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سيد قشطة

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Josh_, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Hi all,

    From what I can tell the main MSA word for hippopotamus is فرس النهر (faras an-nahr) -- river horse. However, the animal is known as سيّد قشطة (pronounced sayyid 2ishTa) -- loosely translated as Mr. Cream -- in the Egyptian dialect (and perhaps others as well). I was wondering if anybody knows how this term originated.
     
  2. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Hi Josh, I came across this in one of the texts and wondered the same. Let us see what our native Egyptian speakers have to say. I’m quite curious. The etymology of فرس النهر (faras an-nahr) is quite transparent as it is a direct translation of the Ancient Greek name for hippo: ‘ιπποπόταμος = ‘ιππος (horse) + πόταμος (river). Another name for hippo in MSA is البرنيق (al-barneeq - according to some al-birneeq, though one of them is also the name for a mushroom), again with obscure etymology
     
  3. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Aah yes, I came across البرنيق but forgot to mention it. I actually only found it in one dictionary so it makes me wonder how common a word that is.
     
  4. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    Arabic and English
    Are you sure of البرنيق? Because in some dicitionaries it says it's a type of كمأة and in others it's not mentioned at all. Do you have a source for it?
     
  5. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Hi Mahaodeh, Both Al-Mawrid (Arabic-English and English-Arabic – new, i.e.1980s and 90s), by Ba’albaki and Steingass’ (old) Arabic-English give this name. The only difference between the two is of the second vowel. Al-Mawrid has al-birneeq, while Steingass has al-barneeq. The latter (Steingass) also states that al-birneeq is a mushroom! Al-Mawrid actually gives three options: البِرنيق / فرس النهر / جاموس البحر
     
  6. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Yes, I saw it in the Mawrid also. The other dictionaries I looked in (Lane's Lexicon, the Hans Wehr, and a few other small ones I have) did not have it listed, however.
     

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