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Behind the Name: Etymology of Arabic Names

Zina Saadi, Computational Linguist June 14, 2006

Why Are We Looking Behind the Name?


Background
Geographical background Professional affiliation

Linguistic Software Solution


Identify and generate more rules for name matching Name derivation: (Hamd -> Hamd, Hamed, Hamad, Hammoud, ) Stem matching: Qantara -> Qantar -> (Qantarji, Qantary) Persian taa: (Farhat -> ) , Identify name boundaries Orthographic corrections: ( ,Aitmimoun) -> ( , Ait Mimoun)

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Languages of the Muslim World

http://www.morainevalley.edu/ctl/MiddleEast/photoGallery.htm
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Outline
Arabic name structure
Iraqi, Maghrebi

Linguistic rules behind Arabic names derivation


Basic Rules (Root & Patterns, Plurals) Advanced Rules (Compounds, Nisbah)

Cross-lingual influence
Persian, Turkish

Regional and social facts


Across the Arab World

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English Name Structure Full Name


John F. Kennedy

First Name
John

Last Name
Kennedy

Middle Initial
F.
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Arabic Name Structure


Maghreb

Full Name First Name Middle Name Last Name

Middle East

Hypocoristic/Given Name Houari/Ahmed Given Name Abdullah Saddam

Patronym Bin Abdulaziz Hussein

Patronym/Nisbah/Hypocoristic Mokrane/Saadi/Boumediene Patronym/Nisbah/Family-Name Al Saud/Zawaydeh Al-Tikriti

Tribal System Al-Namamshah Saud Enizat

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Components of an Arabic Full Name


Title Hypocoristic Given-Name Patronym Family-Name Nisbah

Title Masculine (MSA: Imam, Sheikh), (Maghrebi: Si, Sidi, Moulai) Feminine (MSA: Sheikha), (Maghrebi: Lalla) Hypocoristic (Kunya) Metaphoric (Ibn Al-Ardh, son of the land) -> traveler Dialectal (Iraq: Khalid -> Abu Al-Walid, Hussein/Hassan -> Abu Ali) First-born child (Abu/Um Ahmad, Abu/Um Mona) Political (Houari Boumediene Mohamed Boukharouba)
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Components of an Arabic Full Name (Cont.)


Given name Nouns Adjectives Verbs (Osama -> type of lion), (Maha -> Wild Cow) (Kareem -> generous), (Lateefa -> gentle) (Yazid -> he increases)

Patronym (Nasab) Fathers and grandfather(s) given names Ibn Abdullah, Ouyahya, Bin Laden Family name Al-Ahmar Bani Oumayya, Banou Quraidha, Ait Hammouda, Al Saud Nisbah Al-Baghdadi (from Baghdad), Haddadi (blacksmith), Saadi
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Example of an Arabic Name


Al-Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hussein Bin Naser Bin Al-Ahmar

...

http://www.alahmar.net/gallery/

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Lets Analyze the Name


http://www.alahmar.net/gallery/

Al-Ahmar
Family Name


Bin Hussein
Patronym


Abdullah
Given Name

Al-Sheikh
Title

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Other Examples of Arabic Names


Arabic Mathematician (850)

Nisbah From Khawarezm


Patronym Son of Mussa

Given Name Muhammad

Arabic Geography Scholar (1178-1229)


Nisbah Captive bought by Askar Alhamaoui Al-Baghdadi -> from Baghdad Patronym Son of Abdulla

Given Name Yaqut Ruby


Hypocoristic Father of Abdulla


Hypocoristic Shihab Addin Star of religion


Title Al-Imam Al-Sheikh

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Basic Linguistic Rules of Arabic Name Derivation


Arabic root & pattern derivational structure 3-character root

..Arabic Root -> ().. to write -> ( )to do


Root ( ,..k.t.b) ( ,..H.m.d) ( ,..s..d) Pattern ( , faail) ( , faail) ( ,afal) Example ( Algerian Writer) (Kuwaiti Poet) ( Lebanese Poet)

( ,..S.d.m) ( , faaal)

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Rules for Plurals in Names


Jordanian Common Family Names: ( , fiilaat) -> ( , Ebeedat), ( , Seidat) ( , fawaileh) -> ( Awandeh), ( , Zawaydeh)

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Rules for Compound Names


Compounds
[A B] vs. [AB] Form (Connecting vs. Non-Connecting Characters)

Name Bin Ladin Ibn Khaldoun Ait Ahmed Abu Ahmed Boumediene Bahmed Al Bawazir

Influence

Comment / /is a connecting letter / /is a connecting letter / /is a connecting letter / /is a non-connecting letter / /is a non-connecting letter / /is a non-connecting letter / /is a non-connecting letter
14

Colloquial MSA Berber /MSA Colloquial Yemeni

MSA/Yemeni / /is a connecting letter

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Use of Nisbah in Names


Nisbah
How Nisbah is formed? Types of Nisbah Nisbah Formation A sample of some linguistic rules Nisbah of compounds Nisbah of two names

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How Nisbah is Formed?


