Arabic أستاذ ustaadh and Spanish usted

cuchuflete

Senior Member
EEUU-inglés
I would be very grateful to anyone who might provide
an etymology for the word 'ustaadh', or cite the earliest known references to it in Arabic writing.

Many thanks,
Cuchuflete
 
  • cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Hello Cuchu, it's a pleasure having you in the Arabic forum :)

    To my knowledge, the word أستاذ is farsi (Iranian), it came to the Arabic language like many other words (including my name:) )
    It's used to designate teachers, profesors (in Egypt -at least- a university profesor is ustadh) also we call our teachers at school by that title, we even "feminize" it : ustadha أستاذة but I'm not sure if the feminine form exists in Farsi or not.
    I don't know when this word was first used in Arabic writing, and I'm not even sure such date could be determined with confidence, but I'm sure it was long ago, it can be found in very old writings.

    If I find any further information I'll let you know


    Edit : I also remembered one small thing : in Egypt we use the word ustadh (pronounced ostaz) for mister, we also add an article before it : el-ostaz Cuchu = Mr. Cuchu :)
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Cherine,
    I thank you for the hospitable welcome, and also for the good information.

    Here is the motive for my question. In another forum, one that focuses on etymology, there was a lengthy discussion of the Spanish word 'usted'. This is the formal, third person form of address, used for both men and women. It is generally understood--for very good reasons I believe--to be derived from the very old Spanish 'Vuestra Merced', or Your Mercy. Over the centuries, this contracted in stages to Vested, and eventually to Usted. The V and U were once the same letter.

    Recently someone proposed that the word might have come into old Spanish from Arabic. The arguments are quite flimsy and unconvincing, but it led one linguistic scholar to question if
    it might have gone the other way, sometime between 711 and about 1200.

    I have no idea if this is a silly question, or a plausible topic for further investigation. Obviously there was substantial and beneficial Arabic influence on Medieval Spanish. Hence it is at least possible that early Spanish, or very late Vulgar Latin, may also have had some influence on Arabic in Al-andalus.

    If anyone has access to an Arabic Etymological resource, that might provide a simple and clear answer. You may have settled the matter already by saying that the origin is Farsi.
    I'm not aware of any early Spanish influence on Farsi!

    Many thanks for the collaboration,

    Cuchu
     

    laura1110

    Member
    English/USA
    cuchuflete,

    i myself (along w/ a colleague of mine) are at this very moment working on an article documenting the likelihood of arabic ustaadh on the development of spanish usted. if we continue chatting back and forth like this, however, it could be a v lengthy conversation. suffice it to say, ustaadh did indeed come from farsi as previously suggested, and unfortunately, nor i nor my colleague (or any arabists we have consulted) have beena ble to find an arabic etymological reference, it appears (stunningly) that there isn't one.

    i am wondering if that 'one linguistic scholar' you refer to might be Krotkoff (1963)? his arguments are worth listening to, but not as fleshed out as they should be.
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Cuchuflete,
    You're most welcome :)
    In what concerns the etymology or origin of "usted" I heard two theories, and both sound plausible to me :
    1- Spanish "vuestra merced"
    2- Arabic "ustadh"

    As for the word going the other way round (i.e. from Spanish to Arabic) this is very unlikely, I'm pretty sure the word is from Persian origin, and as you said yourself, it's not likely either that Spanish had any influences on Farsi.
    I think I can look the word in a Persian dictionary in the library to be sure, but that won't be done before Sunday. So if the dictionary tells me news I'll let you know about it.
    Untill now, I can't find the word ustadh in any Arabic dictionary. ¡Claro!, the word is Farsi :)
     

    ayed

    Senior Member
    Arabic(Saudi)
    I have found two views as follows:

    al-Ostath/al-Istath is an Arabized Farsi:
    (Cf.,Lisan al-Arab--The Tongue of Arab, by Ibn Mandhoor, 1232 ~ 1311 A.C)

    ----------------------------------------------------------
    As for the second one, I am not sure of :
    It is said that is of Greek origin came down to Turkish .

    I hope this could help
     

    Jhorer Brishti

    Senior Member
    United States/Bangladesh English/Bengali
    I know that this matter is more or less settled but for what it's worth I would also like to confirm the fact that Ustad is a word of Farsi/Persian word. This word exists in Bengali as well and like many other persian borrowings has developed a negative connotation. Although it means "teacher"(mainly a muslim music teacher-classical Hindustani music/kirtan,etc.) it is often applied to people who are experts at mischievous things like thievery for instance..
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Very interesting Jhorer.
    But, unlike other words that developed a negative connotation, this one kept its positive connotation in Arabic : an ustadh (pronounced "ostaz" in Egypt) is a teacher, a profesor, or mister.
     

    ayed

    Senior Member
    Arabic(Saudi)
    al-Ostath/al-Istath means :
    anyone who is good at his own profession such as teacher , scholar, player, writer ...ect.
     

    SofiaB

    Senior Member
    English Asia
    North African pronunciation is Ustad or Usted similar to Spanish. But no clear info seems to be available.
     

    zooz

    Senior Member
    Arabic & Syrian Arabic
    trivia: in syria within the army, it's an insult to call a person with a military rank "ustaadh". it means "jackass".:confused: :D

    BTW, why we write it "ustaadh" and not "ustaath"? does the "th" refers to "ث"?
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    zooz said:
    BTW, why we write it "ustaadh" and not "ustaath"? does the "th" refers to "ث"?

    The "th" refers to both ث and ذ so it's better using the "dh" because it only refers to ذ , and it's the one used with academic transliteration, while "th" is sort of easy way used on the internet by almost every one :)

    P.S. Nice info about the negative connotation. It's very useful learning such things, so we can avoid making ugly mistakes :D
     

    fatiha

    Senior Member
    Arabic - Morocco
    السلام عليكم
    North Africa, we write بالذال - أَسْـــتاذً
    And we prononce: بالدال - أُسْــــتادٌ
    but we write it just without any mistake
    and the same think with
    ث و ت
    فاتحة
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    We (Palestinians) also pronounce it "z." And in our dialect, it has a positive connotation. In fact, it can be used before a name to indicate respect.

