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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Lamma is an academic journal that aims to provide a forum for understanding critically the complex ideas, values, social configurations, histories, and material realities in Libya. Recognizing, and insisting on, the urgent need for such a forum, we give attention ­to as wide a range of disciplines, sources, and approaches as possible, foregrounding especially those that have previously received less scholarly attention. Lamma is a space where these fields interact and draw from one another. It is a platform where scholars and students from inside and outside of Libya gather to redefine and reshape “Libyan Studies.” For these reasons the journal takes its name from the Arabic word لمّة (lamma) “a gathering.”

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The Tuareg dialect of Ghat in 1850

During a short stay in Ghat in 1850, the British explorer James Richardson arranged for Muhammad Sharif to translate a list of words and phrases into the Tuareg variety spoken by the Uraghen tribe of the area, variably termed Tamahaq or Tamajeq by its speakers at the time. This article provides a transcription, retranscription, retranslation, and analysis of this previously unpublished material. The results provide data relevant to sociolinguistic variation in Ghat, proving the importance of variation even within a single idiolect, including for reflexes of the key Tuareg shibboleth *z > h vs. > z, ž. These phrases also reveal some morphological archaisms not otherwise attested in Tuareg, most notably traces of a person marking system matching the Ghadamsi “future”.