Jbala Arabic

The Arabic varieties spoken in the Jbala region are all of the sedentary or pre-Hilalian type, that is, they arrived with the first Arabization wave in the Maghreb (seventh century). This is a vast geographical area extending from the Straits of Gibraltar to the corridor of Taza, comprising the Habt mountains and the valley of the river Ouargha. All the varieties spoken in this area share common features corresponding to Jəbli-type dialects and differentiate them from those spoken in the cities of northern Morocco (Tetouan, Chaouen, Tangiers, etc.). The first linguist to divide the Jbala varieties into two types was G.S. Colin who, in 1945, made a reference to the differences between dialects spoken in the northern part of the region (supposedly the oldest) and those spoken in its southern area.

A significant aspect to be pointed out is the influence of Andalusi Arabic and of Berber in the formation of these dialects, making them highly peculiar when compared to other Moroccan varieties as ancient features are preserved alongside remarkable innovations resulting from the interaction with former languages.

Finally, the influence of the Spanish language, mostly in terms of lexicon, due to geographical and historical reasons is a feature identifying Jbala varieties and differentiating it from other southern Moroccan dialects.

Árabe de Jbala: Vidas de frontera (parte 1)

Metadata file

Author: Ángeles Vicente (recording, transcription and translation).

Title: Árabe de Jbala: Vidas de frontera (parte 1).

Type of account: Monologue.

Length: 05’07”

Topic: The informant tells how he earns a living betwwen Morocco, Ceuta and the existing political border which separates the two countries.

Languages: Moroccan Arabic (Jebli variety).

Date: 23/02/2009.

Place: Ceuta.

Devices: Edirol R-09 Digital Voice Recorder (by Roland), with a Stereo Microphone Kit Edirol CS-15 (by Roland).

Transcription type: Broad phonetic transcription.

Translation language: Spanish.

Comments: This recording was made during fieldwork carried out in February 2009, in the framework of the research project Corpus oral en langues afroasiatiques: analyse prosodique et morphosyntaxique (231/2006-SHS). Funded by Agence Nationale de la Recherche (France), 2007-2011.

Informants

Number: 1.

Name: Mohamed.

Sex: Male.

Age: 30 (approximately).

Education level: Illiterate.

Occupation: Builder.

Origin: The informant comes from a village near Castillejos (Moroccan city border with Ceuta, called in Arabic Fnideq). The area belongs to the tribe of Anjra.

Interesting data from the sociolinguistic point of view: Monolingual in Moroccan Arabic. Although he often goes to Ceuta, he does not speak Spanish.

Arabe de Jbala. Vidas de frontera (parte 1)

