Kabyle language

Kabyle language

nativename= Audio|Taqbaylit.ogg|Taqbaylit
states=Algeria; immigrant communities in France, Belgium and elsewhere
region=Kabylie ("Provinces" of Tizi Ouzou, Bejaia, Bouira, Boumerdes, Sétif, BBA, and parts of Jijel)
speakers=4,123,000 (1995) [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=kab] —5.5 million in Algeria, about 8 million worldwide [http://www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/AXL/AFRIQUE/algerie-1demo.htm] [http://www.inalco.fr/crb/pages_html/langue.htm]
script=Berber Latin alphabet

Kabyle is a Berber language (Kabyle: "unicode|Ṯaqbayliṯ", Audio|Taqbaylit.ogg|Taqbaylit, pronounced|ˌθæqβæjˈlɪθ) spoken by the Kabyle people. In 1995, there were 7,123,000 speakers worldwide, the majority in Algeria, where there were more than 4,500,000. However, according to INALCO estimates, there are 5.5 million speakers in Algeria and about 7 million worldwide.

Kabyle was (with some exceptions) rarely written before the 20th century; however, in recent years a small but increasing body of literature has been printed. The originally oral poetry of Si Mohand is particularly notable in this respect. Famous Kabyle singers include Matoub Lounes, Idir, Takfarinas and Ait Menguellet.


The classification of Kabyle is Afro-Asiatic, Berber and Northern Berber languages.

Geographic distribution

Kabyle is a Berber language native to Kabylie, it is present in seven Algerian districts.

The populations of Tizi Ouzou, Béjaïa (Bgayet) and Bouira (Tubiret) are in majority Kabyle-speaking. Kabyle is majority language in Bordj Bou Arreridj, Sétif and a minority language in Boumerdes and Jijel where it coexists with Algerian Arabic.

Kabyle is also spoken as a mother tongue among the Kabyle diaspora in Algerian and European cities (mainly France). It is estimated that half of Kabyles live outside Kabylie.

Official status

Berber languages have no official status in Algeria. Kabyle faces an unfavourable environment in this nation, although there exists a public radio (Channel II, which dates back to the Algerian revolution), and some TV news reports on the unique Algerian TV channel. Since private ownership of TV channels is illegal in Algeria, Kabyles have launched a private Kabyle speaking TV channel that broadcasts from Paris, France (Berbère Télévision).

In 1994, Kabyle pupils and students boycotted Algerian schools for a year, demanding for the officialization of Berber, leading to the symbolic creation of the "Haut Commissariat à l'Amazighité" (HCA) in 1995. Berber languages were subsequently taught as a non-compulsory language in Berber speaking areas.

After the tragic events of the Black Spring in 2001, The Kabyle population organized itself under the label of the Arouch. One of their main goals was to officially recognize Berber. President Bouteflika said "Berber will never be an official language, and if it has to be a national language, it has to be submitted to a referendum" [ [http://www.amazighworld.org/history/amazighophobia/algeria/boutefliqa/boutef.php Boutefliqa et l'amazighophobie. terrorisme a l'egard de la langue Amazigh ] ] ; however he had to submit to the pressure of the Black spring and recognize Berber as a "national language" without a referendum.

In 2005, Bouteflika contradicted himself about the Berber issue, saying that "there is no country in the world that has two official languages" and that "this will never be the case of Algeria". [ [http://www.algeria-watch.org/fr/article/pol/kabylie/declarations_bouteflika.htm Les déclarations de Bouteflika à Constantine sur tamazight ] ]


From west to east, some linguists distinguish four zones characterized by three distinct—but mutually intelligible—pronunciations in the following regions:At the west of Tizi Ghenif, Kabylie of the Djurdjura, Soummam valley and the zone starting from Bejaïa to the east.


The phonemes below reflect the pronunciation of Kabyle.


Kabyle language has four vowels: (e is not considered to be a true vowel, it just makes the reading easier)
* IPA| [æ]
* IPA| [ə]
* IPA| [ɪ]
* IPA| [ʊ]

Historically, schwa (e) is thought to be the result of a pan-Berber reduction or merger of three other vowels. The phonetic realization of the vowels, especially IPA|/a/, is influenced by the character of the surrounding consonants; emphatic consonants invite a more open realization of the vowel, e.g. unicode|aẓru = IPA| [az̴ru] 'stone' vs. amud = IPA| [æmud] 'seed'.


*"Strong verbs" or "irregular verbs":

Example : « Ula d nekk. » — "Me too."

Possessive pronouns

*Example : « Yenna-yas. » — "He said to him." (He.said-to.him)
*Complex example (Mixing indirect and direct object) : « Yefka-yas-t. » — "He gave it to him." (He.gave-to.him-it)


There are three demonstratives, near-deictic ('this, these'), far-deictic ('that, those') and absence:

*Suffix: Used with a noun, example : « Axxam-agi» — "This house." (House-this).


Conjunctions precede the verb: "mi yiwweunicode|ḍ "when he arrived", "muqel ma yusa-d" "see if he came".


Kabyle has absorbed quite some Arabic and French vocabulary. According to Salem Chaker, about a third of Kabyle vocabulary is of Arabic origin; the amount of French loanwords has not been studied yet. These loanwords are sometimes Berberized and sometimes kept in their original form. The Berberized words follow the regular grammar of Kabyle (free and annexed state).

Examples of berberized Arabic or french words :

:Kitab => Taktabt (Book, Ar.):Machine => Tamacint (Machine, Fr.)

Many loanwords from Arabic have often a different meaning in Kabyle:

:El Mal (Money, Ar.) => Lmal (Domestic animals, Kab.)

