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A History of the Spanish LexiconA Linguistic Perspective$
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Steven N. Dworkin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199541140

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199541140.001.0001

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The Arabic component of the Spanish lexicon

The Arabic component of the Spanish lexicon

(p.81) 5 The Arabic component of the Spanish lexicon
A History of the Spanish Lexicon

Steven N. Dworkin

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with an overview of the introduction of Arabic into the Iberian Peninsula in the early eighth century, the sociolinguistic nature of the resulting contact situation, and problems in quantifying the Arabic contribution to the lexicon. Arabisms entered Hispano-Romance through oral contact and written texts. Although most Arabisms are nouns, a significant number of adjectives (often expressing negatively valued states and qualities) and some primary verbs entered Hispano-Romance from Arabic. This chapter discusses several etymologically controversial Arabisms, the rivalry between Arabisms and referentially similar Romance lexical items, and Arabisms that fell into disuse toward the end of the medieval period as the prestige of Arabic began to wane. The chapter concludes by discussing the few Old Spanish Hebraisms that may reflect contact with the (written) language of the Spanish Jewish community.

Keywords:   Arabisms, etymological controversies, Arabic/Hispano-Romance lexical rivalry, lost Arabisms, Old Spanish Hebraisms

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