(1) āna f f-əǧ-ǧbəl u-tṛăbbīţ f-әǧ-ǧbəl u::: ka-nxdəm ţəmma kŭnna ka-nəṛʕāw l-mʕăz u ka-nxədmu l-ġăṛsa ka-nʕəmlu l-flāḥa tṛəbbīna::: ṣġāṛīn ḥna f-әǧ-ǧbəl, sāʕa mǝlli kbǝṛna mšīna nxədmu f-səbţa nxədmu f-əd-dīwāna ka-nxədmu f-əd-dīwāna::: (2) əl-pūlīs k-i:::k-īḍăṛbūna k-ī:::ţʕăddāw ʕlīna sāʕa::: žīna nxədmu::: f-əb-bni nxədmu f-əb-bni u::: u ṣġīṛ w-āna ka-n:::əxdəm f-əl-bni u-nəxdəm f-eh::: flāḥa (3) u ǧŭwwəžt bāqi ṣġīṛ eh::: mṛa l-lŭwwlĭyya::: xāṭiba dyāli l-lŭwwlĭyya ʕāw ma kţǝb-ši ʕāwd l-xāṭiba t-ţānya ma ktəb-ši (4) dāba ʕāwd ddīţ mṛa yāxṛa ǧŭwwəžt ʕăndi mʕaa[1] ţlāţa d-әl-ʕyāl ʕăndi mʕaa l-ʕāyəl w-əl-ʕāyla u::: māši məzyān māši məzyān u xəddām măṛṛa ka-nxdəm măṛṛa gāləs măṛṛa f-əd-dīwāna măṛṛa f la obra ah::: (5) ʕāw mǝlli ka-nbqa ma nxdəm-ši ka-nəmši nəʕməl l-flāḥa ka-nʕməl l-flāḥa u hādi l-ʕyāl k-i::: l-ʕāyəl ʕăndi ka-yqṛa f-əm-mədṛāsa f-əǧ-ǧbəl ah ka-īmši l-ḥădd ah ka-īxdəm f-eh::: ka-yəqṛa f-eh… f-ǝǧ-ǧāmăʕ u::: (6) məlli ka-īkūn mṛĭyyəḥ ʕāw ka-nxəṛžu ka-nṛəddūna::: n-kastiyēxo bāš k-īţsāṛa u hādi ḥīţ hna ʕĭšna::: f-əl-wəqţ… kbəṛna f-ət-ţmānīnāţ xlāqna::: bbăṛna:::[2] l-wəqţ bāqi ṣʕīb u dāba l-ʕyāl ʕād kəbṛu u xəṣṣŭm[3] l-wəxţ dyālŭm īḍōṛo māši īləḥḥăqna ḥna dīk əl-wəqţ ṣ-ṣʕīb lăḥqwăh tţa hūma ʕāwǝd bāš ī:::bbṛu[4] ṛāsŭm mǝṛţāḥīn šwĭyya ah::: (7) u::: sāʕītǝk eh::: bāqīn bāqīn f-əǧ-ǧbəl bāqīn f-əǧ-ǧbəl l-ʕīš hŭwwa hāda bāqi ʕāyəš f::: əl-flāḥa u ma tkūn-ši flāḥa ka-nmši nəxdəm b-əb-bni u măṛṛa măṛṛa f-səbţa măṛṛa f-əl-măġṛəb u::: w-əl-ʕāʔīla ʕăndi hnāya ʕăndi l-ʕāʔīla hnāya ʕăndi prima dyāli f hnāya ʕāwəd ka-nži n-ʕănda hnāya ʕăndi bəzzāf primos ʕăndi ʕāʔīla dyāli hna f xadu, resinto hnāya u ʕăndi l-ʕāʔīla ši ḥāža pantera hăyda ši ḥāža prinsipe (8) u māšyīn hăyda māšyīn mʕa l-ḥāla bəlḥăqq l-wəxţ eh::: l-măġṛəb xəṣṣək eh::: ţʕīš f ʕāwd eh::: ʕla ḥāsăb eh::: mustawa dyālu yăʕni xəṣṣək ţʕīš dəṛwīš īda ma ʕăštī-ši dǝṛwīš ṛāh yqădṛu yšǝbbṛūwăh (9) <peṛo> mʕa l-măxzən mʕa hādi xăṣṣək ţəmši hnāya b-šwĭyya āna b-šwĭyya xăṣṣək ʕāwəd īda žbəṛt l-ḥāla ṣʕība xăṣṣək eh::: ţəmši ţʕăddəl l-ūṛāq eh::: yṣăʕʕbu ʕlīk ţʕăddəl l-ūṛāq xəṣṣək[5] ddəbbəṛ ʕlīŭm īda ma dəbbəṛtī-š ʕlīŭm ma ʕăddlu tţa wǝṛqa (10) ḍaṛūṛi xəṣṣək ddəbbəṛ ʕlīŭm ddəbbəṛ ʕlīŭm eh::: ălfīn fṛănk u īda maqnəʕ-ši bīha xəṣṣək eh::: ʕăšṛ ālāf fṛănk u hŭwwa īʕăddəl lək u yəbqa īqūl lək mši u āži mši u āži ʕăddǝl lək pasaporte ʕāwəd ţʕăddlu::: ţʕăddlu::: tʕăddlu b-sĭtţīn ălf fṛănk u məlli ţʕăddlu b-sĭtţīn ălf fṛănk ʕāwəd dži[6] ka-təbqa txăllăṣ xămsa dṛāhəm <tolo*>[7] dāymăn təbqa txăllăṣ xămsa dṛāhəm l-pōlīsi xəṣṣ yəddi xămsa dṛāhəm l-pōlīsi əl-lŭwwəl l-pōlīsi ǝl-āxăṛ xămsa dṛāhəm (11) u məlli ka-dǧi ʕănd ən-nṣāṛa ka-ţǝǧbăr l-fīla ʕāw ka-ttʕăṭṭəl ka-tŭwṣəl mʕăṭṭăl l-əl-xədma ka-tʕīš eh::: mkăṛfǝs yăʕni::: (12) ʕăndna primos hna bāš ka-nbāţu ʕăndŭm u ka-nbqāw mʕaŭm s-sēmāna bāš ka-n* bnādəm ka-ydəbbəṛ l-ʕīš u::: bāš məlli ka-yəmši dīk əs-sēmāna k-īmši ʕănd ūlād u::: eh::: yăʕni ka-īwṣăl dīk əs-sēmāna k-īmši k-īžbăṛ ṛāsu šwĭyya məṛtāḥ mm::: ma ka-īži-ši mʕăṭṭăl u tnūḍ bəkṛi xəṣṣək tnūḍ mʕa l-āṛbʕa d-əṣ-ṣbāḥ u ttxŭl tţa l-ʕăšṛa d-ən-nhāṛ (13) yăʕni ġīṛ f-əl-fīla txəlləṣ xămsa dṛāhəm xămsa dṛāhəm u txəlləṣ taksi bāš tuwṣən[8] əd-dīwāna u ka-tŭwṣăl ʕănd ən-nṣāṛa ka-təžbăṛ əl-fīla təǧbəṛ l-fīla l-pūlīs eh::: bəzzāf d-əl-mnādəm ka-təžbăṛ eh::: xţăṛ[9] mǝn ţǝlţ mya wəlla āṛbʕa mya wāḥed kŭll-ši ydxəl n-səbţa yəxdəm kāmlīn yăʕni::: (14) n-nsa ka-yṭəlqu lŭm u-ṛ-ṛžāl lāʔ ṛ-ṛžāl eh ma ʕāṛăf-š ʕlāš ma ka-ybġīw-ši īṭəlqu ləm ḥīţ eh::: tţa ka-ī::: yăʕni n-nsa kāmlīn k-īdəxlu k-īdǝxlu sǝtţa săbʕa l-xǝṭṛāt u ṛ-ṛžāl bāqīn wāqfīn f-əl-fīla bāqīn ʕāmlīn l-fīla ma::: ma bāqi ma dəbbəṛ wālu ma::: ʕăndu ma ydəbbəṛ (15) ḥīţ ʕlāš ka-īḥăṣṛūna ma ka-īḥăṣṛu ġīṛ ṛ-ṛžāl ʕăndŭm lli ʕăndŭm ʕăndŭm mʕa ṛ-ṛžāl ma::: ka-nbġī-ši nəxṛŭž ḥīţ ʕlāš s-sābăb hĭyya hăyda s-sābăb la-īḍəṛbək ūla d eh ka-yəbqa yəţkăṛfəs ʕlīh u ka-yəbqāw yţʕăddāw ʕlīh (16) ma ka-nbġi-ši nəxṛŭž ka-ndxŭl əyyyūmu ka-ndxŭl eh::: l-ḥădd xxx ndxŭl l-ḥădd nəxṛŭž tţa n-nhāṛ s-səbţ u īda ṭŭwwălt ntxŭl lə-tnīn xṛəžt tţa n-nhāṛ s-səbţ (17) ma bqa-ši::: dāxəl xāṛəž lākĭn eh mumkĭn ǧ-ǧŭmʕa u s-səbt ma īxəllūna-ši ndəxlu l-mġāṛba (continuará…)
[1] Síncopa de /h/: /mʕāha/ > [mʕaa], et passim.[2] Asimilación de /ž/: /žbăṛna/>[bbăṛna].[3] Síncopa de /h/: /xəṣṣhŭm/ > [xəṣṣŭm], et passim.[4] Asimilación de /ž/: /yžəbru/ > [ībbṛu].[5] /tdəbbəṛ/ > [ddəbbəṛ], et passim.[6] /tži/ > [dži], et passim.[7] Es probable que el informante fuera a decir la frase española ‘todos los días’, pero no lo podemos asegurar.[8] /tuwṣəl n-əd-dīwāna/ >[tuwṣən əd-dīwāna].[9] /kţăṛ/ > [xţăṛ].