All verbs of Arabic origin follow a Berber conjugation and verbal derivation:

:fhem (to understand) => ssefhem (to explain).

ample text

In. MOULIERAS (Auguste), les fourberies de si Djeh'a.{| class="wikitable"! IPA transcription : æqərruj ən θiχsi! Word by word translation : head of ewe
- class="IPA"
jiwən wæss, dʒəħħæ jəfkæ-jæs βæβæ-s frank, ækkən æ d-jæʁ æqərruj ən θiχsi. Yuʁ-iθ-id, yətʃtʃæ ækʷ æçsum-is. Yəqqim-d uʃəqlæl ð iləm, jəwwi-jæs-θ-id i βæβæ-s. Ihi, mi θ-iwælæ jənnæ-jæs: "æʃu-θ wæ?" jənnæ-jæs: "ð æqərruj ən θiχsi".

-æ ʃʃmætæ, ænidæ llæn iməz̴z̴uʁn-is?:-θəllæ ts aʕəz̴z̴ugt.-ænidæ llæn wælln-is?:-θəllæ ts æðərʁælθ.-ænidæ jəllæ jils-is?:-θəllæ ts æʝuʝæmθ.-i wəʝlim ən uqərruj-is, ænidæ jəllæ?:-θəllæ ts æfərðˁast.
One day, Jehha he.gave-to.him father-his cent, so.that he.buys head of ewe. He.bought-it-here, he.ate all meat-its. Stayed-here carcass it.is empty, he.brought-to.him-it-here to father-his. Then, when it-he.saw he.said-to.him: "what-it that?" he.said-to.him: "head of ewe".

-Oh vile, where are ears-its?:-She.was it.is deaf.-Where are eyes-its?:-She.was it.is blind.-Where is tongue-its?:-She.was it.is dumb.-And skin of head-its, where it.is?:-She.was bald.Note: the predicative particule d was translated as "it.is", the particule of direction d was translated as "here".

ources used for this article

* Kamal Nait-Zerrad. "Grammaire moderne du kabyle, tajerrumt tatrart n teqbaylit". Editions KARTHALA, 2001. ISBN 978-2-84586-172-5
* Dallet, Jean-Marie. 1982. Dictionnaire kabyle–français, parler des At Mangellet, Algérie. Études etholinguistiques Maghreb–Sahara 1, ser. eds. Salem Chaker, and Marceau Gast. Paris: Société d’études linguistiques et anthropologiques de France.


* [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=kab Ethnologue entry for Kabyle]
*Achab, R. : 1996 - La néologie lexicale berbère (1945-1995), Paris/Louvain, Editions Peeters, 1996.
*Achab, R. : 1998 - Langue berbère. Introduction à la notation usuelle en caractères latins, Paris, Editions Hoggar.
*F. Amazit-Hamidchi & M. Lounaci : Kabyle de poche, Assimil, France, ISBN 2-7005-0324-4
* Salem Chaker. 1983. "Un parler berbere d'Algerie (Kabyle): syntax". Provence: Université de Provence.
* Dallet, Jean-Marie. 1982. Dictionnaire kabyle–français, parler des At Mangellet, Algérie. Études etholinguistiques Maghreb–Sahara 1, ser. eds. Salem Chaker, and Marceau Gast. Paris: Société d’études linguistiques et anthropologiques de France.
* Hamid Hamouma. n.d. "Manuel de grammaire berbère (kabyle)". Paris: Edition Association de Culture Berbère.
*Mammeri, M. : 1976 - Tajerrumt n tmaziɣt (tantala taqbaylit), Maspero, Paris.
*Naït-Zerrad, K. : 1994 - Manuel de conjugaison kabyle (le verbe en berbère), L’Harmattan, Paris.
*Naït-Zerrad, K. : 1995 - Grammaire du berbère contemporain, I - Morphologie, ENAG, Alger.
* Kamal Nait-Zerrad. "Grammaire moderne du kabyle, tajerrumt tatrart n teqbaylit". Editions KARTHALA, 2001. ISBN 978-2-84586-172-5
*Tizi-Wwuccen. Méthode audio-visuelle de langue berbère (kabyle), Aix-en-Provence, Edisud, 1986.


External links

* [http://www.agraw.com/modules/Music/Kabyle-Music.php Kabyle Music]
* [http://www.inalco.fr/crb/crb_2/fiches_dialectes/kabyle.htm INALCO report on Kabyle] , see also [http://www.inalco.fr/crb/crb_2/fiches_thema/kabylie_dialectologie_knz.pdf] and [http://www.inalco.fr/crb/crb_2/fiches_crb/kabyle_SC.pdf] (fr)
* [http://stl.recherche.univ-lille3.fr/sitespersonnels/bendjaballah/bendjaballah2.pdf Negative Preterite] , The negative preterite in Kabyle Berber.

Websites in Kabyle

* [http://www.kabylia.info Kabylia observer/] .
* [http://www.imyura.com imyura.com] .
* [http://www.tamazight.fr tamazight.fr] .
* [http://www.makabylie.info/kabyle.php3?lang=kbl MAK, Timanit i Tmurt n Iqvayliyen]
* [http://www.kabylia.info/index.php/Axxam Kabylpedia] .

Online dictionaries

* [http://www.kabyle.com/dictionnaire/index.php/Cat%C3%A9gorie:Fran%C3%A7ais-Kabyle kabyle.com] Sort of wiktionary.
* [http://www.makabylie.info/tutlayt_langue/dico-fra-kbl-a.php3 MAK]
* [http://danoun.chez-alice.fr/traduction/traductionhb.htm Danoun] .
* [http://imedyazen1.tripod.com/id39.html Glossary of nelogisms by imedyazen] .

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