This article possibly contains original research. (April 2019)
|Darja, Derja, Dziria|
|Ethnicity||Algerian Arab-Berbers and Haratins|
|Speakers||L1: 35 million (2020)|
L2: 5.6 million
Algerian Arabic (Arabic: الدارجة الجزائرية , romanized: ad-Dārja al-Jazairia), natively known as Dziria, Darja or Derja, is a dialect derived from the form of Arabic spoken in Algeria. It belongs to the Maghrebi Arabic language continuum and is partially mutually intelligible with Tunisian and Moroccan.
Like other varieties of Maghrebi Arabic, Algerian has a mostly Semitic vocabulary. It contains Berber, Punic and Latin (African Romance) influences and has some loanwords from French, Andalusian Arabic, Ottoman Turkish and Spanish. Algerian Arabic contains a few Berber loanwords which represent 8% to 9% of its vocabulary.
Algerian Arabic is the native dialect of 75% to 80% of Algerians and is mastered by 85% to 100% of them. It is a spoken language used in daily communication and entertainment, while Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is generally reserved for official use and education. As in the rest of the Arab world, this linguistic situation has been described as diglossia: MSA is nobody's first acquired language; it is learned through formal instruction rather than transmission from parent to child.
Besides informal communication, Algerian Arabic is rarely written. In 2008, The Little Prince was translated in Algerian Arabic. The first novel written in Algerian Arabic is published by Rabeh Sebaa in 2021 and is entitled Fahla (in Latin script and Arabic characters).
- Eastern Hilal dialects: spoken in the Hautes Plaines around Sétif, M'Sila and Djelfa;
- Central Hilal dialects: of central and southern Algeria, south of Algiers and Oran;
- Mâqil dialects: spoken in the western part of Oranais (noted for the third singular masculine accusative pronoun h, for example, /ʃʊfteh/ (I saw him), which would be /ʃʊftʊ/ in other dialects).
Modern koine languages, urban and national, are based mainly on Hilalian dialects.
- Urban dialects can be found in all of Algeria's big cities. Urban dialects were formerly also spoken in other cities, such as Azemmour and Mascara, Algeria, where they are no longer used.
- The Jijel Arabic (or Jijeli Dialect) is spoken in the triangular area north of Constantine, including Collo and Jijel (it is noteworthy for its pronunciation of [q] as [k] and [t] as [ts] and characterized, such as other Eastern pre-Hilalian dialects, by the preservation of the three short vowels).
- The traras-Msirda dialect is spoken in the area north of Tlemcen, including the eastern Traras, Rachgoun and Honaine (it is noted for its pronunciation of [q] as [k]) ;
- Judeo-Algerian Arabic is no longer spoken after Jews left Algeria in 1962, following its independence.
In comparison to other Maghrebi dialects, Algerian Arabic has retained numerous phonetic elements of Classical Arabic lost by its relatives; In Algiers dialect, the letters /ðˤ/ ظ, /ð/ ذ, and ث /θ/ are not used, they are in most cases pronounced as the graphemes ض, د, and ت respectively. This conservatism concerning pronunciation is in contrast to Algerian Arabic grammar which has shifted noticeably. In terms of differences from Classical Arabic, the previous /r/ and /z/ phonemes have developed contrastive glottalized forms and split into /r/ and /rˤ/; and /z/ and /zˤ/. Additionally, /q/ from Classical Arabic has split into /q/ and /ɡ/ in most dialects. The phonemes /v/ and /p/ which are not common in Arabic dialects arise almost exclusively from (predominantly French) loanwords.
^1 The voiceless "Ch" (t͡ʃ) is used in some words in the Algerian dialect like "تشينا" /t͡ʃinaː/ (orange) or "تشاراك" /t͡ʃaːraːk/ (A kind of Algerian sweet) but remains rare.
