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Old July 28th, 2015, 08:46 PM   #1

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Origins of the Spanish language


I was having a discussion with someone on Facebook. She posted an Indo European language tree and was upset because Africa wasn't on there. I told her that's because it's only for Indo European languages. She got huffy and told me that Spanish has African roots because of the moors. I told her that Spanish came from Latin with some Arabic words. I have a feeling when she comments again. It's going to be a discussion about how all of the moors were black. I keep seeing people say this. Am I right in thinking the Moor is not an ethnicity? And my other question is Are there African roots in the language other then Arabic?
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Old July 28th, 2015, 09:20 PM   #2

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The original Moors were a people the Romans called the Mauri, which which a Berber-speaking people of North Africa closely related to the Numidians. During the Medieval period however the Christians of Europe often called any Muslim in Spain a 'Moor,' regardless of whether they were Berber, Arab, or a local Iberian convert to Islam. It was not dissimilar to how Muslims of the Levant often called Christian crusaders Franj (Franks) regardless of ethnicity

You are correct in that the Spanish language is an Indo-European language. It evolved primarily from the vulgar Latin spoken in Iberia during the Roman period. Despite primarily evolving from Latin it does however have fairly significant Arabic influences, and many words are derived from Moroccan dialects of Arabic. There are a few words with Berber origins but they are far fewer than words with Latin or Arabic origins. Arabic, rather than Berber, was the dominant language spoken in Al-Andalus.
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Old July 28th, 2015, 09:30 PM   #3

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That's what I thought. I've even seen a person try to get out of being called a racist by using the moors connection. It was a woman from some realty show. She used ethnic slurs against a black person. Her manager, who is black, tried to make excuses for her. She is Sicilian and he tried to insinuate that she has black ancestry from the moors. If I were him. I would quit.
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Old July 28th, 2015, 09:38 PM   #4
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Spanish (or Castilian) is an Indo-european language derived from Latin. Arabic influence is restricted almost exclusively to vocabulary loans (around 4,000 loan words) and some minor expressions (like "ojalá", derived from Arabic "insh'Allah"). But Arabic influence on grammar and syntax is practically non-existant, in its basic structure the language is Romance through and through. The peculiar characteristics of Castilian regarding to its phonetic structure, and especially its restricted vocalIc system, are derived from Basque.

Last edited by Semper Victor; July 28th, 2015 at 09:41 PM.
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Old July 29th, 2015, 12:22 AM   #5
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Exactly, the Spanish came from Latin (Indo-european) and from Vascuence (It is not he same Vascuence than Batua or Vasco (Basque), artificial language created by a political party). Many words and phonetic came from Vascuence.
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Old July 29th, 2015, 12:32 AM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by martin76 View Post
Exactly, the Spanish came from Latin (Indo-european) and from Vascuence (It is not he same Vascuence than Batua or Vasco (Basque), artificial language created by a political party). Many words and phonetic came from Vascuence.
What are the influences of Vascuence in Castellano? Is it the change from Latin "f" to Spanish "h" as in hijo < filius, hacer < facere, hierro < ferrum?
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Old July 29th, 2015, 02:53 AM   #7

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Somewhere I've got a list of arabic-origin words in castellano. There's quite a few hundred but within the parameters given by posters above - it is a romance-based language with some arabic-based nouns (mainly) kicking about.

In his 'Reconquista trilogy' Jose Javier Esparza has a whole chapter on the origin/development of castellano. I think it's in the second book, Moros y Cristianos, but it's a bit on the complex side and I cant remember the whole. What I do remember is that the languages started to develop their current forms around the milennium, from their origin bases - there are language experts on here to add more.

What I do recall is in Diez's history of El Cid there are a number of direct quotes from Historia Roderici and other documents. This former would have been written late 11th and/or early 12th century and a lot of the words are more like todays Catalan than today's castellano, although in 12th-century castellano. Obviously some diversion since then too.

Arabic was so suppressed in the late middle ages it is not suprising how little influence it actually has now. And as early territories were conquered by the christians (Duero region, upper Aragon, lower catalonia), the population would naturally start to speak castellano/catalan over time as amatter of course, just as the population all developed arabic in the reverse process.
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Old July 29th, 2015, 08:37 AM   #8
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Well, the Spanish language born in one area between Cantabria, Basque Provinces and La Rioja. The Vascuence influenced Spanish a lot:

1st.- Vowel Structure with only 5 vowels: A, E, I, O, U
2nd: Betacism: (from wikipedia): the voiced bilabial plosive (like English Bane), shifts to the voiced labiodental fricative, like in English vane). Betacism is a fairly common phenomenon; it has taken place in Greek, Hebrew, and Spanish.
In Spanish, betacism came from Vascuence influence.
3rd; phonetic change "initial F" shifts to H in Spanish.
There are more phonetics changes came from Vascuence and some vocabulary (came from Vascuence and Iberian) and many surnames: Aznar, Bolívar, Barrios, Cortázar etc etc
Or words as Urraca, Cencerro, Barrio, Chabola, Pizarra etc etc etc
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Old July 29th, 2015, 08:51 AM   #9

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I would like to know the use of 'El' in Spanish has Arabic origin or not from 'Al'
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Old July 29th, 2015, 08:57 AM   #10

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Originally Posted by Devdas View Post
I would like to know the use of 'El' in Spanish has Arabic origin or not from 'Al'
I've wondered about that too.
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