"واد" ¿valley or river?
Thread poster: Sahra
Sahra
Spanish to English
Apr 5, 2005

Hello! ^_^

I'm trying to find out the ethymology of "Guadalquivir", the Spanish river, and thought that maybe someone here could help me. As far as I know, "Guadalquivir" is the name with which Arabs baptized this great river that joins together Andalusia, the (G)wadi l-kabeer (الوادي الكبير)
I'm Spanish and most times I've seen it in books translated as "el gran río" (the big river), and others as "el gran valle" (the great valley). Now I wonder which one is the correct meaning.
On the other hand, someone told me that "wad" actually doesn't refer to a river or a valley but its real meaning is "course", the course of the river. So...

Any help is really appreciated


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Omar Ghazal
Saudi Arabia
Local time: 16:40
Arabic to English
+ ...
You can go with الوادي الكبير Apr 5, 2005

Sahra wrote:

Hello! ^_^

I'm trying to find out the ethymology of "Guadalquivir", the Spanish river, and thought that maybe someone here could help me. As far as I know, "Guadalquivir" is the name with which Arabs baptized this great river that joins together Andalusia, the (G)wadi l-kabeer (الوادي الكبير)
I'm Spanish and most times I've seen it in books translated as "el gran río" (the big river), and others as "el gran valle" (the great valley). Now I wonder which one is the correct meaning.
On the other hand, someone told me that "wad" actually doesn't refer to a river or a valley but its real meaning is "course", the course of the river. So...

Any help is really appreciated






The name الوادي الكبير is referred to in numerous Arabic literary works and translations from Spanish into Arabic.

Here are a few examples:

ومن معالم قرطبة الهامة قنطرة قرطبة على نهر الوادي الكبير والتي عرفت باسم "الجسر" و"قنطرة الدهر"، كان طولها 80 ذراعًا، وعرضها 20 ذراعًا، وارتفاعها 60 ذراعًا،

http://www.islamonline.net/iol-arabic/dowalia/fan-32/alrawe.asp

The following URL will help you further when such issues are concerned. You can add it to your Favorites.

http://baheyeldin.com/history/list-of-arabic-spanish-place-names.html

Here is an Arabic Translation of Guadalquivir by A. Salam Musbah where it is referred to as الوادي الكبيرin his translation of Sergio Macias:

PASTORA DEL AMOR

Como el poet
que en Al-Andalus
tocَ el laْd del Guadalquivir ,
cultivo el jardin
de la memoria .
Como Ibn Jafمyم ,
Labro en los لrboles
la paz de las hojas ,
y te espero ,
pastora del amor ,
sobre el tapiz de la noche .

راعية الحب

مثل شاعر
في الأندلس
عزف على أوتار عود الوادي الكبير،
أزرع
بستان الذاكرة .
مثل ابن خفاجة
أحفر في الأشجار
سلام الأوراق،
وفوق بساط الليل،
يا راعية الحب،
أنتظرك .


And here is the Link:
http://www.jehat.com/ar/printpage.asp?action=article&ID=3525

Good Luck


[Edited at 2005-04-05 21:00]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:40
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Probably a closer explanation Apr 5, 2005

Sahra wrote:

On the other hand, someone told me that "wad" actually doesn't refer to a river or a valley but its real meaning is "course", the course of the river. So...


I've observed that "wadi" will refer to the geological formation, independently of whether one is in a dry or wet season. (Hence, the other translation, "canyon").

Such extreme conditions not being present in many places, the difference may be accounted for by in-language perception of states ("river" or "valley" possibly being equivalent to two states of the same thing, which are two different things in English). Please correct me if I'm wrong.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:40
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Further to Parrot's posting... Apr 6, 2005

Yes, I mostly agree with you. In monolingual Arabic dictionaries, the word "wadi" is defined as a geological formation that separates mountains, hills, mounds, etc. In English, both rivers and valleys fulfil that function.
I don't know about Spanish but in English, we also have river valleys at the upper course of the river where the river/rill/stream is more narrow but the valley is wide and steep because the river wears steeply down into the hillside.

