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Introduction to Arabic
Introduction to Arabic

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4.1 The influence of Arabic on English

In addition to the influence of Arabic on the current numbering system used in English-speaking countries, when the Roman system was replaced by the Indo-Arabic numbering system, it may be surprising for some people that there are hundreds of Arabic words used in English. According to there are approximately 10,000 words in English which stem from Arabic. But the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) narrowed it down to about 900 words by omitting speculative derivations and proper nouns. Often it’s not just single words that are borrowed, but full phrases: For example: The expression ‘Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back’ is a translation of the Arabic expression ‘القَشَّةُ الّتِي قَصَمَتْ ظَهْرَ البَعِيرِ’.

Activity 6

Timing: 15 minutes

The following English words are of Arabic origin. Look each word up in the dictionary and write them in Arabic.

  1. Lemon
  2. Sugar
  3. Alcohol


  1. ١- لَيمُون / Laymōn
  2. ٢- سُكَّر / Sokkar
  3. ٣- الكُحُول / Alkoḥol