Names of our towns and villages
Posted on February 26, 2008 by lakhdaria10
Current Geographical Names Kabylia
Cities kept Berber names in Kabylia, and the names of mountains and rivers, but the French colonization has changed a lot.
Berber names, well attested in ancient times, are also in the Middle Ages. When they began to found new cities, the Berbers -nothing more naturally will give their names from their language.
Thus, in 935 or 936, when Prince sanhadjien, Ibn Ziri Menad, founded his capital in the massive Titteri, he gave him the name of Ashir word from achchir / ichcher ‘nail ”, probably because of the shape of the site. The name is still preserved but in an Arabized form: Al Ashir or Yachir al.
Some Kabyle names back to the Middle Ages. This is the case of the name of Dellys where it appears in the form of Tadlest (also reads in Arabic sources: Tadellest, Tadallis) word from adles Berber ‘diss, Ampelodesmos tenax, a rough plant.’ ‘The current name is the Arabized form of adles, which gave the French Dellys.

Cities and villages having changed names
If throughout the Middle Ages and beyond, Algerian toponymy has changed little, keeping globally a Berber or Arab-Berber origin, French colonization, will upset it, and, in some regions from top to bottom. And when it does not change a toponym, it frankises it or the couple with a toponym of French origin.
Bgayet (in Arabic dialectal Bjaïa) becomes Bougie, a word taken from Bagayet and taken as the denomination of the candle because the wax used to make this product came precisely from the city that exported it to Europe. This name was to dominate, throughout the Middle Ages and to impose itself with the French colonization.
On the road from Algiers to Tizi Ouzou, it is the whole series of colonial villages, later cities.
One can quote Ménerville, known by the Kabyles as Tizi Nat Aïcha, the col des Nat Aïcha, named after the Kabyle tribe, who occupied it, now Thénia, meaning Arabic “col” .
This is the case of Naciria, the successor of the colonial village of Haussonvillers, created by settlers from Alsace and Lorraine, occupied by Germany after the war of 1870. The Kabyles called the La’zib farm, Detached farmhouse in the countryside. ” We also said La’zib n Za’mun, the name of the tribe that belonged to the region.

“The village of Naciria took on independence the name of Si Nacer, a martyr of the liberation war, at least what people believe.” In fact, the name “Naciria” was given In the village in 1963 by an Imam from Iraq, named in the village by the authorities of the time.The Imam originated from the city of Nassiria in Iraq.He had decreed, in memory of his town of origin, This name in a Friday prayer to replace the name (Haussonvillers) given in its time by the French colonial power, which was subsequently endorsed by the Administration, hence its use since.
But many people continue to call La’zib, as, official place names do not necessarily cover traditional place names.

We cite a final example of cities that lost its Kabyle name for a French name: Larba Iraten Nath, 27 km southeast of Tizi Ouzou. The city is famous for its handicrafts, its market which is held on Wednesdays and until recent years, its great cherry festival, occasion to great annual celebration. But Larbaâ Nath Iraten is primarily a symbol of resistance to conquest and colonial oppression.
After repelling, under the direction of Fadhma N’soumer assaults Marshal Randon, Kabyle heroine falls below the number, 25 May 1857. Much of its population was massacred, dozens of homes were razed and the highest peak is built a fort, designed to monitor the region. The ramparts surrounding the city, will be high in the future. This is Marshal Randon that gave the fort and the town called Fort Napoleon, in recognition of Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, who encouraged and financed the conquest of Kabylia. After the fall of the empire and the advent of a Republican regime, the city was renamed Fort National will keep it until independence. Kabyle name Larbaâ Nath Iraten which means’ Market Wednesday Tribe Nath Iraten ” is given to him then. It was indeed there, there, we met to sell livestock, before the conquest.
Oronyme and hydronym

Recall that the oronymie is the study of the vertices of names: mountains, hills, valleys, plateaus and flat reliefs such as the plains, and is hydronymy or study of rivers, streams, springs , wadis etc.
Mountains, rivers do not change their names. Some names seem documented since antiquity. Pliny the Elder, which is quoted several passages Atlas writes that indigenous people called this Addiris or Diris mountain name that evokes irresistibly Berber adrar ” mountain ”, with perhaps a Latin s final. This name might suggest that Atlas was not Aboriginal and could have been given by the Greeks, the indigenous name being Diris.
We know that the name of the mountain, Berber, survived the Middle Ages and the habit of calling every mountain Djebel Algeria, instead of adrenalin … is a French habit! In Kabylia and the Berber country, the mountains are designated under the generic name of adrar: Adrar n Djerdjer, Adrar n Ukefadu etc. The clean mountain names remained. So Gouraya, name of the mountain overlooking the city of Bejaia, famous for wearing the mausoleum of the Holy woman, patron saint of the city, which tradition gives the name of Yemma Gouraya, Mother Gouraya.

The shape of the mountain, which suggests the silhouette of a woman lying, perhaps justified the name, unless it is this form that has inspired the legend of the saint. But Yemma Gouraya is not only a legendary figure as historical sources establish its existence.
It notably intervened in 1512 while attempting to deliver Bejaia Aroudj the Spanish yoke. According to tradition, Yemma Gouraya, as Lalla Khlidja, anochrète lived in the mountains.

She was not married and devoted himself to reading the Koran and prayer. On many miracles attributed to him, the one to turn into a dove to escape his enemies. Yemma Gouraya is called ta’assast n lbeh’er, the guardian of the sea, because, according to tradition, she stopped, a hand signal, the sea that threatened to flood the city.
According Ghazaouet Arouj, the Turkish leader and his brothers, who lacked powder had decided to retire and had fired hundreds of Kabyle from the mountain to deliver the city. Yemma Gouraya then cursed Spaniards and predicted their defeat. The legend tells that we still Yemma Gouraya was the daughter of Sidi Ayad, whose mausoleum is Tifra (Sidi Aich), she had three sisters: Yemna Yamna, based in Bejaia, Yemma Timez’rit to Timezrit and Yemma to Mezghitan Jijel.
Another string of North Algeria mountains in Kabylia is Djurdjuran: it dominates this region so we got used to designate it by Kabylie Djurdjuran opposed to Little Kabylia it is dominated by the massive Akfadou.

