10 words in Hindi that mean the same in Arabic

I love languages and I love words.

What I particularly enjoy is dissecting, contemplating and debating about the origin of words; and how some words made its way into another culture over the centuries.

After learning and using six languages, it’s safe to say, you are just revising and connecting the dots.

Of this, I am convinced having spent six months in Kings College trying to get my Arabic scripting and conversation skills up to speed. During the process, I discovered several similarities between Arabic, Latin and Hindi. I was interested to find out more about the connection between Hindi and Arabic.

Image

To start with I can recall the whole experience filled with exasperation. Sometimes, how easy it is to forget what it is to be a three-year-old; where you struggle to read, let alone write.There are days where I wanted to rip the book apart and give up, because the thought about failing was so much more painful than actual defeat itself. However, I also recall it’s the same thought that drove me to persist.

I continued to drag myself to evening class, on some days exhausted after work thinking; ‘why do I write right to left’; ‘why are the description to nouns inversed and why do all plural nouns become feminine’; ‘why do the placement of dots on the alphabets make all the difference to sound’; Does it really matter if it’s above or below. But thankfully, with the 101 questions I had, Najwa (my Iraqi teacher) patiently stood there empathizing with our frustration and answering them all.

It’s been six months since, im not anywhere close to comprehending Al Jazeera Arabic news or follow a conversation between two Arabs on the tube even if I am desperately trying to eavesdrop. I can only start to feel like I’ve just about begun to string a sentence together. In my spare time, I try and hangout at the Arabic bread shops in Kilburn, and drag Leo to Edgware road for Arabic food. So much for immersing myself in the experience.

What’s kept me intrigued in the process is the strong resemblance Arabic has to Hindi, Persian or Urdu. Samuel Johnson from the Economist suggests this could be a union at birth, something I am yet to do discover. In the meanwhile, here’s ten words that use the same meaning for Arabic and Hindi. And if you know of any others, feel free to add to this list @piccolinanne.

English

Transliteration

Hindi

Arabic

Time

Waqt

वक़्त

وقت

 

Book

Kitab

किताब

کتاب‎

Shirt

Khameez

क़मीज़

قميص

Drink / drunk

Sharab/ Sharabi (  meaning ‘drunk’)

शराबी

شراب

Master/ boss

Sahib

साहब

الصاحب

Law

Qanoon

कानून

قانون

Soap

Saboon

साबुन

صابون

Skewer

Seekh

सीख

سيخ

Waiting/ to wait

Intezaar

इंतिज़ार

انتظر

Chair

Kursee

कुर्सी

كرسي