JALL 2014; 35(2): 284290 DOI 10.1515/jall-2014-0011 Maarten Kossmann. 2013. The Arabic influence on Northern Berber. (Studies in Semitic Languages and Linguistics 67). Leiden: Brill, xii þ 462 EUR 139. The intensity of Arabic influence on Northern Berber has too often been treated by linguists as merely an obstacle to understanding "pure" Berber better. Yet this phenomenon is of interest in its own right: what better context could be sought for understanding the mechanisms of, and limitations on, contact effects? Throughout North Africa, very similar Arabic contact situations are repeated across mutually dispersed "islands" of Berber with limited mutual contact; rather than observing only a single outcome of Arabic-Berber language contact, this lets us observe a whole spread of different possible outcomes from very similar initial conditions. The Arabic Influence on Northern Berber provides the first general overview of these outcomes. In North Africa, direct historical documentation of Berber prior to the sixteenth century is limited to a handful of medieval texts representing only two varieties (4749). Data predating Arabic contact is even more limited (Múrcia Sánchez 2010). Fortunately, however, the geographical spread and internal diversity of Berber, along with the minimal Arabic influence on Tuareg, makes it possible
Journal of African Languages and Linguistics – de Gruyter
Published: Oct 1, 2014
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