Oran Arabic

Oran Arabic is a Bedouin-Hilali-based urban dialect. Bearing in mind the demographic evolution of the city as well as its relevance as the capital of the region, it may be presumed that Oran constitutes a melting pot where different Hilali rural varieties from the region mix as well as, to a lesser extent, some pre-Hilali varieties. The dialect itself shows an evolution quite similar to that of Morocco’s financial capital, Casablanca. Both varieties share various Bedouin-Hilali features which have been rearranged through several levelling processes. As regards the sedentary-pre-Hilali element, it can be mainly noted in the alternation /q/~/g/ and in the loss of interdental phonemes which were still uttered in the early twentieth century.

 

Árabe de Orán: Chiste del tartamudo

Metadata file

Author : Jairo Guerrero (recording, transcription and translation).

Title: Árabe de Orán: Chiste del tartamudo.

Type of account: Monologue.

Length: 1’32”.

Topic: Joke about a stutterer seeking a job.

Languages: Algerian Arabic (Oran variety).

Date: 17/04/2014.

Place: City of Oran (Northwest Algeria).

Devices: Zoom H2 Handy Recorder.

Transcription type: Broad phonetic transcription.

Translation language: Spanish.

Comments: This recording was made during fieldwork carried out in April 2014, in the framework of the mobility program Investigadores mediterráneos, funded by Aula Universitaria del Estrecho and Banco Santander.

Informants

Number: 1 (with interventions of the interviewer).

Name: Mhammed.

Sex: male.

Age: 25 years old.

Education level: baccalaurate.

Occupation: college student.

Origin: born and raised in Oran.

Interesting data from the sociolinguistic point of view:

