[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: VMs: Arabic

Rene Zandbergen wrote:

 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??

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.

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.



______________________________________________________________________ To unsubscribe, send mail to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxx with a body saying: unsubscribe vms-list