The Arabic Origins of Common Religious Terms in English: A Lexical Root Theory Approach

Zaidan Ali Jassem


The aim of this paper is to extend the application of the lexical root theory to the investigation of select religious terms in English and Arabic to prove their genetic relationship. It criticizes and rejects the claims of the Comparative Historical Method that Indo-European languages have no genetic relationship to Arabic whatsoever. It provides further definitive counter evidence that such languages are not only related to Arabic but are also descended from it directly. The evidence concerns Arabic and English words in the area of faith and religion, which have been deliberately excluded from Swadesh’s 100- and 200-word lists used in language family classifications. The paper argues that religious terms are as central as core vocabulary because man’s life is meaningless without faith that opens up windows of future hope and achieves internal and external peace and security. More precisely, it shows how certain extremely common Arabic religious words and expressions exist in today’s English, noting minor phonetic and semantic changes. 



comparative historical method, lexical root theory, English, Arabic, religious terms, genetic relationships

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