Mazjeeri language

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Adati, Mazeri
Native speakers48,000  (1999)
Language family
CWS codemzj

Mazjeeri, Majeeri or Mazeri (native: [mazʒɛ:ɾi]), also called Adati (/adati/ "Adat language") is a minority Adzamic language spoken primarily by the nomadic Mazjeeri people of Tabiqa and Barradiwa. Unlike most modern Adzamic languages, it is not of the Adzamian branch, and seems to have largely resisted influence from the local dominant languages. The language is considered to be in decline, but not yet endangered.



Mentions of the language (or its precursor) have been found in works written by outsiders dating back to at least the 800s CE, but Mazjeeri itself was not written until late into the 14th century. As such, much of its early history is left to speculation or outside sources.

Modern status

Mazjeeri is considered to be in decline. Although there have never been reliable census figures for the nomadic populations in Tabiqa, the available data supports anecdotal evidence that more and more young Mazjeeri are choosing to settle in cities, where they typically speak the local majority language.

Mazjeeri is highly associated with the Adat sect of Qurosism (hence one of its alternate names, Adati). The vast majority of Adatiri are ethnically Mazjeeri and speak Mazjeeri as their first language, although there are a small number of converts. However, data suggests that less than half of modern Majeeri speakers are Adatiri, as the sect is only considered to have around 18-20,000 adherents.


Majeeri has a robust phoneme inventory (typical of Adzo-Neviric languages). Both vowels and (some) consonants can be distinguished in length.


Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m m: n n: [ŋ] [ɴ]
Plosive p p: b t t: d k k: g q q: ɢ [ʡ]
Affricate dʒ [tʃ] χʀ̥
Fricative f f: v s s: z ʃ ʃ: ʒ x x: ɣ χ ʢ
Approximant l l: ɾ r j w

Most voiceless consonants, as well as the nasal stops and /l/, come in both long and short grade. The only exception is /χ/.

/χʀ̥/ (romanized <ř>) is [ʡ] in initial positions. Some linguists argue that the initial and elsewhere realizations should be considered fully distinct phonemes due to their complementary distribution. All sources of the phoneme do derive from the same historical phone, the missing long counterpart to /χ/.

[tʃ] is the initial-only allophone of /ʃ:/. [tʃ] may also occur as an allophone of /dʒ/ where adjacent to other voiceless consonants and, furthermore, some speakers use it in loan words. The only other obstruent phonemes without a different-phonation phonemic pair, /χ/ and /ʢ/, have voiced and voiceless allophones [ʁ ʜ] respectively.

The alveolar nasal stop becomes [ŋ ɴ] when immediately before velar and uvular stops respectively. For some speakers this also occurs where the nasal immediately follows the plosive.

A fully glottal /h~ɦ/ pronunciation of the epiglottal fricative /ʢ/ is common among young speakers, many of whom will also delete the consonant in word-final position.

Front Back
Close i u u:
Near-close ɪ ɪ: ʊ
Mid e eɪ o o:
Open-mid ɛ ɛ: ɔ
Open a aɛ ɑ ɑ:

There are 15 monophthongs in ten qualities in Mazjeeri. Five of these are long, leaving ten short vowels. There are additionally two diphthongs, which do not occur in long grade.

Somewhat unusually, the long front vowels are found on the lower or 'laxer' quality (ɪ: ɛ: rather than i: e:). These historically derive from the long tense vowels, but have lowered.


Morphology and syntax


Writing and literature

The language is rarely used in its written form. Most speakers are literate in Adzamasi, which is typically their preferred language of correspondence for official and legal matters. Children may attend school in an urban environment for some years, during which time they will likely only use Adzamasi or another local majority language for all purposes. Educational and entertainment works are rarely translated into the language, which also lacks any strong literary body of its own.

When it is written, it is typically with the Adzamic script or one of its derivatives. There is little standardization in terms of spelling.