Ait Seghrouchen Berber

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Ait Seghrouchen Berber
Tmaziġt, Tamaziġt
Native to Morocco
Region Central Morocco – Middle Atlas
Native speakers
(no estimate available)
Tifinagh, Latin
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Linguist list
tzm-cen (Seghrušen of Mzab-Wargla)
Glottolog None
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Ait Seghrouchen Berber, or Seghroucheni (Seghrusheni), is a Berber dialect spoken by the Ait Seghrouchen tribe.


Ait Seghrouchen Berber commonly classed as Central Atlas Tamazight, and it is reported to be mutually intelligible with the neighbouring Central Atlas Tamazight dialect of Ait Ayache.[1] Genetically, however, it belongs to the Zenati subgroup of Northern Berber, rather than to the Atlas subgroup to which the rest of Central Atlas Tamazight belongs,[2] and are therefore excluded by some sources from Central Atlas Tamazight.[3] It is part of a larger cluster of Zenati dialects spoken in eastern Middle Atlas.



Ayt Seghrouchen is notable for having the lateral fricative [ɬ] as an allophone of the sequence /lt/.[4] /k, g/ are pronounced as stops, unlike the closely related Ayt Ayache dialect in which they are fricatives.[5]

In the table below, when consonants appear in pairs, the one on the left is voiceless.

Ayt Seghrouchen consonants (Ayt Ayache)[6][7]
Labial Alveolar
Palatal Velar Uvular Phary
Nasal m nˤ
Stop b³ tˤ dˤ k ɡ q
Fricative f sˤ zˤ ʃ ʒ χ ʁ ħ ʕ h
j w
(ɬ)² lˤ
Flap/Trill[nb 1] rˤ
*addition to standard

Phonetic notes:

^1 mainly in Arabic borrowings
^2 realization of the sequence /lt/ for some speakers, e.g. ultma 'sister', altu 'not yet'
^3 For a small number of speakers, /b/ is sometimes lenited to [β].[8]
^4 /t/ is aspirated [tʰ].[8]


Ait Seghrouchen Berber has a typical phonemic three-vowel system, similarly to Classical Arabic:

Tamazight vowel phonemes[9]
Front Central Back
Close i u
Open a

These phonemes have numerous allophones, conditioned by the following environments:

(# denotes word boundary, X denotes C[−flat −/χ//ʁ/], C̣ denotes C[+flat], G denotes C, /χ/, and /ʁ/)

Tamazight vowel allophony[10]
Phoneme Realization Environment Example Gloss
/i/ [i] #_X /ili/ 'to exist'
[ɨ] #_Xː / Xː_ /idːa/ 'he went'
[ɪ] [e] _G / G_ /dˤːiqs/ 'to burst out'
[ɪj] X_# /isːfrˤħi/ 'he made me happy'
/u/ [u] #_X / X(ː)_X /umsʁ/ 'I painted'
[ʊ] [o] _G / G_ /idˤurˤ/ 'he turned'
[ʊw] X(ː)_# /bdu/ 'to begin'
[ʉ] _ / ɡː_ /lːajɡːur/ 'he goes'
/a/ [æ] #_X(ː) / X(ː)_X /azn/ 'to send'
[ɐ] X(ː)_# /da/ 'here'
[ɑ] _C̣ / C̣_ adˤr/ 'to be present'

Phonetic Schwa

There is a predictable non-phonemic vowel inserted into consonant clusters, realized as [ɪ̈] before front consonants (e.g. /b t d .../) and [ə] before back consonants (e.g. /k χ .../).[11] These are some of the rules governing the occurrence of [ə]:

(# denotes word boundary, L denotes /l r m n/, H denotes /h ħ ʕ w j/)

Tamazight schwa epenthesis[12]
Environment Realization Example Pronunciation Gloss
#C(ː)# əC(ː) /ɡ/ [əɡ] 'to be, to do'
#LC# əLC or LəC /ns/ [əns] ~ [nəs] 'to spend the night'
#CC# CəC /tˤsˤ/ [tˤəsˤ] 'to laugh'
#CːC# əCːəC /fːr/ [əfːər] 'to hide'
#CCC# CCəC / C1C2 are not {L H} /χdm/ [χdəm] 'to work'
/zʕf/ [zʕəf] 'to get mad'
#CCC# əCCəC or #CəCəC# / {C1 C3} is {L H} /hdm/ [əhdəm] ~ [hədəm] 'to demolish'
#CCC# CəCəC / C2C3 = {L H} /dˤmn/ [dˤəmən] 'to guarantee'


Word stress is non-contrastive and predictable — it falls on the last vowel in a word (including schwa).[13]


  1. ^ Abdel-Massih refers to this as a "flap" produced with "vibration" of the tongue.


  1. ^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:xiii)
  2. ^ Edmond Destaing, "Essai de classification des dialectes berbères du Maroc", Etudes et Documents Berbère, 19-20, 2001-2002 (1915)
  3. ^ Augustin Bernard and Paul Moussard, Arabophones et berbérophones au Maroc, Annales de Géographie 1924, Volume 33 Numéro 183, pp. 267-282.
  4. ^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:19–20)
  5. ^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:4, 6, 19–20)
  6. ^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:4, 6, 19–20)
  7. ^ Abdel-Massih (1968:16)
  8. ^ a b Abdel-Massih (1971b:5)
  9. ^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:11)
  10. ^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:13–15, 20)
  11. ^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:15)
  12. ^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:15–17)
  13. ^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:17–18)