Many a say is more sever than an assault.


In comparison to the use of the word "kill", statistically the use of the word "assault" in daily news is quite staggering. When the media reports on international news, political topics or social ones, the use of the word assault seems always to dominate the headlines.  Hence, for our purpose, the word "assault" is naturally the topic of investigation in Episode V of Parallel Universe: Alternate Etymologies


Assault is a crime of violence against another person. However assault is often defined to include not only violence, but also any physical contact with another person without their consent. 


In the aftermath of the return to the police state confirmed by the extension of the state of emergency and extended to 2008. The following piece of news gives us an idea what assaultin Egypt is all about.This new violent attitude used by security forces against peaceful demonstrators affirms the government's new tendency to use violence as a tool to punish the opposition, referring to the assaults on Judge Mahmuwd Hamzah, head of North Cairo Court, and the physical assaults on Nadia Abuw al-Magd, the reporter of the Associated Press, in addition to the assaults on Al-Jazeera crew and confiscating their camera, and arresting more than 300 person and detaining them in an unknown place, where some of them were subjected to beating. It's worth mentioning that the Egyptian security forces now developed a new squad, they call it the karate squad, that dressed in civilian clothes and they join the demonstrations and attack the demonstrators. 


While sexual assault is any unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature perpetrated against another person. Sexual assault can take place by anyone and anywhere. While associated with rape, sexual assault is much broader and the specifics may vary according to social, political or legal definition. 


In recent months, grainy amateur videos often taken using cellphones have appeared purporting to show examples of police brutality. Take for example the reprehensible sexual assault case described in a report of the shocking Egyptian police sexual assault. The footage is shocking: A man lies screaming on the floor of a police station as officers sodomize him with a wooden pole. Compounding the shock, it turns out that it was the police who made the film, and that they then transmitted it to the cell phones of the victim's friends in order to humiliate him.


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word assault was first recorded in Middle English in 1297. The word is allegedly derived from the Old French "asaut" from a hypothetical Latin * adsaltus.  The original "asaut", with an eye to Medieval Latin assaltus, was altered to assault in c.1530. Assault is a derivation from L. ad- "at" + salire "to leap" and is related to other terms such as assail, insult & salient. * (1) 

However, when comparing the words "asaut" and "assault” to Classical Arabic terms such as Swl, Slt, and Stw, with the exact meanings of "Assault” and/or  "Assail", the Oxford English Dictionary explanation failed on two accounts. (For a comparison see the attached JPEGs below:

1st That both forms "assault" and "asaut" are one and the same. In fact they are not since they are both found separately in Classical Arabic as slt, swl, and stw, all of which mean to rush, to leap and/or to"assault" as well as to "assail".

2nd Any scientific argument based on concrete and real data would eliminate the hazardous postulate of the hypothetical reconstruction of a word which is assumed to have existed, but due to the absence of any documentation, there is no way to prove or deny its previous existence. Fortunately in this case, the cognate Classical Arabic terms existed and preceded the western ones by half a millennium. Hence, the hypothetical Proto Indo-European base *sel- "to jump” is an unsubstantiated assumption, which has hitherto gone unquestioned. The existence of this root previously in Classical Arabic, a non-Indo European language, squarely preempts this assumption. 

The discovery of these Arabic terms is another challenge to the fundamental perceptions of Western etymologists regarding their methods. The advantage of the comparison with the Arabic terms offers a direct and simple procedure for verification based on the first written records of western examples and their counterparts in Classical Arabic. 

This exercise allows us to document the impact of the Arabic language on the western ones in light of the historically documented introduction of the Arabic language in Europe.  In this instance, by way of Andalusia Spain and Provence (cf. Old Spanish "asalto" and Provençal "assalt").

To be Continued



* (1)

assault (n.) 
1297, from O.Fr. asaut, from V.L. *adsaltus "attack, assault," a derivation of *adsalire (see assail). The verb is from c.1450. 

c.1230, from Old French asaillir, from Vulgar Latin *adsalire "to leap at," from L. ad- "at" + salire "to leap" . 

insult (v.)
c.1570, "triumph over in an arrogant way," from L. insultare "to assail, to leap upon"  Sense of "to verbally abuse, affront, assail with disrespect" is from 1620. The noun is recorded 1603 in the sense of "attack;" 1671 as "an act of insulting." To add insult to injury translates L. injuriæ contumeliam addere. 

1562, "leaping," a heraldic term, from L. salientem (nom. saliens), prp. of salire "to leap," from Prot Indo-European base *sel- "to jump" (cf. Gk. hallesthai "to leap," Middle Irish. saltraim "I trample," and probably Sanskritt. ucchalati "rises quickly").




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 The March 2007 ISSUE



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