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Re: VMs: Arabic
Rene Zandbergen wrote:
I interpreted the term "barbarous words" to mean that that they aren't
really words in Arabic, just a mnemonic device to remember the order of
the corresponding letters in Hebrew, which is different.
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: _
<List of barbarous words in aArabic script omitted>
The principle is clear, this is how numbers are
(were?) written also in Greek: iota-beta = 12,
a number occurring often in astronimical works.
But what about these barabarous words??
That is, the first five letters in the Hebrew alphabet are: aleph, beth,
gimel, daleth, he, which are used to represent the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4,
5 respectively. This system maps each Hebrew character to the Arabic
character with the closest sound: alif, ba, jim, dal, ha. However, the
Arabic characters are in positions 1, 2, 5, 8, and 26 respectively in
the Arabic alphabet.
So I think the "barbarous words" are just a way for an Arabic speaker to
remember the Hebrew alphabetical order.
This reminds me of some English "barbarous words" I learned as a kid - a
bit of doggerel for remembering the order of the signs of the Zodiac:
" The ramble twins crab liverish
Scaly scorpions are good water fish"
So "ramble" = Ram/Bull , "liverish" = Leo/Virgo. "scaly" = Libra, "good"
= goat (Capricorn) and so on. Not good English, but it does the job.
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