The Arabic Origins of Verb 'To Be' in English, German, and French: A Lexical Root Theory Approach

Zaidan Ali Jassem

Abstract


This paper examines the genetic relationship between verb to be forms in Arabic and English mainly as well as German, French, and Latin secondarily. It applies the principles and tools of the lexical root theory according to which be-forms are shown to be true cognates in having the same or similar forms and meanings with slight phonetic, morphological and semantic changes. Unlike traditional comparative historical linguistics views in  which Arabic and English, for example, are classified as members of different language families, it shows how such verb forms  are related to and derived from one another, where Arabic may be their end origin. For example, all s-based forms such as is/was in English, sein, ist in  German, es, soi in French, sum in Latin are true cognates of Arabic kawan/kaan 'be/was' via common sound changes.  

Keywords: Be-forms, Arabic, English, German, French, Latin, comparative historical linguistics, lexical root theory


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