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Click to Expand/Collapse OptionEtymArab
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ǧamal جَمَل , pl. ǧimāl , ʔaǧmāl
ID 162 • Sw – • BP 3969 • APD ... • Aut SG
camel – WehrCowan1979.
▪ The word (that is also the ancestor, via Grk > Lat, of Engl camel and similar terms in other European languages) forms part of the WSem basic vocabulary.
▪ According to EtymDuden, Europeans came to know camels probably during the crusades.
▪ Osman2002 quotes Brockhaus’ Konversationslexicon (of 1894) where it is held that one borrowing milieu was Asia Minor at the time of Arab-Byzantine wars, but that it came to Europe also both during the Arab conquest of Spain and the Turkish conquest of the Balkans.
eC7 Q 7:40 ḥattā yaliǧa ’l-ǧamalu fī sammi ’l-ḫiyāṭi ‘until the camel goeth through the needle’s eye’ (the expression going back to Matth 19:24, cf. Paret1980)
DRS 3 (1993)#GML: Hbr gāmāl , Phn gamal , EmpAram gmlʔ , Nab Palm gml , JP Syr gamlā , SAr (Sab) gml (pl), Soq gímal , Gz gamal , [rarely also gaml ], etc.etc. < Sem *gamal‑ ‘camel’; (Akk (NAss) gammal‑ , gaml‑ is a loan from WSem.)1
▪ Outside Sem: Eg-Dem gmwl , Copt čamūl ; Berb (with metathesis, when compared with the Sem and Eg/Copt forms): Taq alġwəm , Tamšq aġlam ‘chameau de selle’; Cush (probably loan-word from Sem): (forms with all 3 radicals) Ag Bil gimilā , others gimil , gimal , gamal , gamalā , (with the first two) Bed kam , (with the first and the third) Sa Af Or gālā , Sid gāla , Som gēl , gāl .
▪ Etymonline assumes that the word is related also to →ǧamal‑ ‘to collect’, the camel being a principal beast of burden.
▪ Lipiński1997#30.10 thinks the word can be segmented into root plus ‎AfrAs “postpositive determinant” *‑l or *‑r “for domestic or tamed animals”, cf. also ʔimmar ‘ram, lamb’, ʔayyil ‘deer’, baqar ‘cattle’, ṯawr ‘ox’, ḥimār ‘donkey’, ḫinzīr ‘swine, pig’, ʕiǧl ‘calf’, ʕayr ‘ass-fowl’, karr ‘lamb’, naml ‘ant’.
▪ Any connection with Berb (Senhayi alġum , Ayt Seghrouchen alġm , Ghadamsi āḷæm )? – Bennett1998. DRS 3 (1993) assumes the Eg and Berb forms to be real cognates while the Cush ones “seem to be borrowed from Sem”.
The Eur words for ‘camel’ go back to Grk kámēlos which, according to Osman2002, is a direct loan from Ar ǧamal ; Huehnergard2011, however, is more reluctant, attributing the word’s appearance in Grk rather to some (unspecified) “Semitic source”, while EtymOnline identifies Hbr or Phoen gamal‑ as the origin. In any case, the borrowing is likely to have happened in Hellenistic times already, not as late as Byzantine times (as Osman assumes). From Grk the word was borrowed into Lat as camēlus , and from there into the Rom and Germ languages where it replaced the earlier term for this animal, olfend‑ ‘olifant’ (Goth ulbandus , oHGe olpentâ , mHGe olbente , oEngl olfend , “apparently based on confusion of camels with elephants in a place and time when both were known only from travelers’ vague descriptions” – EtymOnline). oEngl camel , perhaps via oNFr camel (oFr chamel , modFr chameau ). In modern standard Ge, Kamḗl is attested from C16 onwards. Stress on the 2nd syllable seems to be a learned adaptation after Lat camēlus , while the mHGe forms (kembel , kemmel , kémel , kamel ), when appearing in C13 texts, had first shown signs of Germanization (stress on first syllable) (Kluge2002).
ǧamal al-yahūd, n., chameleon.

ǧammāl, pl. ‑ūn , n., camel driver:
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