Dictionary Finds: جِفتلِك


root: ن-ف-س / noun / plural: أَنْفاس / definition: breath

For the first time in a while, I feel like I can take a breath. And I can feel my creativity, whose absence I’ve been mourning for the past few weeks, rushing back as though floodgates have suddenly been lifted.

What a relief!

Now, take a deep breath with me before we dive into the fathomless Hans Wehr dictionary, endless as ever in its treasures, for today’s post…

So I came across the noun جِفتلِك in the dictionary:

Despite clearly having entered into Arabic from (possibly Ottoman) Turkish (I’ll get to that in a bit), the language from which the word was derived isn’t mentioned.

A lot of words like this in the Hans Wehr will have an abbreviation next to them to indicate the source language, as well as the foreign word that the Arabic one was derived from.

Take the word تَمبَل for example, derived from the Turkish tembel:

Back to our word for today: جِفتلِك is derived from the Turkish word çiftlik meaning “farm”.

The derivation of the Turkish word itself is interesting: we have çift meaning “pair”, followed by the lik suffix (which may also appear as -lık, -luk, or -lük, due to vowel harmony).

These Turkish suffixes form abstract nouns. Take a look at these examples:

deli (crazy) delilik (craziness)

var (present, existing) varlık (presence, existence)

özgür (free) özgürlük (freedom)

sonsuz (endless) sonsuzluk (endlessness, eternity)

We looked at one type of ending for abstract nouns in Arabic in this post, actually.

As we saw above, the primary definition of جفتلك is “farm”. The dictionary mentions that the word is used to refer to “government land” in Palestine as well. الجفتلك is also the name of a Palestinian village.

And we actually find an alternative spelling/pronunciation of جفتلك in Egyptian Arabic on the next dictionary page:

It’s interesting how the Turkish ç (ch) sound in this word is realised in the Arabic versions.

There’s so much to explore in the relationship between Turkish (and Turkic languages in general) and Arabic—maybe we’ll have some more posts about these links in the future?

!إلى اللقاء

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