Algerian trilingual dictionary helps safeguard Amazigh language

Friday 20/11/2020
The dictionary cover with the Amazigh title, ‘Amawal Amkrad’, which means trilingual dictionary. (aps)
The dictionary cover with the Amazigh title, ‘Amawal Amkrad’, which means trilingual dictionary. (aps)

ALGIERS – Algerian writer Mohamed Salah Ounissi has announced the publication of a new trilingual Amazigh/Arabic/French dictionary aimed at preserving Amazigh language and shedding light on the country’s linguistic diversity.

“The dictionary has an Amazigh title, ‘Amawal Amkrad’, which means trilingual dictionary,” the Algerian news agency APS quoted Ounissi as saying. “Issued by the “Adlis Belazma” publishing company  in the Batna Governorate, the dictionary contains 271 pages [and] explains five thousand new Berber words.”

Ounissi said he put the dictionary together in order to explain and detail thousands of general Amazigh words as well as terms in Chawi, an Amazigh dialect spoken by Algeria’s Shawiya people. He hopes the dictionary will help document the Amazighs’  oral heritage and become a reference for future generations.

People walk in a decorated street of Sahel, a village near Tiizi Ouzou, east of Algiers . (AP)
People walk in a decorated street of Sahel, a village near Tiizi Ouzou, east of Algiers . (AP)

The author revealed the dictionary required more than two years of work and drew the help of dozens of sources, including elderly people from the Aures region, especially in the governorates of Batna and Khenchela.

He pointed out that the Amazigh/Arabic/French dictionary is his thirteenth work in 20 years. He has previously written books on the history and culture of the Aures region, introducing the region’s flags and collections of Amazigh poetry, and writing three dictionaries explaining some 10,000 Chawi terms in Arabic and French.