A study of Northwestern Algerian Arabic (specifically around Oran) showed that laterals /l/ or /ɫ/ or the nasal consonant /n/ would be dissimilated into either /n/ in the case of /l/ or /ɫ/; or /l/ or /ɫ/ in the case of /n/ when closely preceding a corresponding lateral or nasal consonant. Thus /zəlzla/ (earthquake) has become /zənzla/, conversely /lʁənmi/ "mutton" becomes /lʁəlmi/.
The same study also noted numerous examples of assimilation in Northwestern Algerian Arabic, due to the large consonant clusters created from all of the historical vowel deletion: examples include /dəd͡ʒaːd͡ʒ/ "chicken", becoming /d͡ʒaːd͡ʒ/ and /mliːħ/ "good", becoming /mniːħ/. An example of assimilation that occurs after the short vowel deletion is the historical /dərˤwŭk/ "now" becoming /drˤuːk/ and then being assimilated to /duːk/, illustrating the order in which the rules of Algerian Arabic may operate.
The phonemic vowel inventory of Algerian Arabic consists of three long vowels: /iː/, /uː/, and /aː/ contrasted with two short vowels: /u/ and /ə/. Algerian Arabic Vowels retains a great deal of features in relation to Classical Arabic Arabic phonology, namely the continued existence of 3 long vowels: /iː/, /uː/, and /aː/, Algerian Arabic also retains the short close back vowel /u/ in speech, however the short equivalents of /iː/ and /aː/ have fused in modern Algerian Arabic, creating a single phoneme /ə/. Also notable among the differences between Classical Arabic and Algerian Arabic is the deletion of short vowels entirely from open syllables and thus word final positions, which creates a stark distinction between written Classical Arabic, and casually written Algerian Arabic. One point of interest in Algerian Arabic that sets it apart from other conservative Arabic dialects is its preservation of phonemes in (specifically French) loanwords that would otherwise not be found in the language: /ɔ̃/, /y/, and /ɛ/ are all preserved in French loanwords such as /syʁ/ (French: 'sure', English: 'sour') or /kɔnɛksiɔ̃/ (connection).
Nouns and adjectives
|woman / women||mra / nsa|
|man / men||rajel / rjal|
|day||nhar / yum|
|winter / rain||šta / mṭar|
|toilet / bathroom||bit-el-ma / bit-er-raḥa / Twalat|
Conjunctions and prepositions
|English||Algerian Arabic||Notes of usage|
|if||ila, ida, lakan, kun ,Fihalat||used for impossible conditions and comes just before the verb|
|if||lukan, kun||for possible conditions, Also used is "ida" and "kan"|
|so that, that||baš, bah|
|as if||ki šγul, tquši, tqul, tgul|
|because||xaṭar, xaṭrakeš, εlaxaṭer,pask|
|when||ila / wakta/Ki (used for some cases like : when you come I'll tell you|
|before||qbel ma / gbel ma||used before verbs|
|without||bla ma / blach||used before verbs|
|whether||kaš ma||used before verbs|
|over, on top of||fuq or fug|
|after||mur / mura / Baεd / wra|
|before||qbel / gbel||used only for time|
|next to, beside||quddam or guddam||is also used "ḥda"|
|at||εend / εla|
|among, between||bin, binat (plural)|
|same as, as much as||εla ḥsab, qed, ged, kima||amount|
|oh, oh so much||ya, ah|
Some of them can be attached to the noun, just like in other Arabic dialects. The word for in, "fi", can be attached to a definite noun. For example, the word for a house has a definite form "ed-dar" but with "fi", it becomes "fed-dar".
Algerian Arabic uses two genders for words: masculine and feminine. Masculine nouns and adjectives generally end with a consonant while the feminine nouns generally end with an a.
- [ħmɑr] "a donkey", [ħmɑrɑ] "a female donkey".
Hilalian dialects, on which the modern koine is based, often use regular plural while the wider use of the broken plural is characteristic to pre-Hilalian dialects.
