Ait Seghrouchen Berber, or Seghroucheni (Seghrusheni), is a Zenati Berber language of the Eastern Middle Atlas
Middle Atlas
Berber cluster. It is spoken by the Ait Seghrouchen tribe inhabiting east-central Morocco.


1 Classification 2 Phonology

2.1 Consonants 2.2 Vowels 2.3 Stress

3 Notes 4 References 5 Bibliography

Classification[edit] Ait Seghrouchen Berber is commonly classed as Central Atlas Tamazight. It is reported to be mutually intelligible with the neighbouring Berber dialect of Ait Ayache.[1] Genetically, however, it belongs to the Zenati subgroup of Northern Berber, rather than to the Atlas subgroup to which the rest of Central Atlas Tamazight
Central Atlas Tamazight
belongs,[2] and are therefore excluded by some sources from Central Atlas Tamazight.[3] Ait Seghrouchen is part of the Eastern Middle Atlas
Middle Atlas
Berber cluster of Zenati dialects, which is spoken in the eastern Middle Atlas. Phonology[edit] Consonants[edit] Ayt Seghrouchen is notable for having the lateral fricative [ɬ] as an allophone of the sequence /lt/.[4] /k, g/ are pronounced as stops, unlike the closely related Ayt Ayache dialect in which they are fricatives.[5] In the table below, when consonants appear in pairs, the one on the left is voiceless.

Ayt Seghrouchen consonants (Ayt Ayache)[6][7]

Labial Dental/ Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyn- geal1 Glottal3

Nasal m nˤ

Plosive voiceless



voiced b3 dˤ


Fricative zˤ ʒ

ʁ ʕ

voiceless f sˤ ʃ

χ ħ h




lˤ j w

Flap/Trill[nb 1]

Phonetic notes:

mainly in Arabic borrowings realization of the sequence /lt/ for some speakers, e.g. ultma 'sister', altu 'not yet' For a small number of speakers, /b/ is sometimes lenited to [β][8] /t/ is aspirated [tʰ][8]

Vowels[edit] Ait Seghrouchen Berber has a typical phonemic three-vowel system, similarly to Classical Arabic:

Tamazight vowel phonemes[9]

Front Central Back

Close i




These phonemes have numerous allophones, conditioned by the following environments: (# denotes word boundary, X denotes C[−flat −/χ/ −/ʁ/], C̣ denotes C[+flat], G denotes C, /χ/, and /ʁ/)

Tamazight vowel allophony[10]

Phoneme Realization Environment Example Gloss

/i/ [i] #_X /ili/ 'to exist'

[ɨ] #_Xː / Xː_ /idːa/ 'he went'

[ɪ] [e] _G / G_ /dˤːiqs/ 'to burst out'

[ɪj] X_# /isːfrˤħi/ 'he made me happy'

/u/ [u] #_X / X(ː)_X /umsʁ/ 'I painted'

[ʊ] [o] _G / G_ /idˤurˤ/ 'he turned'

[ʊw] X(ː)_# /bdu/ 'to begin'

[ʉ] kː_ / ɡː_ /lːajɡːur/ 'he goes'

/a/ [æ] #_X(ː) / X(ː)_X /azn/ 'to send'

[ɐ] X(ː)_# /da/ 'here'

[ɑ] _C̣ / C̣_ /ħadˤr/ 'to be present'

Phonetic Schwa There is a predictable non-phonemic vowel inserted into consonant clusters, realized as [ɪ̈] before front consonants (e.g. /b t d .../) and [ə] before back consonants (e.g. /k χ .../).[11] These are some of the rules governing the occurrence of [ə]: (# denotes word boundary, L denotes /l r m n/, H denotes /h ħ ʕ w j/)

Tamazight schwa epenthesis[12]

Environment Realization Example Pronunciation Gloss

#C(ː)# əC(ː) /ɡ/ [əɡ] 'to be, to do'

#LC# əLC or LəC /ns/ [əns] ~ [nəs] 'to spend the night'

#CC# CəC /tˤsˤ/ [tˤəsˤ] 'to laugh'

#CːC# əCːəC /fːr/ [əfːər] 'to hide'

#CCC# CCəC / C1C2 are not L H /χdm/ [χdəm] 'to work'

/zʕf/ [zʕəf] 'to get mad'

#CCC# əCCəC or #CəCəC# / C1 C3 is L H /hdm/ [əhdəm] ~ [hədəm] 'to demolish'

#CCC# CəCəC / C2C3 = L H /dˤmn/ [dˤəmən] 'to guarantee'

Stress[edit] Word stress is non-contrastive and predictable — it falls on the last vowel in a word (including schwa).[13] Notes[edit]

^ Abdel-Massih refers to this as a "flap" produced with "vibration" of the tongue.


^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:xiii) ^ Edmond Destaing, "Essai de classification des dialectes berbères du Maroc", Etudes et Documents Berbère, 19-20, 2001-2002 (1915) ^ Augustin Bernard and Paul Moussard, Arabophones et berbérophones au Maroc, Annales de Géographie
Annales de Géographie
1924, Volume 33 Numéro 183, pp. 267-282. ^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:19–20) ^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:4, 6, 19–20) ^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:4, 6, 19–20) ^ Abdel-Massih (1968:16) ^ a b Abdel-Massih (1971b:5) ^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:11) ^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:13–15, 20) ^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:15) ^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:15–17) ^ Abdel-Massih (1971b:17–18)


Abdel-Massih, Ernest T. (1971a). "A Course in Spoken Tamazight". Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. ISBN 0-932098-04-5.  Abdel-Massih, Ernest T. (1971b). "A Reference Grammar of Tamazight". Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. ISBN 0-932098-05-3.  Destaing's "Essai de classification des dialectes berbères du Maroc" (Etudes et Documents Berbère, 19-20, 2001-2002 (1915) Kossmann's "Les verbes à i final en zénète" and Essai sur la phonologie du proto-berbère

v t e

Berber languages







Awjila Fezzan

Foqaha Sokna Tmessa

Ghadamès Jaghbub† Kufra Nafusi

Jadu Nalut Wazzin Yefren




Eastern Middle AtlasTA

Seghrouchen Warayn

Northern Saharan

Gurara Mozabite South Oranie and Figuig Tidikelt Tuwat Wad Righ Wargla


Central Riffian Eastern Moroccan Iznasen Snouss Western Riffian

Shawiya Tunisian-ZuwaraTE

Jerba Matmata Sened† Tataouine Zuwara

Western Algerian

Gouraya Shelif Shenwa


Atlas languages

Central Atlas Gharb† Ghomara Judeo-Berber Sanhaja de Srayr Shilha


Central-Eastern Central-Western Eastern Western


Moroccan Berber


Tamahaq Tamashek Tawellemmet Tayart


Tetserret Zenaga


Tifinagh Berber Arabic alphabet Judeo-Berber alphabet Berber Latin alphabet



AAAL (Algeria) HCA (Algeria) IRCAM (Morocco) DNAFLA (Mali) CRB (France)


Berber Academy World Amazigh Congress

TE Transitional to Eastern · TA Transitional to Atlas · † Extinct · R R