Árabe de Orán. Chiste del tartamudo

(1) gāl lək wāḥəd ʕăggūn, wădwād ma yəhḍəṛ-š ġāya (2) yəhḍəṛ āhāhāh bāš ygūl l-kəlma… (3) ḥăwwəs ʕla xədma ma lqā-š gāʕ xədma (4) gāl lək txăl[1] ʕănd wāḥəd mūla ḥānūt, ybīʕ lə-ktūba, txăl ʕăndăh "ss… slā…mu… ʕlī…kŭm" (5) ygūl lăh "s-slām w-ṛaḥmatu ḷḷāh" "xx…xəṣṣni xx…xədma" (6) yāḷḷāh qrīb tŭxlŭṣ ki-dxŭlt… qrīb tŭxlŭṣ (7) gāl lăh: "ša bīt təxdəm? ša nxəddmək ʕă-Ḷḷāh?". (8) gāl lăh: "nəxdəm b-əlli kāyən", hŭwwa yəhḍəṛ b-əl… ma yəhḍəṛ-š kīma hākka (9) gāl lăh "lli kāyna xədma". hād yšūf fīh šəffăh, gāl lăh: "ma kāš ʕāwd tšəffăh", gāl lăh (10) ʕăndăh fə-lāryēṛ būtīk[2] wāḥəd ktūba mən wīnta ma nbāʕu lăh-š, ʕāṛəf mən wīnta? fə-ʕăšṛa snīn wəlla… ma nbāʕū-š, qāyəshŭm fə-lāryēṛ būtīk (11) žāb lăh ʕăšṛa ktūba, gāl lăh: "hāk hād lə-ktūba ma txălləṣni ma wālu", gāl lăh: "ddīhŭm w-bīḥḥŭm[3], ʕla ḥsăb ma bəʕthŭm ʕṭīni w-ddi fāyədtək" (12) ṛāḥ xăms dqāyəq wəlla, gāl lăh: "bəʕthŭm?" gāl lăh: "wāh bəʕthŭm" (13) gāl lăh: "ṛāni fə-ʕăšṛa snīn, wāḥəd ma bəʕtăh-š ntāya ʕăšṛa bəʕthŭm" (14) "la bəʕthŭm mxăllṣa" (15) gāl lăh: "dzīd təxdəm?" gāl lăh: "wāh" (16) ṛāh žāb lăh ʕəšrīn, gāl lăh… ṛāḥ ʕăšṛa dqāyəq ža ʕăndăh xăllṣăh, xlăʕ s-sĭyyəd aīwa ki-ṛāh ydīr hāda? (17) žāb lăh kăṛtūn[4], gāl lăh:" hāk ddīh, nŭṣṣ" nhāṛ wəlla ʕăndăh xălləṣ fīh b-əl-ʕăgd "ṣāye[5] bəʕtăh" (18) xlăʕ s-sĭyyəd gāl lăh: "Ḷḷāh yəṛḥəm būk bīt[6] nṣăqṣīk ki-ṛāk ddīr bāš tbīḥḥŭm ntāya?" (19) gāl lăh: "ṛāni ngūl lhŭm: šṛu lĭya hād lə-ktāb wəlla nqṛāh lkŭm".
[1] Ensordecimiento: /dxăl/ > [txăl] “él entró”.[2] l’arrière boutique “trastienda” (< francés).[3] Asimilación: /bīʕhŭm/ > [bīḥḥŭ] “véndelos”.[4] carton “caja (de cartón)” (< francés).[5] ça y est “ya está, listo, se acabó” (< francés).[6] Caída de /ġ/: /bġīt/ > [bīt] “yo quiero”. El verbo querer se expresa normalmente en Orán mediante la voz bġa (imperfectivo yəbġi) por lo que no parece que se trate etimológicamente de la raíz clásica {ʔby} tal y como se ha señalado para otros dialectos. Véase al respecto Sánchez 2014: 135 y la bibliografía citada (ver apartado de referencias bibliográficas).
strong>(1) Esto era un tartamudo, un tartajoso que no hablaba correctamente, (2) hablabaahahah para decir una palabra. (3) Un tartajoso que buscaba trabajo y no lo encontraba.(4) Resulta que fue a un tendero, uno que vendía libros, entró (y dijo) "hoooo…la" (5) (eltendero) le dijo "hola, la paz y la misericordia de Dios sean contigo". "Neeee…cesito untrabajo". (6) Vamos, ya has terminado, acabas de entrar y ya has terminado. (7) (Eltendero) le dijo: "¿en qué quieres trabajar? Por Dios ¿en qué puedo emplearte?" (8) (Eltartamudo) le dijo: "trabajaré en lo que haya". Él hablaba con… no hablaba así. (9) Ledijo: "el trabajo que haya". (El tendero) lo miró y le dio pena de él. Le dijo: "ya no le daráspena a nadie". (10) (El tendero) tenía en la trastienda unos libros que no vendía desdehacía mucho, ¿sabes desde cuándo? Hacía unos diez años que no los vendía y los habíatirado en la trastienda (11) Le trajo diez libros y le dijo: "toma estos libros y no mepagues ni nada". Le dijo: "llévatelos y véndelos, según (el precio) por el que los vendasdame (mi parte) y llévate tu comisión". (12) Se fue (el tartamudo) y a los cinco minutosregresó y (el tendero) le dijo: "¿los has vendido?" Le dijo: "sí, los he vendido". (13)(Entonces el tendero) le dijo: "yo en diez años no he vendido ni uno y tú has vendidodiez". (14) "No, los he vendido y están pagados". (15) (El tendero) le dijo: "¿(quieres)seguir trabajando?". Él le dijo: "sí". (16) Fue y le trajo veinte, le dijo… se fue y a los diezminutos vino y le pagó. El señor se asustó y (se dijo), pero ¿cómo hace este (paravender los libros)? (17) Le trajo una caja y le dijo: "toma, llévatela". Pasó medio día y (eltartamudo) volvió a donde estaba el tendero, y cumpliendo con lo acordado (le dijo): "yaestá, la he vendido". (18) El señor se asustó y le dijo: "por favor quisiera preguntartecómo haces tú para venderlos". (19) (El tartamudo) le dijo: "yo les digo: ¡compradme estelibro o (de lo contrario) os lo leo!".

Phonology and Phonetics*

As most Bedouin dialects, the main reflex of */q/ is /g/, though some cases exist of alternation with /q/ (grīb ~ qrīb ‘nearby’, gdīm ~ qdīm ‘ancient’). */ǧ/ is always realized as palato-alveolar /ž/ and does not change when in contact with sibilants, unlike other dialects in the area.

Ancient interdental phonemes are realized as stop: ḍălma ‘darkness’, dənb ‘guilt’, tlāta ‘three’.

Similarly to other Algerian dialects, pharyngeal /ʕ/ tends to become unvoiced in certain syllabic contexts, thus qāṛăʕtqāṛăḥt ‘I waited’, lă-ʕšală-ḥša ‘the dinner’.

A curious aspect of this dialect’s consonantism is the occasional voicing of labiodental /f/ in the verb ṛfədṛvəd “he lifted”. The presence of affricate /č/ in Spanish loans is remarkable too.

The vowel system in Oran Arabic is identical to pre-Hilali urban dialects, that is, two short vowels (/ə/, /ŭ/) and three long vowels (/ā/, /ū/, /ī/). This is also a trait in Bedouin-based dialects such as Casablanca’s or Marrakech’s.