The regular masculine plural is formed with the suffix -in, which derives from the Classical Arabic genitive and accusative ending -īna rather than the nominative -ūna:
- mumen (believer) → mumnin
For feminine nouns, the regular plural is obtained by suffixing -at:
- Classical Arabic: bint (girl) → banat
- Algerian Arabic: bent → bnat
The broken plural can be found for some plurals in Hilalian dialects, but it is mainly used, for the same words, in pre-Hilalian dialects:
- Broken plural: ṭabla → ṭwabəl.
The article el is indeclinable and expresses a definite state of a noun of any gender and number. It is also prefixed to each of that noun's modifying adjectives.
It follows the solar letters and lunar letters rules of Classical Arabic: if the word starts with one of these consonants, el is assimilated and replaced by the first consonant:
t, d, r, z, s, š, ṣ, ḍ, ṭ, l, n.
- rajel → er-rajel "man" (assimilation)
- qeṭṭ → el-qeṭṭ "cat" (no assimilation)
- When it is after lunar letters consonant we add the article le-.
- qmer → le-qmer "moon"
- ḥjer → le-ḥjer "stone"
- We always use the article el with the words that begin with vowels.
- alf → el-alf "thousand"
Verbs are conjugated by adding affixes (prefixes, postfixes, both or none) that change according to the tense.
In all Algerian Arabic dialects, there is no gender differentiation of the second and third person in the plural forms, nor is there gender differentiation of the second person in the singular form in pre-Hilalian dialects. Hilalian dialects preserve the gender differentiation of the singular second person.
|1st||- t||- na||n -||n(e) - u|
|2nd (m)||- t||- tu||t -||t - u|
|2nd (f)||- ti||- tu||t - i||t - u|
|3rd (m)||-||- u||i/y(e) -||i/y(e) - u|
|3rd (f)||- t||- u||t(e) -||i/y(e) - u|
- Example with the verb kteb "To write":
|1st (m)||ktebt||ktebna||nekteb||nekketbu||Rayeḥ nekteb||Rayḥin nekketbu||Rani nekteb||Rana nekketbu|
|1st (f)||ktebt||ktebna||nekteb||nekketbu||Rayḥa nekteb||Rayḥin nekketbu||Rani nekteb||Rana nekketbu|
|2nd (m)||ketbt||ktebtu||tekteb||tekketbu||Rayeḥ tekteb||Rayḥin tekketbu||Rak tekteb||Rakum tekketbu|
|2nd (f)||ktebti||ktebtu||tekketbi||tekketbu||Rayḥa tekketbi||Rayḥin tekketbu||Raki tekketbi||Rakum tekketbu|
|3rd (m)||kteb||ketbu||yekteb||yekketbu||Rayeḥ yekteb||Rayḥin yekketbu||Rah yekteb||Rahum yekketbu|
|3rd (f)||ketbet||ketbu||tekteb||yekketbu||Rayḥa tekteb||Rayḥin yekketbu||Raha tekteb||Rahum yekketbu|
Like all North African Arabic varieties (including Egyptian Arabic) along with some Levantine Arabic varieties, verbal expressions are negated by enclosing the verb with all its affixes, along with any adjacent pronoun-suffixed preposition, within the circumfix ma ...-š (/ʃ/):
- « lεebt » ("I played") → « ma lεebt-š /ʃ/ » ("I didn't play")
- « ma tṭabbaεni-š » ("Don't push me")
- « ma yṭawlu-l-ek-š hadu le-qraεi » ("Those bottles won't last you long")
- « ma sibt-š plaṣa » ("I couldn't get a seat / parking place")
|1st (m)||ma ktebt-š||ma ktebna-š||ma nekteb-š||ma nekketbu-š||ma Rayeḥ-š nekteb||ma Rayḥin-š nekketbu||ma Rani-š nekteb||ma Rana-š nekketbu|
|2st (f)||ma ktebt-š||ma ktebna-š||ma nekteb-š||ma nekketbu-š||ma Rayḥa-š nekteb||ma Rayḥin-š nekketbu||ma Rani-š nekteb||ma Rana-š nekketbu|
