A short list of Amazigh personal names

By: D. Messaoudi

A name constitutes a fingerprint which identifies the person who carries it; it is very often the form or the resonance that characterises his name that tells us that an individual belongs to this or that community of people. In other words, we can guess that a person is of Russian, or Serbian, or Romanian, or Italian, or Hispanic, or Irish, or Scandinavian extraction thanks only to his name which begins or ends, respectively, with one of the following affixes: “ -sky, -ev, -vic, -scu, -i, -os, O’-, -sen / -son”, as in “Tchaikovsky, Milosevic, Ceausescu, Machiavelli, Carlos, O’Connor, Svennigsen. The Amazigh have originally their own names and forenames which differentiate them from other people. Massnsen, Yaghmurasen, Wagguten, Mezian, Idir, are some examples. By abandoning the use of their names and preferring the foreign ones, many Amazigh people lost a whole section of their identity. Nowadays, except those who know a lot about Berber history, people will never be able to guess that Saint Augustine, Tariq Bnu Ziyyad, Ibnu Khaldun, etc, are Amazigh. Unlike these, names like Yugurten, Zilalsen, Igerbucen, Tamella, etc, refer all, by their sound and structure, to the Amazigh language and by extension to the Amazigh identity. Therefore, the new generations will have to re-acquire the original names of their forefathers and the Amazigh researchers will have to provide the registry office of the Amazigh regions with lists of names certified or created on the models of existent ones. I myself did a research work on the Berber onomastics and gathered then created a long list from which I took the ones I will expose hereafter. My children, each time after a week’s or more struggle against the Algerian administration, do officially carry Amazigh names: Zeddgan (the pure), Tamazgha (Berber land), Tafrara (dawn). A/ Male: 1. Aksil: “cheetah” in Chaoui dialect. 2. Amastan: “the protector”. From the verb mesten, which means protect, in Touareg. 3. Amayas: “cheetah” in Touareg dialect. 4. Amedras: “which runs quickly” in Touareg. From the verb dres, which means run quickly. 5. Baragsen: “their pride” in Touareg. From the noun abarag, which means pride in this dialect. 6. Iken: “he is well-ordered”. From the verb eken which means to be well-organised in Touareg. 7. Warmaksan: “without enemy”. From the Amazigh war, meaning without, amaksan, that means which hates; Ksen means hate in Touareg. 8. Ẓdan: “the delightful”. From the adjective aẓidan which means sweet, delightful. 9. Zilalsen: “their peak / summit”. From the noun azila, which means climax, in Shleuh. 10. Ziri: “moonshine”. From the noun tiziri / taziri certified in several Amazigh dialects. 11. Wagguten: “the one who will proliferate”. From the particle wa, meaning that, and the participle gguten, which means being numerous. This type of participle without initial mark « ye / i » is common in some dialects as Mozabit. The Kabyle dialect knows the verbs ggwet and suget, meaning to be numerous / to be productive. 12. Wararni: “without victor”, to understand nobody can conquer him. From the particle war, meaning without, and the noun arrni, which means victor, in some Amazigh dialects such as Touareg. 13. Yedder: “he will be alive”. It is a commonly-used forename among the Moroccan Amazigh; it corresponds to the Kabyle Idir. 14. Yeddes: “he will be well-organized”. From the verb ddes (= eken) which means organize in Touareg. The root of this term is known in Kabyle in the word tiddas, which is a game where players arrange the dices in different ways. 15. Yimlul: “he will be white”. From the verb imlul which means to be white. This forename means to be in good health; remember Idir’s song where he says: « ad tizwiγeḍ, ad timluleḍ», because in the Kabylian culture the white colour of the face indicates a good health, contrarily to yellow colour.

B/ Female: 1. Sekkura: “the partridge” in Kabyle. From the substantive tasekkurt. 2. Tafrara: “Dawn”, or maybe "distinction” from the verb ifrir meaning to be distinct / unique. 3. Tamella: “the delightful”. It corresponds to “Chabhâ” and “Malhâ”. 4. Tamilla: “the turtle dove” in different Amazigh dialects. 5. Tifawt: “light” in Shleuh, Mozabit, etc. 6. Tifrat: “peace / reconciliation”. From the verb fru, which means make peace / bring together. 7. Tihuski: “beauty”. From the verb huskey / hussey which means to be nice in Touareg. 8. Tilelli: “freedom”. From the verb lulet, which means to be free, in Touareg. 9. Tuftayurt: “she is nicer than the moon”. From the verb uf and tayurt, meaning, respectively, to be better than and the moon, in Moroccan Amazigh dialects. 10. Zeğiga: “the flower” in Kabyle. From the substantive azeğig 11. Takama: “warmth”, by extension “softness” in contrast with “coldness”. From the verb ekmu, which means to be hot, in Touareg. Note that this forename refers to one of the devotees of Tinhinan, queen of the Touareg. 12. Tantalwit: “that of peace”. From “ta+n+talwit”, used in Kabyle. 13. Tanteflest: “that of trust”. From “ta+n+taflest”. This word means trust / creed in Touareg. 14. Tanufella: “that of the high side”, to understand the one who will have dominance. From “ta+n+afella”. This word is commonly-used in Kabyle with the particle “s” as an adverb of place. 15. Taraγna: “without misery”, to understand the one who will not live in misery. From the privative particle tar and the substantive aγna, which means lack / misery, in Touareg. 16. Tasegmant: “the one with whom they grow / prosper”. From “ta+s+gmant”. Based on the verb gmu, certified in several Amazigh dialects, such as Kabyle. 17. Tatrit: “the star”. Diminutive of the substantive itri known in Kabyle. 18. Tumert: “Happiness”, certified in Shleuh. This forename refers to a famous Amazigh known in history as Ibn Tumert. 19. Tumsilt: “the one who is well-built”. From the verb msel, which means to form, in Kabyle. 20. Tunhilt: “the tame”. From the verb inhal, meaning to be easy, in Touareg. This forename is built on a model of adjectives certified in Northern dialects, such as Kabyle.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful