Etymology etc 

Recently I have revisited my passion for linguistics. Since leaving university I have endeavoured to maintain skills and knowledge I acquired on my degree as well as my overall experience of university. Whilst at university and even to this day I am amazed at the links there are between linguistics and Islam. 

The reason I ventured into etymology was because of a question about the meaning of the word ‘zamzam.’ With the easy access to wifi these days I simply searched the internet to find the same definition of ‘collecting’ again and again. However being a wordsmith this did not suffice and I knew there was more depth. Having studied Arabic for a short while I knew that even the surface level of this language had layers that were not opaque. 

So I put on my ‘linguistics hat’ (or rather hijab) and thought how I could explore this word further. It reminded me of university when I would come to a standstill with an assignment and silently converse with Allah asking to help me find the way. Then the ‘gestalt’ moment happened and I remembered etymology. It is mainly concerned with the study of the meaning and origin of words and how theses meanings have changed over the years. 

This then lead me to the other aspects of linguistics I had touched upon that I had avid interest in. For example I had completely forgotten about pragmatics and semantics. Gradually everything came back and I found it related closely to concepts in the Arabic language and Islam. As the first lexeme of revelation was ‘iqra.’


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