Eastern Berber languages

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Eastern Berber
Libya, Egypt
Linguistic classification: Afro-Asiatic
Glottolog: None

The Eastern Berber languages belong to the Afro-Asiatic family and are spoken in Libya and Egypt. They include Awjila, Sokna and Fezzan (El-Fogaha), Siwi, and Ghadamès,[1] though it is not clear that they form a valid genealogical group.


Kossmann (1999:29, 33)[2] divides them into two groups:

  • one consisting of Ghadamès and Awjila. These two languages are the only Berber languages to preserve proto-Berber *β as β;[3] elsewhere in Berber it becomes h or disappears.
  • the other consisting of Nafusi (excluding Zuwara and southern Tunisia), Sokna (El-Foqaha), and Siwi. This shares some innovations with Zenati, and others (e.g. the change of *ă to ə[4] and the loss of *β[5]) with Northern Berber in general.

Blench (ms, 2006) lists the following as separate languages, with dialects in parentheses; like Ethnologue, he classifies Nafusi as Eastern Zenati.[6]


  1. ^ Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. & A. Ju. Militarev. 1984. Klassifikacija livijsko-guančskih jazykov. In IV vsesojuznaja konferencija afrikanistov "Afrika v 80-e gody: itogi i perspektivy razvitija" (Moskva, 3-5 oktjabrja 1984 g.), vol. II, 83-85. (Tezisy Dokladov i Naučnyh Soobščenij IV). Moskva: Institut Afrika Akademii Nauk SSSR, as cited in Takács, Gábor. 1999. Development of Afro-Asiatic (Semito-Hamitic) Comparative-Historical Linguistics in Russia and the Former Soviet Union. (LINCOM Studies in Afroasiatic Linguistics 02). München: LINCOM Europa, p. 130
  2. ^ Maarten Kossmann, Essai sur la phonologie du proto-berbère, Rüdiger Köppe:Köln
  3. ^ Kossmann 1999:61.
  4. ^ Karl-G. Prasse. "The Reconstruction of Proto-Berber Short Vowels", in ed. James & Theodora Bynon, Hamito-Semitica, The Hague/Paris 1975.
  5. ^ Kossmann 1999:61
  6. ^ AA list, Blench, ms, 2006