English loanwords and Arabic origins of the “magazine” – News

During the Arab occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, their language spread throughout the region and came into Latin.



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By Prasun Sonwalkar

Published: Thu 20 Jan 2022, 09:44 PM

A large number of words from donor languages ​​were absorbed into English, mainly from Latin, French, Greek and Germanic languages. But many more have entered the lexicon over the centuries of the British Empire, which at one time spanned every continent. Colloquial English words often have foreign origins, with research uncovering more connections beyond the British Isles.

Unknown to many, English speakers all speak some Arabic, thanks to history. At the beginning of the 8th century, Arab fighters invaded and took control of the Iberian Peninsula, modern Spain and Portugal. During the occupation, their language spread throughout the region and entered into Latin, the language spoken by the inhabitants, and over the following centuries Christian-led forces took control of the peninsula. But at that time, the language spoken there had been forever influenced by the Arabic language. When Latin began to influence English, some Arabic words were passed down.

John Simpson, editor of the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), gives the example of the “magazine“, which is of Arabic origin. The history of the word was not mentioned in previous editions, but the word ultimately derives from makhazin, the Arabic term meaning “a storehouse”, which appears in a Latin form magazinus in an Italian document of 1214. He writes: The Italian form magazzino (recorded from 1348) is the source of Middle French magazine (recorded from 1409, and from 1389 as maguesin).

The English word derives from French and is first recorded in 1583, meaning “a place where goods are kept in store”. Many later English meanings parallel earlier meanings in other European languages, but it is worth noting that the meaning “periodical publication” is an English innovation, not recorded in its French form until later . Needless to say, one of the essential components of a viable etymology for a borrowing such as “magazine” is an established record of cultural contact between speakers of the languages ​​involved, as is the case here with Arabic, Italian and French. Unsurprisingly, the word Arabic also appears in various forms in early Spanish.

Other words of Arabic origin in English include: camphor, carat, caravan, cotton, elixir, kohl, monsoon, nadir, safari, serendipity, canape, sugar, syrup, henna, pot, tariff, zenith, admiral, arsenal, alchemy, assassin, azimuth, algebra, coffee, lemon.

Another major non-European donor of the language is the Indian subcontinent. The connection between India and Britain began in 1600, when the East India Company was formed. Over the centuries a large number of Indian words have entered the English language, the most important collection being Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive, by Henry Yule and AC Burnell, published in 1886. It had over 2,000 entries, but independent India continued to lend more words to the language.

Indic words recently recorded in the OED include ambari, Angrezi, chuddies, kirana, satta, shishya, udyog and updation.

According to Pingali Sailaja of the University of Hyderabad, there are five main types of words in Indian English that are distinct from words seen in other varieties of English: loanwords from Indian languages; new constructions through affixing and composition processes; hybrid constructs that bring together English and Indian languages; lend translations or tracings; and, words that are used with different meanings than those found in other varieties.

The British Council has compiled 10 “surprising” phrases from Indian English: “I am studying in London”, “I graduated from university”, “My neighbor is back abroad”, “My daughter is nunnery educated”, ‘I belong to Delhi’, ‘Where is the nearest department store?’, ‘My teacher is sitting on my head’, ‘My friend is eating my brain’, ‘Monkey cap’, ‘ Why this Kolaveri Di?’

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