On Collectives in Eastern Tarifiyt and Eastern Moroccan Arabic

In Moroccan Arabic, as in other Arabic dialects, such as Classical Arabic, there is a distinction between so-called collective nouns and unity nouns, e.g. l-beṭṭix ‘melon (collective)’, l-beṭṭix-a ‘one individuated melon (singular unity noun)’, l-beṭṭix-at ‘several individuated melons (plural unity noun)’. The collective noun is used when individuation is irrelevant. Most Berber languages, including Eastern Tarifiyt, also have such a system, mostly with loanwords from Arabic, and mostly in the lexical domain of vegetables and fruit. An example in Eastern Tarifiyt is l-beṭṭix ‘melon (collective)’, a-beṭṭix- ‘one individuated melon (singular unity noun)’, and i-beṭṭix-in ‘several individuated melons (plural unity noun)’. Native Berber words follow the Berber system, e.g. axsay ‘courgette (singular)’, ixsayin ‘courgettes (plural)’. The idea is that the collective/unity-noun system came along with the loanwords (cf. Kossmann 2008), thereby yielding a parallel system within Eastern Tarifiyt: one with Arabic loanwords, and one with native Berber words. In this presentation I will concentrate on morphology and lexical distribution, but will also touch upon the actual usage of these forms.

 

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