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A problem solved: Arabisms in Spanish

From:vardi <vardi@...>
Date:Wednesday, February 17, 1999, 18:21
John Cowan wrote:
>=20 > Pablo Flores wrote: >=20 > > Yes. Carlos commented this in another post, though I'm quite sure > > the phrase is not "inshallah"; but it certainly means "let Allah..." > > or something of the sort. In Spanish it's both an interjection > > and an adverb. >=20 > In a Web-based textbook I found the following: >=20 > # "Ojal=E1 (que)...", derived from an Arabic expression meaning > # "May Allah grant that..." , means "I hope" when followed > # by the present subjunctive. "Ojal=E1" can never be followed by > # the infinitive, but always takes subjunctive. It can be > # used either with or without the "que". >=20 > Maybe this will cue someone who knows a little Arabic....? >=20 >=20
Thanks John! Yeah, there is a root KH - W - L with the meaning grant, accord, concede. That's almost certainly it! The mystery is solved. The middle root letter is "w", a "hollow" letter in Arabic grammatical terms, falling out in many conjugations. So the fact that only the KH (in Spanish orthography - "j") and the L remain is quite understandable. My best Arabic dictionary ("Wehr and Cowan") doesn't give any such exhortative expression under the root, but that, of course, doesn't mean that one didn't exist at some stage. Never heard in Palestinian Arabic, though - in which there are many such expressions. As for Gustavo's comment that the Portuguese equivalent uses a "sh" (S) sound rather than KH, I guess we must now see that not as a more faithful rendition of the original Arabic, but rather as the assimilation of the expression into the (beautiful and gentle, IMHO) sound patterns typical of Portuguese. I'm very happy that our joint efforts helped us solve this one! Shaul Vardi