Did any achronim write books comparing Arabic to Hebrew?

  • Is the person asking the question still around? Should the question be changed? There are a number of Geonim that wrote books on the topic, and some rishonim discuss it lightly, but Achronim?
    – avi
    Jun 20 '12 at 6:08

Several rishonim draw comparisons between Arabic an Hebrew. But earlier, even the Tannaim used foreign languages to explain difficult Hebrew words. See, for example, Bavli Rosh Hashana 26a (here, the six last lines). The early Hebrew grammarians used Arabic (their native language) in constructing the formal grammar of Hebrew, borrowing the concept of triliteral roots (and of using פעל as the base word for verb patterns) and other ideas from Arabic. Rav Saadia Gaon used Arabic to explicate difficult Hebrew words in his commentaries on Tanakh. For a treatment of this in particular, see Professor R. Steiner's new book on Rasag, "Biblical translation in the making." Also, the Arukh (by Natan b. Yechiel of Rome) frequently compares Aramaic words to Arabic and other languages. However, strictly speaking, no, I don't believe there are any books by a rishon or acharon that are solely on the similarities between Hebrew and Arabic.

  • +1 I saw that book and it looked interesting. Do you know where Arabic grammarians got their system from? Or how old it is?
    – Double AA
    Mar 6 '13 at 6:10

I do not know of any Achronim, but some Rishonim (such as Rashi and the Ramban) discuss similarities.

  • 2
    Where do they discuss the similiarities?
    – Moshe
    Nov 14 '10 at 2:25
  • Search rashi for the words loshon Yishmaeli Nov 14 '10 at 3:59
  • 1
    -1, this does not answer the question being asked whatsoever. May 21 '12 at 1:50
  • @AdamMosheh yes it does. The question asks on Jewish literature associating Arabic with Hebrew, and the answer provided just that +1.
    – Hahu Gavra
    May 21 '12 at 3:32

Rabbeinu SaAdiyah Jaon compared the 2 languages in his commentary on Sefer YasSirah. He is a Jaon not an Acharon though.

  • Saadia himself would never have pronounced it Jaon. He thought 'J' was corrupt and it should really be 'G' like the English word 'Girl'.
    – Double AA
    Mar 7 '13 at 4:08
  • I know what he said, and teimonim pronounce the kuf as a guf, like in english girl, I am still learning how to pronounce the chreemal, it just doesn't work out for me. I am leaning towards that over a jimmal, however I then have guf and gimmal which sound the same. Mar 7 '13 at 4:27
  • Then you can pronounce the ק as a throaty K sound, like Iraqis and Adeni Temanim do, and as does MSA.
    – Double AA
    Mar 7 '13 at 4:40
  • I know what the yahudim in bovel pronounce it as and I know what that small group of teimonim do, however it is not plausible for one group of teimon be right compared to all of teimon who prnounce it as a j. Mar 7 '13 at 4:51
  • @MoriDoweedhYaa3qob - Actually, the Jimal pronunciation of the gimal daghushah is really from the dialect spoken in the central city/region of Yemen, Ssan'aa. The majority of Temanim (before the aliyoth to EY) pronounced the "Gimal" and hard "Quf" like like in the Massri dialect of Arabic (which the most widely-spoken dialect of Arabic in the world). However, since the Torah scholars who set up the schools and batei keneseth in EY after the aliyoth were Ssan`aani, the Jimal was proliferated into the eventual majority. Kol tuv.
    – user3342
    Jul 2 '15 at 7:40

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