Suffixing an assimilated yaa to the stem of the name A forming a name B
B = stem(A) +
Example:


Saddam Hussein Al-Tikriti

The logical relation between (A,B) => if x is B, then x is from A =<


Muhammad Qureishy => Muhammad is from the tribe of Qureish

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Types of Nisbah
Nationality or ethnical background

Word ( ,Arab) ( ,India)

Nisbah ( ,Arabic) ( ,Indian) Nisbah ( ,Islamic) Nisbah

Religious affiliation

Word ( ,Islam)

Trade or handicraft

Word

( ,industry) ( ,industrialist)
Adjective formation Word Nisbah

( ,gold) ( ,sea)

( ,golden) ( ,naval)
17

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Advanced Nisbah Forms


Nouns ending with taa marbouta -> taa marbouta deletion

Word ( ,Cairo) ( ,Mecca)

Nisbah ( ,Cairene) ( ,Meccan)

Nouns already ending with assimilated yaa How many letters does it consist of?

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Advanced Nisbah Forms (cont.)


Nouns consisting of: [1 letter + assimilated yaa] assimilated yaa -> Yaa+fatha+waw+kasra Waw+fatha+waw+kasra [2 letter + assimilated yaa] assimilated yaa -> fatha+ +waw+kasra Waw+fatha+waw+kasra

Word ( ,living) ( ,irrigation) Word ( ,Ali) ( ,prophet)

Nisbah ( ,vital) ( ,irrigator) Nisbah ( ,Alawite) ( ,prophetic)

[3 letters and above + assimilated yaa] assimilated yaa -> Nisbah yaa

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Nisbah of Compounds
[A B] form
Proper noun compound

Word ( , Abduddar) ( , Abdullat)

Nisbah ( ,Abdary) ( ,Abdaly)

( , Abdushams) ( ,Abshamsy)

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Nisbah of Compounds (cont.)


Other noun compounds [Abu/Ibn/Um/Abd] + B => [Abu/Ibn/Um/Abd] + nisbah(B)

Word ( , Abu Bakr) ( , Ibn Saad)


Possessive => nisbah(A) + B

Nisbah ( , Abu Bakri) ( , Ibn Saadi)

Word ( , Imad Addin)

Nisbah ( , Imadiy Addin)

( , Saif AlIslam) ( , Saifiy AlIslam)

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Nisbah of Compounds (cont.)


[AB] form => nisbah(A)

Example1: AB = A = B = >= Hadramawt => Hadri Exceptions:

Example2: AB = A = B = >= Baalbak => Baali

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Nisbah of Two Proper Names


From the CIA World Fact Book

nisbah(A,B) => stem(A)+ 2 char (B) + nisbah yaa


Example 1:

+ =<
Al-Shafei + Abu Hanifa(t) => Shafanti Example 2:


Khawarezm


Tabaristan


Tabarkhazi

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Persian Influence on Arabic Names


Arabic borrowing of Persian names
Adjectives Nouns Compounds

Word ( ,Nermine) ( ,Nazik) ( ,Neveen) ( ,Jihan) ( ,Shahnaz) ( ,Safinaz)

Gloss soft delicate, gentle new, modern world pride of the king pride of purity

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Persian Influence on Arabic Names (cont.)


Arabic borrowing of linguistically modified Arabic names by Persian Arabic ( ,Nimah) ( ,Marwa) Persian ( ,Nimat) ( ,Mervat) Gloss blessing wisdom Mountain name

Closed taa -> open taa

Phonological influence

( ,Hikmah) ( ,Hikmat)

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Turkish Influence
Suffixation
Stem (Arabic word) + [Ji] suffix -ji -> Profession

Arabic Word ( , mikwah, Iron) ( ,qand, hard sugar) ( , qahwah, coffee)

Stem + -ji ( , Mikwaji, ironing man) ( , Qandaji, hard sugar maker) ( , Qahwaji, caf manager)

Examples: Mateen Qandaji (Turkish Poet) Adnan Albajaji (from Iraqs parliament)

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Regional and Social Facts


During the Ottoman ruling, the Elite class (Rulers, Leaders) were given Islamic Arabic Names (Sultan Abdul Hamid) while the servants or housemaids were given foreign names Nowadays in Egypt, females in the middle- and lower-classes are given Islamic names (Khadija, Aisha), whereas higher-class females are typically given Persian, Turkish or common non-Islamic Arabic names (Susan, Mervat, Nancy) Given names (Khisha, Bahloul) under strict requirements can be changed (meaning of the name, clean record) The Ba-prefix, meaning father of, identifies its bearer as being of Hadrami descent (the Saudi linguist Bakalla and the Yemeni prime minister Bajammal) Sunnis most common names would be Abd + 99 names of God, Ahmed, Mohammed, and Aisha, whereas Shiites would prefer names such as Fatima, Ali, Hassan, and Hussein

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References
Farid, Zainab. Many of the names of Arab origin. The diversion did not affect the meaning. Retrieved on May 22nd 2006 http://www.alriyadh.com/2005/09/15/article94168.html Tabet, Elie. Notes Sur Lorganization Des Tribus Et LEtymologie Des Noms Propres. Oran Impremerie De Lassociation Ouvriere. 1882. Retrieved on April 10th 2006 http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k84223s The CIA World Fact Book. Retrieved on May 22nd 2006 http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ Wikipedia, Arabic Name. Retrieved on May 21st 2006 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_name Zeyad, Mosad, Al-Nasab. Retrieved on May 24th 2006 http://www.drmosad.com/index128.htm

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Thank You

zinas@basistech.com

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