In Kabyle, the Djurdjuran is also called Adrar b ° dfel, ” the mountain of snow, ” because of the copious amounts of snow fall there. The snow lasts until August, the caves are higher: once we brought in and it was used as refreshment.
The highlight Djurdjuran named after a saint, Lalla Khlija, who lived in a cave, and nicknamed Lalla Khlija tu’kift, paralytic. Mount also bears the name of Tamgout n Lalla Khlija, ” peak Khlija Lalla ‘.

The name of the mountain is the Arab deformation and French, Kabyle jerjer or Adrar n Jerjer: The name comes from the Kabyle jjerjer verb ‘to be high, being up, being full of stones, in speaking of a mountain’ .dropoff window This is probably an onomatopoeic formation, a similar form existing in classical Arabic: djarrara ‘depressed land covered with stones’, relative to a base jerr’ draw a large stone, a rock ”.
The similarity of the two words, an onomatopoeic origin is probably coincidental.

Current Geographical Names Kabylia
We continue here with some hydronyms and places whose names refer to the location.
The Akefadou is the second mountain chain which ends in the south-north direction, the Djurdjuran. We still consider it a communication channel between the Sebaou Valley in Great Kabylia and the Soummam Valley in Kabylia. But these denominations Petite and Grande Kabylie are administrative names, dating from colonization.
This strange name, Akefadou, has no current during Kabyle but can be closer to the verb still alive in some dialects, ekfad, used to cream overflowing, ie for all that overflows, as a sign abundance. The name could mean ‘mountain abundant goods.’ ‘

Miércoles, 29 de agosto de 2012

Toponimia rifeña por Said Kamel

Said Kamel: Profesor of the Facultad de Ciencias de la Universidad Moulay Ismail (Meknes, Marruecos) y miembro of the Asociación de las Montanas Poblaciones del Mundo – Sección Marruecos

Rif Toponymy

Place names is a new science that deals with names of places and trying to understand their meaning and significance. It plays an important role in people seeking their history, because it is considered one of the elements that help to restore the collective memory and rebuild the cultural identity of a people. It enriches the lexicon altered languages. This aspect, among others, which reflects the originality of a country and its identity and one of the characteristics that can distinguish it from other countries. The interest of this science is to call the other sciences to explain the meaning of a place name. Among these sciences, mention geography, history, linguistics, rural sociology, archeology, botany, geology, architecture … Indeed, the history and geography researchers may use the toponymy to explain the movement of people. To a geologist, place names may reflect the nature geomorphology, soil type and nature of rocks and minerals. For a botanist, he can know the plant species in a region and can even reconstruct the missing vegetation.

Despite the passage of several foreign cultures in Morocco (Phoenician, Roman, Vandal, Arabic, French and Spanish), they could not delete the original Amazigh names, showing rooting of Amazigh culture in society and connecting man to his land. However, some names have been slightly changed to adapt to the pronunciation of foreign languages, while few names have been replaced, the last century by Arab names. These can be understood by Moroccans, but the majority of place names, Amazigh origin, are little or not known by both Arabic and by the Amazigh. Since about 98% of Moroccan Amazigh names are, the study of place names of Morocco, in particular, and that of Tamazgha (North Africa) in general, requires a good knowledge of the Amazigh language. A proposal will be given meaning to names based on, among other things, the linguistic analysis of the word, but aside another hypothesis. Thus, to better understand the origin and meaning of names, it is interesting to give some rules for that language.

Male names starting with Section A (Examples: Afus: hand Adar foot, Love: the country) and female names begin with the article Ta and often end with T (Examples: Tamazight, Tawtemt: female, Tasa: the liver). A female name, devoid of the letter T section, means a larger and feminized male name thing by adding the letter T at the beginning and the end, means a small thing (eg Tamart: beard Amar: great beard, Afous: hand Tafoust: small hand). For pronunciation problem (Arabic and French), section A disappears in some place names (Afas: Fas Ameknas: Meknas, Anadour Nador …) or be preceded by w (Azzan: Wazzan, Alili: Walili ..) .dropoff window

Place names in Amazigh have the following prefixes: M (Me ibladen) and BO (Bouyzakaren) that mean “who” THIN (Thindouft) which means “to that” AN (Anrar), AS (Aswen ) which means “where.” For the last two cases the A may disappear (Nador Anadour, Sayes: Asayes).

Because of phonetic problem, the letter S is sometimes pronounced Z or vice versa. The letter K can be substituted by Ch and the letters G, Y and J replace them talk to one another. The transcription used for Amazigh terms is the same as that of French; however, the letters Z, D and T become emphatic beside a vowel with a circumflex accent.

Rif: RRIF or Arrif among imazighens the Middle Atlas, means the row. The name is derived probably from the alignment of ridges of mountains or the man who acts as a barrier to foreign invasions. The term “Arifi” means free man, while “Irifi” thirst.

Boughaz: word composed of “Bou” or that “instead of” and “Ghaz” or Aghaz: digging, the verb ighza. The word means, therefore, instead of digging. Where the sea has eroded to separate the Iberian land that of Morocco.

Andalusia Andalusians term amazighisé name vandalus, ie of vandals. This is of Andalusia that they attacked Moroccans.

Tangier tiniggi, word composed of “thin”: the place or and “iggi” verb yuga: check it cost observe. It probably means the observatory.

Titouan: Tittawin: Tit plural: the eye which means the source here.

Asila: azila: who come from Izil: beautiful. The old town in the area called “Arzila” that would be a Latinized form of “Arsel” plank or colonnades (older homes).

Tlat Taghremt: Tlat: Tuesday Arabic and Taghremt: the village or home.

Ben Azzou: Aït uzzou. Azzou: plant of the type “asparagus”

Bni Krich: Aït Ukrouch. The people of the forest (holm oak). Near the place name Akruch near Rabat derived from Akerrouch.

