Lastly, if anyone needs clarification of any of the subject matter and or terms used here, please don't hesitate to let me know.  The field of Historical Linguistics is far from being an exact science; and I should add, this leaves the field wide open to challenge. Ishinan 

I received the following challenge from an inquisitive reader :

Dear Ishinan 


I have been following your series on etymology with great interest, as I  myself  took some courses in linguistics during my undergraduate years,  Your methodology reminded me of the various arguments advanced by Ferdinand de Saussure who used paradigms to explain his linguistic theories. 

So far, I've noticed that you have been using the paradigm method made up of a group of synonyms in English and then comparing them with their unexpected cognates in Arabic. This, despite that the two languages are unrelated as we all know that they are from different family languages.  Your method so far has been persuasive. 

Now let me raise the bar for you and propose to you a new challenge, which is to use  paradigms made up of homonyms* (1) instead of synonyms* (2) in English and then try to find if possible, their cognates in Arabic. This way your argument will help demonstrate  beyond any reason of doubt an undeniable connection.

Dear, R....

In response to your challenging request, the following paradigm comes to mind from the Old English (Old Anglo-Saxon) and is compared to the Classical Arabic

1- Abidan ( to abide), 2- Abiddan (to bead, pray and worship) and 3- Abeatan (to beat) 

The first JPEG illustrates the various meanings of the words in this paradigm #1a


The second JPEG illustrates the above exact terms in paradigm 1b, below. These are found half a millennium earlier in Classical Arabic. The reader will notice how the exact cognates are  a perfect match. 


Next time I will propose to raise the bar even higher.  I will use  a paradigm composed of 10 words from the English, Fench  Spanish , Italian  and Latin Languages. Likewise, following the same methology used in paradigm # 1,  I will demonstrate that all of the words listed below in paradigm #2  have exact Arabic cognates.  Below is the proposed new list which will be dealt with in the next episode. 

Meanwhile, the reader is invited to guess the Arabic cognates which are the original source of these terms. 

1- sear, sere  (v.) Old English searian "dry up, to whither,

2- sore (adj.) Old English sar "painful, grievous, aching," infl. in meaning by O.N. sarr "sore, wounded,

3- Sera, Soir, Evening, night, Latin sera night.

4- swart Old English. sweart "black," 

5- sur- prefix meaning "over, above, beyond, in addition," especially in words from Anglo-Fr. and Old French, from Old French sour-, sor-, sur-, from L. super (see super-). . 

6- sierra "a range of hills," 1613, via Spanish sierra "jagged mountain range,"

7- sirrah 1526, term of address used to men or boys expressing anger or contempt, archaic extended form of sir (in U.S., siree, attested from 1823). 

8- sir 1297, title of honor of a knight or baronet (until 17c. also a title of priests), variant of sire, originally used only in unstressed position.

9- sour Old English. sur,- "sour, salty, bitter"

10- Serre, serry, serried  "pressed close together,", pp. of serry "to press close together" (1581), a military term, from Middle French. serre "close, compact," pp. of serrer "press close, fasten.

To be continued


(1) * Homonyms words that share the same spelling or pronunciation (or both) but have different meanings

(2) *Synonyms  different words with similar or identical meanings and are interchangeable





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 The April 2007 ISSUE



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