(1) Yo soy del campo y fui criado en el campo y trabajo allí, pastoreábamos las cabras y trabajamos en el huerto, trabajamos en la agricultura, cuando somos pequeños estamos en el campo, entonces cuando crecemos vamos a trabajar a Ceuta, trabajamos en la frontera. Trabajamos en la frontera, (2) la policía nos golpea y nos maltrata. Venimos a trabajar en la construcción , trabajamos en la construcción y, desde joven trabajo en la construcción y en la agricultura. (3) Me casé siendo todavía joven, con mi primera mujer, con mi primera prometida, no siguió adelante, con la segunda prometida (tampoco) se hicieron los papeles[1]. (4) Ahora encontré otra mujer y me casé, tengo con ella tres hijos, tengo con ella, un chico y una chica. Y (las cosas) van tirando, van tirando, trabajo, a veces trabajo, a veces estoy parado, a veces en la frontera, a veces en la obra. (5) Cuando estoy sin trabajar, voy a hacer la agricultura, trabajo en la agricultura. Y mi hijo estudia en el colegio en el campo, los domingos va a trabajar, a estudiar en la mezquita[2] , (6) y cuando descansa, salimos y volvemos a Castillejos para pasear, y esto es porque nosotros hemos vivido en el tiempo… Crecimos en los ochenta, nacimos y encontramos los tiempos todavía difíciles. Los hijos acaban de crecer y necesitan su tiempo para recorrer, que no vuelvan a alcanzarnos esos tiempos difíciles, que también ellos (nuestros hijos) han vivido, para que se encuentren un poco cómodos. (7) Y entonces, se quedan, siguen en el campo, siguen en el campo, la vida es esto, todavía vives de la agricultura y si no es la agricultura, voy a trabajar en la construcción, y a veces en, a veces, en Ceuta, a veces en Marruecos.Y tengo familia aquí, tengo familia aquí, tengo a mi prima, vengo a su casa aquí , tengo muchos primos, tengo a mi familia aquí en Jadú, en Recinto, tengo algo de familia en Pantera, algo de familia en El Príncipe[3], (8) así vamos (tirando), llevamos la situación pero el tiempo… en Marruecos tienes que vivir según su nivel, es decir, tienes que vivir pobre ; si no vives (como) un pobre entonces ellos pueden cogerlo, (9) pero con el majzén[4], con este tienes que ir aquí poco a poco, despacio. Si encuentras la situación difícil, tienes que (por ejemplo) ir a hacerte los papeles (el pasaporte), ellos te lo pondrán difícil, para hacerte los papeles, tienes que pagar por ellos, si no, si no pagas por ellos, ellos no te hacen ni un papel, (10) es obligatorio, tienes que pagar por ellos, pagar por ellos dos mil francos[5], y si no se contenta con eso, tienes (que pagar), diez mil francos (=100 dírhames) y te lo hace diciendo “ve y ven, ve y ven”, (cuando) te ha preparado el pasaporte… te lo haces por seis mil francos (= 60 dírhames)… te lo has hecho por seis mil francos, y de nuevo vienes y pagas cinco dírhames, siempre sigues pagando cinco dírhames, el policía necesita coger cinco dírhames, del primero al último cinco dírhames, (11) y cuando llegas donde los cristianos encuentras la fila, de nuevo te retrasas y llegas tarde al trabajo, es decir, vives perjudicado. (12) Tengo primos aquí para pasar la noche en su casa y nos quedamos con ellos la semana para … la gente se gana la vida y para que cuando pasa esa semana, va junto a sus hijos, es decir, llega esa semana y va y se encuentra a sí mismo algo descansado, no llega tarde, y te levantas pronto, tienes que levantarte a las cuatro de la mañana y no entras hasta las diez, (13) es decir, solo para (hacer) la cola, pagas cinco dírhames, cinco dírhames, y pagas el taxi para llegar a la frontera, llegas donde los cristianos, te encuentras la fila, encuentras la cola, a la policía, mucha gente, encuentras más de trescientos o cuatrocientos, todos entran a Ceuta a trabajar, todos, es decir, (14) a las mujeres les permiten (entrar) y a los hombres no, los hombres, no sé, por qué, no quieren permitírselo porque… es decir, todas la mujeres entran, entran seis, siete veces y los hombres se quedan parados en la fila, se quedan haciendo la cola , se queda el que no ha pagado nada, el que no tiene nada para pagar (15) porque… ¿por qué ellos nos retienen? Ellos nos retienen solo a los hombres, tienen, lo que tienen, lo tienen con los hombres. (16) Yo no quiero salir porque, a causa de esta razón, la causa es que te golpea, o te hace daño, ellos te maltratan (por eso) (17) no quiero salir, entro cualquier día, entro el domingo, entro el domingo y salgo el sábado y si se alarga (mi estancia), entro el lunes, no saldré hasta el sábado, no estoy entrando y saliendo, pero quizás el viernes y el sábado no nos permiten a los marroquíes entrar (continuará).
[1] Literalmente ‘él no lo escribió’, es decir, no estaba escrito, no era el destino.[2] Se refiere a la escuela coránica que depende de la mezquita.[3] Jadú, Recinto y El Príncipe son tres barrios de la ciudad de Ceuta. ‘La Pantera’ es el nombre popular con el que se conoce a la barriada ‘Juan Carlos I’.[4] Es probable que el informante se refiera a la policía.[5] Un franco equivale a 0,01 dírham, en este caso dos mil francos = 20 dírhames. Los francos forman parte del sistema monetario popular que existe en Marruecos, paralelo a la moneda oficial dírham y su fraccionaria el céntimo.