Asmaten: word composed of “ace” and instead of “Maten” imatân: the sick. The word means place of the sick.

Larach: Aàrich: the attic or shed

Chefchaouen Achawen: plural Ich: the horn. The word refers to the sharp mountains.

Sfelyen: word composed of “ace” and instead of “felyen” aflayen: plural aflay: dissection. It probably wants designate earth showing the dissection of slots after a warming.

Dradra: Arabized word of iderdouren: the deaf.

Jbel Tisiren: Adrar Tisirin. Tisirt plural: the mill. The word means mountain mills.

Mokrisset: Tamoukrist: the node or problem

Melloussa: Amellous: word composed of “Am” and that “allous” the girls verb: cut the wool. Amellous: that cuts sheep wool.

Rgala: Argal, the irgel verb: to lock or close.

Bni Zerfet: Aït izrfâd, Azerfêd plural, the verb izerfêd: swinging. The word probably means marginal.

Tatoufet: Tadouft: wool.

Bni bouzra: Ait Bou zra. “Bou” or that place and “zra” rock or stone. The word means, therefore, the inhabitants of the rock, ie of the massif of igneous and metamorphic rocks.

Targha: hot, tense irgha: heating or sunbathing. The place name is probably related to the beach.

Tamouroute: feminine Amourou: consisting of “am” Who: Uru and the verb go: to love. The word means “beloved”

Bab Tizi: Imi Tizi n: the entrance of the cervix.

Klaa of Sles: Sles: word composed of “ace” and instead of “the” islands: cut wool.

Jbel Tidghine: plurirel Toudgha: name of a plant.

Achakem: Arabized form of “Asaqem” word composed of “have” and instead of “PRQ” iqqim the verb “to sit. The word means meeting place (aseqammou: the meeting or the meeting)

Izmourene: plural azemmour: Olive

Anjra: word composed of “year” or that place and “jra” or gra: agra: alien, which resulted in the plural igerwan (near Meknes). The word means “place of foreigners”.

Ceuta: Form espanisée Asetta of Ceuta and its Arabized form. Asetta: weaving apparatus.

M’diaq: Me idqi. “M” and that “Idqi” clay. The word means: clay region.

Fnideq word composed of “Fn”: FANS, Youfa verb: to find and “IDEQ” idqi: clay. The word means: where clay is found or “clay region.” noted that fnideq and M’diaq are two very close locations.

Martil: Amerdil word composed of “Am” and that “Erdil” of irdel verb: to drop. The word means the place peneplane, held very low.

Ouazzan: Azzan name of a type oak tree Zeen.

Lhousima: Comes from the Spanish name Al Housimas: lavender; His name in Amazigh: Izri.

Tamsaman: Tamz-aman “Tamz” or Tumz: verb youmez: remember, “aman”: water. The word means: that holds water and which means “the impervious land.” There are those who think that it is a term, and Timssi aman: fire and water.

Targist: word composed of tar: and without gist or Tigist: feminine igis or iyis: the horse. The name would say: Region horseless ie inaccessible region of the horse.

Boukouya: Bouqouyn: word composed of “Bou” and that “Aqqouyn” plural Akka: instead of narrow pass in the mountain areas.

Imzouren: plural of “amzour” compound word “am” is and “zour” or izour: thick. The word means obese.

Ankour: word composed of “year” has or place and “kour” of ikker verb: get up. Location uprising (against the enemy).

Midar: word composed of “M” and that “idar” plural of adar: the foot. The word means that the feet.

Afsou: name of IFSA verb: clean (wool).

Tiztoutine: Tizdoudine, Tazdout plural, feminine of Azdoud: black bird species

Tasleft: female of ASLEF. Word composed of “have” and instead of “ilef” divorce.

Tifrist: feminine of “IFRIS” or “Afras” forest clearing. The word means place cleared.

Tifersit: small status.

Saka: word composed of “asa” place and “ka” of the verb ikka: pass. The word means crossing point (in the river).

Aknoul: compound word Ak and noul (Anoul).

“Ak” means above or higher; example: akemmar: FIG meaning above the chin, its opposite is admmer: chest which means below the chin.

“Anoul ‘name inal verb thwarted a barrier. The name probably means high place of custody.

Taynaste: the borache (plant)

Tizi ousli: groom the neck

Talamecht: tala-word consisting of m-echt: Tala: source, m: and who or ich: horn means here the mountain (pointed), singular achawen. the word means the source of the mountain.

Bni Ammart: Aït tammart: bearded. Ammart may derive from the word “toummert” which gave the king named Amazigh ben toummert: joy. The word can say: the joyful.

Zoren: Izouran: roots

Mezguiten: Imezguiten, consisting of “im” plural “Am” that. Izguiten: plural Azguit: male Tizguite: Jungle (dense forest). The word means the inhabitants of the forest.

Msoun: Amsoun, a term composed of “am” and that “soun” issen the verb to know or know about. The term means the connoisseur.

Ktama: proper name of a tribe. It also gives people.

Ghefsay: composed of “GHEF or Khef” (Ikhef): the top (or head) and “say” or Asay of yousey verb take. Transportation station.

Kandousi: Aghendouz Arabized form: the dale.

Selwan: Black sooty deposits on the walls that accumulate over time by smoke.

Tawima: excessive deformation of the Arabian real word Amazigh “taneymart” or tanegmart “meaning the hunter.

Nador anadour: word composed of “year” is or place and “dour” of ider verb: go down. The word refers to the lowest point of a region. This name is found in other parts of the Rif and Middle Atlas.

Kariat Arekman: Akeryan irekmen. Akeryan: bombardment. Irekmen: bubbling name Arkam: bubbling. The word means, therefore, instead of heavy bombardment.

Zghanghan: Azghenghen or Asghenghen. Word composed of “ace” and instead of “ghenghen” ighenghen the verb: to make music. The word probably means: instead of music or musicians.

Gourougou: word composed of “G” in and “ourougou” or arougou: steam. The word means “in the clouds”.

