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  Arabic Online

ARABIC ONLINE

        اللّغة العربيّة    

Arabic Online

 

Welcome!

Varieties of Arabic

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Historical phonology

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Plural Nouns EDITED

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Persian Influence on Arabic

 

Pre-Islamic Arabs borrowed words from Persian, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, and all kinds of languages. Since that Arabic is a Semitic language based on tri-consonantal roots and standard structures of words, handling foreign words would not be easy at all if they were too long ones with too many consonants. Arabs dealt with this issue with what would be called "Arabization" تَعْرِيْبٌ of the borrowed words.

Arabization meant carving the foreign word and shaping it so that it end up with three, four, or five consonants plugged into a standard structure of Arabic nouns. This was possible most of the time, sometimes requiring drastic measures to achieve the goal. Of course, Arabization also meant changing letters that do not exist in Arabic (like g, p, and v) into close Arabic letters. Sometimes the original letters were changed for no obvious reasons.

Examples of Arabization:

A traditional Arab currency is the dirham, which is still a currency unit in several Arab countries today. A dirham was a silver coin in old times. The name of the dirham comes from the Greek drachmē or drachma. It was Arabized to follow the standard Arabic noun structure fi"lal فِعْلَلٌ .

drachmē  → dirham دِرْهَمٌ

 

Another interesting example is the word siraat  صِرَاْطٌ meaning "a way" or "a path."  This word occurs in the Koran in the first and most important chapter, which is called the faatiha(t) الْفَاْتِحَةُ = "the preamble," and which is recited by Muslims as often as Our Father is recited by Christians.

This word comes from the Latin strata = "paved road." The Latin word was rendered into the standard noun structure fi"aal فِعَاْلٌ . This is the same structure as that of the word kitaab كِتَاْبٌ = "a book" or "a dispatch."

strata  → siraat  صِرَاْطٌ

 

 

Persian & Arabic

Although Arabic is a Semitic language and the Persian language, called Farsi, is an Indo-European language, these two languages have always had a unique relationship of mutual influence. Persian today uses Arabic script for writing, and it is estimated that ~40% of the language's vocabulary is borrowed from Arabic. This was mainly due to the Arab expansion after Islam and the incorporation of Iran into the Islamic caliphate.

On the other hand, Arabs and Muslims in general have been also using an incredible amount of Persian loanwords in their languages. Persian has been certainly the number one source of foreign loanwords in Arabic. It is probably impossible to count all the Persian, and Persian-derived, words that have been used in both the formal and vernacular Arabic throughout the ages. There are books that have tried to count such words, and they have not turned out thin ones.

An example of how much Arabs used Persian vocabulary may be seen in the following verses from a poem by a famous Arab poet who lived in the 6th-7th centuries CE and who was called أَعْشَىْ قَيْسٍ = "the sightless of Qays (a tribe)."

The red words are of Persian etymology.

         لَناْ جُلَّسانٌ عِنْدَهَاْ وَبَنَفْسَجٌ

                           وَسِيْسَنْبَرٌ وَالْمَرْزَجُوْشُ مُنَمْنَمًا

  وَآسٌ وَخِيْرِيٌّ وَمَرْوٌ وَسَوْسَنٌ

                          إِذَاْ كَاْنَ هِنْزَمْنٌ وَرُحْتُ مُخَشَّمًا

  وَشَاْهَسْفَرَمٌ وَالْيَاْسَمِيْنُ وَنَرْجِسٌ

                     يُصَبِّحُنَاْ فِيْ كُلِّ دَجْنٍ تَغَـيَّـمًا

Translation: (this is a difficult classical text and I myself had a hard time translating it)

For us a garden at her place, decked with violets, pennyroyals, and thyme...

Myrtles, wallflowers, maeruae, and lilies if there was a festival and I went inebriated by the smell...

Basils, Jasmines, and narcissi at the morning of every cloudy day...

 

Vocabulary Borrowed From Persian in Formal Arabic

Here is a list of about 250 words in formal Arabic that are borrowed from Persian. After being Arabized, new words are often derived from the borrowed word, so many of the words mentioned here have other related words (i.e. words sharing the same Arabized roots).

