Arabic: برّا

ܚܕܝܦܬ ܫܐܕ

New Member
English - USA

Does anyone know where the Arabic word barraa برّا came from? It sounds like an Aramaic word, except that the Aramaic word had a long a in the first syllable.
  • Gulf, Iraqi, Levantine, and Egyptian, that I know of. I don’t know about other dialects.

    Note: not all Gulf dialects use جوا / جوة for inside, most use داخل instead, but they do use برّا / برّة for outside.
    I think most dialects use it to some extent, and it is attested quite early. This is a citation in Lisaan Al-'Arab from an early Abbasid authority:

    قَالَ اللَّيْثُ: وَالْعَرَبُ تستعمِله فِي النَّكِرَةِ، تَقُولُ الْعَرَبُ: جَلَسْتُ بَرًّا وخَرَجْتُ بَرًّا؛ قَالَ أَبو مَنْصُورٍ: وَهَذَا مِنْ كَلَامِ المولَّدين وَمَا سَمِعْتُهُ مِنْ فُصَحَاءِ الْعَرَبِ الْبَادِيَةِ.

    (Al-Laith lived in the 8th cenutry, and Abu Mansuur [Al-Azhari] lived in the 10th century)

    جوّا is attested in a hadith attributed to Salman Al-Farisi (also attested in Lisaan Al-'Arab):

    إن لكل امرئ جوانياً وبرانياً، فمن يصلح جوانيه يصلح برانيه، ومن يفسد جوانيه يفسد الله برانيه.

    Of course, جوّ also exists as a native Arabic cognate of جوّا with basically the same meaning (interior).
    In Tunisian البرّاil-barrâ is an adverb meaning outside (تعشينا البرّا we had dinner outside). We have the adjective برّاني meaning foreign, alien, stranger (for a person). Used for a wall (الحيط البراني) it means outside wall.
    برّا is also an imperative meaning "go (away)!" and it is only used in the imperative mode.
    Yes, and vice versa. The languages have been used used by people living in practically the same region with intensive contact between them, why would that be a surprise?

    Although in this case I would say that this is Syriac influence as the usage appeared after Aramaic had already evolved into Syriac.