Verb Morphology

Oran Arabic features the gemination of the first consonant of the root in verb conjugation forms where a short vowel in an open syllable would otherwise occur: nəfhəmnəffəhmu (instead of nəfəhmu). This typically Bedouin trait also appears, though less often, in noun morphology: mkŭḥla ~ mŭkkŭḥla ‘shotgun’, răgbəttək ~ răggəbtək ‘your neck’.

A good instance of Bedouin and pre-Hilali elements combining is the conjugation of the plural forms in defective verbs. The paradigm is not reconstructed in any form save for the third pl. of the perfective: nənsu, tənsu, yənsu, nsāw.

Other typically Bedouin traits in verb morphology are: the lack of preverbs, the construction of the passive by means of the prefix n– and the use of the future particle ġādi.

Noun Morphology

Regarding personal pronouns, the most remarkable trait is the gender distinction in the second person singular and the use of the suffix pronoun of the third person masc. sing. –ăh.

In line with other Hilali dialects, synthetic constructions are preferred to express possession. The genitive particle tāʕ (pl. tāwəʕ), however, is also used.

One of the most remarkable Bedouin traits in Oran Arabic is the use of the plural paradigm such as ḥwānīt ‘shops’ (as opposed to sedentary ḥwānət).

Lexicon

Oran Arabic lexicon combines typically Algerian terms with others from the region: šbāb ‘beautiful’, mlīḥ ~ ġāya ‘nice’, āṛwăḥ ‘come!’, səqṣa ‘to ask’, ḥăbb ~ bġa ‘to want’, dṛāhəm ‘money’, ḥăwwəs ʕla ‘to look for’, ḥkəm ~ gḍəb ‘to hold, to grasp’, stənna ~ qāṛăʕ ‘to wait’, šādi ‘monkey’, xŭdmi ‘knife’, nəžžəm ~ qădd ‘to be able’, āyya ‘let’s go!’, ṣăḥḥa ‘ok, all right’, ṣăḥḥīt ‘thanks’. Likewise, Oran Arabic dialect has some lexical isoglosses in common with Moroccan dialects, for instance: ʕqəl ʕla ‘to remember”, bla žmīl ‘you’re welcome’, ma lək? ‘what’s the matter?’, xāwi ‘empty’, nīšān ‘straight’.

Finally, there is a remarkable presence of Spanish loans: bolsa > būṛṣa ‘bag’, rojo > ṛōxo ‘fair’, lejía > līxīya ‘bleach’, chancla > šăngla ‘flip-flop’, puñeta > bănyăt ‘to masturbate’, duro > ḍōṛo ‘monetary unit equal to 1 centime of Algerian dinar’.

*Data used for this brief summary have been compiled from: Guerrero, Jairo 2015. “Preliminary Notes on the Current Arabic Dialect of Oran (Western Algeria)”, Romano-Arabica 15, 219-233.

Author: Jairo Guerrero

The coastal city of Oran (in Arabic وهران [wahrān], in Spanish Orán) is located in north-western Algeria and is the second biggest city in the country after its capital, Algiers.

Located about 270 km from the Moroccan border, Oran is a major economic and industrial centre whose main activities revolve around the fishing industry, trade and gas export.

The area now covered by the modern city and by the town of Mazalquivir was known in the Roman period as Portus Divini. Nearby sites of Bethioua and Madagh evidence Punic-Roman occupation.

According to al-Bakri, Oran was founded in 902 by Andalusi seamen Muhammad Ibn Abi Awn and Muhammad Ibn Abdun, supported by the Umayyad in Cordoba who sought to expand their dominion over this Mediterranean area. Towards 910 a conflict between Berber tribes in the region resulted in the sacking and burning of the city. After its reconstruction, Oran was again devastated by the Ifranes. The Zirids rebuilt it and remained there up until 1077, when it was conquered by the Almoravids.

The city gained relevance given its proximity to Mazalquivir and Honain, ports of the Almohad fleet. After the defeat of this Berber dynasty in the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212) new north-African dynasties emerged (Hafsids, Zianids and Marinids) who successively ruled over Oran. This was a period of economic and cultural splendour mostly thanks to trade agreements with the maritime republics of Genoa and Venice.

Between 1492 and 1502, the city received numerous Jewish and Moorish refugees expelled from Spain by the Catholic Monarchs. At that time, the Berber coast had become shelter for pirating ships. Following expansionist policies and with the purpose of halting corsair actions, Spain conquered Oran in 1509. The new lords of this African enclave ordered the fortification of the city and the building of a prison.

From 1609 onwards a new wave of Moorish refugees arrived in Oran. One century later, in 1708, the Ottomans managed to expel the Spaniards who did not recover this stronghold until 1732. In the year 1790, however, an earthquake razed the city forcing the Spanish to evacuate it.

