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Re: VMs: Arabic
I'll take a stab at it, but I'm afraid I don't have the book, nor do I know
the intent of the author.
According to your email he stated:
>Letters, when used as numbers, follow the order
>of the Hebrew alphabet, those peculiar to Arabic
>coming last, they represent the units, tens,
> hundreds, and a thousand. They are divided into
> these Barbarous words: ...
> But what about these barbarous words??
The ancient Hebrew world had an interesting worldview. It is expressed in
the words of Paul: The Jew, The Greek, and the Barbarian.
The Jewish world came first, the Greek (classical) second, and everything
else was barbaric. The Jewish language was considered a "pure" language,
after all, Jehovah God spoke it. So any word that did not have a Jewish
history was second class. Arabic is much the same today. Since it is the
language of Allah, it cannot be changed. Everything should fit within the
grammar structure, including the three letter roots, 10 (really 14) forms,
and so on. If it does not, we call it a "diptote" or foreign word. Right now
there are Arabic scholars in Egypt creating new words to replace the
"barbaric words" that are invading Arabic. Words like "telephone, television
and so on." The Arabic grammar allows you to create words that have instant
meaning, so most everyone who hears them will understand their approximate
meaning, even though they have never heard the word before. Thus, Arabic has
a very rich vocabulary, but people who are familiar with the three letter
root system can devise the meanings of the words. The three letter root
system spans many Middle Eastern languages, and a person can often deduce
the meaning of the words, from the roots that are common to all of them.
Obviously, the Hebrew words for tens, hundreds and a thousand came from a
foreign source, most likely Arab traders who had a more developed
mathematical system than the Hebrews. The Arab words may have come from
another source themselves, perhaps India.
That at least would be my attempt at explaining the phrase you mentioned
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