Discovering the Arabic Influence on Spanish Language with David Bowles



What do the Spanish words Hasta, Loco, Barrio, Aceite, Moreno, Ojalá, Chaleco, Tarea and Fideo all have in common? They’re all Arabic origin words that have been absorbed into the Spanish language. Spanish has some 1,000 Arabic roots and about 3,000 derived words, so nearly 4,000 in total, that’s 8% of the Spanish language. 

In this episode I’ll be exploring the influence of Arabic on the Spanish language with the expert help of David Bowles who’s a linguist, writer and university professor at the University of Texas Río Grande Valley. 

David explains how Arabic percolated across the Iberian peninsular and how Arabic and Mozarabic gave way to modern Spanish words. He also walks us through the history of the Moorish presence on the Iberian peninsular for 700 years. David share with us some of his favourite Arabic loanwords and describes their evolution and transformation and we also stumble across some other curiosities of the Spanish language. 

If you’d like to see more of David’s work check out his Twitter, personal website and articles on Medium via the links below:

David’s personal webpage: davidbowles.us

Twitter @DavidOBowles

Articles on Medium medium.com/@davidbowles

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