Arabe de Jbala. Le parler des Branès

Metadata file

Author: Saïda Larej (recording, transcription and translation).

Title: Arabe de Jbala : Le parler des Branès.

Type of account: Conversation.

Length: 5’25”.

Topic: The Branès tribe.

Languages: Moroccan Arabic (Jbala variety).

Date: October 2011.

Place: Taïneste (North Taza).

Devices: Olympus, digital voice recorder VN-2100PC.

Transcription type: Broad phonetic transcription.

Translation language: French.

Comments: See the linguistic analysis of this texte in: Larej, Saïda 2016. « Une étude comparative des données linguistiques sur le parler des Branès (province Taza) », La région du Nord-Ouest marocain : Parlers et pratiques sociales et culturelles, Á. Vicente, D. Caubet et A. Naciri-Azzouz (éds). Zaragoza, Prensas de la Universidad de Zaragoza.

Informants

Number: 1.

Name: Sir Mohamed B.

Sex: Male.

Age: 99.

Education level: Illiterate.

Occupation: Farmer.

Origin: The Werba tribe.

Interesting data from the sociolinguistic point of view: The informant has always resided in Taïnaste. He occasionally went to Oujda region for wheat harvest.

Arabe de Jbala. Le parler de Branès

  • (1) Locuteur : әl-brānәs, qāl lәḵ māš dʕăwәdna әl-brānәs šḥāl.
  • (2) Enquêtrice : ăyyәh. әl-brānәs škūn hūma băʕda?
  • (3) L - әl-brānәs : wәrba, ăyyәh, bni bu ʕla wә-wәrba w-әt-tāyfa wә-bni fәqqūṣ, hāḏūn rәbʕa. hāḏūn әl-brānәs.
  • (4) E : mәnnīn hūma, hāḏ әl-brānәs, mәnnīn žāyyīn ʕāw ttāni hūma?
  • (5) L : īwa dāba ḥta l-әl-mži ma nәʕrәf.
  • (6) E : әw fāy sāḵnīn?
  • (7) L : fāy sāḵnīn?
  • (8) E : ăyyәh.
  • (9) L : hāḏūn?
  • (10) E : hāḏūn, ăyyәh. fāyәn, mәḥdūḏa mʕa šlūḥ aw?
  • (11) L : lla, lla әl-brānәs bni fәqqūṣ mәḥdūḏīn mʕa šlūḥ wә-mʕa šaʕšūʕ žīhṯ msūn. w-әt-tāyfa, әl-brānәs d-әt-tāyfa mәḥdūḏīn mʕa mʕa ġăyyāṯa. mә-hna, mʕa ġăyyāṯa, d-mәnnīhәn, mʕa ġăyyāṯa, wә-mə-hna bīnāṯәm.
  • (12) E : wә-tsūl, ma mәḥdūdīn-š (?) lә-brānәs?
  • (13) L : hāna māži lәḵ. dāba hāḏūn žūž. t-tāyfa. bni fәqqūṣ mәḥdūḏa mʕa šlūḥ wә-mәḥduḏa mʕa t-tāyfa, bīnāṯa әl-brānәs wә-mә-hna mә-žīha әl-fūqĭyya mʕa mʕa šlūḥ. bni bu ʕla mәḥduḏīn mʕa tsūl wә-mәḥduḏīn mʕa lә-ḥyāyna, lә-brānәs mʕa lә-ḥyāyna wә-mәḥduḏīn mʕa ṣәnhāža. Ɂīh, wāš hāḏi hĭyya әl-măʕqul ?
  • (14) E : ăyyәh.
  • (15) L : īwa hāḏūn hūma. dāba, әl-brānәs ʕla ma nʕăqlu ʕla ma nsәmʕu m-әl-lәwwlīn, a-yqūl lәḵ bni bu ʕla, әәh, wәrba l-aṣәl dyālәm m m mūlāy drīs d-fās. wәrba, dāba šūf kānu a-yqūlu lu hūma a-yžīwăh aw hŭwwa a-yžīhәm. w-ət-tāyfa, t-tāyfa, b-wәḥḏa, wә-bni fәqqūṣ b-wәḥḏa.
  • (16) E : ʕārәf ši ḥāža ʕla t-tāyfa wә-ʕla bni fәqqūṣ ḥta hūma?
  • (17) L : šna hĭyya?
  • (18) E : ( ?) ʕāw ttāni mәnnāy māžyīn hūma?
  • (19) L : ma ma nәʕṭīḵ-š lә-xbәr ʕlīhәm, lla. ma nәʕṭīḵ-š dāba l-aṣәl dyāl lә-brānәs, ma nәʕṭīḵ-ši l-aṣәl ma yžāwәb.
  • (20) E : wә-wәrba, šna hĭyya tārīx dyālәm ? šna dāru ? wә-šna ʕāwdu lәḵ ʕlәhәm?
  • (21) L : šna?
  • (22) E : wәrba?
  • (23) L : māla ? wәrba, šna?
  • (24) E : kān ʕăndәm ši zāʕīm, kān ʕăndәm ši …?
  • (25) L : īwa, wәrba, llāh yәʕlәm bīha ʕalamāṯ әl-ḥăqq. āna ma nәsmaʕ ma ma năʕqlu mә-lә-ḥkām dә dә frānsa wә rәdd lә-hna ma nʕăqlū-š ʕlәhәm šna kāyәn.
  • (26) E : ăyyәh.
  • (27) L : īwa hāḵ ma …
  • (28) E : wә qbәl ma…?
  • (29) L : lla , lla, әl-brānәs әl-brānәs әl-lәwwlīn, di yәʕṭīḵ n-năʕt ʕlīhәm, di yәʕṭīḵ n-năʕt ʕlīhәm, māši kāynīn, mәnnāy žāw. hāḏūn rәbʕa, rәbʕa d-əl-qŭyyāḏ t-tāyfa wә-bni fәqqūṣ wә-wәrba wә-bni bu ʕla. wa-lāyәnni әl-brānәs әl-ḥŭrrĭyyīn, әl-ḥŭrrĭyyīn f-əl-brānәs hūma bni bu ʕla, hūma bni bu ʕla, ʕlīhәm dŭzyām wәrba mә tālәṯ bni fәqqūṣ. t-tāyfa ġi mә-ṭyāfa, t-tāyfa ġi mәṭyāfa, ma ʕăt mnāy žāṯ. īwa hāḏa hĭyya әl-qānūn dyālha.
  • (30) E : t-tāyfa šḥāl fīha mәn frăʕ ? әәh, māši t-tāyfa, wәrba, šḥāl fīha?
  • (31) L : šḥāl fīha ? fīha tăynās, tăynās, wә-nxāxṣa, wә-nxāxṣa, wә-wlāḏ ʕăbbu. nxāxṣa, hāḏi dә-dār lә-frāḥ әl-fūqĭyya wә-nxāxṣa t-tăḥtĭyya mәtḥādda mʕa tsūl, ʕla wāḏ lә-ḥdәr nxāxṣa ṣәdd l-lūḥ, a-yqūlu la ṣәdd l-lūḥ wa-lāyәnni nxāxṣa wlād ʕăbbu wlād ʕăbbu wә-lŭqṭa w-əl-lḥāyna wә-gūzāṯ.
  • (32) E : zīḏ, zīḏ, īla ʕārәf ši.
  • (33) L : ăyyәh, ăyyәh, lŭqṭa w-əl-lhāyna wә-gūžāṯ wә, lә-xla … hāḏūn dә, wlāḏ gәnnūn wә-(nә)tsāli ki a-yqūlu l-əs-sāḵnīn qbālṯ gūzāṯ -ʕāb xālqīn. hāḏūn hūma.
  • (34) E : hāḏūn kŭllәm wәrba?
  • (35) L : hāḏūn kŭllha. hāḏa lә-frāʕ әḏ wәrba.
  • (36) E : ma a-yqūlū-š anna wәrba fә-ʕăhd idrīs әl-Ɂăwwăl…?
  • (37) L : mūlāy drīs.
  • (38) E : ăyyәh. mūlāy drīs. ma a-yqūlū-š wәrba zәwwžәṯ bәntәm әl-mūlāy drīs?
  • (39) L : a-yqūlu. a-yqūlu.
  • (40) E : šna a-yqūlu ? šna kānu a-yʕāwḏu ʕla ḏāḵ š-ši?
  • (41) L : dāba nqūl lәḵ, ġi wәrba a-yqūlu әl-mūlāy drīs… a-yžīw mūlāy drīs aw mūlāy drīs әl-aḵbar a-yži әl-wәrba. dāba šūf dāba ka wәrba a-ǧi l-mūlāy drīs aw mūlāy drīs a-yqūl әl-wәrba xwāli. īwa hādi n-nasīb dyāla.
  • (1) Locuteur : Les Branès, vous me dites de vous dire combien ils sont ?
  • (2) Enquêtrice : Oui, mais d’abord qui sont les Branès ?
  • (3) L : Les Branès sont Werba, plutôt, Béni bou Ala, Werba, Taïfa et Béni Feqqous. Ce sont les quatre [composantes]. Ce sont ceux-là les Branès.
  • (4) E : D’où viennent-ils ? D’où viennent-ils ceux-là ?
  • (5) L : Eh bien, à vrai dire, je ne sais pas d’où ils viennent.
  • (6) E : Et où habitant-ils ?
  • (7) L : Où ils habitent ?
  • (8) E : Oui.
  • (9) L : Eux ?
  • (10) E : Oui, eux. Où ? Sont-ils frontaliers avec les Rifains [Berbères] ?
  • (11) L : Non, non. Les Branès Béni Feqqous sont frontaliers avec les Rifains et avec les Chachou du côté de Msoun. Les Taïfa, les Branès Taïfa, sont frontaliers avec Ghiata. Ceux de ce côté-ci [au sud des Branès], avec Ghiata. Ceux de l’autre côté, avec Ghiata. Et ici entre eux deux ( ?).
  • (12) E : Et les Tsoul, ne sont-ils pas frontaliers [avec] les Branès ?
  • (13) L : Oui, j’y arrive. Maintenant en voilà de deux, Taïfa [et Béni Feqqous]. Béni Feqqous sont frontaliers avec les Rifains et avec les Taïfa. Et entre les deux [ente Béni Feqqous et Taïfa] se situent les Branès [Werba]. Par là, au nord, ils [Béni Feqqous] sont frontaliers avec les Rifains. Les Béni bou Ala sont frontaliers avec les Tsoul et avec les Hayayna. Les Branès [Werba] sont frontaliers avec les Hayayna et les Sanhaja. Eh bien, voila ce qu’on pouvait en dire de sérieux.
  • (14) E : Tout à fait.
  • (15) L : Eh bien, c’est de ceux-là dont il s’agit. Maintenant, en ce qui concerne les Branès, d’après nos souvenirs et d’après ce que nous avons entendu des anciens, on dit que les Béni bou Ala, euh non, les Werba sont originaires de Moulay Idris de Fès, Les Werba. On ne sait pas si c’est eux qui étaient issus de sa famille ou bien si c’est lui qui était issu de leur famille.
  • (16) E : Savez-vous quelques choses sur les Taïfa et les Béni Feqqous eux aussi ?
  • (17) L : Quoi par exemple ?
  • (18) E : ( ?) eux aussi, d’où viennent-ils ?
  • (19) L : Non, je ne sais absolument rien sur eux. Non, je ne connais pas du tout l’origine des Branès. Je ne peux absolument pas vous donner de réponse sur leur origine.
  • (20) E : Et les Werba, quelle est leur histoire ? Qu’ont-ils fait ? Qu’est-ce qu’on vous a raconté sur eux?
  • (21) L : Comme quoi ? quoi (par exemple) ?
  • (22). E : Werba ?
  • (23) L : Qu’est-ce qu’elle a [la tribu] ? les Werba, comment ça ?
  • (24) E : Avaient- ils un chef [charismatique] ? avaient-ils … ?
  • (25) L : Eh bien, en ce qui concerne les Werba, Dieu seul connaît la vérité. Moi, d’après ce que j’ai entendu et ce dont on se souvient, depuis l’occupation française, on ne connaît pas grand-chose sur eux.
  • (26) E : Oui.
  • (27) L : Eh bien, c’est tout ce que …
  • (28) E : Et avant que ..?
  • (29) L : Non, non. Personne ne peut vous donner d’informations sur les ancêtres des Branès et d’où ils viennent. [On sait seulement que] ce sont quatre, quatre caïds [caïdats] - Taïfa, Béni Feqqous, Werba et Béni bou Ala. Cependant, les véritables Branès sont les Béni bou Ala. Viennent en deuxième position les Werba et en troisième les Béni Feqqous. Les Taïfa sont seulement des invités. On ne sait pas d’où ils viennent. Voilà ce qu’on peut dire.
  • (30) E : Les Taïfa, combien sont-ils de branches ? non, pas les Taïfa mais les Werba, combien sont-ils [de branches] ?
  • (31) L : Combien y en a-t-il ? Il y a Taïneste, Nkhakhsa, Oulad Abbou. Il y a Nkhakhsa, de Dar Lafrah d’en haut et il y a Nkhakhsa d’en bas qui est frontalière avec les Tsoul. Il y a [aussi] Nkhakhsa [appelés] Sadd louh de Ouad lahdar. Mais Nkhakhsa (?) Oulad Abbou. [il y a aussi] Louqta, El Hayna, Gouzate …
  • (32) E : Citez en encore si vous en connaissez.
  • (33) L : Louqta, El Hayna, Gouzate, et zut … eux là, Oulad Guenoun. j’ai oublié comment s’appellent ceux qui habitent en face de Gouzate - AbdelKhalkine. Voilà, c’est le compte.
  • (34) E : Tous ceux là sont des Werba ?
  • (35) L : Oui, tous. Ce sont les branches de Werba.
  • (36) E : On ne dit pas qu’à l’époque d’Idriss Ier ... ?
  • (37) L : Moulay Idriss.
  • (38) E : Oui, Moulay Idriss. ne dit-on pas que [la tribu de] Werba a donné en mariage sa fille à Moulay Idriss ?
  • (39) L : Oui, en effet, on le dit.
  • (40) E : Qu’est ce qu’on dit ? Qu’est ce qu’on racontait sur ça ?
  • (41) L : A vrai dire, les Werba disent que Moulay Idriss al Akbar est de leur famille. Reste à savoir maintenant si les Werba sont de la famille de Moulay Idriss ou bien c’est Moulay Idriss qui les appelle mes oncles maternels. Voilà donc ce qu’il en est [de la tribu de Werba].

