Relationship between English and Arabic & the Concept of 0

East and West have met for centuries, leaving their mark on Arabic and European languages. So many English words are of Arabic origin, which signifies the relationship between English and Arabic.

Hedi Ben Aicha in his article for The Journal of Library History, describes the magnitude of the influence of Islamic literacy on Continental Europe in the middle ages.

Spain and Sicily (present-day southern Italy) successively became beacons of civilization. This was mainly thanks to the partiality of the local Muslim rulers towards the development of science and cosmopolitanism.

The sultans imposed a tolerant policy towards non-Muslims. It is not surprising that many Christian intellectuals grew up and even became admirers of Arab culture.

Long before the Crusades in the 11th century, Islam had already entered the heart of Europe. The Roman colonies in North Africa fell entirely into the hands of the Muslims. Arabic also became the dominant language at that time. His people also changed religions. This is why, why Europeans have historical grudges. Secondly, the fall of Constantinople at the hands of the Usmani Turks, under the leadership of Sultan Muhammad II.

From the historical facts we can see that obviously, there is a connection between English and Arabic. As we know, English is an international official language and is widely spoken in European countries.

ALSO READ : Arabic Language Privileges

Arabic words generally do not enter English directly. The words usually came through other European languages, especially Spanish and Italian, scientific terms -which reflected the superiority of the Arab world in science during the Middle Ages, and names of goods- which reflected the origin of goods and the status of Arab merchants in trade during this period.

The Relationship between English and Arabic: The Concept of the Number Zero in Mathematics

The relationship between English and Arabic also gives birth to the number zero. The world deserves to thank the Arabs for inventing the zero. The number “zero” is derived from the Arabic word “sifr”, which is a translation of sunya, the Sanskrit word for “empty”. In contemporary Arabic “sifr” means “zero” and “nothing”.

Concepts in Science

As for numbers, the word algebra in English comes from the Arabic word al-jabr, which means “restoration.” It is derived from the title of the 9th-century book “‘Al-Kitab al-muḵtaṣar fi Hisab al-jabr wal-muqabala (Book of Restoration and Compensation Calculations) by Muḥammad ibn Musa al-Khawarizmi.

The book was translated into Latin in the 12th century, and eventually al-jabr turned into algebra, which took the meaning we know today.

That’s not all al-Khwarizmi’s contribution to the English language. Its own name, which means “native Khorezm” (currently Khiva, Uzbekistan), became an algorithm in the English word.

Concepts in Science

The relationship between English and Arabic in chemistry is found in the word alkali (the opposite of acid). The word is derived from the Arabic word al-qali. Ironically enough, the English word alcohol comes from the Arabic al-kohl, an Arabic word that entered European languages in the Middle Ages, originally meaning celak, fine powder, and then ethanol, as well as the contents of wine.

The relationship between English and Arabic in astronomy and navigation is the word azimuth which also comes from Arabic. The word is derived from as-Sumut (hint) meaning also the associated peak, from samt-al-Ra (direction of the head). The same nadir (lowest point) comes from nazir as-samt (opposite direction).

Arabic is an important trading partner in Europe, and many of the words of trade are of Arabic origin. Arsenal comes from the Arabic Dar al-ṣinā’a (Manufacturing house) and magazines come from makhāzin (warehouse). Jar comes from Arabic jarrah and rim (amount of paper) comes from Rizma.

Then there were many products of Arab merchants introduced to Europe. Artichoke comes from Arabic al-ḵaršūfa, carob from ḵarrūba, coffee from Qahwa, saffron from za’farān, sumac (red spice, not poisonous plant) comes from summāq.

Next cumin (as in seeds) comes from al-karawiyā, tarragon from ṭarkhōn (which may itself be derived in Greek), and acid comes from Arabic Tamr Hindi (Indian date).

In addition to some of the points above, there are many more relationships between English and other Arabic that are rarely known to the public

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