About ArabicEdit

Arabic is a Central Semitic language and is the most common among all Semitic languages. Most speakers are from the Middle East and North Africa, and is a first language to more than 280 million people. Arabic is very geographically distributed in many varieties. There are many Arabic dialects [1]. Classical Arabic, the language of the Qur'an, was originally from Mecca in what is now Saudi Arabia. Modern Standard Arabic, a more recent form of Classical Arabic, is widely taught in schools and is used in workplaces, governments, and the media.

How Arabic words made their way into EnglishEdit

About a year ago, there were at least 900 English words of Arabic origin recorded in the OED. Many of these words have a large connection with the language of the Qur'an. According to Habeeb Salloum[2], it is very difficult to pick out Arabic-English words from an Arabic conversation because Arabic-English words are very anglicized. By the end of the seventh century, Arabic had become more widespread than many dominant languages from North Africa and, soon after, dominated in parts of Europe such as Spain. Arabic influenced English through the Crusades and merchant trades and was the language of the most powerful culture of the time.

Some English words borrowed from ArabicEdit

[3]Transliteration system key:

a with a dash over it = like the 'a' sound in cat; i with a dash over it = like the 'i' sound in ski; u with a dash over it = like the 'u' sound in rude; ah underlined = like the 'o' sound in coming; dh underlined = like the 'th' sound in those; gh underlined = a voiced gargly sound; kh underlined = no equivalent in English- like the 'ch' in Scottish loch; sh underlined = like the 'sh' in shop; th underlined = like the 'th' in think; h with a dot under it = an emphatic 'h' formed deep in the throat without voicing; s with a dot under it = an emphatic velarized 's' somewhat like the 's' in soap; t with a dot under it = somewhat like the 't' in tome; z with a dot under it = somewhat like the 'th' in brother; c superscript = a sound made by constricting the throat before, between, or after the adjacent vowel(s)

The Zompist,[4] written by Mike Rosenfelder, is a website that enlightens viewers with comics, linguistics, culture, language construction, diversions, particular languages, and editorials. One particular language he compares to English is Arabic. Here are a few of the English words that he lists as adopted from the Arabic language:

  1. alcohol - al-kohl 'the kohl'
  2. algebra - al-jebr 'reintegration' - jabara reunite
  3. 'amber - `anbar ambergris'
  4. berdache - (possibly) bardaj 'slave'
  5. bled - balad 'vast open country'
  6. checkmate - sha:h ma:t 'the king is dead'
  7. candy - short for 'sugar candy', from sugar + qandi 'candied', from qand 'cane sugar' - from a Dravidian language
  8. carat - qi:ra:t 'small weight' - from Greek
  9. drub - daraba 'beat'
  10. dura mater - Latin calque on umm al-ghali:dah 'hard mother'
  11. elixir - al-iksi:r 'philosopher's stone' - from Greek
  12. emir - ami:r - amara command
  13. fatwa - fetwa - fata: instruct by a legal decision
  14. genie - jinni: 'spirit'
  15. ghoul - ghu:l 'demon' - gha:la take suddenly
  16. hashish - h'ashi:sh 'dried herbs, hemp'
  17. hazard - yásara 'play at dice'
  18. jar - jarrah 'large earthen vase'
  19. kohl - kohl 'kohl' - kah'ala stain, paint
  20. loofah - lu:fah a plant whose pods were used as sponges
  21. magazine - makha:zin 'storehouses' - khazana store
  22. nadir - nadi:r as-samt 'opposite the zenith'
  23. ottoman - `uthma:n, a proper name
  24. racket - râh'et 'palm of the hand'
  25. 'sheikh - shaikh old man' - sha:kha grow old
  26. sherbet - sharbah - shariba drink
  27. 'tariff - ta`ri:f notification' - `arafa notify
  28. wisdom tooth - from a Latin calque on adra:su 'l h'ikmi - calqued from Greek
  29. 'zenith - samt path
  30. zero - s,ifr 'empty'


[5] [6]



Etymological processes

        Word creation

                Eponyms · Toponyms · Onomatopoeia · Reduplication · Blend · Back-formation

        Word evolution

                Phonological: Assimilation · Dissimilation · Metathesis

                Morphological: Folk etymology

                Semantic: Semantic widening · Semantic narrowing · Elevation · Degeneration · Metaphorical extension

Languages which have influenced English

        Latin · Greek · French · German · Spanish · Arabic · Old Norse · Proto-Indo-European

Special topics

        Shakespeare's impact on English · Origin and evolution of the alphabet