Thursday, November 09, 2006

San Diego

san diego What did I find in San Diego ?

Sunny skies and palm trees :

san diego This cover of the San Diego Weekly Reader :

SDreaderCover Yes, it's a Sikh man tying his turban. Here's a closeup.

And this pen PenFlash2 that's also a 128MB memory stick. PenFlash1 Did I mention the sun and the palm trees ? san diego And some talks and posters and stuff.

I also learned that 'El' and 'La' are the masculine and feminine versions of the word 'the'. So you have 'El Hombre' (the man) .vs. 'La Mesa' (the table). (Incidentally the hindi/urdu word for table मेज ["Maze"] is also feminine as far as I remember. I suspect Arabic is the link language). 'Los' and 'Las' are the plural counterparts of 'El' and 'La'. I knew about 'San' and 'Santa' being the masculine and feminine versions of 'Saint'. We were wondering about 'Santa Cruz', as Cruz sounds like a man's name. It turns out that 'Cruz' means 'Cross' and, for whatever reason, is feminine. Spanish place and street names make a lot more sense now.

13 Comments:

Blogger Sunil said...

(Incidentally the hindi/urdu word for table मेज ["Maze"] is also feminine as far as I remember.

Actually, I would suspect (if I had to guess) a more direct connection between the words independent of Arabic. It is more likely that "mesa" is distantly derived from latin, and mez from persian or sanskrit. Which would make all languages directly related (latin,persian,sanskrit etc are all indo-european languages, and related, while Arabic is Semitic, and not related)

11/17/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger ashvin said...

Sunil ! Thanks for the comment.

Yes, I agree that the Indo-European connection is one possibility but somehow I find my theory more appealing :) I'll explain.

First, my impression is that hindi words that have 'z' in them are generally persian derived. [Correct me if I'm wrong]. And arabic has had a huge influence on Persian so I wouldn't be surprised if Mez is also an arabic word [If my Iranian colleague was around I'd confirm all of this], and my theory is that Mesa and Mez are cousins because of the arabic-spanish nexus.

If it had an Indo-european (i.e. Latin) link would we not expect French also to have a word like Mesa for table ? But according to babelfish Mesa translates in French as 'Table'. So that suggests that the link is not via latin.

It's clear that an amateur linguist with a little knowledge can do a lot of damage. So use this (mis)information at your own peril :)

11/17/2006 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger musical said...

Palms and sunny-yeah, sunny San Diego. I love La Holla cove and the birds there.....and its also a big West Coast hub for great work in Biological Sciences research and inductry.


Pen with memory stick :). where did you find it. would make a greatr present.

11/19/2006 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger musical said...

Sorry, La Jolla.

lahoya is what one of my Hispanic friends writes it as :)for quick.

11/19/2006 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger ashvin said...

The pen/memory-stick came with the conference. I don't know if they sell it off the shelf. Though it looks kinda cool, I don't think it's that useful. I prefer my memory-sticks to come unattached.

11/19/2006 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger shlok said...

Grew up in Puerto Rico, born in Banaras, India. I heard from my college Spanish professor, that it is actulally linked to Sanskrit.

Another example I wanted to add was the link between Kurta Pajama and pijama[in Spanish] (Pajama in English). Obvious example I know.

12/04/2006 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger ashvin said...

Thanks for the comment shlok. I'm sure your teacher is more knowledgable than me, but I prefer the urdu-arabic-spanish angle myself (for the reason I stated in my previous comment).

1/11/2007 12:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Swahili word for table is also 'Meza' - which is derived from the Portuguese Mesa. Interesting Indian Ocean currents and winds at work!

2/08/2007 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger ashvin said...

The Swahili word for table is also 'Meza' - which is derived from the Portuguese Mesa.

But is the Swahili word derived from Arabic or Portuguese ? Isn't Arabic the more likely candidate (because Swahili is a mixture of Arabic and some coastal African languages) ? Interesting none the less.

2/08/2007 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Manish said...

kameez (hindi) / camisa (spanish) = shirt. There are lots of these.

4/13/2007 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger ashvin said...

kameez (hindi) / camisa (spanish)

Nice.

4/27/2007 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Fëanor said...

hi. 'mesa' is the spanish for table, as you said, which derives from the latin 'mensa', meaning the same. in fact, in old french, the word for table was 'moise', and only in modern french is it 'table', which comes from the latin 'tabula', meaning tablet or plank. from the other end, the urdu 'mez' derives from persian 'miz'. haven't been able to determine what the arabic for 'table' is, though.

12/31/2007 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger ashvin said...

Thanks for the info Feanor. There goes another of my linguistic theories.

1/01/2008 10:42:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home