Bou àareg: word that derives from the word “bou Aari” composed “of” boo “and that” Aari “the forest. The area was covered in the past by dense forest.

Kebdana: Akebdan: word composed of “k” and “bedan”. Ak: above or above (see Aknoul) and bedan they are standing or recovered (from ibed verb). The word probably means: the high mountains or straightened.

Ferkhana: Arabized form of “Afroukh”: the not so young.

Bni Bou yfrour: Aït bou frour. “Bou” who “Afrour” fragment of ifrourey verb unravel.

Bni NZAR or Nsar: Aït unsar. The latter is probably a variant of Anzar: the rain would say the people in rain-ie of the slope exposed to the direction of the rains.

Mlilia: comes from the word Tumlilt or tamllalt: white.

Berkane: Aberrkane: black. The name is linked to the name of a “holy.”

Islands Three Forks: الجزر الجعفرية: Arabization of the name “Tigzirin icheffaren n ‘robbers islands or pirates.

Cap Water: tikhoubay: Jars, for hiding treasures.

Zayou: come from the word “azayow” horsehair or violent. There are those who say it is the name of a settler who lived in the area.

Ahfir: Afkir: thorny plant

Tafoughalt: Tea

Terwal: Terwel irwel the verb run. The name means “she fled.” This is probably a tribe who left the region after a threat.
Twissit: Twissent: the known, the issen verb: to know, to know.

Tawrirt: Hill

Laayoun: tittawen: sources

Guersif: word composed of “guer” (jer or yer) of the verb “iger” and throw “sif” the river or river. The word means that flows into the river and tributary means.

Oued Za “Aza” valley alros that “aza” means halfa. The female name Taza: tree Rhus Cotinus type.

Oued Meloulou: composed of “Am” and that “Lolou” verb iloula: born. The word means: giving birth. It is a large tributary of Oued Melweya; the latter name probably derives from Meloulou.

Oued Kert Kert verb Ikerd or icherd: scratching. The word therefore means the wadi that erodes.

Oued Rhis: Rhis: mud?. River mud

Oued Ouringa: Waranga or warangi: word composed of “war” and without “angi” torrent or flood.

Oujda Tiwejda: colonnades (older homes)

Bni wkil: Aït Ikil. “Ikil” or “ICHIL” curd

Loukous: Variant Oukous, name of the verb “ikkes” remove. The name means the river erodes.

Source: Said Kamel

Génétiquement, les Maghrébins ne sont pas des Arabes

Amazigh Toponymy
Auteur: Amazigh
Date: 2007-04-06 15:49:15

by: Anya Weghlis
In: The Amazigh Voice, Volume 7, number 2, Spring 1998, pp. 12-15

A win yugaden tidett
Mi t-gezmed ad yagh uZaR

He/She who fears the truth
Knows that, even cut, its root grows back.
( Lounis Ait Menguellet )

Toponymy is the study of names of places that include towns, mountains, rivers, lakes, springs, and other geographical sites. It is a branch of a discipline called onomastics (study of names) which is itself a branch of history. The other branches of onomastics are ethnonymy (study of ethnic names) and anthroponymy (study of names of persons). Onomastics plays a considerable role in the elucidation of the historical process. It provides raw material for researchers (historians, anthropologists, linguists, geographers etc.) studying the history and development of cultures and civilizations, as well as inter-cultural contacts. Toponymy is particularly important in the study of the history and civilization of the first occupants of the places concerned because, generally speaking, place names rarely change. Even their phonetic evolution hardly ever leads to radical modifications in the pronunciation and spelling. North Africa is a case in point. In Algeria and Morocco, for instance, most places have retained their Amazigh names throughout the centuries, though a large number has been corrupted by the French and the Spaniards during their colonization of Algeria and Morocco. In fact, the various civilizations which succeeded one another in Algeria and Morocco did not leave significant traces in their toponymy. In the post-independence era, it is the governments of these countries that gradually have been replacing Amazigh names by Arabic ones. They also have altered the spelling and the phonetics of some Amazigh names to conform to the Arabic language. In some other cases, the alterations went so far as to derive Arabic names from Amazigh ones, resulting in names with absurd meanings. Perhaps a formidable example of this type of alteration is the case of “Amechras,” name of a Kabyle village, which was deformed to give “Mecht Arras,” meaning “head-comb” in Arabic.

In what follows we give a list of Amazigh toponyms from North Africa and the Sahel region. For each toponym we indicate the origin and the etymology, whenever possible.

Adrar: Means “mountain” in Tamazight.
Many places in North Africa and the Sahel region bear this name: for example, the town of Adrar in Southwest Algeria and Adrar n Ifoghas in Mali. Commonly, names of mountains contain the word Adrar followed by the actual name (Adrar Toubkal, Adrar Tignousti in Morocco). However, on geographical maps of North Africa, “Adrar” is almost always replaced by the Arabic word “Djebel.”

Al Jadida: Arabic word meaning “new.” This is the new name of the Moroccan town known as Mazagan.
Mazagan is the European-corrupted form of Mezghenna, the name of the Ait Mezghenna tribe, which inhabited the region of the Atlantic plains in the Middle Ages.

Anfa: A Tamazight word meaning “little hill.”
This was the old name of Casablanca; today it is the name of a district in that town.

Asafi (Asif): Means “river” in Tamazight. Corrupted by the French, it became Safi. This is the name of a Moroccan town overlooking the Atlantic coast.

Aujila: City located in the southeast of Libya. It is a deformation of “Welt Zila,” meaning “daughter of Zila.”

Azeffoun: Village in northern Kabylie (Algeria) on the shores of the Mediterranean (Algeria). Azeffun means langoustine.

Azemmour: Name of a town located on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Zemmouri is the name of a little town located east of Algiers, Algeria, which is covered with olive trees. Both names derive from the Amazigh word “azemmur” meaning olive.

Azrou: Middle Atlas town in Morocco. “Azrou” means “rock” in Tamazight.