    Of course, as with most positive apellations, it can also be used sarcastically - in which case it has a negative connotation. :)
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I think you could give a look to this thread :)
    It's true that Spanish has borrowed many words from Arabic, but this doesn't necessarily mean that all the "similar" words are borrowed.
    To say it in short : the other theory is very plausible, and we can't deny it simply because the two words (usted-ustadh) are so similar :)
     

    Alijsh

    Senior Member
    Persian - Iran
    I know that this matter is more or less settled but for what it's worth I would also like to confirm the fact that Ustad is a word of Farsi/Persian word. This word exists in Bengali as well and like many other persian borrowings has developed a negative connotation. Although it means "teacher"(mainly a muslim music teacher-classical Hindustani music/kirtan,etc.) it is often applied to people who are experts at mischievous things like thievery for instance..
    As for Persian, it means one who is skilled in a job e.g. ostâd of painting/calligraphy. People in training call their master as "ostâd" (ustâ in spoken form). It's also used for people who teach in university (e.g. ostâd of Physics) but not for those teaching in high-school or lower grades; probably because they're not fully skilled in their field. In Persian we have different words for people who teach in highschool: dabir vs. lower grades: moallem, âmuzegâr. Ostâd is also used for people who teach in an institute where you go to gain a skill e.g. ostâd of English/computer/guitar.


    Ostâd is today pronunciation in Western Persian. It's older pronunciation is ustâd remained in Eastern Persian. Ustâd is itself from ustâz. We have other words in which z after vowel and some other definite situations has changed to d in some dialects but remained intact in the rest e.g. we say gonbad (dome, cupola) but we have dialects in which they say gonbaz.
     

    humanbyrace

    New Member
    Turkish
    ustaadh is from Arabic ista'adhan and not Persian.
    ustad is a loan from Arabic as it do not mean anything in persian and Persian do not have dh so why Arabs will change d to dh when they have the letter d.
     

    angeld247

    New Member
    Caribbean Spanish
    I'm a linguistics graduate student in Florida, and am currently writing a paper on the influence of Arabic phonology, morphology, and lexicology on the romance language in Al-Andalus. My mother tongue is Spanish (Caribbean variety). I am also a near-native speaker of Italian (residence + 24 years of study) and Greek (modern), and conversant in French. I have lived in Cadiz, Andalucia (Al-Andalus), and I have studied Arabic (MSA and dialects) for 18 years. I have resided and studied in Algeria, Bahrain, Qatar, and Amman (the University of Amman, Jordan). That said, I am initimately familiar with the theory (and it's just a theory) that "Usted" is derived from "Vuestra Merced > Vested > Usted." It is my opinion that the Castilian "usted" is actually derived from the Arabic "Ustaadh." Yes, I realize that "Ustaadh" is a linguistic borrowing in Arabic from Persian-Farsi. Its origin is no longer relevant; what is relevant is that it was borrowed into Arabic, and assimilated (Arabized) into popular use. It is an honorific title, assigned to those who are subject matter experts in their fields/trades, instructors, teachers, or elders. The important thing is that it is a title of honor, just as the Castilian "usted," and it is difficult to attribute to mere coincidence the fact that the words are morphologically and phonetically identical. Why should it be surprising that the Arabic word "ustaadh" was borrowed into Castilian? It is easy to imagine the exciting period from 711-1492 CE in Al-Andalus as one of interesting linguistic changes. At first the dominant Romance language would be replaced by Arabic (two forms: the written classical form based on the Qur'an, and the spoken (vulgar) dialectic form imported by the Moors). Then, a hybrid culture and language emerge, called Mozarab (= Arabesque). Much like the Spanglish we speak in south Florida, the "Mozarabes" spoke a Spanish-Arabic melange. Why wouldn't they have used the word "Ustaadh" to address their elders? Perhaps even the tribal leader, or the Caliph? And why, with over 4000 Arabic words borrowed into Spanish, wouldn't the word "ustaadh" also enter Castilian as "usted"? I find affirmation in this theory in that none of the other Romance languages used anything similar to "usted" in its formal "you" form. There was a time when Italian used "voi" for this purpose, which correlates with the French "vous," both of which correlate with the Castilian "vosotros."

    There are many obvious words of Arabic origin (+/- 4000) in modern Spanish. There are also many not-so-obvious words of Arabic origin in Spanish, such as "ojala'," and "ole'," and proper names, such as "Mohedano" [can anyone figure that one out? I have my own theory.] I even have a theory as to the Arabic origin of a particular bad word in Spanish.

    I don't believe that the "Mozarabe" language was entirely extinguished. I believe to look at where the expulsed populations went, particularly pockets of the N. African region, and closely observe their dialect, and how they speak. Remember that Ceuta and Melilla on the coast of Morocco are Spanish territories, and each has its dialect. I also believe we can't discard the important role that music (poetry) played in maintaining the Andalusian speech patterns and in influencing them, as well. Flamenco music has clear Arabic notes, rhythms, and song style. Moreover, the Andalusian accent is a testament to the strong linguistic influence that the Arabic language exerted over the southern Iberian Peninsula for almost 1,000 years.

    -ADR
     

    Masjeen

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    I'm a linguistics graduate student in Florida, and am currently writing a paper on the influence of Arabic phonology, morphology, and lexicology on the romance language in Al-Andalus. My mother tongue is Spanish (Caribbean variety). I am also a near-native speaker of Italian (residence + 24 years of study) and Greek (modern), and conversant in French. I have lived in Cadiz, Andalucia (Al-Andalus), and I have studied Arabic (MSA and dialects) for 18 years. I have resided and studied in Algeria, Bahrain, Qatar, and Amman (the University of Amman, Jordan). That said, I am initimately familiar with the theory (and it's just a theory) that "Usted" is derived from "Vuestra Merced > Vested > Usted." It is my opinion that the Castilian "usted" is actually derived from the Arabic "Ustaadh." Yes, I realize that "Ustaadh" is a linguistic borrowing in Arabic from Persian-Farsi. Its origin is no longer relevant; what is relevant is that it was borrowed into Arabic, and assimilated (Arabized) into popular use. It is an honorific title, assigned to those who are subject matter experts in their fields/trades, instructors, teachers, or elders. The important thing is that it is a title of honor, just as the Castilian "usted," and it is difficult to attribute to mere coincidence the fact that the words are morphologically and phonetically identical. Why should it be surprising that the Arabic word "ustaadh" was borrowed into Castilian? It is easy to imagine the exciting period from 711-1492 CE in Al-Andalus as one of interesting linguistic changes. At first the dominant Romance language would be replaced by Arabic (two forms: the written classical form based on the Qur'an, and the spoken (vulgar) dialectic form imported by the Moors). Then, a hybrid culture and language emerge, called Mozarab (= Arabesque). Much like the Spanglish we speak in south Florida, the "Mozarabes" spoke a Spanish-Arabic melange. Why wouldn't they have used the word "Ustaadh" to address their elders? Perhaps even the tribal leader, or the Caliph? And why, with over 4000 Arabic words borrowed into Spanish, wouldn't the word "ustaadh" also enter Castilian as "usted"? I find affirmation in this theory in that none of the other Romance languages used anything similar to "usted" in its formal "you" form. There was a time when Italian used "voi" for this purpose, which correlates with the French "vous," both of which correlate with the Castilian "vosotros."