In 1831, after forty years of Turkish control, Oran, like the rest of Algeria, succumbed to French troops. A large number of settlers, mostly French and Spanish started to arrive attracted by the economic potential of agriculture and trade.

In 1939, several ships loaded with Spanish republican refugees docked at the port of Oran. A good many of these refugees ended up in concentration camps erected by the French in Algeria.

During World War II North-Americans occupied Oran and used it as a base for their operations in Italy. By 1950 most of its population had a European background.

During the Algerian war different battles and skirmishes were fought in Oran and its region by the likes of Laarbi Ben Mhidi or Ahmed Zabana.

In 1962, on the day of celebration of Algerian independence, many cases of lynching of European and Muslim citizens occurred throughout the city.

During the so-called ‘black decade’ (1990’s) attacks and civilian massacres carried out both by Islamists and by the State resulted in a rural exodus, forcing the inland population to move to coastal cities. Oran thus experienced a demographic boom during this period.

Bibliography

  • Al-Bakrī, Abū ʕUbayd 1859. Description de l’Afrique septentrionale par El-Bekri (Mac Guckin de Slane translator and editor). Paris, Imprimerie impériale.
  • Benallou, Lamine 2002. L’Oranie espagnole. Approche sociale et linguistique. Oran, Editions Dar El Gharb.
  • Cruck, Eugène 1959. Oran et les témoins de son passé. Récits historiques et anecdotiques. Oran, Heintz Frères.
  • Houari, Chaila 2002. Oran, histoire d’une ville. Oran, Edik.

Author: Jairo Guerrero

References

  • Basset, André 1936. “Situation actuelle des parlers berbères dans le département d’Oran”, Revue Africaine 368-369, 1001-1006.
  • Benallou, Lamine 2002. L’Oranie espagnole. Approche sociale et linguistique. Oran, Editions Dar El Gharb.
  • Benallou, Lamine 1992. Dictionnaire des hispanismes dans le parler de l’Oranie. Alger, Office des Publications Universitaires.
  • Boualem, Baya 1989. Le parler d’Oran : quelques notes phonétiques. Oran, Université Es-Senia (unpublished PhD Thesis).
  • Bouamrane, Ali 1992. “Elements of linguistic geography”, Cahiers de Dialectologie et de Linguistique Contrastive 1 (vol. III), 39-49.
  • Bouhadiba, Farouk 1992. “On phonemic isoglosses in western Algeria”, Cahiers de Dialectologie et de Linguistique Contrastive 1-2 (vol. III), 1-37.
  • Bouhadiba, Farouk 1990. “Vowel Alternation in Algerian Arabic: A Sample Study Based on Oran Spoken Arabic”, Cahiers de Dialectologie et de Linguistique Contrastive 2.
  • Bouhadiba, Farouk. 1984. “A Note on the Pharyngeals of Oran Dialect of Arabic”, Recherches Linguistiques 4.
  • Bouhadiba, Farouk 1976. The Phonology of Oran Arabic. Belfats, Ulster University (unpublished PhD Thesis).
  • Cantineau, Jean 1940. “Les parlers arabes du département d’Oran”, Revue Africaine 84, 220-231. https://www.algerie-ancienne.com/livres/Revue/revue.htm.
  • Doutté, Edmond 1903. “Un texte arabe en dialecte oranais”, Mémoires de la Société de Linguistique de Paris XII, 335-370 and 373-406.
  • Guerrero, Jairo 2016. “A Phonetical Sketch of the Arabic Dialect Spoken in Oran (North-western Algeria)”, G. Grigore & G. Biţuna (eds.), Arabic Varieties: Far and Wide. Proceedings of the 11th International Conference of AIDA-Bucharest 2015. Bucharest, Editura Universității din București, 273-280. http://www.academia.edu/22285383/A_phonetical_sketch_of_the_Arabic_dialect_spoken_in_Oran_north-western_Algeria_
  • Guerrero, Jairo 2015. “Preliminary Notes on the Current Arabic Dialect of Oran (Western Algeria)”, Romano Arabica 15, 219-233. http://www.academia.edu/9952060/Preliminary_Notes_on_the_Current_Arabic_Dialect_of_Oran_Western_Algeria_
  • Moussaoui-Meftah, Meriem 1992. Presencia del léxico español en el habla oranesa. Oran, Université Es-Senia (unpublished PhD Thesis).
  • Smara, Amine 2012. Description morphosyntaxique, en diachronie et en synchronie, de la négation et de “ra-” dans le parler d’Oran. Paris, Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV, (unpublished PhD Thesis).
  • Zohra, Labed 2014. Genealogical koineisation in Oran speech community. The case of young University Oranees. Oran, Université Es-Senia (unpublished PhD Thesis). http://theses.univ-oran1.dz/document/42201446t.pdf

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