These features all occur on Earth due to the water cycle. As you can imagine, the water cycle affects the arid desert quite differently than it does other parts of the world. In some parts of the world, there is always water in rivers and plenty of rain. In the desert on the other hand, rain can be disastrous; flash floods occur in the desert and fill the wadis and kill anyone in their way. Desert flowers quickly bloom afterwards.

So both river and valley can apply as valid translations depending on the season/condition of the river as Parrot pointed out. It's a question of aspect. Arabic uses a less specific term than perhaps English or Spanish for each aspect.

Here's a little more information about deserts and rain: "Rain rarely falls in desert. When it comes, it comes in the form of thunderstorm. In sandy desert, the rain usually drains away promptly and only change the landscapecomparatively slightly. In contrast, the torrential downpour in rocky deserts drains into wadis (rocky watercourses that is dry except after heavy rain). This deepen the dry valleys. Heavy downpour can build up into flash flood, carrying sand, gravel and then large rocks and boulders. Thus, at the end of most wadis, there is an enormous bank of sand and stone( known as "alluvial fan" ). The surplus sediment from the flash flood forms muddy lakes of different size and duration".
http://library.thinkquest.org/26634/desert/climate.htm

I hope that helps, Aisha


[Edited at 2005-04-06 10:11]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:40
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Spain Apr 6, 2005

Aisha Maniar wrote:

Heavy downpour can build up into flash flood, carrying sand, gravel and then large rocks and boulders. Thus, at the end of most wadis, there is an enormous bank of sand and stone( known as "alluvial fan" ).


This certainly explains "Guadalajara" (wad'al hijara). Currently very little river to be found (a trickle, okay), but heaps of rocks. After the Arabs had left, it was rendered into Latin as "Fluvium Lapidum".

Other wadi=guada names have been locally Hispanized as "gargantas/desfiladeros" (ravines). I don't really take this as indicative of a lack of vocabulary, but rather, of the generic nature of the Arabic word.

The etymology link Omar provides is very interesting, with one point he could perhaps discuss with the webmaster: there are two etymologies proposed for "Zaragoza". While we're familiar with the Arabic derivation discussed, it still stands out as rather too obvious to miss that it's old Latin name was "Caesar Augusta". In Andalusي (Zaragoza was a "taifa"), that would easily have degenerated into "Zaragoza".

For the rest, the interaction between Arabic and the Romance languages was rather direct and never coursed through an English filter. Hence, there are around 4 million words in Spanish with a direct Arabic derivation, or even from the Sanscrit-Arabic borderline through the privileged Indian Ocean trade of those times.

[Edited at 2005-04-06 11:50]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:40
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
wadis Apr 6, 2005

Other wadi=guada names have been locally Hispanized as "gargantas/desfiladeros" (ravines). I don't really take this as indicative of a lack of vocabulary, but rather, of the generic nature of the Arabic word.

I did not imply any such thing as a "lack of vocabulary" in what I said above. It's not a question of the generic nature of the Arabic word either; languages are based on the requirements of their speakers and reflect the reality of their worlds. My comment was not indicative of anything but the semantic difference between English and Arabic on this particular point.

For the rest, the interaction between Arabic and the Romance languages was rather direct and never coursed through an English filter. Hence, there are around 4 million words in Spanish with a direct Arabic derivation, or even from the Sanscrit-Arabic borderline through the privileged Indian Ocean trade of those times.

You've piqued my curiosity; what words of Sanskrit origin filtered into Spanish via Arabic in the Middle Ages?

Aisha


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:40
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Anecdotical Apr 6, 2005

Aisha Maniar wrote:

languages are based on the requirements of their speakers and reflect the reality of their worlds.


Sorry, this was actually what I meant (in-language perception).