The etymologies of many words are disputable. I put question marks beside words that I think may not be really borrowed from Persian. Corrections, ideas, and suggestions of more words are welcomed on: Hani_Deek@hotmail.com

 

A splendor

 

أُبَّهَةٌ

A Jug, an ewer

Ultimately form Greek

إِبْرِيْقٌ

Satan, the Devil

 

إِبْلِيْسُ

Pears

Or:    إِنْجَاْصٌ

إِجَّاْصٌ

Bricks

 

آجُرٌ

A purple dye

 

أُرْجُوَاْنٌ

A teacher

 

أُسْتَاْذٌ

Gilt silk brocade

 

إِسْتَبْرَقٌ

A cylinder

 

أُسْطُوَاْنَةٌ

A rabble (plu. word)

 

أَوْبَاْشٌ

A hall, a porch

 

إِيْوَاْنٌ

Chamomile

 

بَاْبُوْنَجٌ

Eggplants

Ultimately form Hindi

بَاْذِنْجَاْنٌ

A falcon

 

بَاْزٌ

A bazaar

 

بَاْزَاْرٌ

A sparrow hawk

 

بَاشِقٌ

A parrot

Ultimately from Hindi

بَبَّغَاْءٌ

An isthmus

 

بَرْزَخٌ

A veil

 

بُرْقُعٌ

A program

 

بَرْنَاْمَجٌ

An evidence, a proof

 

بُرْهَاْنٌ

Bronze

 

برونْزٌ

(He) sharpened

From بريدن""?

بَرَىْ ؟

Mail

 

بَرِيْدٌ

A garden

 

بُسْتَاْنٌ

A card

Ultimately from Hindi?

بِطَاْقَةٌ ؟

Ducks

 

بَطٌّ

Baghdad

 

بَغْدَاْدُ

Parsley

 

بَقْدُوْنَسٌ

Crystal

 

بِلَّوْرٌ

Anesthesia, anesthetic

 

بِنْجٌ

Beetroots

 

بنجر؟

An article, an item, a banner

 

بَنْدٌ

Hazelnuts

 

بُنْدُقٌ

Violets

 

بَنَفْسَجٌ

Gaudiness, tinsel

 

بَهْرَجٌ

An acrobat

 

بَهْلَوَاْنٌ

An Infantryman, a pawn

 

بَيْدَقٌ

A hospital (obsolete)

 

بِيْمَاْرِسْتَاْنٌ

A crown

 

تَاْجٌ

Early signs, literally "whiteness (of morning)"

 

تَبَاْشِيْرُ

Primping, make-up

 

تَبَرُّجٌ

Border (of land)

May be from Aramaic?

تَخْمٌ

A nonsensical thing

 

تُرَّهَةٌ

lupines

 

تُرْمُسٌ ؟

Citrons

 

تُرُنْجٌ

An antidote

 

تِرْيَاْقٌ

(He) profaned (obsolete)

 

تَزَنْبَرَ

An embroidery

 

تَطْرِيْزٌ

Talc

 

تَلْكٌ

A crocodile

 

تِمْسَاْحٌ ؟

A tandoor, a furnace

Ultimately form Aramaic

تَنُّوْرٌ

Berries

 

تُوْتٌ

Zinc

 

تُوْتْيَاْءُ

An avenue

 

جَاْدَّةٌ ؟

(He) risked

 

جَاْزَفَ

A buffalo

 

جَاْمُوْسٌ

A tribute, a capitation

From گزيت ""?

جِزْيَةٌ ؟

Plaster, gypsum

From " گچ"

Ultimately form Greek "gupsos"?

جِصٌّ

Balaustines (pomegranate flowers)

 

جُلَّنَارٌ

Pearls

 

جُمَاْنٌ

A wing

From كناه""?

جَنَاْحٌ ؟

Soldiers

From گند ""?

جُنْدٌ

Genies, spirits

 

جِنٌّ ؟

A protection

 

جُنَّةٌ ؟

A connoisseur

 

جَهْبَذٌ

Broadcloth

 

جُوْخٌ

A sock

 

جَوْرَبٌ

Nuts

 

جَوْزٌ

Essence

 

جَوْهَرٌ

A gem

 

جَوْهَرَةٌ

A caravansary

 

خَاْنٌ

Khorasan, eastern Persia

 

خُرَاْسَاْنُ

Scrap, waste material

 

خُرْدَةٌ

(He) scratched

From خراشيدن""?

خَرَشَ ؟

A treasury

From گنجينه ""?

خَزِيْنَةٌ ؟

(He/it) become lower (sound, voice)

From خفتيدن""?

خَفَتَ ؟

A dagger

 

خَنْجَرٌ

A Moat, a ditch

 

خَنْدَقٌ

A table for food

 

خِوَاْنٌ

Cucumbers

 

خِيَاْرٌ

Reeds

 

خَيْزَرَاْنٌ

Gunny

 

خَيْشٌ ؟

A constitution, a log

 

دُسْتُوْرٌ

(He) inaugurated

 

دَشَّنَ

A notebook

Ultimately form Hindi

دَفْتَرٌ

A vestibule

 

دِهْلِيْزٌ

(He) wrote down

 

دَوَّنَ

A silk brocade

 

دِيْبَاْجٌ

A preamble

 

دِيبَاْجَةٌ

A religion

May be Arabic?