Beni-Mellal: Located in the Middle Atlas, this Moroccan town has a spring famous for the volume, quality, and freshness of its water.
Its etymology is related to the root “mell” which means “white” in Tamazight.
“Beni” means “son” in Arabic. Many places have names derived from this root, for example Melilla (Spanish enclave in northern Morocco), Ait Mellul (Moroccan village, Algerian Village), Telemly (district in Algiers, Algeria), and Allamellal (Gourara, Algeria). Note that the names of Amazigh villages usually take the form “Ait” (the people of) followed by the name of the ancestor who founded the village. During the French colonization in Algeria, the “Ait” part of some names was replaced by its Arabic counterpart, “Beni,” (Beni Douala and Beni-Yenni in Kabylie and Beni Izguen in Mzab). After independence these appellations remained in use and additional alterations came into existence.

Berkane: Moroccan town named after Saint Sidi Mhammed Aberkan.
The word “aberkan” means “black” in Tamazight.

Bordj Menaiel: A small town in Kabylie. Bordj is Arabic for “fort” and Menaiel is a corrupted version of “Imnayen,” plural of “Amnay,” meaning “knight.”

Chaouen: Name of a beautiful town in the Rif mountains (north of Morocco).
The name is derived from the word “icc” or “iccew,” depending on the idiom, (plural iccawen) meaning “peak” or “horn” in Tamazight. Many places in North Africa bear names based on this root, for example Tichy in Algeria and Tichit in Mauretania which derive from the diminutive “Ticcit,” (little horn). In fact, above the village of Tichy, there is a little hill that looks like a small horn.

Daren: The Arabicized name for theAtlas.
The original Amazigh name is “Adrar n Idraren,” meaning “mountain of mountains.”

Doukkala: Name of a great plain on the Atlantic coast of Morocco situated between the towns of Azemmour and Asafi. It is also the name of the confederation inhabiting the region.
Doukkala is composed of two Amazigh words “ddaw” (under) and “akal” (soil, land), hence the meaning “lowland” or “plain.”

Essaouira: The current [Arabic] name (meaning “little wall”) of a small town on the Atlantic Moroccan coast.
Under the protectorate it was known as Mogador, after the Amazigh name Amugdul recorded as early as the eleventh century. Amugdul is the name of Saint Sidi Magdul buried in this town.

Fez: The origin of the name results from a metathesis on “Saf,” abbreviation of “isaffen”(plural of asif), meaning “river.” Corrupted by the Europeans, it became Fez or Fes.

Goulmima: Comes from “Ag}lmim,” plural “igulmimen,” meaning “lake.” Many lakes and places in North Africa bear this name.

Gourara: Name of an Amazigh[Zenete] region located in the northwest of Algeria. Gourara comes from “tagourart,” plural “tigourarin,” meaning “castle.” This region is composed of about a hundred oases, with Timimoun at the center, totalling over a thousand “tigourarin” (castles). Guerrara, another deformation of Tigourarin, is the name of one of the Mzab cities located east of Gourara.

Iferaouan: Name of a small town in Niger. “Iferaouan,” plural of “afraw,” is the Tamaceght word for watering place used for cattle. Feraoun, Gallicization of Iferaouen, is the name of an oasis in Gourara.

Ifrane: Plural of “ifri,” meaning “cavern.” Many places bear names derived from this root, for instance Ifrane, the Moroccan winter/summer resort in the Middle Atlas and Oufrane, an oasis in Gourara (Algeria).

In Amenas: Name of a town in the Algerian desert. It is composed of “In” (“that of”) and “Amenas,” which is a [French] deformation of “Imena,” plural of “Amenu,” meaning ” prince” in Tamaceght. “In Amenas” was the cradle of the Imena dynasty that controlled the Algerian desert in the sixteenth century. Note that after independence, “In Amenas” was spelled “Ain oum nnas,” meaning “the eye of the mother of people” in Arabic. This is another example where a meaningless Arabic name was coined from an Amazigh one. The name was reverted back to its original form in the 80s.

Laghouat: Derives from “Laguanta,” which is a Latin deformation of “Louata.” The latter is the name of an Amazigh group that lived in the northwest of Algeria. The Louata were considered the most fearful enemy of the Byzantines.

Nefousa: Name of a village in Libya. It comes from “tanfust” meaning “story.”

Ouargla: A city located in the south of Algeria. The name derives from “wargren” meaning “shallow well” in Tagerggrent, the Amazigh idiom spoken in Ouargla.

Oum Rbia: Means “giver of grass” in Arabic. This is the name of the big river that waters the plains of central Morocco and flows into the Atlantic at Azemmour. The Amazighs call this river “Asif n Isaffen,” “river of rivers.”

Sala: Corrupted by the French it became Sale’. This name is derived from an Amazigh root meaning “rock.” The town of Chella, facing Sale’ on the left bank of the Bouregreg, gets its name from the same root.

Senegal: Gallicization of the word “Zenaga” which itself derives from “Sanhadja,” the name of a southwestern Amazigh group. According to the North African historian Ibn Khaldun, the Sanhadja accounted for the third of the Amazigh population at the time. It is the Sanhadja who created the Almoravide dynasty, which dominated North Africa and Spain for several centuries.

Tadla: Means “sheaf of cereals” in Tamazight. It is the name of an important town in the Middle Atlas (Morocco) for it is the economic center of this region.

Tafrawt: Means “flat” or “hollow” in Tamazight. This is the name of a town in the Sous (Morocco).

Tala: Means “fountain” or “spring” in Tamazight. Many places bear this name. Examples include Tala guilef (Kabylie), Tala(Gourara), Tala n Tilut (the fountain of the female elephant in Oran ) changed to Ain Tilut.

Talaq: Small town in Niger.
“Talaq” comes from “talaxt,” meaning “clay.” In Tamaceght, however, the combination “xt” or “ght” at the end of a word is abbreviated by “q.”

Tanezrouft: Region in the Algerian desert. The name means “stony desert.”

Tanut: Small town in Niger. “Tanut,” diminutive of “anu,” is the Tamaceght word for “little well.”

