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Shvoong Home>Arts & Humanities>The Etymology of the Word ''Poetry'' in Arabic and Indo-European Languages Summary

The Etymology of the Word ''Poetry'' in Arabic and Indo-European Languages

Article Summary   by:malallah     Original Author: Prof.Abdul-Settar Abdul-latif
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Poetry: The Etymology of the Word In English as well as in some European languages, the word ''Poetry '' is taken from the Greek ''Poetica'' which is derived from the verb ''poiein'' that means ''to make''. In Arabic, the word ''Shi''ir'' means ''to feel'' and ''to express feeling'' .It dates back to ''Shiru'', a word of Akkadian origin. The Akkadian is a very akin language, if not an ancestor, to Arabic in all language levels: syntax, morphology, phonology and semantics as a great number of archaeological researches showed. ''Shiru'', as specialists of old languages of Mesopotamia said, has a double meaning. It stands for two verbs, the first is ''surakhu'' (to mean ''weep), and now in Arabic ''sarakha'', i.e., cry and weep- it bears the same meaning though with a very slight variation in pronunciation. The second is ''zammaru'' (to mean ''sing''), now in Arabic ''zammara'', i.e, sing using flute.It bears nearly the same sense and a slight variation in pronunciation. Moreover, the Akkadian word ''Shiru'' itself had come, with the same pronunciation bearing the sense of '' a song or a sad song'', as a loan word into the Akkadian language from the Sumerians, the most ancient people of the world , and the early natives of Mesopotamia, now Iraq. Hence, the word ''Shiru'' avails in almost all the languages termed as Semitic languages: Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic and Phoenician. Now, in Hebrew for instance, ''Shir Hishreem'' means the ''the song of songs''. According to historical evidences based on excavated tablets taken from Ur site at the South of Iraq, it is known that the Sumerians used to sing their lyrics that expressed mirth, suffering or dejection, in all religious rituals ( that of fertility and rebirth), coronation festivals and feasts of the sacred marriage about 3000 B.
C.. Archaeologists in Mesopotamia could excavate ancient tablets written in the Cuneiform inscription, the most ancient language of the world, portraying the rituals of the sacred marriage as performed by Shu-Sin (3030-3038 B.C), the Fourth Ancient Sumerian King of the Third Dynasty of Ur as the god of fertility together with a Sacred Temple Woman representing the goddess of fertility. At the Wedding Night, the Woman of the Temple cited and sang a happy ''shiru'' as the rituals were in process. Below is one of the ritual poems ever reached us: Oh, Bridegroom. So dear to my heart How exciting your making-love is. Your charm has captured me! I only stand to tremble before you. Oh bridegroom. I wish you take me to my Boudoir Oh, Bridegroom. Let me kiss you. My kiss is sweeter than honey! In the Boudoir, full of honey Let me enjoy your nice beauty! Hence, the word ''Shi''ir'' as it is used in Arabic is rendered the most ancient word history of mankind ever recorded. It has kept its sense and form despite the progress mankind witnessed. It even is more ancient than the word ''poetica'' which is related to ''making'' while the Arabic word is related to'' feeling''. What a difference!
Published: March 06, 2008   
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