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Re: Arabic article (was: Corpses)

From:Roger Mills <romilly@...>
Date:Thursday, November 13, 2003, 16:46
Peter Bleakley wrote:

> Staving John Cowan: > >Costentin Cornomorus scripsit: > > > > > Can't think of any, though we do have the > > > propensity for leaving Arabic articles in: > > > algebra, alchemy, alcohol, etc. Of course, we > > > didn't borrow those directly, so they probably > > > don't count. > > > >I think it's the fact that these come through Spanish > >that make the difference. We certainly don't speak of > >al-Islam or the al-Arab. > > More through mediaeval Latin than Spanish, surely? It would have been The > Lord's Dogs who brought them into European use, about the 13th century. >
Well yes. In the old "Connections" series on TV, there was a delightful scene involving a friar and (judging by appearance) a young Jewish scholar; they were translating an Arabic astronomy text. The Jew was reading/translating it into vernacular (actually perfectly good Spanish in the program), the friar was presumably writing it down in Latin. They come to the word "azimuth"-- the friar asks "Azimuth, azimuth..., what is that?" Lengthy explanation in Spanish from the young Jew. Continued puzzlement on the friar's face; he finally says, "Well, we'll just call it 'azimuth'."