Taourirt: Diminutive of “Awrir,” meaning “hill” in Tamazight. Hundreds of places in North Africa bear this name, for example Taourirt Moussa (Kabyle village), Taourirt (oasis in Gourara), Taourirt (major town in the Rif mountains), Aourir (town near
Agadir, village near Inezliouen), and Ait Aourir (village south of Marrakesh).

Tassili n Azjer: Region in the Algeria desert. “Tassili” means plateau and “Azjer” (Azger) means “bull.” Tassili n Azjer is home to the famous Tassili frescoes, a collection of rock paintings depicting nomad and sedentary life in that area.

Tazult n Lambese: Small village in the Aures region (east of Algeria). “Tazult” means “courage.” Tazult n Lambese used to house a military post the Romans used to repress the uprising of the local population. Today, the village houses a penitentiary with the most inhumane regime.

Tenere: The French-corrupted form of “Tiniri” which means “desert.” “Tenere” is the name of a region in the south of Algeria and “Tiniri” the name of a forest in the Boghni area (Kabylie).

Tenerife: Name of one of the islands of the Canarian archipelago. Tenerife is the Spanish-corrupted form of “Tin n rif,” meaning “that of the rif.”
Historically, part of the population of the Canary Islands emigrated from the Rif mountains of Morocco. “Tin” and its corrupted form “tim” are found in a number of North African and Sahelian place names.
Examples include Tindouf, Timimoun, Tindjillet (Algeria), Tinjdad, Tinmel (Morocco), and Timbuctu (Mali). In the context of toponymy, it usually refers to a geographical site (town, well, land, etc.) that belongs to someone or that is named after someone. The masculine form of “Tin” is “In” and is also found in place names such as In Amenas, In Timouchent, In Salah, and In Ouzzal in Algeria and In Gall in Niger.

Tetuan: Name of a city in northern Morocco, which used to be the capital of the Spanish protectorate. “Tetuan” is the Spanish-corrupted version of “titawin” meaning “springs” in Tamazight. Tattiwin, another plural form, is the name of a village in Tunisia.

Tiaret: Comes from “Tihert” meaning female lion. Male lion is referred to as “Iher,” plural “Ihran” from which the name “Wehran” (Oran in French), capital city of the west of Algeria, derives.

Tinja: Name of a river in Tunisia. The name is a corrupted version of “Tanga” meaning wave in Tamazight. Note that Tanger, a Moroccan city on the shores of the Mediterranean sea, also derives from this same root.

Tinmel: Composed of “tin” and “mel” (rampart). Tinmel would mean “the town with a rampart.” It is the cradle of the great Amazigh Almohade dynasty where its founder, Ibn Tumart (Utumart in Tamazight), is buried.

Tizi: Means “pass” in Tamazight. Hundreds of places in North Africa bear this name. Examples include Tizi Ouzou, Tizi Ghennif, Tizi Hibel in Algeria and Tizi n Tast, Tizi n Tishkka, Tizi n Talghumt, Tizi n Takusht, and Tizi n Isli in Morocco.

Tiznit: Means “Basket” in Tamazight. This is the name of a town in the Sous region (Morocco).

Tlemcen: Derives from “tilmas,” plural of “talmist” which means “water hole.” Corrupted by the French it became Tlemcen, a city in the west of Algeria. In idiom Tamaceght, “water hole” is referred to as “Abankur,” plural “ibenkar.”

Touat: Town located south of Gourara. “Touat” means “oasis” in Zenete, the Amazigh spoken in Gourara. Touat n Tebbou (the oasis of Tebbou) is the name of an oasis in Gourara.

Touggourt: A deformation of “Taggurt,” meaning “door” in Tamazight. This is the name of an Algerian city located east of Gourara.

Walili: Corrupt form of “alili,” meaning “bay-tree” in Tamazight. This is the Amazigh name of the town known as Volubilis during the Roman times.

Acknowledgment:The author wishes to thank Akli Gana for his valuable comments and Hassan Ouzzate for his help on Moroccan toponyms.

Bibliography on Amazigh Toponymy

[1]. African Ethnonyms and Toponyms, reports and papers of the meeting of experts organized by Unesco in Paris, July 3-7, 1978.

[2]. A. Basset, Du nouveau a propos de l’Ile de Fer (Canaries), Onomsatica, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1948, pp. 121-122.

[3]. A. Basset, Sur la toponymie Berbere et specialement sur la toponymie chaouia des Ait Frah, Onomastica, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1948, pp. 123-126.

[4]. R. Capot-Rey, Glossaire des termes geographiques araboberberes, Bull.Liais. Sahar. (Algiers), Vol. 8, No. 25,1957, pp. 2-4; and Vol. 8, No. 26,1957, pp. 72-75.

[5]. D. M. Hart, Tribal and Place Names
among the Arab-Berbers of NW Morocco: A Preliminary Statistical Analysis, Hesperis -Tamuda, Vol. 1, No. 3, 1960, pp. 457-511.

[6]. A. Leriche, Toponymie et Histoire Maure, Bull. IFAN, Vol. 14, No. 1, 1952, pp. 337-343.

[7]. A. Leriche, Terminologie geographique Maure, St.-Louis (Senegal), Etudes mauritaniennes, 5.

[8]. G. Mercier, Etude sur la toponymie berbere de la region de l’Aures, XI Congres Int.Orinet, Section Egypte et Langues Africaines, Paris 1897, pp.173-207.

[9]. G. Mercier, La langue libyenne et la
toponymie antique de l’Afrique du Nord, J. Asiat., Vol. 105, 1924, pp. 188-320.

[10]. V. Monteil, Notes sur la toponymie, l’astronomie, et l’orientation chez les Maures, Hesperis, Vol. 36, 1949, pp. 180-219.

[11]. V. Monteil, La part du Berbere dans la toponymie du Sahara maure, Notes Afr. IFAN, Vol. 45, 1950, p. 21 (also in Proceed. 3rd Congr. Topon. and Anthropon., Brux. 1949, pp. 478-479, Louvain 1951).

[12]. P. Odinot, Notes de toponymie marocaine, La Geog. 71, Vol. 4, pp. 205-219.

