Tachelhit Lesson 2: Introductions and possession

«Previous lesson: Greetings and personal indicators

I think the best way to learn a language is to read a passage, try to figure out what it means, and then look up the words you’re unsure about. This is how Abdellah el-Mountassir structures his textbook, and it works great for me (I’m not kidding, if you speak French, read that textbook, not my blog). So let’s try it.

Read this (unlikely) dialogue and try to guess the words you don’t know (hint: rbbi is a common Tachelhit word for God)

Samira: s-salamu عalaykum.

Abdul: عalaykum s-salam. mamnk a tgit?

Samira: labas, Hamdullah. imma kyyi?

Abdul: labas, nshkrt i rbbi. 

Samira: madak ism?

Abdul: isminu Abdul. imma kmmi? ismnm?

Samira: isminu Samira.

 

Let’s break down the parts you don’t know.

nshkrt i rbbi is the Berber equivalent of the Arabic Hamdulla or Hamdullilah. After labas it means ‘I’m fine, thanks be to God.’ (Moroccans don’t tend to take these things for granted)

Look again at the last three lines from the dialog and try to guess the Tachelhit word for ‘name’.

madak ism means ‘what’s your name?’ when speaking to a male. To a female, you’d say madam ism-k for male, -m for female. These are possessive indicators. In English, our possessive indicators are separate words: ‘my, your, his, her, their, our…’. But in Tachelhit, they take the form of suffixes.

How does Abdul respond to the question madak ism?

Abdul:  isminu Abdul. imma kmmi? ismnm?

isminu means ‘my name’ because -inu is the possessive meaning ‘my’. isminu Abdul means ‘my name Abdul’.

Now notice how he returns the question: imma kmmi? ismnm? ‘And you? Your name?’

Remember that kmmi means ‘you (feminine)’. The suffix  -nm means ‘your’ when addressing a female. When addressing a male we use –nk. Like so:

Abdul: isminm?

Samira: isminu Samira. ismnk?

Abdul: isminu Abdul.

Here’s the full list of possessive indicators. (the Arabic letter غ, a.k.a. ghayn, makes a GH sound as in the French R noise).

Possessive indicators:

-inu – my

nk – your (masc.)

nm – your (fem.)

ns – his/her

-nغ – our

nun – your (m, pl.)

nunt – your (f, pl.)

nsn – their (masc.)

nsnt – their (fem.)

Click here to access my set of Quizlet flashcards for possessive indicators.

These are super easy. Let’s look at some examples:

tigmmi – house

tigmminu – my house

tigmminsn – those guys’s house

l-ktab – book

l-ktabnk – your (m) book

l-ktabnm – your (f) book

l-ktabnغ – our book

Now fill in the blanks:

aغyul – donkey

My donkey: __________

Your (m) donkey: __________

Your (f) donkey: __________

His donkey: __________

Your (plural m) donkey: __________

Their (f) donkey: __________

 

SAM_3046

Don’t progress any further until you’ve wrapped your head around the content in this lesson. (though I can’t even wrap my head around that donkey). It would also be worthwhile to learn the rest of the greeting terms set forth in the Peace Corps manual. I’ve made them into a Quizlet set, of course. There are lots of them; Berbers love greeting people. This will give you a head-start on the next lesson.

Next lesson: Personal information and ‘to be’ >>

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