Jbala Arabic: My sweetheart, soon you will regret

Metadata file

Author: Fassiphone Studio (recording), Sarali Gintsburg (transcription and translation).

Title: Jbala Arabic: My sweetheart, soon you will regret.

Type of account: Song.

Length: 5’47”.

Topic: This song represents a humorous dialog between a woman and a man.

Languages: Moroccan Arabic (Jebli variety).

Date: Between 1994-1995.

Place: Fez.

Devices: Studio recording.

Type of transcription: Phonemic transcription.

Language translation: English.

Comments:

Singers

Lahcen Laaroussi

Lahcen Laaroussi - Cortesía de Latifa Laaroussia

Lahcen Laaroussi – Latifa Laaroussia’s courtesy

Was born in 1959 in the village of Bni Darkul, which is located in the territory of tribe Bni Zerwal and is in the vicinity of Taounate. Lahcen has learned the art of singing from his uncle – the famous Jbala singer, musician and poet Mohammed Laaroussi. Lahcen Laaroussi is the only Jbala singer, who recorded one of his numerous albums in France. He performs not only within the jebli tradition but is rather open to other genres, popular within Morocco, first of all, chaabi.

Chama Zaz

Chama Zaz - Cortesía de Latifa Laaroussia

Chama Zaz – Latifa Laaroussia’s courtesy

Was born in 1962 in the village of Rouf, which is located in the territory of tribe Bni Zerwal and in the vicinity of Taounate. She started singing at a very young age and is now one of the most famous female jebli singers. Chama’s repertory consists of mostly traditional jebli songs and she often takes part at various festivals and other musical events.

Árabe de Jbala: Canción 1.

