Itchy Feet.

From marie-lucie’s Facebook feed, I have belatedly discovered Itchy Feet, “a travel and language comic by Malachi Ray Rempen.” She linked to the strip Vanilla Arabic, which is hilarious; in the comments to m-l’s post, Slavomír Čéplö (aka bulbul) said “One quibble: for most intents and purposes, Modern Standard Arabic and Classical Arabic are the same variety, Quranic Arabic is a somewhat different beast.” And that provides a nice hook to link a post by Lameen Souag at Jabal al-Lughat, Ibn Khaldun: Arabic dialects are independent languages.


  1. Quote from Ibn Khaldun:

    “Their languages then spread among them through the labourers and farmers and captives whom they took as servants and nannies and wet-nurses. As a result, their own language was corrupted by corruption of their (linguistic) habits, until it became a different language.
    Likewise the people of Andalus, with the non-Arab Galicians and Franks.”

    Galicians are probably al-Jiliqiya, Arab name for Christian north of Iberian peninsula in general.

    And Franks are, of course, Ferenji, general name for Western Europeans.

  2. SFReader: “Galicians are probably al-Jiliqiya”

    I wasn’t familiar with the term “al-Jiliqiya” so, out of curiosity, I looked in Hans Wehr. Jiliqiya is not listed or even the root j-l-q, but there is an entry for جلاقه julaaqa which is defined as ‘yokel, bumpkin.’ Is there a relationship?

  3. Quoth English Wiki:

    The etymology of the name has been studied since the 7th century. The earliest known attempt at this was due to Isidore of Seville, who related the name of the Galicians and of the Gauls to the Greek word γάλα, milk, ‘they are called Galicians because of their fair skin, as the Gauls. For they are fairer than the rest of the peoples of Spain.’ Currently, scholars relate the name of the ancient Callaeci either to the Proto-Indo-European *kal-n-eH2 ‘hill’, derived through a local relational suffix -aik-, so meaning ‘the hill (people)’; or either to Proto-Celtic *kallī- ‘forest’, so meaning ‘the forest (people)’. Anyway, Galicia, being per se a derivation of the ethnic name Callaicoi, would mean the “land of the Galicians”.

  4. Arab term “Jilliqiya” is obviously their attempt to pronounce Galicia. No further enquiry needed.

    Arab Wikipedia has جليقية (Jaliqiya) and also غاليسيا (pronounced Galicia). The latter appears to be modern Arabic version while the former is historical name of the country in Arabic.

  5. Galicia is also name of the historical region in Western Ukraine named after town of Galich.

    Etymology of Galich is unclear, many historians believe that it somehow derives from Galatians (Celtic tribe related to Gauls).

    There was apparently some Celtic presence in the region circa 3-2 centuries BC.

  6. I can’t believe I didn’t know about Itchy Feet! So many hilarious and excruciatingly familiar language learning problems…

  7. Strictly speaking, Galicians and Franks in this passage are Jalāliqah and Ifranjah.

  8. I’m not sure why anybody would ever quote Isidore of Seville on the etymology of anything, except to hold him up for ridicule: he’s about the worst ever example of the “all languages are derived from Latin” chauvinist

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