Hindi: Words of Arabic Origin

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by vikramkr, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. vikramkr Member

    Seattle, Washington
    USA - English
    Does anybody know any?
  2. albondiga Senior Member

    You may or may not already realize this, but asking for Hindi words of Arabic origin is almost like asking for English words of Latin origin... A native speaker with a strong understanding of the etymology of Hindi could probably give you a list of hundreds of words that came from Arabic:arrow:Persian:arrow:Hindi (as well as a much smaller number that even came from Hebrew:arrow:Arabic:arrow:Persian:arrow:Hindi)...

    I don't know very much Hindi (I have a better understanding of the Semitic languages; my Hindi transliterations below may be off, so a native speaker can correct if necessary), but just off the top of my head some of the obvious ones are shukriyaa (one way of saying "thank you"; originated in Arabic), and adamii (one way of saying "man"; definitely came through Arabic but I believe this is one that originated in Hebrew)... even with very limited Hindi exposure (and not exactly an advanced level of Arabic either :) ) I have already encountered many others that I recognized as originating in Arabic...

    The other thing is that many things in Hindi have synonyms where one word is of Arabic origin and another of Sanskrit origin (in English we have similar with words of Germanic, Latin, and even Greek origins having similar meanings)... so some speakers are more likely to use one word, while others would be more likely to use the other word... As I understand it, there's a very loose dialectic continuum involved; as one moves towards Pakistan, more and more Arabic words start being used, and at some point (i.e., when crossing the border and starting to use the modified Arabic script rather than Devanagari) it becomes what we call Urdu rather than Hindi... The other factor that I have heard of course is that native speakers might use a word of Arabic origin in casual speech and a Sanskrit-derived synonym in formal writings...

    All of this stuff varies by speaker, but in any event there are LOTS of words of Arabic origin in the Hindi language... Some native speakers will give you many more examples, I am sure!
  3. albondiga Senior Member

    Just to follow up on my last post (again, I presume you are likely familiar with most of that already, and probably have much bigger vocabulary than mine but less ability to recognize Semitic origins) I decided to go to a short list of Hindi vocab to pick a couple more that were immediately recognizable to me as having Semitic roots:


    Again, that's already four coming from someone who can barely make even the simplest sentence in Hindi and essentially can't even really do that in Arabic at this point... the comparison to English and Latin was a slight exaggeration, but there clearly are lots of examples...
  4. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    Oh dear.. I don't even know where to start! :D
    It would help if you be more specific :D
  5. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    I agree 110%! There are toooooooooo many, and have so well influenced the language that most cannot say what is NOT Hindi. (I, however can;;)...and I'm sure Linguist can too!)

  6. vikramkr Member

    Seattle, Washington
    USA - English
    Can you give me a transliteration of those two words?
  7. vikramkr Member

    Seattle, Washington
    USA - English
    Sorry for my overly general question. I didn't realize there were many in the first place.
  8. Qcumber Senior Member

    UK English
    RAI, Shriniwas (1987)
    The common heritage
    Singapore: Malayan Law Journal

    This book is a list of terms common to Hindi and Malay, and, of course, these terms are Arabic. So it has most of what you are looking for.
  9. albondiga Senior Member

    I'll stay away from giving transliterations (for reasons that are well-justified by my posts about Hindi on other threads :) ), and let the experts handle that. But they're quite basic words from an introductory-level Hindi vocab list, and as you've realized by now, the consensus on this thread is that...

    ...books could be written on the topic :D !

    Anyway, since I saw in your profile that you're studying Spanish as well, you should know how intertwined all of these languages are... even Spanish has a bunch of cognates with Hindi, from a bunch of different directions: (a) Through common Indo-European roots (e.g., some numbers)... (b) Through Portuguese influence on Hindi (e.g., mesa, camisa)... and (c) Probably also through Arabic, which has had an influence on both Spanish and Hindi (I can't give any specific examples of this, but my forum name is a good example of a Spanish word with Arabic roots ;) )...