    ḥbībī w-dābā təndəm
Stanza 1
  • W[1]:
  • (1) ā ḥbībī w-dābā təndəm[2]
  • (2) w-nta rāžĭl w nta dəkdəb[3]
Chorus[4]
  • (3) dābā təndəm ā rāžĭl
Stanza 2
  • W:
  • (4) ʕmĭlti mʕāyā mʕa ṭ-ṭnāš
  • (5) w-ʕlāš ka-təkdəb ʕlāš
Stanza 3
  • M:
  • (6) yā l-mra ntīna kəddābā
  • (7) u-bdīna fī mən dābā
Stanza 4
  • W:
  • (8) ʕmĭltī džī lə ʕăndī
  • (9) w-mšītī w-šəkwa n-răbbī
Stanza 5
  • M:
  • (10) žīti təṭbăx f-əl-kānūn
  • (11) ġəyr b-əl-ḥfa w-l-gărsūn
Stanza 6
  • W:
  • (12) ʕmĭltī mʕāya mʕa l-ʕăšĭyyā
  • (13) w-āna qqīt fīk ən-nĭyyā
Stanza 7
  • M:
  • (14) ṣăyfṭək tsărrəḥ l-bqār
  • (15) w-ĭnti mā ʕăynək ši f-əd-dār
Stanza 8
  • W:
  • (16) ʕmĭltī mʕāya mʕa t-tmānyā
  • (17) w-mšīti w-d-dŭnya hānyā
Stanza 9
  • M:
  • (18) w-ntĭyyā mra məsxūṭā
  • (19) ka-tḥəzzəmni b-əl-fūṭā
Stanza 10
  • W:
  • (20) ʕmĭlti mʕāyā f-əl-līl
  • (21) f-əs-sāʕa ddātək Naʕīmā
Stanza 11
  • M:
  • (22) n-nās džŭwwžū b-ən-nsā
  • (23) w-āna ddīta ʕăwrā mfəllsā
[1] The transcription chosen for this text attempts not only to reflect nuances of the Jbala variety of Moroccan Arabic but also to reflect the way the texts are being actually sung. Therefore, stanzas sung by a woman (Chamae Zaz) start with an W (woman), stanzas sung by a man (Lahcen Laaroussi) with M (man).[2] The text of this stanza changes in the course of the song from ā ḥbībī u-dābā təndəm ‘my sweetheart soon you will regret’ to ā Ḥuseyn u-dābā təndəm ‘Husseyn, soon you will regret’.[3] Each second line of each stanza ends with the following words: (1) ā rāžul ‘oh, man’; (2) ā ḥbībī ‘oh, my sweetheart’; (3) ā l-imra ‘oh, woman’.[4] The text of the chorus changes in the course of the song from and from dābā tendəm ā rāžul ‘soon you will regret, man’ to dābā tendəm yā l-imra ‘soon you will regret, woman’.
    My sweetheart, soon you will regret
Stanza 1
  • W:
  • (1) My sweetheart, soon you will regret,
  • (2) You are a man and you lie.
Chorus
  • (3) Soon you will regret, man.
Stanza 2
  • W:
  • (4) You arranged it with me at twelve o’clock,
  • (5) So why do you lie?
Stanza 3
  • M:
  • (6) It is you who lies, woman,
  • (7) Now we are starting it again.
Stanza 4
  • W:
  • (8) You arranged to come to my place,
  • (9) So you left, I have no one to complain but God.
Stanza 5
  • M:
  • (10) You started cooking on the fireplace
  • (11) Barefooted and dressed only in drawers,
Stanza 6
  • W:
  • (12) You arranged to meet in the afternoon
  • (13) And I believed you.
Stanza 7
  • M:
  • (14) I sent you to herd cows
  • (15) But you do not see to the house.
Stanza 8
  • W:
  • (16) You arranged with me at eight
  • (17) You left but it is fine.
Stanza 9
  • M:
  • (18) You are a terrible woman,
  • (19) You are belting me with a towel!
Stanza 10
  • W:
  • (20) You arranged with me at night,
  • (21) Immediately [after that] you left with Naima.
Stanza 11
  • M:
  • (22) Other people marry [normal] women
  • (23) But the one I took is blushless and insane.

Jbala Arabic: I am a Slave of my Sweetheart

Metadata file

Author: Arabaphone Studio (recording), Sarali Gintsburg (transcription and translation).

Title: Jbala Arabic: I am a Slave of my Sweetheart.

Type of account: Song.

Length: 7’04”.

Topic:

Languages: Moroccan Arabic (Jebli variety).

Date: 2004.

Place: Chefchaouen.

Devices: Studio recording.

Type of transcription: Phonemic transcription.

Language translation: English.

Comments:

Singer

Latifa Laaroussia

Latifa Laaroussia - Cortesía de Latifa Laaroussia

Latifa Laaroussia – Latifa Laaroussia’s courtesy

 

Was born in 1967 in a small village called Gharuzim, located in the territory of tribe Lakhmas and in the vicinity of Chefchaouen. She started singing when she was a child and recorded her first songs at the age of 15. Latifa recorded several albums, the most recent of them was out in 2015. This repertory of this singer comprises aytas, ughniyas and ayyouas.

Since 2006, Latifa lives in Malaga (Spain) together with her children. She regularly performs both in Spain and Morocco and is a frequent guest at various musical festivals and TV programs.

Árabe de Jbala: Canción 2.

    āna ʕăbd ġzāli
Chorus[1]
  • (1) ā lālla yəllāli āyli wa-ylāli[2]
  • (2) w-āna ʕăbd ġzāli
Stanza 1
  • (3) ā yā l-wărda ya lālla[3]
  • (4) w-ši wărda bə-š-šūka
  • (5) măžnī w-žnūni
  • (6) ʕla l-ḥāža l-məšrūka
Stanza 2
  • (5) ṭălʕu nžūm l-qĭbla
  • (6) hādi mūrā hādi
  • (7) ṭālba n-răbbi l-ʕāli
  • (8) yəfdī lī murādi
Stanza 3
  • (9) dərdəb lī ndərdəb lək
  • (10) dərdəb li lītšīna
  • (11) w-alla n-ʕăndak lā žīt
  • (12) ʕăy lā žīt ntīna
Stanza 4
  • (13) mūl žlīlba l-kăḥla
  • (14) bīn d-drūb yšāli
  • (15) xăržu bnāt əl-ḥăwma
  • (16) kŭllha tqūl dyāli
[1] The transcription chosen for this text attempts not only to reflect nuances of the Jbala variety of Moroccan Arabic but also to reflect the way the texts are being actually sung. [2] Traditional beginning of a song with no meaning.[3] lālla, a title of respect for a woman.
    I am a Slave of my Sweetheart
Chorus
  • (1) ā lālla yəllāli āyli wa-ylāli[1]
  • (2) I am a slave of my sweetheart!
Stanza 1
  • (1) Ah rose, my Lalla!
  • (2) A thorny rose!
  • (3) I am going mad and my madness
  • (4) Is caused by something we both know.
Stanza 2
  • (5) The stars of the Qibla have appeared,
  • (6) One after another.
  • (7) I am asking you my Lord,
  • (8) To help me get what I want.
Stanza 3
  • (9) Roll it to me and I will roll it [back] to you,
  • (10) I will roll to you an orange.
  • (11) I swear - I came to meet you
  • (12) But you never showed up!
Stanza 4
  • (13) And this black jellaba
  • (14) Is hanging around narrow streets.
  • (15) As guys from [our] quarter went out,
  • (16) Each one is saying: ‘it is mine!’
[1] Traditional beginning of a song with no meaning.

Phonology and phonetics*

Arabic varieties spoken in the region of Jbala feature peculiar traits in terms of phonetics, particularly so when compared to other regions in the south and centre of the country. Regarding consonants, two voiceless realizations of stop /q/, common in pre-Hilalian dialects, can be noted. On the one hand an uvular realization [q] and on the other hand, glottal [ʔ]. See instances in the Anjra (Fahs-Anjra) variety: băqra ‘cow’, nqūlu ‘we say’, qbāyəl ‘before’, răqqāma ‘woman who handles the wood’; compared to those in Aïn Médiouna (Taounate): ʔĭṭṭ ‘cat’, ʔălb ‘heart’, rĭʔ ‘pain’.

The realization of the phoneme /ḍ/ is also peculiar in jebli varieties. On the one hand, as in the usual pronunciation in surrounding cities, this phoneme becomes voiceless and is realized as /ṭ/, whereas in other varieties it has a voiced realization /ḍ/ as in the rest of Morocco (the Anjra variety is a good instance of this). Example: mrīṭa ~ mrīa ‘ill’, băyṭa ~ băya ‘egg’, ṭăhri ~ ăhri ‘my back’, mūṭăʕ ~ mūăʕ ‘place’.

