N. Dash

May – July 2017

“The language [Arabic] is wonderful for Wanderwort*…

One morning in class, [he] taught the word for “mud brick.” In ancient hieroglyphs it was djebet, which became tobe in Coptic, and then the Arabs, adding a definite article, made it al-tuba, which was brought to Spain as adobar, and then to the American Southwest, where this heavy thing, having been lugged across four millennia and seven thousand miles, finally landed as “adobe.”

Peter Hessler’s Letter from Cairo in The New Yorker April 17, 2017

*Wanderwort Etymology – borrowed from German Wanderwort, from Wander (“wandering) + Wort (“word”) Noun – A loanword that has spread to many different languages