    There are many obvious words of Arabic origin (+/- 4000) in modern Spanish. There are also many not-so-obvious words of Arabic origin in Spanish, such as "ojala'," and "ole'," and proper names, such as "Mohedano" [can anyone figure that one out? I have my own theory.] I even have a theory as to the Arabic origin of a particular bad word in Spanish.

    I don't believe that the "Mozarabe" language was entirely extinguished. I believe to look at where the expulsed populations went, particularly pockets of the N. African region, and closely observe their dialect, and how they speak. Remember that Ceuta and Melilla on the coast of Morocco are Spanish territories, and each has its dialect. I also believe we can't discard the important role that music (poetry) played in maintaining the Andalusian speech patterns and in influencing them, as well. Flamenco music has clear Arabic notes, rhythms, and song style. Moreover, the Andalusian accent is a testament to the strong linguistic influence that the Arabic language exerted over the southern Iberian Peninsula for almost 1,000 years.

    -ADR


    Gracias por la información.
     

    Aydintashar

    Senior Member
    Iran, Turkish
    Suffice it to say, ustaadh did indeed come from farsi as previously suggested, and unfortunately, nor i nor my colleague (or any arabists we have consulted) have beena ble to find an arabic etymological reference, it appears (stunningly) that there isn't one.
    I am wondering if you ever found any etymological reference for the word in Farsi either. It is a strange kind of reasoning: since no etymological reference has been traced in Arabic, the word should be or Farsi origin, equally lacking a reference.
     

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    ustaadh is from Arabic ista'adhan and not Persian.
    ustad is a loan from Arabic as it do not mean anything in persian and Persian do not have dh so why Arabs will change d to dh when they have the letter d.

    This actually does happen in Arabic, e.g. Orthodox --> أرثذوكس, Baadaan --> باذان (the 7th century Persian viceroy in Yemen).
     

    Tracer

    Banned
    American English
    Did Spanish "Usted" (Ud.) come from Arabic "Ustadh"?


    The short answer is no. The long answer is no, and it couldn’t have. Let me explain why.

    1. When a language borrows or takes over a word from another language, 99 times out of 100 (at least), the meaning (or a close one) of the word in the original language is also borrowed.


    But Ud. means “you” while Ustadh means “teacher”. In other words, the 2 words have completely different meanings. There is no semantic connection at all. Just on this basis, the idea of an etymological connection between these 2 words is rendered void.


    2. Most borrowings retain the grammatical category of the original word. But Ustadh is a noun whereas Ud. is a pronoun. So the possible connection becomes ever flimsier.


    And again, a good 99% of language borrowings occur with nouns. In our hypothetical case here, a language (Sp) borrowed a noun from another language (Ar) and not only changed the meaning but changed the grammatical category and used that borrowed noun as a pronoun. (An almost laughable proposition).


    3. 99% of borrowings are done out of necessity. In other words, the borrowing language needed a word (or phrase) to use for an object or a concept it didn’t possess in its own lexicon (look at how many languages now use the English word “computer” or the Arabic word “jihad”).


    But Spanish already had a word for “you” (tu) and had no “need” whatsoever to borrow a “substitute” word for it (especially if the borrowed word belonged to a different grammatical category).


    4. The first attested appearance for Spanish Usted, occurred nearly 2 centuries AFTER the fall of Granada c.1492 by which time Arabic had pretty much disappeared as a living language in Spain. If Spanish did indeed borrow Ustadh from Arabic, why wait about 800 years to do so? (We’re now going from the laughable to the hilarious).


    5. There are very convincing and respected academic explanations as to how and why Ud. developed in Spanish. None of these indicate or suggest even the slightest Arabic connection or influence).

    Therefore, one can only conclude that Ud and Ustadh are totally unrelated.


    Note:

    1. The biggest blunders in etymology occur when it is proposed that because a word in a language “sounds” almost identical to a word in another language, why, they must be “related”.


    For example, in some Arabic “circles”, it has been suggested that SHAKESPEARE was really an Arab named SHEIKH ZUBAIR. This was taken seriously enough by some delusional student to the point that, I believe, he wrote his PhD dissertation to this effect. (The amazing thing here is that his dissertation was accepted by his “committee”!! I would’ve loved to be sitting in on that one).


    2. The influence of Arabic on the Spanish lexicon has been grossly exaggerated to the point of fantasy. I recently read that something like 30% of the modern Spanish vocabulary is Arabic in origin. As a native Spanish speaker, I assure you that that proposition approaches the edges of lunacy.
     

    Aydintashar

    Senior Member
    Iran, Turkish
    Did Spanish "Usted" (Ud.) come from Arabic "Ustadh"?


    The short answer is no. The long answer is no, and it couldn’t have. Let me explain why.

    My main incentive in sending this post was to congratulate you, and even express my envy on you for your elegant English! As a Spaniard, you must have done a perfect learning.

    As for أستاذ, the only reason why it is believed to be Persian, is that it is used in Persian! There are no cognates in Persian, to my best information. The curious thing is that most people simply accept this argument, with no further reservations. It is only very analogous to the behaviour of the academic committee evaluating the dissertation on the name of Shakespeare, which you narrated, who took the theory for granted that Shakespeare was actually a Sheikh Zubair.
    Having come so far, let me suggest my speculation on the etymology of أستاذ , which is definitely subject to further analysis. I see the word as a cognate of august (augustos), which is a synonym to grand. The word is actually derived from Greek Αύγουστος meaning: majestic, great, lord, grand, etc. Any opinions?
     
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    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    1. When a language borrows or takes over a word from another language, 99 times out of 100 (at least), the meaning (or a close one) of the word in the original language is also borrowed.