[13]. A. Pellegrin, Contributions a l’etude de la toponymie tunisienne: Note sur l’etymologie de Pheradi Maius, IBLA, Vol. 13, No. 50, 1950, pp. 203-206.

[14]. A. Pellegrin, Essai sur les noms de lieux d’Algerie et de Tunisie,
(supplement to IBLA (Tunis)), No. 45, 1949. [15]. A. Picard, Complements a la toponymie Berbere, Onomastica, 1949, pp. 127-132.,1887.html

Sur cette carte, les toponymes (villes, cols, sources, montagnes) arabisés par le gouvernement marocain apparaissent en tifinagh-Ircam. Par peur ou par ignorance, l’Institut des Berbères de service n’a pas le courage de les libérer en leur donnant leur véritables noms qu’ils ont porté depuis des siècles.

A quoi bon d’éditer une carte de Tamazgha occidentale en langue amazighe si celle-ci conserve les toponymes étranges à ce pays et à sa culture millénaire ?

A Tamazgha et depuis le départ des colonialismes français et espagnol, tous les “Ayt” sont devenus des “bni”, tous les “aghbalu” des “âin”, tous les “assif” des “oueds” et tous les cols “Tizi” sont devenus des “fej”. Ainsi les légendaires Tizi n Telghemt (col de la chamelle) et Tizi n Tichka sont devenues Fej Talghemt et Fej Tichka. Cette arabisation est parfois ridicule. Une localité appelée “Aghbal” entre Azrou et Mrirt dans le moyen Atlas est l’exemple le plus édifiant de la succession des colonisations. Les français l’avaient appelé “Source Aghbal”. Sous le règne de la monarchie marocaine, la localité est devenue “Source Aïn Aghbal”. Ce qui veut dire la même chose dans trois langues différentes.

A Tamazgha, la terre ne reconnaît plus ses enfants et ceux-ci ne reconnaissent plus la terre de leurs ancêtres. L’Ircam préfère le statut quo et joue le jeu du pouvoir arabiste. Le gouvernement “arabrutise” et l’Ircam solidifie cette arabisation en la consacrant avec son “tifinagh” sur les cartes destinées aux enfants et aux habitants. Ainsi, l’Ircam contribue à aliéner le peuple berbère et à le domestiquer. Il n’y a pas plus bête qu’un Berbère qui pense comme un arabiste !

Le plus haut sommet de Tamazgha “Tugg-Akal” est appelé “Toubkal”. Un mot qui ne veut rien dire à ma connaissance. Les habitants de la vallée d’Oukaïmeden ne reconnaissent plus le sommet de leur pays. “Mazagan” (Mm-Azagen / littéralement : la ville aux cornes) est devenue “Al Jadida”. “Mogador” (Mm-Ugadir/ la ville fortifiée) est devenue “Essaouira”. “Imetghern” s’est vu ôter son beau toponyme et devient “Errachidia”. Aveugle de naissance, l’Ircam obtempère.

Les exemples des toponymes arabisés conservés dans la carte de l’Ircam font légion. En voici quelques-uns :

Tétouan Tittawin (les yeux)
Al Houceima Biya
Mlilia Mritch
Ddar lbid’a Anfa (la colline)
Qelâat Megouna Tighremt n Imgunn
Chefchawen Acciwen
Oued Z’em Asif n Yizem
Beni Mallal Ayt Mellal
Toudgha Asif n Tdeght
Agelmam Âziza agelmam Azegza (lac vert)
Goulmima Igoulmimen
Oujda Gwejda
Tingi (Tanger)

Oran (Portus Civino)
Caesarea (Cherchell)
Icosium (Alger)
Cuilcul (Djemila)
Cirta (Constantine)
Hippone (Bone) le o avec un chapeau
Sitifi (Setif)
Tagasta (Souk Ahras)
Theveste (Tebessa)

Cartage (Tunis)

Lorsque l’Ircam arabise le Maroc !
“Takard’a n Lmaghreb” est le titre donné par l’Ircam à la carte qu’il vient d’éditer en caractère tifinagh-Ircam et qu’on peut acheter dans différentes librairies de Tamazgha occidentale. Il semblerait que “Lmaghreb” de l’Ircam, n’a rien à envier à la Jordanie ou à l’Arabie Saoudite en termes d’arabité.

Sur cette carte, les toponymes (villes, cols, sources, montagnes) arabisés par le gouvernement marocain apparaissent en tifinagh-Ircam. Par peur ou par ignorance, l’Institut des Berbères de service n’a pas le courage de les libérer en leur donnant leur véritables noms qu’ils ont porté depuis des siècles.
A quoi bon d’éditer une carte de Tamazgha occidentale en langue amazighe si celle-ci conserve les toponymes étranges à ce pays et à sa culture millénaire ?
A Tamazgha et depuis le départ des colonialismes français et espagnol, tous les “Ayt” sont devenus des “bni”, tous les “aghbalu” des “âin”, tous les “assif” des “oueds” et tous les cols “Tizi” sont devenus des “fej”. Ainsi les légendaires Tizi n Telghemt (col de la chamelle) et Tizi n Tichka sont devenues Fej Talghemt et Fej Tichka. Cette arabisation est parfois ridicule. Une localité appelée “Aghbal” entre Azrou et Mrirt dans le moyen Atlas est l’exemple le plus édifiant de la succession des colonisations. Les français l’avaient appelé “Source Aghbal”. Sous le règne de la monarchie marocaine, la localité est devenue “Source Aïn Aghbal”. Ce qui veut dire la même chose dans trois langues différentes.
A Tamazgha, la terre ne reconnaît plus ses enfants et ceux-ci ne reconnaissent plus la terre de leurs ancêtres. L’Ircam préfère le statut quo et joue le jeu du pouvoir arabiste. Le gouvernement “arabrutise” et l’Ircam solidifie cette arabisation en la consacrant avec son “tifinagh” sur les cartes destinées aux enfants et aux habitants. Ainsi, l’Ircam contribue à aliéner le peuple berbère et à le domestiquer. Il n’y a pas plus bête qu’un Berbère qui pense comme un arabiste !
Le plus haut sommet de Tamazgha “Tugg-Akal” est appelé “Toubkal”. Un mot qui ne veut rien dire à ma connaissance. Les habitants de la vallée d’Oukaïmeden ne reconnaissent plus le sommet de leur pays. “Mazagan” (Mm-Azagen / littéralement : la ville aux cornes) est devenue “Al Jadida”. “Mogador” (Mm-Ugadir/ la ville fortifiée) est devenue “Essaouira”. “Imetghern” s’est vu ôter son beau toponyme et devient “Errachidia”. Aveugle de naissance, l’Ircam obtempère.
Les exemples des toponymes arabisés conservés dans la carte de l’Ircam font légion. En voici quelques-uns :
Tétouan : Tittawin (les yeux)
Al Houceima :Biya
Mlilia :Mritch
Ddar lbid’a: Anfa (la colline)
Qelâat Megouna: Tighremt n Imgunn
Chefchawen: Acciwen
Oued Z’em: Asif n Yizem
Beni Mallal: Ayt Mellal
Toudgha: Asif n Tdeght
Agelmam Âziza: Agelmam Azegza (lac vert)
Goulmima: Igoulmimen

