"bilkul" - from Arabic?

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by linguist786, Sep 29, 2006.

  1. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    I was just thinking about the word "bilkul" today which we use in Urdu (and is also borrowed in Gujarati) to mean "absolutely". For example, "bilkul nahee!" = "absolutely not!". It just suddenly occurred to me that it might have come from Arabic. "bi" (بـ) is the preposition meaning "with/by means of/through" and the rest would be "al-kul" (الكل) meaning "all" giving us "بالكل" (written بلكل in Urdu). So it would literally mean something like "through everything".

    Would this be right? Does it come from Arabic? If so, is it also used in Arabic? If it is, is it used in the same way?
  2. Abu Bishr Senior Member

    Afrikaans, South Africa
    I think in Arabic they tend to use بالكلية (totally) in the context you are talking about. But a more correct translation for "Absolutely not" would be "قطعاً لا" or even just أبدا (Never! Not at all!) and then there is a certain way way that you say it.

    As for بالكل it could mean ("to the whole" or "to all") like: علاقة الجزء بالكل (the relation of the part to the whole), or مرحباً بالكل (Welcome to all). So the "Baa" is often used to mean "to" in the sense of "being connected or related to" as in the first example. In fact, verbs such as تعلَّق , ارتبط , اتصل all of which have their basic meaning as "being connected" use the "Baa".

    Maybe others can elaborate more.
  3. Mery_Dian

    Mery_Dian Member

    Moroccan Arabic - Morocco
    Hi linguist786 and Abu Bishr,

    I'm no longer sure whether بالكل is used interchnageably in Arabic with إطلاقا or أبدا , but I can at least tell you that we definitely use it in Moroccan colloquial arabic to mean absolutely not or at all.

    Are you sure ? I don't think that بالكلية is used in that context!
  4. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    American English, Palestinian Arabic
    I agree.

    In colloquial Palestinian Arabic we would say "bilmarra." "Bilkul" can only mean "bi" + "kul."

    Huwwe bihtam bilkul. - He takes care of everyone.
  5. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    So you mean the word "bilkul" on its own is used to mean "absolutely not"?
  6. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    " بالكل " does'nt look negative at all ; its meaning depends on the context , "at" or "to" all (everything or everybody) , as Abu Bishr rightly elaborates on.
  7. Lugubert Senior Member

    " بالكل " in Wehr: Arabic-English Dictionary: on the whole, in the aggregate, taken altogether, in bulk.
    Platts: A Dictionary of Urdu, Classical Hindi and English:
    " بالكل " bi'l-kul (bi + al + kullī) adv. Entirely, completely, totally, wholly, universally; altogether.
    Platts: "بالكلية " bi'lkullīya adv. In the totality, &c.= bi'l-kul
    McGregor: Hindi-English Dictionary: बिलकुल bilkul [A. bi'lkul] adv. entirely, completely; quite.
  8. Mery_Dian

    Mery_Dian Member

    Moroccan Arabic - Morocco
    If you mean in Moroccan colloquial Arabic, yes, "bilkul" means "absolutely not" or "at all".
  9. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    OK Thanks!

    Do you mean "absolutely not" or "not at all"?
  10. Mery_Dian

    Mery_Dian Member

    Moroccan Arabic - Morocco
    Depending on context, 'bilkul' either means "at all" (more frequent) or "absolutely not" in Moroccan Arabic, knowing that there is only a nuance between the two.
  11. Thomas F. O'Gara Senior Member

    English USA
    Bear in mind that Arabic terms in Urdu have usually come into the language through the medium of Farsi. Not infrequently Arabic loan words in Farsi retain meanings that have passed out of use in the original Arabic. That may not be what has happened here, but I think it's quite possible.

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