A. Roux: La vie berbère par les textes – Ethnographic texts re-edited, translated into English by John Cooper [PDF]


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Parlers du sud-ouest marocain (tachelhit)
Berber Studies Volume 23

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XII, 223 pp.

Text language: English

The French berberologist Arsène Roux (1893–1971) dedicated a great part of his life to the study of the Berber languages of Morocco. The ethnographic text collection La vie berbère together with four other compilations makes up a series of compendia assembled and annotated by Roux and intended as study material for scholars of the Moroccan Berber languages. In 1955, this compilation was published as volume I of the series Collection de textes berbères marocains by Éditions Larose in Paris. The newly edited first part of this publication contains original texts of the Berber language varieties of the Souss plain and the Anti-Atlas as well as of the region around Marrakech. They treat of the material sphere of the life of the Berber people of Southwest Morocco.

Everyday life of this ethnic group is reflected in discussions and monologues treating of topics such as traditional homesteads, clothing, agriculture and animal husbandry. Artisanry and trade with surrounding peoples are as important in this ethnographic study as views on the weather, occurrences of sickness and death and life philosophies in general. This publication presents a first time translation into English. The linguistic footnotes by Roux are amended by further comments of the editors and translators. The areas of life described here include:


Chapter I: Habitation
1. Where the Ishelhayn live / 2. Habitation in the Region of the Ikounka / 3. Construction of a House / 4. Sinking of a Well in the Region of the Ikounka
Chapter II: Clothes
5. Clothing of the Ishelhayn of the Tribe of the Ikounka / 6. Clothing of the Women in the Sous / 7. Clothing
Chapter III: Food
8. Milling / 9. Couscous / 10. Some Meals of the Ayt Brayyim / 11. Some Meals of the Ashtuken / 12. Some Meals of the Igedmiwen / 13. + 14. Edible Fats / 15. Ishelhayn Drinks / 16. Ishelhayn Meals / 17. Preparation (of Food) in the Sous 18. Meals and Cooking in the Mountains of the Igedmiwen
Chapter IV: Illnesses
19. Illnesses / 20. Rabid Dog
Chapter V: The Weather
21. Aphorisms / 22. The Four Seasons of the Year / 23. The Cold, the Rain and the Snow / 24. Spring / 25. Prayer for Rain
Chapter VI: Agriculture
26. + 27. Ploughing / 28. Harvest / 29. Threshing / 30. Red Maize / 31. Argan Fruit / 32. Prickly Pears / 33. Gardens / 34. Planting of Turnips and Carrots / 35. Planting of Onions / 36. Potatoes / 37. Hemp / 38: Description of Enclosed Gardens / 39. Cultivation of Almonds / 40. Cultivation of Olives
Chapter VII: Animal Husbandry
41. Livestock of the Ashtuken of the Sous / 42. Livestock of the Ashtuken / 43. Livestock of the Ayt Brayyim / 44. Livestock – Hens / 45. Bees
Chapter VIII: Trades
46. Blacksmiths / 47. Blacksmithing / 48. Shoe Making / 49. The Blacksmith and the Carpenter / 50. The Carpenter Also / 51. Charcoal Production / 52. Weaving
Chapter IX: Commerce
53. The Souk / 54. The Souk at the Ayt Brayyim / 55. Moussems / 56. Jurisdictions in the Fairs
Chapter X: The Hunt
57. Wild Animals / 58. Wild Animals in the Region of the Ashtuken / 59. Hunting / 60. The Ishelhayn Hunt
Chapter XI: Description of the Countryside
61. Tiznit / 62. The Azaghar (plain) / 63. The Region of the Igedmiwen
Chapter XII: Types of Life
64. People of the Hills and of the Plains / 65. The Work of the People of the House

Not only of interest to linguists and berberologists, even more than 50 years after ist first publication this ethnographic description of traditional Berber culture in Morocco still is a major enrichment for cultural sciences in general and the Oriental studies especially.

Further editions of Berber texts have been published in the same series, including a catalogue of all manuscripts of the « Fonds Arsène Roux », as well as ethnographic text editions of Central and Southwest Morocco:

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