Il s’agit de récupérer cette toponymie amazighe. L’utiliser dans les écrits (articles, mémoires, communiqués,…) et œuvrer pour la préserver par tous les moyens. Plusieurs panneaux de villes arabisées ont été tagués ou arrachés ces dernières années à Tamazgha occidentale. Une méthode qu’il faut encourager, soutenir et généraliser. Cela ne relève pas du tout du vandalisme. C’est un acte de résistance à l’arabisation qui vise la récupération de l’identité amazighe. Il s’agit par là de combattre cette politique qui vise à faire des Imazighen un troupeau malade sans repères ni identité.

Mots et choses Amazighs de Doukkala et de Chaouia , N° 4. – See more at:

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Amazigh place names in Tunisia

The work of Evelyne BEN JAAFAR on Place names in Tunisia published in 1985 shed light on the ancient Libyan-Berber names which according to her the substrate in all regions of Tunisia. His analyzes closely associate archeology, history and linguistics. The presence of place names in Tamazight is attested throughout the Tunisian territory not only “in areas where the Roman penetration was more tradive and superficial.”

According to his research the Libyan term seems to have been the local term by which self-identified themselves in ancient populations in Tunisia, evidenced by the frequent mention of “LBY” or “LBM” on the stelae inscriptions in Punic.

It seems that the term probale Libyan Amazigh “IFRI” (the cave) has formed the name of the tribe of Frini Ifren in the Carthage area.

The first Libyan inscriptions have brought little to the typonomie and are belatedly emerged to the 1st century BC to Dougga, Ghardimmaou, Makhtar, Tborsoq and South.

On the coast of place names have a Greek etymology which became Neapolis such Nabeul. Acta translated by Roman Clupea become Qlibya or Kelibia. These two cities were founded by the Greeks of Sicily in the fifth century BC. AD ..

Romanization was molded into existing frameworks. The creations of the 2nd century that Sufutela (Sbeitla) and Ammaedra (Hidra) owe their name to the African background. Ad Medara juxtaposes the preposition ad that retouve in Tamazight (here) and Latin ‘to’)) to the MDR Tadart root, the parcel of land.

This other Amazigh village in the Sahel Hergla who formerly used as a warehouse for grain, Tamalla called the White City.

Almost all the names of towns and villages in Tunisia have retained a Berber root from north to south, from east to west. This is the case of Adar in Cap Bon, Henshir Bed (Tamda: the reservoir, the well Tamazight). Two cities bear the names Beja which in Tamazight The BJW means the resplendent, lush. It is also a female name Berber.

We also notice that many places in Numidia are named Tenes (Tunis – Thinissut) *. Tunis that is much older than the Phoenician colonization, we can believe but can not prove it. The fact is that this place name is present in other parts of the Tamazgha Amazighie, including the Ahaggar (Hoggar) where “TNS” means “encampment stopping place.”

The work of Evelyne BEN JAAFAR indiquement clear that the superstrate Arab topnymique did superimposed very slowly. “The places that appear names among historians from the tenth and eleventh sicècle El Yaaqoubi, Hwaqal Ibn El Bakri are mostly those of the Lower Roman Empire. There was, on the part of newcomers will not systematic, no possibility of imposing the Arabic language. Arabization of the administration and the currency have performed more than a hundred years after the beginnings of the conquest. In addition, Arabization was first an urban phenomenon …

“The direct role of colonization on toponymy was unimportant since Tunisia from the outset was designed as a colony of exploitation and not stand. At Independence the bulk of the Tunisian Toponymy in place”.

Instead of arabize the names of towns and villages, the administration bourguibienne looking for a Tunisian authenticity draw on local and community traditions. This is the time when the Punic past and Amazigh is involved. “Resorts are names out of history books, Amicalcar, Jugurtja, while new sectors formalize Haïdra 1966, Telpete, Utica, Chemtou, Bulla Regia often forgotten by local people.

The introduction of signs in tifinaghs characters at the entrance to every town and village could be one of the first claims accomplished, easy to set up by Tunisian Amazigh.

Stéphane ARRAMI – The Spring Conference of the Peoples of Amazighie Roubaix May 2011


Evelyne Ben Jaafar, Associate University, The Place names in Tunisia Living Roots of the National Identity 1985 Coll. Workbook Tunis Ceres 259 p. Tunis University Centre for Studies and Economic and Social Research

“Tunis History of a city” Ed. L’Harmattan 1998 p.54

Lalies 16 Acts of linguistics and littéarature sessions Carthage, August 21-September 2, 1995 – ENS From the Libyan Berber: a difficult ascent Lionel GALAND

History of the High Steppes Ancient Times Middle Ages – Proceedings of Symposium Sbetla sesions 1998 and 1999 Texts gathered by Fathi BEJAOUI Tunisian Republic Ministry of Culture – National Heritage Institute

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