دِيْنٌ ؟

A divan, a registry

 

دِيْوَاْنٌ

A filth

 

رِجْسٌ ؟

A sustenance

From روزي""?

رِزْقٌ ؟

A calendar

 

رُزْنَاْمَةٌ

A well (obsolete)

 

رَسٌّ

A last bit of life

 

رَمَقٌ ؟

Gardens

 

رَوْضٌ ؟

A glamour, an allure

 

رَوْنَقٌ

Mercury

 

زِئْبَقٌ

Food

 

زَاْدٌ

An adornment

 

زِبْرِج ؟

Peridot

 

زَبَرْجَدٌ

Gold, embroidery

 

زُخْرُفٌ

Zoroaster

 

زَرَاْدَشْتُ

Zoroastrianism

 

زَرَاْدَشْتِيَّةٌ

Arsenic

 

زِرْنِيْخٌ

Emerald

 

زُمُرُّدٌ

A bitter cold

 

زَمْهَرِيْرٌ

lilies

 

زَنْبَقٌ

Gingers

Ultimately form Pali

زَنْجَبِيْلٌ

A clandestinely irreligious person

 

زِنْدِيْقٌ

A dungeon, a prison cell

 

زِنْزَاْنَةٌ

Zircon

 

زَيْرَقُوْنٌ

An outfit

From زيستن""?

زِيٌّ ؟

A credulous (adj.)

 

سَاْذَجٌ

Spinach

 

سَبَاْنِخُ

Hard rocks, clay rocks (in Koran)

 

سِجِّيْلٌ

A mirage

May be Arabic?

May be from Aramaic?

سَرَاْبٌ ؟

A lamp

 

سِرَاْجٌ

A pavilion

 

سُرَاْدِقٌ

A gown

May be from Aramaic?

سِرْبَاْلٌ

An armor

 

سَرْدٌ

A crypt, an undercroft

 

سِرْدَاْبٌ

An eternal (adj.)

 

سَرْمَدٌ

Pants

May be from Aramaic?

سِرْوَاْلٌ

Hell (in Koran)

 

سَقَرٌ

Sugar

 

سُكَّرٌ

A turtle

 

سُلَحْفَاْةٌ

A broker

 

سِمْسَاْرٌ

Crushed wheat

 

سَمِيْدٌ

A squirrel

 

سِنْجَاْبٌ

A gray (adj.)

 

سِنْجَاْبِيٌّ

An anvil

 

سِنْدَاْنٌ

Soft silk

 

سُنْدُسٌ

Origin / Mites / a plant "liquorice"

From شوش ""?

سُوْسٌ ؟

Lilies

 

سَوْسَنٌ

A skewer

 

سِيْخٌ

A shawl

 

شَاْلٌ

A shah

 

شَاْهٌ

A peregrine falcon

 

شَاْهِيْنٌ

Chess, Shatranj

 

شِطْرَنْجٌ

A candleholder

 

شَمْعَدَاْنٌ

Beetroots

 

شَمَنْدَرٌ

A chief of merchants (obsolete)

 

شَهْبَنْدَرٌ

Appetizing (adj.)

From شاهي""?

شَهِيٌّ ؟

A flame (in Koran)

 

شُوَاْظٌ

A narghile

 

شِيْشَةٌ

A morning

From پگاح ""?

صَبَاْحٌ ؟

A document, a check

 

صَكٌّ

A cross

From چليپا ""?

صَلِيْبٌ ؟

A cymbal

 

صَنْجٌ

Sandals

 

صَنْدَلٌ

A fishing rod

 

صِنَّاْرَةٌ

A son-in-law / a brother-in-law

From شوهر ""

صِهْرٌ

A tank, a reservoir

 

صِهْرِيْجٌ

A scepter

 

صَوْلَجَاْنٌ

Pharmacology

 

صَيْدَلَةٌ

China

From شوهر ""?

صِيْنٌ ؟

A hard, tiresome (adj.)

 

ضَنْكٌ

A line, a queue

 

طَاْبُوْرٌ

A casserole

Ultimately form Greek

طَاْجِنٌ

A fresh (e.g. food)

 

طَاْزَجٌ

A peacock

 

طَاْوُوْسٌ

A dish

 

طَبَقٌ ؟

A type, model

 

طِرَاْزٌ

A tarboosh, a fez

 

طَرْبُوْشٌ

A genius

 

عَبْقَرِيٌّ ؟

Lentils

 

عَدَسٌ ؟

Soldiers

 

عَسْكَرٌ

Afreet, a demon

From آفريدن ""?

