Difference between revisions of "Kwarandzyey"

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Revision as of 14:21, 4 February 2013

Autoglottonym: Kwaṛa n dzyəy
Pronunciation: [{{{Pronunciation}}}]
Ethnologue name: Korandje
OLAC name: {{{OLACname}}}
Location point: 29° 24' 18 N, 3° 15' 38 W
Family: Nilo-Saharan
Genus: Songhay
Country: Egypt, Libya
Official in: --
Speakers: {{{Speakers}}}
Writing system: {{{WritingSyst}}}
ISO 639-3: {{{ISO3}}}


Kwarandzyey, or Korandje, are renditions of Kwaṛa n dzyəy - hometown's speech. Kwaṛa is both a common noun meaning "hometown" or "home area" (Algerian Arabic blad) and a proper noun referring to one of the oasis' four villages. In local dialectal Arabic, it is normally termed šəlħa, a generic term for non-Arabic local languages more commonly applied to Berber.


Kwarandzyey is the main language of three out of the four villages in the oasis of Tabelbala, located in western Algeria between Tindouf and Bechar, about one thousand kilometres north of Timbuktu. Emigration, usually for work, has led to significant Belbali communities outside the oasis, in particular in Tindouf and to a lesser extent Bechar.


Approximately 3000 people - about half the oasis' population - speak Kwarandzyey (link). All but a few of their children are being brought up to speak Arabic as their first language.


There are some minor lexical differences between the westernmost village and the other two.



Validity of classification

Most basic vocabulary and structure is transparently derived from Songhay (as first noted in print by Cancel 1908), showing particularly strong similarities to other Northern Songhay varieties. However, Berber and to a lesser extent Arabic influence has strongly affected the structure, and accounts for most of the lexicon.

The membership of Songhay in Nilo-Saharan is controversial.


Ongoing research on Kwarandzyey:

Works on the language

  • Cancel, Lt. 1908. “Etude sur le dialecte de Tabelbala”, Revue Africaine no. 270-271, pp. 302-247.
  • Champault, Dominique. 1969. Une oasis du Sahara nord-occidental, Tabelbala. Paris: CNRS.
  • Kossmann, Maarten. 2004a. “Mood/Aspect/Negation Morphemes in Tabelbala Songhay (Korandje)”. Afrika und Übersee. Band 87. pp. 131-153.
  • Nicolai, Robert. 1981. Les dialectes du songhay. Contribution à l'étude des changements linguistiques. Paris: SELAF.
  • Tilmatine, Mohamed. 1991. “Tabelbala: Eine Songhay Sprachinsel in der algerischen Sahara”, in ed. Daniela Mendel and Ulrike Claudi, Ägypten im afro-orientalischen Kontext: Aufsatze zur Archeologie, Geschichte und Sprache eines unbegrenzten Raumes. Gedenkschrift Peter Behrens. Köln: Universität zu Köln. pp. 377-397.
  • Tilmatine, Mohamed. 1996. “Un parler berbèro-songhay du sud-ouest algérien (Tabelbala): Elements d’histoire et de linguistique”, Etudes et Documents Berbères no. 14, pp. 163-198.

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