|2nd (m)||ma ketbt-š||ma ktebtu-š||ma tekteb-š||ma tekketbu-š||ma Rayeḥ-š tekteb||ma Rayḥin-š tekketbu||ma Rak-š tekteb||ma Rakum-š tekketbu|
|2rd (f)||ma ktebti-š||ma ktebtu-š||ma tekketbi-š||ma tekketbu-š||ma Rayḥa-š tekketbi||ma Rayḥin-š tekketbu||ma Raki-š tekketbi||ma Rakum-š tekketbu|
|3rd (m)||ma kteb-š||ma ketbu-š||ma yekteb-š||ma yekketbu-š||ma Rayeḥ-š yekteb||ma Rayḥin-š yekketbu||ma Rah-š yekteb||ma Rahum-š yekketbu|
|3rd (f)||ma ketbet-š||ma ketbu-š||ma tekteb-š||ma yekketbu-š||ma Rayḥa-š tekteb||ma Rayḥin-š yekketbu||ma Raha-š tekteb||ma Rahum-š yekketbu|
Other negative words (walu, etc.) are used in combination with ma to express more complex types of negation. ʃ is not used when other negative words are used
- ma qult walu ("I didn't say anything")
- ma šuft tta waḥed ("I didn't see anyone")
or when two verbs are consecutively in the negative
- ma šuft ma smeεt ("I neither saw nor did I hear").
- Causative: is obtained by doubling consonants :
- xrej "to go out" → xerrej "to make to go out"
- dxel "to enter" → dexxel "to make to enter, to introduce".
- Passive:It is obtained by prefixing the verb with t- / tt- / tn- / n- :
- qtel "to kill" → tneqtel "to be killed"
- šreb "to drink" → tnešreb "to be drunk".
The adverbs of location
Things could be in three places hnaya (right here), hna (here) or el-hih (there).
Most Algerian Arabic dialects have eight personal pronouns since they no longer have gender differentiation of the second and third person in the plural forms. However, pre-Hilalian dialects retain seven personal pronouns since gender differentiation of the second person in the singular form is absent as well.
Example: « ḥatta ana/ana tani. » — "Me too."
|You are (m)||rak|
|You are (f)||raki|
|He is||rah or Rahu|
|She is||Rahi or Raha|
|You or Y'all are||raku or rakum (m)and (f)|
|They are||rahum (m)and (f)|
Example: « Rani hna. » — "I'm here." and « Waš rak. » "How are you." to both males and females.
Dar means house.
|1st||i (Dari)||na (Darna)|
|2nd||(e)k (Dar(e)k)||kum (Darkum)|
|3rd (m)||u (Daru)||(h)um (Dar(h)um)|
|3rd (f)||ha (Darha)||(hum) (Dar(h)um)|
Example : « dar-na. » — "Our house" (House-our) Possessives are frequently combined with taε "of, property" : dar taε-na — "Our house.", dar taε-kum ...etc.
taε-i = my or mine
taε-ek = your or yours (m, f)
taε-u = his
taε-ha = hers
taε-na = our or ours
taε-kum = your or yours (m, f)
taε-hum = their or theirs (m, f)
"Our house" can be Darna or Dar taε-na, which is more like saying 'house of ours'. Taε can be used in other ways just like in English in Spanish. You can say Dar taε khuya, which means 'house of my brother' or 'my brother's house'.
|What ?||waš ?|
|When ?||waqtaš ? / wektaš ? / wektah ? / wekket ?|
|Why?||3lah ? / 3laš ? / llah ?|
|Which ?||waš-men ? / aš-men ? / ama ?|
|Where ?||win ?|
|Who ?||škun ? / menhu ?|
|How ?||kifaš ? / kifah ?|
|How many ?||šḥal ? / qeddaš ? / gueddaš ? / gueddah ?|
|Whose ?||taε-men ?|
|3rd (m)||u (after a consonant) / h (after a vowel)
/ hu (before an indirect object pronoun)
- « šuft-ni. » — "You saw me." (You.saw-me)
- « qetl-u. » — "He killed him." (He.killed-him)
- « kla-h. » — "He ate it." (He.ate-it)
Unlike Classical Arabic, Algerian Arabic has no dual and uses the plural instead. The demonstrative (Hadi) is also used for "it is".
