قلم

Ali Smith

Senior Member
Urdu - Pakistan
Hi,

I know قَلَم qalam in classical Arabic meant 'a reed with a sharpened nib used for writing'. Does anyone know if it's related to the Latin calamus 'cane, reed'? If so, why did the initial sound change into a q in Arabic? I mean, Arabic has another letter for the sound at the beginning of the Latin word, so there was no need for q to be used.

Thank you!
 
  • Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    1. The word is of Greek origin (from κάλαμος, both in Latin and in Arabic).
    2. It was loaned to Arabic through Ge'ez (ቀለም).
    So the issue comes down to relationship between the Greek and the Ge'ez forms (Ge'ez already has the emphatic consonant there).
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    Judeo-Aramaic: qalmar for καλαμαρ-, qulmos for Κάλαμος. Evidently inconsistent vowels. But this may be borrowed from Hebrew that borrowed directly from Greek.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Judeo-Aramaic: qalmar for καλαμαρ-, qulmos for Κάλαμος. Evidently inconsistent vowels. But this may be borrowed from Hebrew that borrowed directly from Greek.
    In the meantime, in Ge'ez we have /ḳäläm/, with open vowels and with the Greek nominative inflection being detached, unlike in Aramaic (some scholars actually supposed a loan from Arabic, but given the lists of attested meanings it seems unlikely).
     
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