    (Note: I'm conscious of not getting this thread too off-topic; I'm going to open my own separate thread about Portuguese influence on Hindi, and you may wish to open a separate one as well about Arabic influence on Spanish if that interests you...)
  10. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    I can say a bit about the portuguese one.

    The words were /kitaab/ and /zamaanaa/
  11. vikramkr Member

    Seattle, Washington
    USA - English
    Sorry, I'm confused. Are you saying that all of Malay vocabulary comes from Arabic?
  12. Qcumber Senior Member

    UK English
    I never said that.
    1) Hindi borrowed terms from Arabic.
    2) Malay borrowed terms from Arabic.
    Many of these Arabic loanwords are common to both Hindi and Malay.
  13. vikramkr Member

    Seattle, Washington
    USA - English
    Oh, I see. Thanks for the book name, I'll check it out :)
  14. Qcumber Senior Member

    UK English
    You are welcome. :)
  15. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    A lot of Islamic religious vocab is directly from Arabic. That's the most obvious point I can make. The rest is varied.
  16. Qcumber Senior Member

    UK English
    Opening RAI's book, I can see the Arabic loanwords listed belong to many fields. Unfortunately RAI doesn't provide any etymoly. His is only a comparative list of Malay and Hindi terms. Some are Sanskrit and others are Arabic, but he never says which is which. (He probably doesn't know, otherwise he would have supplied the etymons).

    As a sample, here is my short list of Arabic loanwords in Hindi drawn from chapter A.

    adab = good manners
    adat = custom
    aina = spectacles
    ajib = strange
    aql = intellect
    akhbar = newspaper
    akhir = the end
    alam = universe
    alim = learned
    asal = origin
    asali = original
    ashiq = lover
    ajab = strange occurrence
    azam = great
    azmat = greatness
    aziz = dear
  17. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    I don't know Hindi but someone mentioned valid/valida (father/mother) used in muslem communites, which are of Arabic origin, only pronounced as
    waalid (والِد), waalida (والِدة).
  18. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
    See this thread.
  19. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Shokran=Shukria (Urdu)
  20. Lugubert Senior Member

    R.S.McGregor's Hindi-English dictionary has almost 12 pages (out of 1083) of two columns for Hindi words beginning with mu. A clear majority of them are of Arabic origin. In one random column (out of those 24) I find 13 words borrowed from Arabic, 2 from Persian and 5 indigenous words.
  21. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Platts is an excellent etymological source as well. Google the online version of the dictionary...it's a godsend!
  22. Lugubert Senior Member

    I like it and use it frequently in a printed version, but has the online version been updated since 1884? McGregor was first published in 1993.
  23. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    No it hasn't been. But despite this, its still a good source. But someone really needs to update it...

    **points finger**;)
  24. joshuelin New Member

    well i think the word shukria=thank you
    is a word that you use in Hindi to say thank you and i thnks is an Arab word

    i know that in spanish sice there were Arabs living in spain and they build up one of the most beautiful cities of apain named andalucia,in spanish you can find that all the words that atart with AL are from arabic words
    they teach us that in spanish words like

    alcoba= bedroom
    ...............(also camara or recamara)and ithink there is a Hindi
    ................word camera that means room
    alcancia=piggy bank
    almorzar=to have lunch
    alba=early morning
    albañil= ....hmmm it construct something a forgot what
    alambrar =to windup wires
    and more
  25. Lugubert Senior Member

    The list will bew much shorter when words of Latin origin are purged. I hav no time to look at them all right now, so
    shukria, algebra, alcohol OK, Arabic
    Hindi kamra 'room' from Portuguese, like camera etc. in turn from Latin
    alimentos and English words like haughty, enhance, adult, aliment from a Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root *al- 'to grow, nourish'
    alma same root, Lat. almus 'nurturing, nourishing'
    I'd guess alba is linked to Latin albus 'white'
    alianza from PIE *leig- 'to bind', prefixed by Latin ad- 'to'
    alfabeto from Latin, using the names of the two first Greek letters.
    alegria Italian allegro 'lively, happy' makes me think Latin origin
    aluminium "The ancient Greeks and Romans used alumen (alum) ..." I find no reference indicating that the name was borrowed from Arabic. If so, there should have been an Arabic word 'minium' or something like that. I don't think there is for any Aluminium related stuff).
  26. ruchashelat New Member