|This||had (m), hadi (f)||hada, hadaya (m), hadiyya (f)|
|That||dak (m), dik (f)||hadak (m), hadik (f)|
The text below was translated from Kabylie, in Auguste Moulieras's Les fourberies de si Djeh'a.
|Waḥed en-nhar, jḥa med-lu baba-h frank, baš yešri buzelluf. šra-h, kla gaɛ leḥm-u. bqa γir leɛdem, jab-u l baba-h. ki šaf-u qal-lu: "waš hada?" Qal-lu: "buzelluf".
-A šmata, win rahi wedn-u?
-win rahum ɛini-h?
-win rah lsan-u?
- U el-jelda taɛ ras-u, win Rahi
|One day, Jha's father gave him one cent so he buys a sheep head. He bought it and ate all of its meat. Only an empty carcass was left. He brought it to his father. Then, when he saw it, he said: "what is that?" Jehha said: "a sheep head".
-You vile, where are its ears?
-Where are its eyes?
-Where is its tongue?
-And the skin of its head, where is it?
Algerian Arabic contains numerous French loanwords.
|Algerian Arabic||French loanword||English meaning||Algerian Arabic||French loanword||English meaning|
|buja (v)||bouger (v)||move (v)||tay||thé||tea|
|pyasa/byasa||pièce||piece||šarja (v)||charger (v)||load (v)|
|girra||guerre||war||riska (v)||risquer (v)||risk (v)|
- Varieties of Arabic
- Maghrebi Arabic
- Moroccan Arabic
- Tunisian Arabic
- Hassaniya Arabic
- Libyan Arabic
- Languages of Algeria
- Algerian Arabic at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022)
- Elimam, Abdou (2009). Du Punique au Maghribi :Trajectoires d'une langue sémito-méditerranéenne (PDF). Synergies Tunisie.
- Martin Haspelmath; Uri Tadmor (22 December 2009). Loanwords in the World's Languages: A Comparative Handbook. Walter de Gruyter. p. 195. ISBN 978-3-11-021844-2.
- Wexler, Paul (2012-02-01). The Non-Jewish Origins of the Sephardic Jews. State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-1-4384-2393-7.
- "Arabic, Algerian Spoken". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2016-02-25.
- Al‐Wer, Enam; Jong, Rudolf (2017). "Dialects of Arabic". In Boberg, Charles; Nerbonne, John; Watt, Dominic (eds.). The Handbook of Dialectology. Wiley. p. 525. doi:10.1002/9781118827628.ch32. ISBN 978-1-118-82755-0. OCLC 989950951.
- "Rabeh Sbaa : « L'algérien n'est pas un dialecte, c'est une langue à part entière »". Middle East Eye édition française (in French). Retrieved 2022-11-26.
- K. Versteegh, Dialects of Arabic: Maghreb Dialects Archived 2015-07-15 at the Wayback Machine, hteachmideast.org
- The Eastern Hilal also includes central Tunisian Bedouin dialects.
- The Central Hilal also includes Algerian Saharan Arabic.
- The Mâqil family of dialects also includes Moroccan Bedouin Arabic dialects and Hassaniya. Those of the Oranais are similar to those of eastern Morocco (Oujda area)
- D. Caubet, Questionnaire de dialectologie du Maghreb Archived 2013-11-12 at the Wayback Machine, in: EDNA vol.5 (2000-2001), pp.73-92
- Harrat, Salima; et al. (2016-11-03). "An Algerian Dialect Study and Resources" (PDF). HAL Archives. p. 390. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
- Souag, Lameen (2020-01-29). "Description of Algerian Arabic". Rosetta Project. Retrieved 2020-01-29.
- Guerrero, Jairo (2014-01-01). "A Phonetical Sketch of The Arabic Dialect Spoken in Oran (Northwestern Algeria)". Academia. Retrieved 2020-02-13.