The presence of different spirantized and affricate allophones due to the influence of Berber substratum and adstratum is also peculiar and exists in practically all described varieties in Jbala.

Occlusive spirantization: /b/ > [ḇ]: žāḇūni ‘they brought me’, āḇāwən ‘broad beans’; /k/ > [ḵ]: bĭntəḵ ‘your daughter’, ḵbīra ‘big’, dyālḵŭm ‘your’; /q/ > [x], an habitual realization for the term wăxt ‘time’ and derivatives, as in the question word fūyāx? / fīwāx? ‘when?’, but which can be also found in the verb ysəxṣi (< ysəqṣi) ‘he asks’.

In the case of dental phonemes in some areas in Jbala this fricatization results even in the appearance of the corresponding interdental allophones [ṯ], [ḏ] and [ḏ̣].

Affrication of palato-alveolar phonemes: /ž/ and /š/ are realized as affricate [ǧ] and [č] in some contexts: ǧlāləb ‘jellabas’, ṭănǧra ‘pot’, šfənǧ ‘fritter’, y ləčīn ‘orange’, tčūf ‘you look’, dčăr ‘hamlet’.

The phoneme /t/ is always realized as affricate [ţ], which is probably the most defining feature of the north-western variety of Moroccan Arabic and therefore is not exclusive to jebli varieties but is also found in urban varieties in this region.

As regards vowels, Arabic in Jbala features the frequent realization of allophones of /ə/ ([ă], [ĭ], [ŭ]), and the presence of diphthongs (ḥăwma ‘neighbourhood’, ṣăyf ‘summer’) instead of the tendency towards monophthongation typical of other Moroccan varieties.

A feature of some varieties in the Jbala region is the palatalization of the vowel /a/ > [e] or [i] at the end of a word. Examples: dābe ‘now’, dyālne ‘our’, žīni ‘we have come’.

Verb morphology

One of the most peculiar features of these rural varieties is the lack of gender distinction in the second person singular of the perfective, imperfective and imperative. Thus we find the declension suffixed for the feminine and masculine to form the second person singular of the perfective which, in addition, coincides with the first person singular: lʕəbţ ‘I played’ (common gender) and ‘you played’ (common gender).

In the imperfective, the prefix ţ– is for both genders: ţəkţəb ‘you write’ (common gender), ţqūl ‘you say’ (common gender). Likewise, in the imperative the same form is used both for masculine and feminine: šūf hāda ‘look at this!’ (common gender).

There are two preverbs for the imperfective: la– and a-, though now it is increasingly common to find the preverb ka-, more common in Moroccan Arabic.

The future particles are māši (or māš) and ʕādi (or ʕād or ʕa ), example: māši nšūfək f-əār dyālne ‘I will see you at our home’, ʕād nəmsīw n-əl-mdīna u ʕād nčūfək ţəmma ‘we will go to the city and we will see you there’.

Noun morphology

As in verbs, in the case of independent personal pronouns no gender distinction applies. Thus, forms ntīna and ntīn are used for the second person singular both masculine and feminine.

In the case of personal pronouns, the syncope of /h/ in pronouns –ha > -a ‘his/her’ (3rd sing. fem.)’ and –hŭm ~ -həm > -ŭm ~ –əm ‘their’ (3rd pl.) is another feature.

The genitive is formed with particles d- and dyāl: hāda dyālkŭm ‘this is yours’.

As a result of Berber influence in the region, some gender and number switches exist compared to other Moroccan varieties: ḥūţ ‘fish’ is feminine in some Jəbli varieties: l-ḥūţ bārda ‘the fish is cold’, l-ḥūţ l-məqlĭyya ‘the fried fish’, whereas it is masculine in other Moroccan varieties: l-ḥūţ bārəd, l-ḥūţ l-məqli. And the term l-ma ‘water’, is usually singular, while it is plural in Jbala: l-ma bārdīn ‘the water is cold’, as water in Berber is plural.

Lexicon

The lexicon, along with phonetics, features the greatest differences compared to other Moroccan varieties. This is due to Andalusi and Berber influence, the latter both in terms of substratum and adstratum.

Some peculiar terms and phrases used in the region include: dābsăḥ ‘shortly after’, əl-qāyla ‘the sun’, ṭāyǝl ‘before, in times gone by’, qwām ‘good, perfect’, šәnnu msәmmi nţīna? ‘what’s your name?’, kĭmma ḥәbbīţ ‘as you wish’, kīf qăyyāla ? ‘how did you spend the day?’.

Some dialect words have been created by adding prefixes and suffixes. Adding the suffix –k (usually fricatized –) is a common trait in this region and appears in words from different grammar categories. For instance, in personal pronouns of the second person singular and plural: nţīnăk – nţūmăk / nţīnăḵ / nţūmăḵ ‘you’ (sing/pl.), in adverbs of place: ţǝmmăk / ţǝmmăḵ ‘there’, manner: hāydăk / hāydăḵ ‘thus’, time: sāʕīţǝk / sāʕīţǝḵ ‘then’) and in the word zăʕmāţăk / zăʕmāţăḵ ‘that is (to say’.

The suffix –ya, existing also in other zones in the country, can be found: hāydāya ‘thus’, īwāya ‘yes’, tǝmmāya ‘there’, and even with personal pronouns ānāya ‘I’, ḥnāya ‘we’.

Another trait is the addition of the preposition n- (typical in the region) to form adverbs of place: nbărra ‘outside’, ntāxǝl ‘inside’, nfūqi ‘up’, ntāḥǝţ ‘down’, nţəmma ‘there’.

Finally, question words featuring in the region are: šǝnnu / šǝnnūwa (for the masculine, with variants čǝnnu / čǝnnūwa) and šǝnni /šǝnnīya (for the feminine, with variants čǝnni /čǝnnīya). Short forms are used in verb sentences whereas long forms apply in noun sentences. Examples : čǝnni bġīţ? ‘what do you want?’, šǝnnu ţǝšrǝb? ‘what do you drink?’, šǝnnūwa hāda? ‘what is this?’, šǝnnīya hād ǝl-ḥāža? ‘what is this thing?’, a question usually shortened as čәnni? ‘what?’.

 

*Data used for this brief summary were compiled from: Vicente, Ángeles 2000. El dialecto árabe de Anjra (norte de Marruecos). Estudio lingüístico y textos. Zaragoza, Universidad de Zaragoza; and from: Sánchez, Pablo & Vicente, Ángeles 2012. “Variación dialectal en árabe marroquí: əl-haḍra š-šāmālīya u la-hḍṛa l-maṛṛākšīya”, A. Barontini, Ch. Pereira, Á. Vicente & K. Ziamari (éds.) Dynamiques langagières en Arabophonies : variations, contacts, migrations et créations artistiques. Zaragoza: Universidad de Zaragoza, 223-252.

Author: Ángeles Vicente

Jbala (in Arabic جبالة [žbāla], in Spanish, Yebala) is an ethnonym basically used nowadays as a toponym to designate a large portion of the inhabitants of the Rif’s western section in north-western Morocco.