You've piqued my curiosity; what words of Sanskrit origin filtered into Spanish via Arabic in the Middle Ages?

Aisha


One very colloquial expression among young people nowadays is "no hay tu tيa," (something like "no way around it") when faced with an impossible problem. This, from the sub-15 generation.

Researching it, we found:

"TUTحA (no separation between "tu" and "tيa").
Tutيa (Del لr. hisp. attutيyya, este del لr. clلs. tu¯tiya¯('), y este del sلnscr. tuttha).
1. f. atutيa.
no hay ~.
1. expr. coloq. U. para dar a entender a alguien que no debe tener esperanza de conseguir lo que desea o de evitar lo que teme.
Real Academia Espaٌola © Todos los derechos reservados"

(Colloquial expression meaning that one should not entertain too much hope of getting what he wants or avoiding what he fears).

Another well-respected dictionary (Marيa Moliner) explained:

"atutيa: tocيa, tucيa, tutيa. Costra formada por َxido de cinc y otros cuerpos, que se hace en las chimeneas de los hornos donde se tratan minerales de cinc". (Shell formed by zinc oxide and other substances that accumulate in foundry flues used for the treatment of zinc-containing minerals).

In this connection, we found a paragraph on common borrowings from Asian languages:

"Business, Names of Articles of Trade and Things Pertaining to Them (CC, 80/90-91) : saraf "banker," tarazu "scales," bitik or taftar (cartularius "ledger book, calendar," taqwim "calendar"), naqt or aqca "money," borclular "debtors," bitik "letter," (litera, xat) etc.

These are followed by several lengthy lists of Articles of Trade and Handicraft (CC, 80-86/91-99) and the professionals involved in them. Many of the terms are "international" in character, often of Indic origin via Persian and Arabic : atar (Arab. `attar) "spice-merchant," comlek "cooking pot," sakar/seker "sugar" (Middle Iran. sakar Sanscrit sarkara), bal "honey," burc "pepper," (Sanscrit marica via Iranian) jinjibil "ginger" (Arab. zinjibil Sanscrit sringgavera), darcini "cinnamon" (Pers.), nil "indigo" ( Pers. nil Sanscrit nili), qondroq "incense" (Pers. kundurak "mastic" kundur Gr.) baqam "brazilwood" (baqqam), tutiya "tutty, zinc" (Arab. tutiya' Sanscrit tuttha), etc.


Some of these have direct equivalents in Spanish (gengibre=ginger; aٌil=indigo, etc.). Not to mention the better-known common words such as "Ojalل" (God willing).

The anecdote was highly interesting due to the totally "blind" transmission of the etymology -- how many 15-year-old Europeans would you expect to be conversant with Sanscrit, when very few of them are able to identify the easier Arabic borrowings?

[Edited at 2005-04-06 15:58]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ouadoud  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:40
English to Arabic
+ ...
Wadi and Oued are also common Apr 14, 2005

i just wanted to add that the original arabic word has been latinized and even germanized.
In geo books, you may easily meet:

the french Oued
the german Wadi..

Salaam,

Ouadoud


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:40
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
This could actually be another very interesting topic Apr 15, 2005

Ouadoud wrote:

i just wanted to add that the original arabic word has been latinized and even germanized.
In geo books, you may easily meet:

the french Oued
the german Wadi..

Salaam,

Ouadoud


I'm familiar with "oued" ("ouiquende" was really stretching it) and the problems of using Google to find Arabic words and even names transcribed into different pronunciation systems when using the Latin alphabet. Some of them are actually key concepts. For instance, the English word "bedouin" comes nowhere close to the original unless you pronounce it in French. And once, when we were talking about Al-Mamun and the Bait al Hikma, the caliph's name came up in three versions. This could easily fuel another entire thread, Ouadoud, if you care to do the honours?


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

"واد" ¿valley or river?

Advanced search






memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search