt? Tiznit?

Ali: -uhu, Agadir.

argaz: -yak! dari yat illi tzdgh gh-Ugadir.

Ali: -ifulki, ma tskar?

argaz: -txdm gh-nsbiTar.

 

An element of Tachelhit important to understand early on is the state of attachment, in which some nouns change their sound depending on whether they’re grammatically isolated. I promise it isn’t as confusing as it sounds:

In the above dialog, Ali asks,

manigh illa ugharas n-Tafraoute i-Rbbi?

“Where is the road of Tafraoute, please?”

The man (argaz) responds,

amZ agharas afasi

“Take the road [on the] right.”

The word for ‘road’ is agharas. But when Ali asks about the road of Tafraoute, then the noun agharas takes on the state of attachment — i.e. it is attached to another element of the sentence. So it changes its initial vowel, and becomes ugharas.

This can even apply to placenames When asked if he comes from Tiznit, Ali responds,

uhu, Agadir

“no, [I’m from] Agadir”

The man then says,

yak! dari yat illi tzdgh gh-Ugadir.

“Really! I have (dari) a daughter (yat illi) she lives (tzdgh) in Agadir.

In summary: The state of attachment causes a change in the initial syllable of nouns which start with a vowel or with the feminine marker -t.

For masculine nouns, this mostly applies to nouns that start with the letter a, which in most cases transforms to u.

argaz (man) –> urgaz

yan argaz “one man”

For certain nouns, the vowel transforms to wa.

asif (river) –> wasif

For feminine nouns that start with ta or ti, those vowels disappear in the state of attachment:

tamghart (woman) –> tmghart

tigmmi (house) –> tgmmi

So,

yan argaz “a man”

yat tigmmi “a house”

yan urgaz illa gh tgmmi “a man is in the house”

These nouns don’t change when they are used as isolated words, or when they function as the direct object:

Zrigh argaz            I saw the man

Zrigh tamghart    I saw the woman

These examples illustrate the detached form of nouns. But the attached state applies in most cases! So you should familiarize yourself with both forms of a noun when you learn it.

OK, we’re done talking about that. Let’s learn some prepositions, and ask where some stuff is.

-Preposition n- + masculine noun: agharas n-Ugadir “the road of/to Agadir”

Complete the following sentences using the word in parentheses:

  1. agharas n- (Agadir)
  2. agharas n- (adrar, mountains) 
  3. agharas n- (aDwwar, village)
  4. agharas n- (asif, river)
  5. agharas n- (Tiznit)
  6. agharas n- (Taroudant)
  7. agharas n- (tigmmi, house)
  8. agharas n- (taghart, beach)

Answers: 1. agharas n-Ugadir 2. agharas n-udrar, 3. agharas n-uDwwar 4. agharas n-wasif 5. agharas n-Tznit 6. agharas n-Troudant 7. agharas n-tgmmi 8. agharas n-taghart (taghart is one example of a word that doesn’t change — but if in doubt about a word, assume it does change.)

Remember ili, the verb meaning “to be in a place, to exist”? We use that to ask where something or someone is:

manigh illa…? “where is (masc.)…?”

mani = “where”, –gh = “in, at”

illa = masc. singular

tlla = fem. singular

Examples:

  1. manigh illa Idris?
  2. manigh tlla Zinb?
  3. manigh illa Mohammed?
  4. manigh tlla Fatim?

This sentence puts the subject in a state of attachment.

  1. manigh illa ugharas?
  2. manigh illa uDwwar?
  3. manigh tlla tgmmi?
  4. manigh tlla tmghart?
  5. manigh illa unZar? (anZar, rain)

Note: only nouns starting with a vowel or with the feminine marker t- are subject to the state of attachment. Others, which tend to be loanwords from Arabic and French, (lbusTa, post office, lbanka, bank) never change.

  1. manigh tlla lbusta?
  2. manigh tlla lbanka?

 

Left and Right

afasi            right

aZlmad       left

amZ agharas aZlmad “take the road on the left.”

tgmmi tlla afasi “the house is on the right”

This lesson reviewed a lot of what I’ve covered in previous posts, but that’s a good thing. By now you should be comfortable with the basics of the language.

Finally, here’s that dialogue from the beginning with translations. Remember the video up top with the dialogue audio!

Ali: -manigh illa ugharas n-Tafraoute i-Rbbi?

        Where is the road to Tafraoute, please?

argaz: -amZ agharas afasi.

Take the road on the right.

Ali: -akk issrbH rbbi a gwma.

Thank you, brother (Note: a is always used when addressing someone, whether by name or title — like saying “greetings, o Ali!”)

argaz: -mani ygan tamazirt? Tiznit?

where are you from (lit. where is your country?) Tiznit?

Ali: -uhu, Agadir.

No, Agadir

argaz: -yak! dari yat illi tzdgh gh-Ugadir.

Really! I have a daughter who lives in Agadir.

Ali: -ifulki, ma tskar?

Neat, what does she do?

argaz: -txdm gh-nsbiTar.

She works in a hospital.

Next lesson: Noun genders