30 October, 2020

Love Children

In this etymological treasury of words, I found the chapter ‘How Nations Insult Each Other’ the most amusing

Love Children
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Soon after the death of Prophet Mohammed, Muslim armies overran North Africa into Spain and Turkey in the West and across a lot of Asia in the East. With them they carried not only the message of their Prophet but also their mother-tongue, Arabic. It infiltrated into the vocabularies of the countries they conquered and new words were born. Arabs produced many astronomers: so names of many stars are derived from Arabic. They also ruled the seas around the countries they conquered, hence words connected with maritime activities, wind movements and weather, mausem, for example, from which monsoon is derived. The English word admiral is derived from the Arabic Ameer-ul-Bahr—ruler of the seas.

In this etymological treasury of words collected by Lahore scholar Khaled Ahmed, I found the chapter ‘How Nations Insult Each Other’ the most amusing. Arabs looked down on other races. For Persians, they used the word ajain, which means dumb. The Persians retaliated by calling Arabs Tazi, meaning horse. Greeks called...

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