    2. Most borrowings retain the grammatical category of the original word. But Ustadh is a noun whereas Ud. is a pronoun. So the possible connection becomes ever flimsier.

    This is not reason enough to consider it an argument against usted being originally ustaaTH. As long as it is theoretically possible, you cant use it as an argument.

    3. 99% of borrowings are done out of necessity. In other words, the borrowing language needed a word (or phrase) to use for an object or a concept it didn’t possess in its own lexicon (look at how many languages now use the English word “computer” or the Arabic word “jihad”).

    This, I totally disagree with. Borrowings are not done due to necessity, there are many social, political, economic, religious and literary reasons for borrowing. The most obvious is actually not necessity, but simply the influence of the language of the stronger, more prominent or controlling people.


    Don't get me wrong, I'm not disputing your point: I have no idea what the origin of Usted is and I have no problem in it not being Arabic. I'm merely pointing out that your first three reasons are in no way convincing. The last two, however, give some evidence.

    For example, in some Arabic “circles”, it has been suggested that SHAKESPEARE was really an Arab named SHEIKH ZUBAIR. This was taken seriously enough by some delusional student to the point that, I believe, he wrote his PhD dissertation to this effect. (The amazing thing here is that his dissertation was accepted by his “committee”!! I would’ve loved to be sitting in on that one).

    Oh please.... there are many examples of words in English attributed to Arabic when they are not, but this example is simply an example of a joke - yes, we all say it as a joke and only a total idiot would take it seriously.
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    Personally I think it's rather simple to use the traditional explanation that usted comes from the older form vusted which is a contraction of vuestra merced. Portuguese has a similar form você. I think the form vusted is still found in some parts of the Americas although it is relatively archaic elsewhere.

    However, I think that if using أستاذ was contemporaneous to using vusted, the former may have contributed to the stability and change in pronunciation (loss of /v/) of the latter. In other words that the two words are similar may be coincidence, but they reinforce the usage.

    Now on to Tracer's post:

    1. When a language borrows or takes over a word from another language, 99 times out of 100 (at least), the meaning (or a close one) of the word in the original language is also borrowed.

    In general I agree with you. Even if there is semantic shift, there's some general meaning category that is retained or some anecdote that otherwise explains it. In this case the only thing that أستاذ and usted share is "term of respect" and I don't think that's enough to build a case.

    But Ud. means “you” while Ustadh means “teacher”. In other words, the 2 words have completely different meanings. There is no semantic connection at all. Just on this basis, the idea of an etymological connection between these 2 words is rendered void.

    أستاذ doesn't mean teacher. It's just a term of respect. I can say عفوا يا أستاذ to a man on the street to ask a question. The word for "teacher" is معلّم or مدرّس. The connection is a little stronger when you realize this. The word is much more akin to the use of Spanish señor.

    2. Most borrowings retain the grammatical category of the original word. But Ustadh is a noun whereas Ud. is a pronoun. So the possible connection becomes ever flimsier.

    Usted in the traditional etymology is derived from a noun, vuestra merced (although with a possessive). So the shift is the same: noun>pronoun in any case.


    And again, a good 99% of language borrowings occur with nouns. In our hypothetical case here, a language (Sp) borrowed a noun from another language (Ar) and not only changed the meaning but changed the grammatical category and used that borrowed noun as a pronoun. (An almost laughable proposition).

    Again, usted in the traditional native Spanish etymology is still derived from a noun. In this case, we are taking the Arabic equivalent of "Mr." or "Sir" and applying it directly as a pronoun for "You". This is already done in Brazilian Portuguese as the word O Senhor or A Senhora (lit. The Sir and The Ma'am) are used directly as the respectful terms for "You" in that language. Again, noun>pronoun. Not borrowed, but native. Nevertheless, if the shift can occur natively, surely it could occur with some time on a completely nativized borrowed word.

    3. 99% of borrowings are done out of necessity. In other words, the borrowing language needed a word (or phrase) to use for an object or a concept it didn’t possess in its own lexicon (look at how many languages now use the English word “computer” or the Arabic word “jihad”).

    This is true is mostly monolingual societies but here we're talking about highly multilingual societies - both in Muslim Al-Andalus in those days and in Arabic-speaking countries today where English and French are commonplace. Borrowing occurs for all sorts of sociological reasons (such as just "sounding cool") that have nothing to do with necessity.

    But Spanish already had a word for “you” (tu) and had no “need” whatsoever to borrow a “substitute” word for it (especially if the borrowed word belonged to a different grammatical category).

    Spanish has multiple words for "you" and they vary in number and use among countries. Clearly it has no impulse to be streamlined or "tú" would be enough. Why both with "tu" "usted" "vusted" "vos" etc. etc.

    4. The first attested appearance for Spanish Usted, occurred nearly 2 centuries AFTER the fall of Granada c.1492 by which time Arabic had pretty much disappeared as a living language in Spain. If Spanish did indeed borrow Ustadh from Arabic, why wait about 800 years to do so? (We’re now going from the laughable to the hilarious).

    It may have occurred in speech much longer before it occurred in writing, but in general I agree with you that historically it doesn't make so much sense to say it was borrowed.

    5. There are very convincing and respected academic explanations as to how and why Ud. developed in Spanish. None of these indicate or suggest even the slightest Arabic connection or influence).

    This I agree with.

    Therefore, one can only conclude that Ud and Ustadh are totally unrelated.

    From these convincing and respected academic arguments yes; from yours, no.

    Note:

    1. The biggest blunders in etymology occur when it is proposed that because a word in a language “sounds” almost identical to a word in another language, why, they must be “related”.

    Yes, I agree completely. It's the source of many folk etymologies.

    For example, in some Arabic “circles”, it has been suggested that SHAKESPEARE was really an Arab named SHEIKH ZUBAIR. This was taken seriously enough by some delusional student to the point that, I believe, he wrote his PhD dissertation to this effect. (The amazing thing here is that his dissertation was accepted by his “committee”!! I would’ve loved to be sitting in on that one).

    That's an urban legend to my knowledge and only a joke among Arabic speakers.

    2. The influence of Arabic on the Spanish lexicon has been grossly exaggerated to the point of fantasy. I recently read that something like 30% of the modern Spanish vocabulary is Arabic in origin. As a native Spanish speaker, I assure you that that proposition approaches the edges of lunacy.

    It has not been grossly exaggerated by anyone seriously discussing Spanish language history. There are plenty of Arabic loan words in Spanish, though I don't know if the sum approaches 30% of the lexicon.
     
