A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, March 14, 2014

Lameen Souag's New Book on Egyptian Siwi Berber

Egypt has only one language in the Berber language family spoken within its borders: Siwi, spoken in the Siwa Oasis in the Western Desert. Algerian linguist Lameen Souag, whose linguistics blog Jabal al-Lughat is wonderful but far too rarely updated, has announced the publication of his new study: Berber and Arabic in Siwa (Egypt): A Study in Linguistic Contact.

He outlines the contents at the link, and the publisher's announcement is here. It's almost 300 pages (but also almost 50 Euros). He comments:
Based on part of my doctoral thesis [at SOAS] but significantly expanded, this book:
  • proposes a classification of Siwi within Berber, and a corresponding probable account of where this Berber variety originated;
  • describes the grammar of Siwi, in greater detail than any previous work;
  • establishes how, and how much, long-term contact with Arabic has affected its grammar;
  • examines the dialectal affiliations of Arabic loans in Siwi, providing further evidence that this contact involved very different varieties at different periods;
  • provides a number of fully glossed Siwi texts of different genres, illustrating Siwi grammar and casting light on Siwi culture.
Some interesting-sounding stuff here for anyone interested in Berber, in contact borrowing among languages, or minority populations in the Arab world. I know Lameen only through commenting on each other's blogs, but bravo.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mike - Thanks for the link to the new Siwa book, and it is something Chris might be interested in, too.