عِفْرِيْتٌ ؟

Ambergris

 

عَنْبَرٌ

A wood

 

غَاْبَةٌ ؟

A wink

 

غَمْزَةٌ

Persia

 

فَاْرِسُ

 

 

فَاْرِسٌ ؟

A kind of sweets made of flour and honey

 

فَالُوذَجٌ

Dividers (instrument)

 

فِرْجَاْرٌ

Paradise

 

فِرْدَوْسٌ

An archaic unit of distance (= ~3 miles)

 

فَرْسَخٌ

A branch

From باره "" ?

فَرْعٌ ؟

A dress

 

فُسْتَاْنٌ

Pistachios

 

فُسْتُقٌ

A large tent

 

فُسْطَاْطٌ

An erudite person

 


فَطْحَلٌ

Pepper

 

فُلْفُلٌ

A cup

 

فِنْجَاْنٌ

An index of a book

 

فِهْرِسٌ

An index of a book

 

فِهْرِسْتٌ

Turquoise

 

فَيْرُوْزٌ

An elephant

Ultimately from Aramaic

فِيْلٌ

A red dye

Ultimately from Armenian

قُرْمُزٌ

A lion, a brave person (in Koran)

 

قَسْوَرَةٌ

A large piece of wood for eating on (a legless table, archaic)

 

قَصْعَةٌ

A lock

 

قُفْلٌ

A medallion

Ultimately form Greek?

قِلادَةٌ ؟

A jar

 

قُلَّةٌ

A hard, a tough (adj.) (obsolete)

 

قَمْطَرِيْرٌ

A metallic lamp

 

قُمْقُمٌ

A beaver

 

قُنْدُسٌ

A cup

Ultimately from Aramaic

كَأْسٌ

Camphor

Ultimately form Greek?

كَاْفُوْرٌ

Turmeric

Ultimately form Hindi?

كُرْكُمٌ

A Sassanid shah

From خسرو ""

كِسْرَىْ

A thimble

 

كُشْتِبَانٌ

A kiosk

 

كُشْكٌ

Cakes

 

كَعْكٌ

Kofta, a meat dish

 

كُفْتَةٌ

A tight robe (archaic)

 

كَفْتَنٌ

A violin

 

كَمَاْنٌ

A violin

 

كَمَنْجَةٌ

A treasure

From گنج "" ?

كَنْزٌ ؟

An electricity

 

كَهْرَبَاْءُ

Amber, electrum

 

كَهْرَمَاْنٌ

A cub

 

كُوْبٌ

A hut

 

كُوْخٌ

A mug, a cone

 

كُوْزٌ

Pearls

 

لُؤْلُؤٌ

Lapis lazuli

 

لازَوَرْدٌ

A leash

 

لِجَاْمٌ

A leash

 

لِجَاْمٌ

Cowpeas

 

لُوْبِيَاْءُ

Almonds

 

لَوْزٌ

Lilacs

 

لَيْلَكٌ

Zoroastrians, Magi

 

مَجُوْسٌ

Corals

 

مُرْجَاْنٌ

Musk

 

مِسْكٌ

Keys

Sing. مِقْلِيْدٌ or  إِقْلِيْدٌ

Ultimately form Greek

مَقَاْلِيْدُ

A catapult

 

مَنْجَنِيْقٌ

(He) stamped (a letter)

 

مَهَرَ

A carnival

 

مِهْرَجَاْنٌ

A white fabric for writing (obsolete)

 

مُهْرَقٌ

A drain, a gutter

May be Arabic?

May be from Aramaic?

مِيْزَاْبٌ ؟

Bitter oranges

 

نَاْرَنْجٌ

A musical pipe

 

نَاْيٌ

A filth

From ناپاک"" ?

نَجَسٌ ؟

Narcissus

Form "نرگس"

Ultimately form Greek "narkissos"?

نَرْجِسٌ

A narghile

 

نَرْجِيْلَةٌ

(He) relapsed

From نكون سار""?

نَكَسَ ؟

A cushion

 

نُمْرُقٌ

A model, an exemplar

 

نَمُوْذَجٌ

A meteor

 

نَيْزَكٌ

A mortar

 

هَاْوِنٌ

Appearance, neatness

 

هِنْدَاْمٌ

Geometry, engineering

 

هَنْدَسَةٌ

Roses

Ultimately from Armenian "vard"

وَرْدٌ

 Papers

 

وَرَقٌ ؟

Jasmines

 

يَاْسَمِيْنٌ

Rubies

Ultimately form Greek

يَاْقُوْتٌ

 

I have another list of Persian words in colloquial Arabic; hopefully it will be added here soon.