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    Tracer

    Banned
    American English
    To: clevermizo

    1. As has already been pointed out by previous posters here, USTADH can mean “sir” or “mister” in some dialects. Another poster pointed out that the word means “Jackass” in Iraqi colloquial. But just about everyone agrees that in “formal” Arabic USTADH means “teacher” of some kind…..something to do with teaching or being an expert at something.

    The Arabic “DOCTOR” serves a similar purpose. When I’m in an Arabic speaking country, especially if I’m carrying a book, I’m often approached with YA DOCTOR. Of course, they don’t mean that I’m an M.D. It’s just a term of respect.

    I agree that there are a lot of words meaning “teacher” in Arabic beyond USTADH. But that really has nothing to do with the argument here, I don’t think.

    Therefore, your refutation of my assertion vis a vis the term USTADH in my original post is without merit. Ditto, more or less, with most of the other refutations you have provided.

    2. For a variety of reasons I can’ t possibly go into here (you’ll just have to trust me), it is highly improbable that the term “USTADH” was ever used in Andalusia at all, even by Arabic speakers. The term did not exist in the Arabic used in Spain. Just this fact renders the idea that Spanish UD came from USTADH not just improbable, it makes it absurd.

    3. A serious study of Arabic words in Spanish will find that the vast majority of these “loan” words refer to the geographical topology of Spain: Rivers, valleys, mountains, cities, villages, etc. Also to flora and fauna.

    But….the vast majority of Arabic words in Spanish……are ALSO found in most European languages, including English. Names of stars, some chemicals, alchemy terms and the like.

    Also, the vast majority of these loan words have long since dropped out of use, are obsolete or are found only in the occasional text here and there. They never came into the language on a permanent basis. Most of these terms are technical and would not be understood even by educated Spanish speakers (like me).

    The fact is, the Latin bedrock of Spanish was never disturbed by Arabic, not even close.

    I’ve been blowing my horn about this for about 10 years now, and every time I do, I get beaten, kicked and trounced. I now know it’s because I’m wrecking romantic fantasy dreams about the Arabs in Andalusia, but in the end, facts are facts.

    It’s like American English, actually. There are dozens and dozens of Native American words in American English (moccasin, teepee, wampum, etc) and countless place names.

    But no one would have the temerity to state that Native American languages “influenced” American English, except at this most basic, elementary and unimportant level.

    It’s the same with Arabic and Spanish. Vaya con Dios.
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    Therefore, your refutation of my assertion vis a vis the term USTADH in my original post is without merit. Ditto, more or less, with most of the other refutations you have provided.

    My other refutations are related to the claim that words can't shift part of speech or other syntactic or semantic categories, or that these shifts are unlikely or improbable. I'd like to see some evidence of this.

    2. For a variety of reasons I can’ t possibly go into here (you’ll just have to trust me), it is highly improbable that the term “USTADH” was ever used in Andalusia at all, even by Arabic speakers. The term did not exist in the Arabic used in Spain. Just this fact renders the idea that Spanish UD came from USTADH not just improbable, it makes it absurd.
    Actually, the variety of reasons is quite pertinent information. For the record, I see no reason to think that usted derives from أستاذ, however, I'd love to know some of the historical facts surrounding the use or lack of use of أستاذ (or other words) during that time period in that region.

    If you could at least provide some leads on further reading, I'd definitely be interested. It's quite a fascinating topic. I have access to most online journals and other resources through my work.



    I’ve been blowing my horn about this for about 10 years now, and every time I do, I get beaten, kicked and trounced. I now know it’s because I’m wrecking romantic fantasy dreams about the Arabs in Andalusia, but in the end, facts are facts.
    Actually, I would like to think relatively few of us here have these romantic fantasies. Hopefully you will find a more open forum for discussion here than you have in the past.
     
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    Tracer

    Banned
    American English
    To: CLEVERMIZO

    Well, ok. I’ll go into this subject (Arabic in Spain) a little bit more but not much because I, unlike you, do not have access to much of the literature. But CAVEAT LECTOR (that’s Latin), you’ll probably pooh pooh most of what I have to say:

    1. First of all, lemme say this: I have found most scholarly work on this subject either shoddy or (shu al kilma?)…”laden” with secret agendas of some sort. Even today, for example, most Spaniards have little knowledge, understanding or interest in the Arab period of Spain. Most look at it as if it were a historical “accident” of some sort, not worthy of study (kinda like Arabic speakers view the Arabic colloquials). On the other side, most Arabs (deep in their hearts), view Andalusia, to this day, as part of the greater “umma”. To them, Andalusia remains part and parcel of the Arab territories and it is only “accidentally” that it has slipped from their grasp. (I’m not talking about the Bin Ladens…..I’m talking about the general “Arab street”).

    Therefore, any academic work done by a Spaniard or an Arab, I nearly always dismiss out of hand on general principles. (This is particularly true of researches done more or less after 1980).

    2. Most studies done in this field (etymology) are done by scholars with excellent credentials in Arabic, but with barely enough abilities in Spanish to be able to order a cup of coffee. Or, vice versa: Excellent Spanish, pathetic Arabic. Or (worst of all), English or German scholars who learned Arabic/Spanish in an academic setting and therefore, do not possess the INTIMATE knowledge of either language which I think is a rock-bottom prerequisite in order to perform genuine research in this field. (One exception: Dr. James Monroe, now retired, of UC-Berkeley).

    Therefore, I trust to my instincts for the most part in this field because I am intimately involved with both these languages. I did study them as academic subjects, but I knew and spoke them as everyday languages long before I started formal studies.

    Now to specifics:

    You said:--à “My other refutations are related to the claim that words can't shift part of speech or other syntactic or semantic categories, or that these shifts are unlikely or improbable. I'd like to see some evidence of this.”

    My evidence is this: show me a single term in Spanish that came from Arabic in which the grammatical category changed. In other words, show me, for example, an Arabic noun that is now used as a verb (or something else except a noun) in Spanish. Doesn’t exist. (Actually, I’ll take any two languages. Doesn’t have to be Arabic-Spanish).

    Even if an example could be dredged up from some obscure text somewhere, it would be a colossal exception, and you know what exceptions prove.

    I’m sure there are some exceptions in some languages where this happened, but I go back to my original post: 99% of the time this didn’t happen. Even where (and if) it did happen, my “instincts” tell me that the original meaning or a closely related one would be kept (why on earth would they change the meaning?)

