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Arabie Lexical Contributions to the English Language Garland Cannon and Wyoma vanDuinkerken Texas A&M University Introduction t; 1he following data are a sample of the full corpus of items in E-The Arabic Lexical Contributions to the English Language (2007), which employs principles used in Garland Cannon and J. Alan Pfeffer's German loanwords in English (1994). The study of borrowings has long interested linguists, as in the works of Gilles Ménage (Dictionnaire étymologique ou origines de la langue Françoise, 1694), Jakob Grimm (Deutsche Grammatik, 1819-37), and Louis Deroy's L'emprunt linguistique (1980, rev. ed.). The Oxford English Dictionary (1989-20 vols.) uses extensive quotations to catalogue the dates, meanings, and overall history of much of the written general English lexicon, including borrowings. The generaljustification for our new collection is in the history of ideas, as evinced by the Arabs' contributions to world culture, especially in chemistry and astronomy during epochal times like the Crusades . Historical investigation of the loanwords denoting the relevant objects, concepts, etc. throw light on their provenience and utility, in terms of when the words first appeared in English writing, how faithfully their grammar and meanings were transferred into English society , and how productive they have been in the lexicon, besides suggesting how useful the information conveyed has been to posterity. Arabic is an international language long known as a major supplier of words to Swahili, Romance languages, Persian, Turkish, Indian languages like Hindi and Urdu, and English. A tabulation of such conDictionaries :Journal oftheDictionary Society ofNorth America 29 (2008), 36-61. Arabie Lexical Contributions to the English Language37 tact data worldwide would place Arabic among the major word-suppliers to English. The Moors ruled the Iberian Peninsula for seven centuries , influencing the Spanish and Portuguese lexicons comparable to the Middle French impact on English. As the Moors' policies permitted non-Muslims to retain their religion, Spanish-speaking Christians did not resist the natural inflow of Arabic words. The Moors'rule of Sicily for two centuries also impacted on Italian and Maltese. The Mogul invasion assured transfers of Arabic religious and other words into languages from Turkey to the Bay of Bengal. Islam has had continuing , modern influences, with items going into Southeast Asia and the Philippines, among other distant areas. In conveying Islam to the world, Arabic surpassed Sanskrit as an international carrier of religion. During the French rule in North Africa, Arabic words flowed into the French and Spanish possessions there. French, the official language of England, was the dominant source of transfer of Arabic items into English during the Crusades. African speakers of Swahili were introduced to Arab objects and concepts, whereupon Swahili became an intermediary for Arabic loans into Bantu and other African tongues, which then gave English more items of Arabic provenience. C. A. M. Fennell's Stanford dictionary of anglicized words and phrases (1892) tabulated Arabic as the seventh leading supplier of loanwords to English, with 225 attested items. At that time Arabic was preceded by Latin with 3,797 items, French, Italian, Spanish, Greek, and "Hindoo." Henry Yule and A.C. Burnell's Hobson-fobson (1903, 2nd ed., hereafter, Yule) initiated extensive investigation of Indian suppliers. Twentieth-century petrol wealth has given the Arabs political and strategic importance, with international events continually involving Arabia and the Muslim world. The impact of Islam has carried Arabic into the bahasas of Malaysia and Indonesia, where national contests determine the muezzin who can best call the faithful to prayer in Arabic . The war between Iraq and Iran and later Middle Eastern intercourse have had global impact. Thus our abridged investigation of Arabic elements in English further suggests the rich Arab and Muslim contributions to Western civilization. As English exemplifies a large lexicon heavily composed of loanwords, comparable to Albanian and Armenian andJapanese in that regard, this article shows interrelationships between languages in contact. Curiously, there has not been a comprehensive study of Arabic items in English until Cannon's E-2007, 2nd edition. Though Mary Serjeantson had access to the OED files for her History ofForeign Words in English (1935: 213-20), she collected only 168 usually very familiar 38Garland Cannon and Wyoma VanDuinkerken items. Despite the gaps in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 36-61
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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