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Influence of Arabic on Other Languages

The influence of Arabic has been most profound in those countries dominated by Islam or Islamic power. Arabic is a major source of vocabulary for languages as diverse as Armenian, Berber, Kurdish, Persian, Swahili, Urdu, Hindi (especially the spoken variety), Bengali, Turkish, Malay and Indonesian, as well as other languages in countries where these languages are spoken. For example the Arabic word for book /kita:b/ is used in all the languages listed, apart from Malay and Indonesian (where it specifically means "religious book"). In addition, Spanish and Portuguese both have large numbers of Arabic loan words. Other languages such as Maltese[4] and Kinubi derive from Arabic, rather than merely borrowing vocabulary or grammar rules.

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The terms borrowed range from religious terminology (like Berber taẓallit "prayer" < salat), academic terms (like Uyghur mentiq "logic"), economic items (like English "sugar") to placeholders (like Spanish fulano "so-and-so") and everyday conjunctions (like Urdu lekin "but".) Most Berber varieties (such as Kabyle), along with Swahili, borrow some numbers from Arabic. Most religious terms used by Muslims around the world are direct borrowings from Arabic, such as salat 'prayer' and imam 'prayer leader'. In languages not directly in contact with the Arab world, Arabic loanwords are often mediated by other languages rather than being transferred directly from Arabic; for example, most Arabic loanwords in Urdu entered through Persian, and many older Arabic loanwords in Hausa were borrowed from Kanuri.

In common with other European languages, many English words are derived from Arabic, often through other European languages, especially Spanish and Italian. Among them are commonly-used words like "sugar" (sukkar), "cotton" (quṭn) and "magazine" (maḫāzin). English words more recognizably of Arabic origin include "algebra", "alcohol", "alchemy", "alkali" and "zenith." Some words in common use, such as "intention" and "information", were originally calques of Arabic philosophical terms.

Further Information:

Arabic Translation
Arabic Dialects and Descendants
Arabic Grammar
History of Arabic
Influence of Arabic on Other Languages
Studying Arabic

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