    In the case of USTADH, as I previously said, both the category AND the meaning changed which I find not just ridiculous but comical.

    You said that a relationship might exist between Ud and USTADH on the basis that Ud is partially formed from a noun (merced) and therefore the Arabic category (noun) didn’t “really” change when it came over into Spanish. I can’t argue that. I just find that an unbelievable stretch unworthy of serious consideration.

    3. As far as the non-existence of USTADH in the Arabic used in Spain, you said--à “Actually, the variety of reasons is quite pertinent information.” (You said this because I didn’t provide any evidence)

    a…..The word USTADH is not an Arabic word and is likely Persian.(but see below note 1). It does not appear in any of the extant literature of the pre-Abbasid period. I contend that by the time it entered Arabic (from Persian) Spain had long since been conquered. Given the distance between Baghdad and Spain, given the animosity between the Abbassid and early Cordova Caliphate in Spain, given the intervention of the local, non-Arabic languages extant in North Africa, given the fact that USTADH is not found in the early literature of Muslim Spain, given those facts and others, it is extremely unlikely that USTADH was used in the local Arabic that was being used in early Muslim Spain.

    Bottom line: Spanish Ud. did not come from Arabic USTADH one reason being that USTADH was unknown in early Spanish Arabic. By the time USTADH appeared in Spanish Arabic, it did so only in its written form and by that time, Spanish was developing into a full-fledged language and any “influence” Arabic may have had on the newly forming language was minimal. That such an intimate term would be incorporated surreptitiously into Spanish is extremely unlikely. By that time, Spanish was shedding and distancing itself from the language and culture of the Caliphate viewing it as an alien and unwelcome presence.

    In other words, my contention in this case is not based on any “texts” I can show you. It is based on the LACK OF texts to prove or disprove this theory. Since there are many other provable or nearly so reasons to disbelieve that Ud came from USTADH, I choose to disbelieve it.

    I can’t “prove” it…..I just “know” it.

    Note 1: If USTADH is indeed Persian in origin, and since Persian is an Indo-European tongue, it is possible that it is actually related to the European S-T-D which appears in English as STUDY, Spanish as ESTUDIAR, French as ETUDIER, Italian STUDIAR etc. etc. This theory could be strengthened if we knew if a Sanskrit cognate existed but I don’t know Sanskrit.

    Note 2: As to Arabic words in Spanish, I’ve actually published a paper several years ago in which I show how flimsy is the contention that Arabic had a great and permanent influence on Spanish. Course, for reasons of privacy, I can’t refer you to it…..you would find out my name. But it is online….in several locations.

    Antio (that’s Greek, not misspelt Spanish)

     

    Tracer

    Banned
    American English
    TO: CLEVERMIZO

    ADDENDUM:

    You said:--à“My other refutations are related to the claim that words can't shift parts of speech or other syntactic or semantic categories, or that these shifts are unlikely or improbable. I'd like to see some evidence of this.”

    I’d like to add the following to my previous statement:

    One could argue that my theory that words are highly unlikely to change from one grammatical category to another when a borrowing occurs between 2 languages is without merit, on the basis of what happened to English following the Norman Invasion.

    In this case, Latin, through the invading French, entered English and changed it forever from a purely Anglo-Saxon (Germanic) tongue into what it is today: a nearly 50% Germanic/50% Italic language, at least as far as the English lexicon is concerned. Of course, English remains at bottom a Germanic language on the basis that the syntax, grammar, stylistics and so on remained and remain Germanic at base.

    Today, anyone looking for an ultimate source of a particular English word that is Italic in origin, is very often shown that the original Latin base is often a noun or verb or other category but that the English word belongs to a different category (or combination thereof) from the original Latin.

    For example, (and I’m sort of making this up….just off the top of my head), Latin VEDERE (to see) which is a verb, is the original source for English VISION (a noun).

    So one could say: See? An English noun (vision) came from a Latin verb (vedere).

    The reality, of course, is slightly more complicated than that in this case, but I won’t go into that right now. I’ll cede that this example presents a refutation of my theory “of unchanging categories”.

    But this is a superficial analysis of what really happened and disregards crucial aspects of the Norman “linguistic invasion” between English and French. Why?

    I contend that what happened to English following the Norman Invasion was not a wholesale “borrowing” of Latin terms into English. In other words, this was NO ETYMOLOGICAL TSUNAMI.

    What happened instead was a fundamental reorganization of nearly half the English lexicon for reasons I can’t go into here. This was no simple etymological borrowing of the occasional word. It wasn’t a “borrowing”. It was a linguistic “rebirth”.

    Nothing even remotely like this happened between Arabic and Spanish. If it had, Spanish would be a very different language today.

    Bottom line: What happened between English/ French was not really an etymological event…..it was something else, more complete and far-reaching.

    English, after all, did not lose its native vocabulary. It simply added Italic words. So we have “dual” words such as FAST (Germanic) and RAPID (ITALIC) meaning pretty much the same thing in literally thousands of cases.

    Therefore, my theory stands. When etymology is the force at work, it is highly unlikely that the grammatical category of the borrowed word could change.

    Note 1: As far as I know, this massive shift of the lexicon as happened with English is unique. It never happened to any other language, certainly not to the same extent. This accounts for the extraordinary flexibility of modern English unparalleled in any other language.
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    To: CLEVERMIZO

    Well, ok. I’ll go into this subject (Arabic in Spain) a little bit more but not much because I, unlike you, do not have access to much of the literature. But CAVEAT LECTOR (that’s Latin), you’ll probably pooh pooh most of what I have to say:



    There's no reason for your beneficent act of cavere, as nothing need be pooh-poohed. Your reasoning for dismissing Usted < أستاذ seems quite sound to me, now explicitly stated. I can assure you that I am not secretly disagreeing with nor am I swayed by secret agenda.

    Furthermore, I agree with you that it is probably quite rare that a loan word change its semantic category. I just wasn't sure if that was firmly established or not.

    Again, I'd like to re-iterate that no one here is out to attack you or your views and I think most of the regular contributors here are above romantic conceptions of history.
     
