Berber substrate

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The Berber substrate is a posited substrate for the Talossan language in the scheme of the Berber Hypothesis. The belief goes that Ancient Berbers of the Tolotae tribe (with possible Iberian or Ibero-Celtic roots, cf. Gesellschaft für Interlinguistik) who were romanised in Africa, migrated to today’s Toulouse (Latin: Tolossa) and mixed with the local tribes, and spoke an older stage of today’s Talossan. Those of the tribe that remained, went on to speak Occitan, while the Talossans in America retained the Berber substrate in their language, which then developed to what is known as “el glheþ naziunal”.

While many people criticise the efforts to try and connect the Romance-based Talossan language with the Berbers, there is some evidence of a Berber substrate within the Talossan language. This article will list all such known instances and proposals.

Satellite-framed “verbs of motion”

The Kabyle language (Kabylian: Taqbaylit, IPA: [θɐqβæjlɪθ]), a language of the Berber continuum, exhibits a feature called satellite framing, where verbs of motion express the direction of that motion using an affix of location. This is very similar to the Talossan verbal postpositions à (lit.: to; used when doing something) and da (lit.: from; used when refraining from doing something), especially when used in conjunction with the collapsed verb irh/viénarh. Germanic languages are also satellite-framed (e.g.: to go in vs. to go out; to come in vs. to come out), while Romance languages are verb-framed languages (e.g.: entrar vs. salir). However, Kabylian has a much more intricate and wide-ranging system of satellite framing:

Talossan: A veneva dal cità. (IPA: [a vɛˈnevɐ daw t͡ʃɪˈta], lit.: She came from.the town) “She came from the town.”
Talossan: A veneva àl cità. (IPA: [a vɛˈnevɐ‿aw t͡ʃɪˈta], lit.: She came to.the town) “She went into town.”
To be exact, d in Kabyle expresses motion towards the speaker, while n encodes motion away from the speaker.

While Talossan has reduced the amount of verbs that are underspecified for direction, satellite framing is very productive in Kabylian, with examples such as:

  • Kabylian: Ttawiɣ-n kas n waman. (IPA: [t͡sæwɪʁən çæs bʷæmæn], lit.: She.carried-from.speaker glass of water) “She took a glass of water (away from speaker).”
Talossan: #A fiereva *dad ün glas dad apă. (IPA: [a fi̯ɛˈɾevɐ ðað yŋ gɫas dað ˈapɐ], lit.: She awaytook *from a glass of water) “She took away *from a glass of water.”
  • Kabylian: Ttawiɣ-d kas n waman. (IPA: [t͡sæwɪʁəð çæs bʷæmæn], lit.: She.carried-to.speaker glass of water) “She brought a glass of water (to the speaker).”
Talossan: #A apoarteva *à’iens glas dad apă. (IPA: [a‿apɔ̯aɾˈtevɐ‿ˈajəns gɫas dað ˈapɐ], lit.: She brought *to one glass of water) “She brought *to a glass of water.”

Due to this evidence, Magniloqueu Épiqeu Ac'hlerglünä da Lhiun (2013)[1] suggests that, while Talossan may not have a productive satellite framing system, the fact that it is a Romance language that is satellite-framed, and not verb-framed, shows the existence of an adstrate from a satellite-framed language. The fact that a very frequent and basic verb such as to come/to go was subjected to this framing suggests that this must be an old, rather than a new, feature in Talossan (i.e., probably not introduced by later encounter with Germanic languages).


  1. First mentioned on the 23rd of August 2013 in Wittenberg: