Bosnian (BCS): Meaning and usage of "Aman"

musicalchef

Senior Member
English; USA
Selam/Zdravo,

Of course, being a big fan of Bosnian music, I've noticed the use of "Aman," in many different kinds of songs, from ilahije to sevdah to pop, with or without something that could be an object (like "Aman Bosna"). I'm wondering about both the literal meaning, and its use (the meaning and possible emotions behind it).

I'm guessing it came originally from Arabic, possibly through Turkish. I don't know any Turkish, but the word and other words similar to it have several possible meanings in Arabic (the long vowel makes it difficult to find the root). Amaana in Arabic means "a trust," something that a person is entrusted with, or a promise. The root can also mean "to be trustworthy," or "to preserve," "to guard," "to protect" (obviously where "Allah manet" comes from), also "to have faith," "to believe." The "preserve" meaning makes me wonder if "Aman" means something like "long live," but it seems like that would always take an object.

Am I totally talking out of my hat here? Also, is there a historical significance to the word and its usage that I should be aware of?
 
  • iobyo

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    I don't know what you mean by historical significance, but I'm sure you'd hear it in Bosnia more frequently than in Croatia (if at all) for obvious reasons.

    The word comes from Turkish, but I don't how it came into Turkish.

    1. Oof!/God!/Lord!/Lord help us! (indicating disgust or anger).
    2. Please!/For goodness sake!
    3. My! (indicating great approbation).
    4. mercy.
    The above is from turkishdictionary.net/?word=aman (sorry, I can't link to URLs yet).

    This is more or less how it's used in Macedonian. I'm sure some of the more knowledgeable users from that region can explain it a little better and more precisely.
     

    CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    Here is another Turkish dictionary link: aman

    Here is a rather confused discussion in French about the possible links with similar sounding Persian and Semitic roots, the name of the city Amman in Jordan, the Egyptian god Amon, the sacred syllable Aum, the Berber word for "water"… So, musicalchef, you may be totally talking out of your hat, but you're not the only one!

    The interjection "Aman!" is also found in some styles of Greek music. In fact there is a whole category of songs called "amanedes" which one could hear in places called "Café Aman".
     

    musicalchef

    Senior Member
    English; USA
    Thanks for the examples and the links! That's interesting that it's also used in Greek music, I was not aware of that.
     

    Duya

    Senior Member
    Whatever
    iobyo is right here. However, in musical contexts, "aman" is usually just a verse-filler, i.e. it means absolutely nothing. In the similar category are "more", "nano", "džanum"...
     

    iobyo

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    iobyo is right here. However, in musical contexts, "aman" is usually just a verse-filler, i.e. it means absolutely nothing. In the similar category are "more", "nano", "džanum"...

    Also believed to be from Turkish and also used in Macedonian folk songs (море, џанам, etc.)

    I remember Wikipedia had an article on bre/more, but I now can't seem to find it.
     
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