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Intorduction Into Arabic In Middle English

1193 words - 5 pages

Arabic language had great influence on many languages and Middle English was not an exception. By the 8th century Arabic language drove out Latin as the dominant Language, The Arabic civilization was able to spread and flourish throughout the Spain by the 11th and 12th century. As a matter of fact John the bishop of Seville was translating the Bible into Arabic (Metlitzki 5). These events made some European scholars to show interest in learning Arabic, mostly in the field of mathematics and astronomy. The most notable scholars who were interested in Arabic were Adelard of Bath (c. 1080-c.1150) who have travelled from England to mainland Europe to study Arabic, he had translated the ...view middle of the document...

Beside the Military word Barbican, loan words for commerce, and trade enters Middle English (1200) by the influence of French on the Middle English. For Example the French word avarie is an Old Italian word avaria, and originally an Arabic word awariah, which found it is way into into the Middle English indirectly the same way as the previous words. It originally meant “damaged merchandise on ship-transported goods” (Cannon) and Later it meant “duty charged upon goods” (OED). The Arabic words for spices found their way the same way into the Middle English as they were being imported through Northern Italy. For Example Cumin and caraway (c. 13th cent. indirectly from Arabic karawya). While for cumin it was a bit more complicated the derivation and transition of the word happened gradually c. 897, through Old English, Latin and Greek; the Greekkuminon “is supposed to have been a foreign word, cognate in origin with the Semitic names [Hebrew kammôn and Arabic kammûn] and their cognates” (OED). Another word is Saffron (borrowed from Old French safran, from Arabic za‘ farān) which both the plant and the word gradually came into the Middle English in England (Bennett 46). The first usage of the word is in the Trinity College Homilies c. 1200: Hire wimpel wit oðer maked zeleu mid saffran (“her wimple white, or made yellow with saffron”) (Serjeantson 214).
The Arabic word amir al, which means “commander of,” (Freeborn 148) found it is way into the Middle English through the French word amiral, and it appeared as admiral in the Middle English c. 1205. Freeborn explains, “loan-words taken directly into English from Arabic are not in evidence until the late 16th century” (148).
Arabic have also made its way into the Old English. The oldest known Arabic word is ealfara, which means “pack-horse.” As Breeze points out, it derived from the Hispano-Arabic word al-faras, which means “the horse” (15). The occurance of the word had happened only once in the eleventh century in the “Letter of Alexander to Aristotle,” and a similar word would be “auferan” which exists in old French (Serjeantson 214). Serjeantson states, “it is possible that French [borrowing through Arabic] was the immediate source of the English word” (214), while Breeze disagrees with his statement. For example: the translator of Alexander’s Letter to Aristotle might have known the word ealfara from a Spanish source (Breeze 17). These complexities for a certain words could be attributed to the etymology of the word. All Arabic words in the Middle English could be traced...

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