On the semantics of Tarifiyt verbs of seeing

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Maarten Kossmann


The Amazigh (aka Berber) language Tarifiyt has two different roots for ‘to see’, ẓr, and , which are in partial complementary distribution depending on the aspect of the verb. In this article, the exact distribution of these verb roots is discussed for one paticular variety of Tarifiyt, that spoken in and around the city of Nador. It is shown that there are two, partially overlapping, verbs, one ‘to go/come and see’, which is always expressed by ẓr, and the other a general ‘see’ verb, which uses the root in the Imperfective stems, and ẓr in the Aorist and Perfective stems. However, the distribution is more complicated than that, and in the negation of irrealis events, Imperfective ẓr can also be used with the general ‘see’ verb. Moreover, it is shown that the choice of the aspect in the general ‘see’ verb is different in its details from that of other verbs, something that it may share with other verbs of experience perception.

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Research articles
Author Biography

Maarten Kossmann, Leiden University

Maarten Kossmann (PhD 1994) is professor of Amazigh studies at Leiden University. He has worked extensively on the description, historical reconstruction, and contact history of Amazigh varieties. He is co-author of the recently published book An Introduction to Tarifiyt Berber (Mourigh & Kossmann, 2019).