November 03, 2005

`Iid Mubaarak عيد مبارك

Today is the beginning of the Muslim festival `Iid al-Fitr (عيد الفطر). This post from Jabal al-Lughat gives a little linguistic background. I would like to take this opportunity to point out how similar Arabic is to Hebrew. Here are the words (plus some morphemes) in his post:

Arabic Arabic Trans. Hebrew Cognate Hebrew Trans. Comments
عيد  `iid מועד mo`ed Both words means 'festival', however the root of mo`ed is y-`-d (y > w > o, in this word). I'm not sure how these words would correspond: metathesis of y and `? It could be an illusion.
مبارك mubaarak ברוך barukh Both words means 'blessed'. Clear cognates.
-ak -kha 'Your' in both languages. Hebrew k > kh after vowels when not doubled. Clear cognates.
صحّا sahhaa צח sah I don't really believe this one. Hebrew means 'pure', 'clear'. I can't tell from the post if the Arabic is actually Algerian dialect - if so, the sound correspondences could be different.
ال- al- ה- ha- 'The' in both languages. In Arabic the -l- often assimilates into the following letter. Similarly, in Hebrew, ha- is followed by a doubled letter, when possible.
فطر fitr הפטיר hiftir Arabic means 'break fast'. Hebrew means 'end' (verb). Noun is haftara (הפטרה). Also niftar (נפטר) - die, and many others.
صغيرsghiirצעירsa`irArabic means 'small'. Hebrew means 'young'.

For consonant correspondences see here

The name of the site contains two words, jabal and lughat, which look like cognates to Hebrew g'vul (גבול) - 'border', and loa` (לוע) - 'mouth [of an animal]'.

Posted by David Boxenhorn at November 3, 2005 08:25 PM | TrackBacks
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Interesting. My take on this would be:

* The Arabic cognate of mo`ed is maw`id "appointment, set time", so it probably isn't cognate with `iid. I imagine it might have something to do with the root `wd, which in Arabic, means "return", but it doesn't seem to be systematically derived.
* Dunno about sahhaa; it certainly is Algerian dialect, and derives from the Arabic root SHH (as in SaHiiH "correct", SiHHa "health".) The sound correspondences are fine, but the meaning shift is less clear.
* al- = ha- is a popular theory, but I suspect it's wrong; see my latest post.
* jabal means "mountain"; I actually suspect the first two letters are cognate with Hebrew giv`ah "hill" (using Ehret's theory that many Semitic third consonants are actually fossilized suffixes to an originally bilateral root), but probably not to g'vul.
* lughah "language, tongue" might be related indirectly to loa`, although the correspondence isn't perfect. It may well be related to the root l-gh-z (Arabic lughz "riddle", Hebrew lo`ez), by the same Ehretesque process as jabal to giv`ah.

The rest look right.

Posted by: Lameen Souag at November 7, 2005 05:27 PM Permalink

The Arabic cognate of mo`ed is maw`id "appointment, set time"

Yes, that's what it means in Hebrew, too (in addition to the more restricted sense of "festival")!

al- = ha- is a popular theory, but I suspect it's wrong; see my latest post.

That was wonderful! I'm looking forward to your response to my comment on your blog.

jabal means "mountain"; I actually suspect the first two letters are cognate with Hebrew giv`ah "hill" (using Ehret's theory that many Semitic third consonants are actually fossilized suffixes to an originally bilateral root), but probably not to g'vul.

From here:

ENTRY: gbl.
DEFINITION: Central Semitic root, appearing in various nouns denoting “border,” “frontier,” “mountain.”

lughah "language, tongue" might be related indirectly to loa`, although the correspondence isn't perfect. It may well be related to the root l-gh-z (Arabic lughz "riddle", Hebrew lo`ez), by the same Ehretesque process as jabal to giv`ah.

I'm not convinced of the "fossilized suffix" idea, but it is without doubt that LOTS of semantically similar words share the first two root letters, in Hebrew, at least. But then, it seems to be true for other root letters too. See here.

So, lo`ez and lughat could be related as could jabal and giv`a, but I would like to see an identical root somewhere that would be the link. Is the root of lughat l-gh-h, or l-w-gh? I couldn't find it written in Arabic on your site, but from your comments I would guess the former.

Posted by: David Boxenhorn at November 7, 2005 11:20 PM Permalink

Hmm. Maybe I was too hasty in rejecting g'vul - I'd have to see what other Semitic languages have. A semantic shift mountain > border is certainly possible. The root of lughah is l-gh (with -ah being the feminine ending). I too think explaining away _all_ third consonants as fossilized suffixes is too extreme (though, given that proto-Semitic had more consonants than any of its daughter languages, it's not totally absurd); however, at least some certainly are (notably the -b in certain animal names - compare Arabic tha`lab with Syriac ta`l-aa "fox", Syriac qur`-aa with Tigrinya qwer`ab "frog".)

Posted by: Lameen Souag at November 8, 2005 02:35 PM Permalink

Arabic tha`lab with Syriac ta`l-aa "fox"

You can add Hebrew shu`al (שועל) to the list.

Posted by: David Boxenhorn at November 8, 2005 02:53 PM Permalink

Really exciting information! Thanks! I'm learning Arabic also but only for a couple of months, so for me it's still difficult to express my ideas and to understand even printed texts. But I will learn :)

Posted by: Daleela at December 24, 2005 07:55 PM Permalink

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