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A Grammar of Awjila Berber (Libya): Based on Umberto Paradisi’s Material

This dissertation provides a grammatical description of the Awjila language, a small Berber language spoken in the Libyan oasis of Awjila.

Marijn van Putten
01 October 2013
Full text in Leiden University Repository

The Awjila language is a small Berber language spoken in the Libyan oasis of Awjila. It has several features that make the language different from other Berber languages, such as a phonemic accent, schwa in open syllables and the retention of the Proto-Berber   as  v.

This thesis consists of three parts: the grammar, the texts and the lexicon. The grammar is the main analytical part of this thesis, but could not exist without the in-depth study of the available Awjila texts and the lexicon. Due to the political situation in Libya, it was not possible to conduct fieldwork on the language. This thesis is therefore based on the published sources on the language. The texts and word list by Umberto Paradisi are the most important of these sources.

The grammar contains a lengthy discussion on the interpretation and analysis of the transcription and phonology. This part give us many new insights into the interpretation of many factors of the language. Besides the phonology, the grammar also discusses the morphology of the noun and verb, and the syntax of the language.

In the appendix all published Awjila texts have been included, provided with a phonemic transcription and a word-by-word analysis. This analysis is essential for the understanding of the language, and it is referenced extensively in the grammar.

The lexicon contains all lexical material available to us on the Awjila language, with a new phonemic analysis of the transcriptions, and a full concordance of all the attestations of the words in its different grammatical forms in the available sources. The lexicon also contains some etymological notes, comparing Awjila to the other Berber languages which will aid future research into the linguistic history of Awjila and other Berber languages.


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