Diversity of Judeo-Arabic Dialects in North Africa: Eqa:l, Wqal, kjal and ʔal Dialects

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This study presents the diversity of North African Judeo-Arabic dialects documented in an extensive course of fieldwork concerning some one hundred and thirty Moroccan Jewish dialects, both urban and rural. Dozens of additional dialects from Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria complete the global repartitioning of these dialects into four distinct groups: Eqa:l, Wqal, kjal, and ʔal dialects. The different dialects in each set share common phonetic, phonological, morphological, and grammatical features. All of them preserve the unvoiced realization of the stop /q/ and articulate it as a uvular [q] (Eqa:l and Wqal), a palato-velar [kj] (kjal), or a glottal [ʔ] (ʔal). Eqa:l dialects developed in Libya, Tunisia, and Eastern Algeria; they distinguish between long and short vowels. Wqal dialects developed in Western Morocco. Kjal dialects developed in northwestern Algeria and in southeastern Morocco. ʔal dialects developed in Moroccan cities, where Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal settled among native Jews.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-43
JournalJournal of Jewish Languages
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


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