Levantine Arabic/MSA: origin of the word ببغاء / ببغان

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WannaBFluent

Senior Member
Français
I'm trying to find the origin of the word ببغان 'parrot' in Levantine Arabic (also said ببغال).

I've found in a dictionary that it was borrowed from Italian pappagallo and entered Syrian Arabic like this. But ببغاء is a word used in MSA.
Also, the wiktionary page of pappagallo says the Italian word might be borrowed from Arabic.
And the wiktionary page of ببغاء says the Arabic word is borrowed from Syriac.

But anyway, there's still a problem:
Edward William Lane classified the word ببغاء under the root ب ب غ in his Arabic-English Lexicon.

I thought Arabic roots couldn't start with two identical letters, so the root ب ب غ shouldn't exist. I don't know if the same rule is applied or not to Syriac language though.

Do you have more information about this word?
 
  • Interprete

    Senior Member
    French, France
    The pages you mention also state that even the Syriac is either an onomatopoeia or a borrowing from some unknown African language, since parrots are not native to the Middle East and it is only normal that "parrot" cannot be a native Arabic or Syriac word. I interpret this as "no one really knows".
     

    Torontal

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Worth reading for the old joke at the end😆
    OFF

    :D :D I loved it, saved it, also wonder if can some Arabic speaking member translate it to Arabic for me?

    (can also send it me in pm, so not to break forum rules further)
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    My guess is that it was borrowed into Arabic (whether MSA or a dialect) from some foreign language. From there, transfer from MSA to a dialect or vice versa is no etymological head-scratcher, as it’s pretty much a seamless process. There are many borrowings that are found in both MSA and Palestinian Arabic (جغرافيا، فيزيا، كنغر، فيديو، ...).
     
    Last edited:

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    My guess is that it was borrowed into Arabic (whether MSA or a dialect) from some foreign language. From there, transfer from MSA to a dialect or vice versa is no etymological head-scratcher, as it’s pretty much a seamless process. There are many borrowings that are found in both MSA and Palestinian Arabic (جغرافيا، فيزيا، كنغر، فيديو، ...).
    The word has been around for a very long time, long before there was anything called "MSA". There was a thread here on this. The word has an Iranian / Indian sound to my ears, especially without the shadda (reminds me of babr, a Persian word for tiger), so perhaps that's where it comes from. It could have been borrowed via Syriac, but I don't see why we should presume that it was.
     
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