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    Tracer

    Banned
    American English
    To: Clevermizo

    Thanks for your reply. I certainly don’t believe that anyone in this forum is out to attack me or has a secret agenda. (At least not yet. I’m relatively new to this forum). What I meant was that scholarly work (the “literature) is often not just tinged but driven by influences that are unrelated to the subject matter. In other words, what is being presented is not just “disinterested” and “dispassionate” scholarly work – there is often an underlying “political” current at work not readily perceived. If I’m coming across as somewhat paranoid, I assure you I’m not. Satirical maybe, or cynical, but not paranoid. It’s just the way I write.

    Since you’re a scientist, I’m sure you are familiar with Kuhn’s masterpiece “ Structure….” and subsequent works which discuss this very idea, to wit, that (even) scientific work is funded and directed not by what scientists think is important but what the funders and powers that be think is important. That’s what I was getting at.

    This post is way off subject, I realize, so it may be deleted. No problem. I’ll understand. (Ooops, there I go again, getting all paranoid and everything).
     

    CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    Note 1: If USTADH is indeed Persian in origin, and since Persian is an Indo-European tongue, it is possible that it is actually related to the European S-T-D which appears in English as STUDY, Spanish as ESTUDIAR, French as ETUDIER, Italian STUDIAR etc. etc.
    You use triliteral notation for IE roots? :D Anyway, this root is not as widespread as you suggest. All of the words you mention go back to Latin studeo, whose origin is uncertain, so I doubt we'll be able to link it to ustaadh.

    Here's what a Turkish etymological dictionary says about the Persian loan üstad (my translations in green):
    ~ Fa ustād/awstād/ustā اوستاد/اوستا bilgi ve zanaat sahibi, öğretmen, sanatkâr [Pers.: master of knowledge and craft, teacher, artist] << OFa avastād a.a. [OPers.: same meaning] ~ Ave ava-stāta- başında duran, öncü, veli [Avest.: one who stands at the front, leader, guardian] < HAvr *stā-ta- duran [PIE: one who stands] < HAvr *stā- durmak [PIE: stand]
    Concerning your long digression about the Norman French influence on English:
    So one could say: See? An English noun (vision) came from a Latin verb (vedere).
    No, English and French vision come from the Latin noun visionem. But your more general point about loanwords not changing syntactic category or meaning is not valid, at least not in your exaggerated terms (" 99% of the time", "99 times out of 100 (at least)"…). You can start a new thread about this topic if you want to discuss it.
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Bottom line: What happened between English/ French was not really an etymological event…..it was something else, more complete and far-reaching.
    What's an etymological event?
    Therefore, my theory stands. When etymology is the force at work, it is highly unlikely that the grammatical category of the borrowed word could change.
    How can etymology be a force?
    Note 1: As far as I know, this massive shift of the lexicon as happened with English is unique. It never happened to any other language, certainly not to the same extent. This accounts for the extraordinary flexibility of modern English unparalleled in any other language.
    Persian comes to mind.
    the European S-T-D which appears in English as STUDY, Spanish as ESTUDIAR, French as ETUDIER, Italian STUDIAR etc. etc.
    What's the European S-T-D? You don't mean a PIE root, do you?
     

    origumi

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    3. 99% of borrowings are done out of necessity. In other words, the borrowing language needed a word (or phrase) to use for an object or a concept it didn’t possess in its own lexicon (look at how many languages now use the English word “computer” or the Arabic word “jihad”).
    This, I totally disagree with. Borrowings are not done due to necessity, there are many social, political, economic, religious and literary reasons for borrowing. The most obvious is actually not necessity, but simply the influence of the language of the stronger, more prominent or controlling people.
    I must agree with Mahaodeh on this point. As a speaker of a language that keeps borrowing Arabic words in these very days, I can tell that some of those words are for concepts that have native alternatives, and yet we borrow. Even more - there are situations of "mutual borrowing", in which Hebrew borrows a word from Arabic, and Arabic (as spoken by Israeli Arabs) borrows a word for the same concept from Hebrew. An example would be all right. Hebrew speakers took Arabic sababa and akhla (whose native meaning may be different, but becomes all right in Hebrew), Arabs frequently borrow Hebrew beseder for all right.
     

    Aydintashar

    Senior Member
    Iran, Turkish
    The more I study different examples in various languages, the more convincing becomes the idea that the Greek word Αύγουστος (dignified, grand, skilled, senior) is the root of Ustadh. For example, the Russian:

    Ваше августейшество

    which implies "Your Majesty". I would suggest that looking for the presumed IE root S-T-D will not take us anywhere. The word
    Αύγουστος simply traveled to the Arabic areas during the Alexandrian invasion, and passed to the local dialects. But, it might also have arrived through trade and communication across Mediterranea. It might have even travelled independently to Persia and other Asian regions. The word in Persian has no known cognates, and the only transformation it underwent was the change from Ustadh to Ostad, which happened to a lot of native Persian words.
     

    Tracer

    Banned
    American English
    The more I study different examples in various languages,

    Arabic/Perisan/Urdu etc. USTADH could also have a common origin with English HOST (one who receives) < Latin and akin to Greek despótēs (master), and Lithuanian viẽšpats (lord), perhaps signifying an IE origin and thereby possibly pointing to a Sanskrit and hence "Indian" language origin term which entered Persian, not from the West but from the East, and thence into Arabic

    Intrestingly, Spanish HUESPED, a distant cognate to English HOST, means both Host and Guest.

    And so (one could say), Arabic USTADH is indeed found in Spanish, not as USTED but as its distant cousin HUESPED.

    Lot of "possiblys" here.
     

    CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    What is the game now? Think of all the words we know containing -st- and declare that they are ("possibly") cognates? In that case, after considering many words and many languages, I must say that ustaadh points to a Sanskrit form that I won't bother looking for, but which will I believe turn out to be cognate with Latin magister. You have to admit, the semantic link is 99.999% obvious (at least). So the Spanish word you are looking for is therefore maestro.

