Арабско-русский словарь

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0 А се десѧтокь арапс꙽кои҆

А се десѧтокь


л. 31об.

This is an introduction to the following very pragmatic list of numbers, with which you could imagine to communicate as a pilgrim or merchant on a very basic level with arab-speaking partners. As in the manuscript there proceeds  a description of a pilgrimage (a well known „Strannik“) and of some geographic features of the itinerary to Jerusalem (especially the Greek islands) and a translation of Greek numbers, this „Arab-Russian Dictionary“ could be understood as a chapter of a „travel/pilgrimage guide“ of the 16th century.


But there is also a more general, universal and maybe „spiriual“ aspect of curiosity in the text. We will meet the word „God“ in six languages: Greek, Arab, Hebrew, „Frjazski“, Turkish and Armenian.


Interesting the spelling of Arabic as „арапс꙽кои҆“, with an „п“ instead of the nowadays usual „б“ - this is phonetically closer to the real russian voiceless pronounciation of the consonant at this position - a feature, which we will see in a number of examples in this „dictionary“: the writing is closer to the pronouncation than to the spelling of the original („Arabic“ is written in Arabic with a „b“). There is no mentioning of „арабский“ or „арапской“ in the „Словарь русского языка XI-XVII в.“.

1 вахо̀тъ


л. 31об.

This is an easily recognizable phonetic reproduction of the Arab „one“ - وَاحِد, (IPA: [waː.ħid]) even though the voiceless pharyngeal fricative [ħ] (for حِ) becomes a х (IPA: [x]) which is quite understandable, as it sounds like a close alternative to a sound, that does not exist in the Russian language. Difficult to explain, why the pronounced (not written) [i] becomes an „o“ [o], as there would have been good alternatives like „и“ or „ы“ in order to stay phonetically close to the original arabic sound.


On a more general note: The „translation“ of „one“ shows, that the „translation“ in this „dictionary“ relies rather on phonetic characteristics than on the writing, as it adds the second vowel in Russian, which is not written in Arabic.

2 т꙽реинъ


л. 31об.

The Arabic „two“ - „اثنين“ (IPA: [iθ.naːn] is hardly recognizable in the Russian „translation“ „т꙽реинъ“. The ending „ein“ is quite close to the Arabic original. But the „tr“ at the beginning is hard to explain. It will be interesting to understand the logic or way better, which lead to the following changes:

1. omissions of „i“

Maybe in everyday and very fast conversation it was omitted or not understandable to the Russian ear. But that would mean, that the author did not „correct“ or „reflect“ with a native speaker on his „dictionary“, which is thinkable but a but surprising. It would be an outstanding performance if the author did not rely on the help of an Arab.

2. change from „th“ to „t“

This might be understandable, as the Russian has no „th“. The „th“ and „t“ in Arab look very similar, as the „t“ has only one point less above the writing, so it seems to be a logic solution. But it contradicts the observation, that usually this dictionary does not follow the writing but rather the phonetics. In this case an „s“ would have been the more obvious solution. But it might be a question of the „real arab pronouncation“, as we have a lot of arab dialects, which do not pronounce the „th“ properly. Either it becomes similar to „s“ or to „t“. I would guess, that the Levantine dialect in the 15th/16th century pronounced the „th“ as a „t“. That would be the easiest explanation.

3. change for „n“ to „r“

This change is hard to understand and not to explain with dialect, misunderstandings or phonetics in general - it looks like a simple error.  

3 телѧть


л. 31об.

„тел ѧть“ is a good reproduction of the Arabic „three“ - „ثلاثة“ (IPA: [θa.laː.θa]. We have seen already in the commentary on „two“, that there was a general problem for the scribe as there is no equivalent for „ث“ („th“)  in Russian. It is reproduced with „t“, which is understandable for Arabs, especially as there are arab dialects, which pronounce „t“ instead of „th“. See also the commentary on „two“.

Interesting is the change of the vowels - the three „a“ could have been „translated easily with three „a“, instead we have an „е“ an „ѧ“ and a „ь“. This is not very consequent, but it shows, that the scribe uses all possible means to „translate“ correctly and apparently reflect small phonetic differences with different letters.

4 а̀рба҆


л. 31об.

The sound of „four“ - „أربعة“ in Arabic (IPA: [ʔar.ba.ʕa] is reflected phonetically very well as a whole and would be understood by native speakers. It is very difficult for Russians (and Europeans in general) to distinguish between „a“ and the „ع“ („Ayin“) in Arabic. This  voiced pharyngeal fricative sound in Arabic does not exist in Russian.

5 хам꙽се


л. 31об.

The translation of „five“ in Arabic „خمسة“ (IPA: [xam.sa] is in general well done and understandable. From the current standard prononcation it would have been „better“ been „translated“ as „хамса“, but apparently the author wanted distinguish between the first and the second „a“. The second „a“ seems to have been reduced to an „e“, which is easy to imagine in a dialect. It shows once again the great attention of the auther to phonetic details and the negligence of the letters (as in Arabic the word ends with a clear written „a“, which the author ignored).

7 сеть


л. 31об.

8 себѧ


л. 31об.

9 тимени


л. 31об.

10 писе


л. 31об.

11 а̀шис҇рь


л. 31об.

12 ашш҇ринъ


л. 31об.

13 телл҇ѧтинъ


л. 31об.

14 амбрѧ҆ин҇


л. 31об.

15 ха̀мсѝнинъ


л. 31об.

16 сѯетинъ


л. 31об.

17 со҇евеинъ


л. 31об.

18 тимп҇енъ


л. 31об.

19 тисеѝнъ


л. 21об.

20 мѝръ


л. 31об.

21 А се бу҃ ѝмена

А се бу҃ ѝмена.

л. 31об.

22 жидовс꙽ки аданаѝ

жидовс꙽ки аданаѝ.

л. 31об.

23 арапс꙽ки алла̀

арапс꙽ки алла̀

л. 31об.

24 гречески. ѡ῎ ѳеѡ῎съ

гречески. ѡ῎ ѳеѡ῎съ.

л. 31об.

25 фрѧжьски҆ диѡ῎съ

фрѧжьски҆ диѡ῎съ.

л. 31об.

26 а̀рмѐнс꙽ки арьствач҇.

а̀рмѐнс꙽ки арьствач҇.

л. 31об.

27 татарс꙽ки теньгри

татарс꙽ки теньгри

л. 31об.

28 рускѝ бъ҃

рускѝ бъ҃:–

л. 31об.