    India- hindi, gujarati, english n french
    i hv not been through a detailed research .....but here is a list of some common words in hindi and arabic that i hv known
    subah - morning
    yakeen - faith
    shak - doubt
    maut - death
    al wakat, waqt - time
    zaman, zamana
    duniya - world (not geographically)
    kasam - promise
    sabr, sabar - patience
    jannat - heaven
    musafir - traveller
    mushkil, museebat - problem
    amir - rich
    shaheed, qurbaani - sacrifice
    insaan - man
    qabt, kabar - death tomb
  27. omlick Senior Member

    Portland, Oregon, USA
    American English
    After you learn the spellings of words in Urdu script, you can tell that certain words come from Arabic. For example words with the letters ط ظ (त, ज़ in Hindi script ) ص ض (स, ज़ in Hindi script) are dead give aways. Am I right to assume this?
  28. BP. Senior Member

    ^I remember encountering some Sanskrit-derived Urdu words that contained the letters you mention. Of course their pronunciation changes too. I can't remember any right now except the name of the city of QaSoor, derived from the person's name Kesh, which we discussed a few weeks ago.
  29. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Well, some words are found on both ends. <vādā> for example is a strange word in both Urdu and Hindi.
  30. Cilquiestsuens Senior Member


    yes you're 98% right. However, don't forget that a few Persian / Hindi words are written with Arabic letters (while they shouldn't) such as

    tota tota2.gif

    'atai' atai.gif
    (having learnt without a proper master / teacher)

    So the above words should have not been written with Arabic letters ta and 3ayn, but they are mostly written as above.

    There are other words like this, but not many..
  31. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Yes, <totā> always stumped me. Anyone know why it's spelled this way?
  32. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    I would agree with this!
    So I wouldn't bother even thinking about coming up with a list - it'll be long!!

    Why it is طوطا and طوطی? According to Platts they are from Persian! One would think it might be Arabic given that it has a ط - almost always a sign of Arabic origin. But in Arabic a parrot is a ببغاء babghaa'.

    طوطی TūTī = parrot; but also Loxia rosea or Carpodacus erythrinus -small singing birds.
    BTW,there is also the expression <kisii kii TūTī bolnā / bulwānā = to become / cause to become famous / acquire fame>.
  33. gori New Member

    french france
    You are right as an arabic speaker I can say that all these words are from arab origin I can add this list with the arabic meaning it's often the same meaning in hindi, It's some of the words that I understand when I watch hindi movies :

    adab : good manners
    adat : tools
    aina : eye
    ajib : strange
    aql : intellect
    akhbar : newspaper
    jism : body
    khayal : kind of dream
    ma3fi : forgiven
    toufane : flood
    hawa : air
    alam : universe
    alim scientist
    sourate : picture
    gham : not exactly but kind of sadness
    wakil : kind of lawyer
    ziada : to add
    baas : that's all
    asal : origin
    asali : original
    zarourat : necessary
    ashiq : lover
    ajab : strange
    ajnabi : stranger
    ihssas : feeling
    intizar : to wait
    akhir : the last
    azam : great
    katil : killer
    kaffi : sufficient
    madad : help
    azmat : greatness
    aziz : dear
    mohabat : love in a general meaning
    ishq : love between two people
    mahbouba : my lover
    lakin : but
    yakeen : for sure
    ghalat : wrong
    kadam : a step
    sheitan : devil
    sahih : true
    sawal : question
    jawab : answer
    dimagh : brain
    matlab : it comes from talab ask for something
    kitab : book
    moujrim : criminal
    isharaa : a sign
    faidat : not exactly but kind of favours
    kourssi : chair
    rabah : it comes from rab god
    doukane : store
    khabar : a news
    kanoun : law
    hakikat : the truth
    malik : the owner
    moukam : the level
    insan : a human
    ya3ni : meaning
    salam : peace
    choukria : it comes from choukran

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