    What we should not do, under any circumstances, is pay any attention to the work of previous generations of scholars.
     

    machsna

    New Member
    German - Switzerland
    All of the words you mention go back to Latin studeo, whose origin is uncertain, so I doubt we'll be able to link it to ustaadh.
    According to the entry study at etymonline.com, it is related to PIE *(s)teu- &quot;to push, stick, knock, beat&quot;.
    ~ Fa ustād/awstād/ustā اوستاد/اوستا bilgi ve zanaat sahibi, öğretmen, sanatkâr [Pers.: master of knowledge and craft, teacher, artist] ← OFa avastād a.a. [OPers.: same meaning] ~ Ave ava-stāta- başında duran, öncü, veli [Avest.: one who stands at the front, leader, guardian] < HAvr *stā-ta- duran [PIE: one who stands] < HAvr *stā- durmak [PIE: stand]
    Thanks – that sounds plausible.
     

    payam.elm

    New Member
    persian - iran
    Ostâd "professor; master; artisan," from Mid.Pers. ôstât, from Av. *aibi-stāta-, *auui-stāta- literally "standing on," i.e. "appointed; agent; head," from aibi-/auui- "upon, toward, against" (O.Pers. abiy-; cf. Skt. abhi-; Gk. amphi-) + stā- "to stand"
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Spanish is not the only Iberian language to have USTED. In Portuguese, there is VOCÊ (the contraction here is of VOSSA MERCÊ). In Catalan, there is VOSTÈ (contraction in this case of VOSTRA MERCÈ). Both preserve the V (so did first Spanish too with VUSTED, before dropping the v). If you're still not convinced, Portuguese transitional variants VOSSEMECÊ, VOSMECÊ and VOMECÊ exist. And there are other contractions of the same kind, such as Spanish VUECENCIA for VUESTRA EXCELENCIA (In Catalan, VOCEL·LÈNCIA, from VOSSA EXCEL·LÈNCIA).

    What is even more decisive is the fact that USTED didn't really start to be used until the end of the 16th century, like more than 350 years after Arab had been spoken in central Spain. The same about the Catalan VOSTÈ, born in the 16th century too, and only really used nowadays since the traditional high form has always been VÓS, as in Occitan and French. The use of VOS in Iberian Spanish/Portuguese isn't really used since those times, reserved for contexts similar to those of the English THOU. or 'medieval'.


    Much like the Spanglish we speak in south Florida, the "Mozarabes" spoke a Spanish-Arabic melange.

    Not Spanish, but a Latin-Arabic melange, or better said, a set of Western Romance emerging varieties, heavily influenced by an 'official' form of Arabic. Mozarabic was to a certain extent rather closer to Aragonese than to Spanish (i.e., Castilian).
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    How many Spanish words are of Arabic origin? 30%? One figure you often see is 4,000. Where is that from? Well,...
    Here is what Wikipedia ("Influences on the Spanish language") has to say:
    One respected authority [Rafael Lapesa, Historia de la lengua española, §33, n. 5 bis] suggests that they number more than 4,000, based on estimates of 850 of known etymology, 780 forms derived from them, 1,000 place names, 500 additional place names of "probable" Arabic origin, and "very numerous" Arabic-looking words whose affiliation has not yet been established.
    Take a look at a map of the U.S. and tell me how many "words" of Native American languages there are in American English.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    How many Spanish words are of Arabic origin? 30%? One figure you often see is 4,000. Where is that from? Well,...
    Here is what Wikipedia ("Influences on the Spanish language") has to say:

    In order to know the real percentage, we should know the total number of words in the Spanish language, which is an impossible task, unless by it we are referring to the total number of words in a particular dictionary, such as that of the RAE. And even so, there are so many dubious etymologies that we could never completely sure.

    I agree with what is said about figures slightly over 1,000 (words of certain Arabic origin). But it must be said that this is not comparable to, say, the number of words of Romance origin being used in English. Out of those words of certain Arabic origin, only a small fraction (a few hundreds) really entered that core formed by the common vocabulary. (I'm referring to words such as taza, aceite, zanahoria, ojalá..., which are almost exclusive of Iberia).

    So that 30% would be a clearly exaggerated figure. The impact was probably higher than that of the Germanic languages, but lesser than that of the Franks in French, for instance.
     

    danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    I find affirmation in this theory in that none of the other Romance languages used anything similar to "usted" in its formal "you" form. There was a time when Italian used "voi" for this purpose, which correlates with the French "vous," both of which correlate with the Castilian "vosotros."

    The examples shown by @Penyafort are quite sufficient to contradict this thesis.

    I would like to add examples from Romanian, just to have a bigger image on all Romance languages (thus I don't claim any interdependence between Romanian and Spanish polite pronouns):
    The modern Romanian pronoun for politeness is dumneavoastră, which is a contracted form of domnia voastră (literaly translated as en. "your reign" / fr. "votre seigneurie"). This pronoun corresponds perfectly to Spanish usted and French vous as polite pronoun.
    For a better understanding of its meaning: Romanian domnie means the social status of being a domn (en. "Sir"), while in Middle Ages domn meant also "king".
    rom. domn < lat. dominus (compare to sp. don used to show respect for a certain man)

    I don't know very well Spanish, but when I watch Latino American movies I hear the pronounciation:
    [uster] for usted, with a very weak final -r.
    I ask native speakers to explain how the word usted is pronounced in Spain and how is it pronounced in other Latino American countries.
     

    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    Greetings all here

    I observe an energetic discussion, and although my command of Arabic is nil, in the light of...
    1. As has already been pointed out by previous posters here, USTADH can mean “sir” or “mister” in some dialects. Another poster pointed out that the word means “Jackass” in Iraqi colloquial. But just about everyone agrees that in “formal” Arabic USTADH means “teacher” of some kind…..something to do with teaching or being an expert at something.

    The Arabic “DOCTOR” serves a similar purpose. When I’m in an Arabic speaking country, especially if I’m carrying a book, I’m often approached with YA DOCTOR. Of course, they don’t mean that I’m an M.D. It’s just a term of respect.
    ... I cannot forbear to point out that Latin dominus gives rise to Don in Spanish, "Domine" [(school-)master] in Scots English, and "don", an Oxford or Cambridge academic.
    In the light of Spain's mediaeval history, it would not be surprising if something like "Ustedh", in the sense of a respectful address ("Mister", "Doctor" "Teacher") came into the common parlance.
    And as for the "jackass" bit: this is clearly "Mister..." as encountered in the ol' western gunshooter movie genre. "Mister, there ain't no room for the two of us in this town".

    (Or possibly: Mr Trump: there ain't no room for you in the world).

    Σ
     
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    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Corominas (Breve diccionario etimológico de la lengua castellana) documents intermediate forms, and their dates, in the transition from "vuestra merced" to "usted":
    "vuasted" 1617
    "vuested" 1635
    "vusted" 1619
    "usted" 1620
    Davies's Corpus del Español gives one instance of "voace" (1587).
    "Vuestra merced" appears as early as the 1290s (Gran conquista de Ultramar).
    These forms are hard to explain in the Arabic scenario.
     
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