Spanish and English bibliography referring to Jbala as a toponym, in the sense of “region”, commonly precedes it with an article, thus designating it “La Yebala” and “The Jbala”. The article is hardly ever used in French though the name “pays Jbala” is quite common, conveying the “country (that is, the territory) of the Jbala”, a translation of the Arabic term blād žbāla. The historical and cultural region inhabited by the Jbala “mountain people”, mainly though not exclusively defined by a distinct language (Moroccan Arabic Jəbli, a pre-Hilalian variety), extends from the cities of Tangiers and Ceuta, in the north, to river Ouargha (a tributary of river Sebou), in the south including the medium-sized mountains referred to by geographers as Prerif or Low Riffian Mountain, where the cities of Ouezzane and Taza are located. To the west, the Atlantic plains are the limit, extending from Tangiers to Larache, an area historically called Habt (bordering the Atlantic on its western flank), to the east, the westernmost point of what is considered Central Rif proper (Ketama, Targuist).

The appearance of the ethnonym Jbala in written sources comes quite late, going back to the eighteenth century, the time when the Alawite came to power. It appears on the undated manuscript of a little-known historian from that century, Abd al-Karim ar-Rifi, who claims that in 1672 a Umar ben Haddu at-Temsamani was appointed qāʔid nāḥiyat žbāla wa al-faḥṣ ‘qaid of the region of Jbala and Fahs’. This region was an administrative department of the kingdom apparently replacing the former ʕamālat al-habṭ, which according to Leo Africanus may have been created two centuries earlier under the Wattasids (Alfiguigui, quoted in Vignet-Zunz, 1995). At any rate, the toponym Habt was already used, as historians point out, in a previous stage, during the Idrisid rule. The term Jbala is nowadays commonly used by historians, linguists and anthropologists, though it used to be rejected by some researchers. Significantly so by North-American anthropologist Carleton Coon who, in his 1931 book entitled Tribes of the Rif, explains that the term Jbala is generally used to differentiate Ghomara, Arabic-speaking Senhaja and other north-western Berber tribes from Riffians and Arabs. He believes this is an inaccuracy and therefore refuses to use the term to designate any particular area (Coon 1931). In the last few decades, however, Jbala has become accepted as a toponym and ethnonym in research on northern Morocco. As a toponym it is used to refer to the rural and urban territory of Western Rif, and as an ethnonym it refers to the Arabic-speaking population of Berber origin.

The list of tribes included in Jbala territory is variable as no full agreement exists amongst scholars. Tribes are usually defined as Jbala based on a series of cultural factors, taking into consideration either linguistic or ethnographic perspectives. For instance, Auguste Moulierás, a French sociologist writing about the Jbala in the late nineteenth century included fifty-two tribes (he calls them “tribes”). A more recent source, the so-called Carte du peuplement du Maroc septentrional, published in a collective work by the Groupe pluridisciplinaire d’étude sur les Jbala in 1991, considers forty-four tribes as part of Jbala, eight fewer than Moulierás.

The Jbala are populations of local origin, mostly sedentary Berbers settled in this territory for centuries, at least since Antiquity, and Arabized and Islamized in different periods. The abundant macrotoponymy and microtoponymy existing in the region attests to this fact. These Berber-speakers may have received at various times the contributions of migrant populations, particularly from the eleventh century onwards, consisting of Berber-speaking, Arabic-speaking and Spanish-speaking peoples originating both from Morocco, such as the Idrisids, Zenati and Senhaji, and from the Iberian Peninsula, such as the Andalusi, who arrived after the defeat by the Christians over the Muslims but mostly after the conquest of Granada; the Jewish (Sephardi) and the Morico, after the expulsion ordered by Philip III: The Zenati and Senhaji contributions are believed to be more relevant in the southern side of Jbala, in rural areas around the city of Ouezzane and in the north-west of the city of Taza, whereas Andalusi, Sephardi and Morisco contributions can be noted throughout the entire territory. In addition, Berber-speaking contributions form the Rif, a neighbouring region. The Jbala people are currently Arabic-speaking and due to this fact they are often referred to as “Arabized Berbers or Amazigh”. In north-western Morocco native Berber-speaking populations only exist in some tribes in Ghomara. Historically as well as now, people of plural origins predominate in the cities located in tribe territories or nearby, with Jbala, Riffian, Andalusi, Sephardi, Morisco elements, etc.

Origin myths are remarkably significant amongst the Jbala. They refer to the replacing of some original peoples called the people of the Sous (ahl sūs or swāsa) by others, the Jbala often defined as Arabs and Arabic-speaking. These origin myths, far from being exclusive to the Jbala people, are shared by the people in Ghomara as explained in the analysis conducted by Julio Caro Baroja, amongst others. Nonetheless, people in Ghomara put less emphasis on the matter of the Arabic language as the Berber-speaking population survives in some areas of the territory.

The Arabization of Jbala was early and intense though much more so in the northern part of the territory, particularly in urbanized territories. A vast majority of the Jbala population is Muslim, namely Sunni, of the Maliki school, as in the rest of Morocco. The history of the Jbala territory from the fifteenth to the twentieth century is that of a densely populated and urbanized region which maintained close relationships, at times quite hazardous, with the Muslim and Christian kingdoms of the Mediterranean, particularly with the Iberian monarchies and with the kingdom of Fez. During the periods of Idrisid, Almoravid and Almohade dominance, the area was militarily threatened by the central monarchy. From the fifteenth century onwards, the Portuguese and the Spanish occupied different localities of the north-African coast in the Straits of Gibraltar (Ceuta), and of the Atlantic and Mediterranean shores of the Kingdom of Fez and of Morocco. The Jbala actively took part in the struggle against Iberian military contingents. In the middle of the nineteenth century, the African War, as it is known in Spain (1859) led to the taking of the city of Tetouan by the Spaniards and to an armed conflict deployed in the Jbala tribes of Anjra, Haouz and Wad Ras. From 1912 to 1956, Spain and France established their Protectorate over the territory of northern Morocco. This period of resistance against colonial domination produced complex figures which are renowned amongst the Jbala, such as Ahmed Raissouni. In 1925, the so-called Treaty of Madrid, signed by Spain and France during the Rif War, set the “zones of influence” for the two European countries over Jbala territory. French and Spanish aspirations in the area of the river Ouargha and the upper course of the river Loukkous established a border line by armed force and agreed upon in Bab Taza, in 1927, leaving several Jbala tribes within the area of the French Protectorate. The border line drawn by France and Spain crosses the territory of different tribes: Ahl Serif, Beni Issef, Beni Zkar, Lakhmas, Ghzawa and Beni Ahmed. Except for the southern territories occupied by the French, the rest of Jbala territory was part of the Spanish Protectorate up until 1956. The territory designated as Jbala (Yebala) by the Spanish had its capital in Tetouan, a city which also played a part as the capital of the Protectorate.

Currently, after the reorganization carried out in 2015, the Jbala territory is almost fully integrated within one of the sixteen regions that Morocco is administratively divided into, the region of Tangiers-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, comprising two wilayas (Tangiers-Tétouan and Tétouan) plus eight provinces (Chefchaouen, Fahs-Anjra, Larache, Ouezzane, Tétouan, M’diq-Fnideq, Tanger-Asilah and Al-Hoceima). They all contain Jbala localities. There are also Jbala localities in two other Moroccan provinces: Taounate and Taza, in the region Fès-Meknès.

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