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wadi

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wadi

Postby skinem » Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:57 pm

wa·di (noun) or wa·dy

wa·dis or wa·dies

1. mainly dry water course
a steep-sided water course in arid regions of North Africa and southern Asia through which water flows only after heavy rainfalls

2. oasis
an oasis, especially in North Africa

I have heard this used in the American southwest and also American Pacific Northwest in place of "coulee"...
Curious as to it's origins...
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Postby Perry » Wed Jun 14, 2006 3:45 pm

One of our more erudite members can tell you the origin. I do know that this is a word commonly used in modern Arabic, and borrowed (unchanged) in Hebrew.
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Postby gailr » Wed Jun 14, 2006 5:53 pm

I know this word from the Pogues' Girl From The Wadi Hammamat.
"Lovely as a green parakeet..."

Man, no one has ever called me that. :wink:

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Postby Perry » Wed Jun 14, 2006 9:00 pm

Because no parakeet can compare to you! :oops:
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Postby sluggo » Thu Jun 15, 2006 1:15 pm

gailr wrote:I know this word from the Pogues' Girl From The Wadi Hammamat.
"Lovely as a green parakeet..."

Man, no one has ever called me that. :wink:

-gailr


Mayhap you're not as green as you think :wink:
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Postby Stargzer » Thu Jun 15, 2006 5:29 pm

gailr wrote:I know this word from the Pogues' Girl From The Wadi Hammamat.
"Lovely as a green parakeet..."

Man, no one has ever called me that. :wink:

-gailr


Despite the Vulture Headress, we do not think of you as a bird-brain, fair lady.
Regards//Larry

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Re: wadi

Postby frank » Thu Jun 15, 2006 5:31 pm

skinem wrote:wa·di (noun) or wa·dy
I have heard this used in the American southwest and also American Pacific Northwest in place of "coulee"...
Curious as to it's origins...


American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
Wikipedia

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Postby skinem » Thu Jun 15, 2006 6:09 pm

Thank you, Frank. I knew it had Arabic origins, but was real curious as to how it migrated into usage in some geographic areas of the States. Back in the 1960s, I knew some very old cowboys in New Mexico who regularly referred to them as "wadis". Perhaps the Spanish connection mentioned in Wikipedia explains that...
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Postby gailr » Thu Jun 15, 2006 6:46 pm

You guys are too funny. I bet you say those things to all the vulture headddress-wearing chicks...

And thanks for the legitimate links, Frank!

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Postby frank » Fri Jun 16, 2006 3:41 am

skinem wrote:Thank you, Frank. I knew it had Arabic origins, but was real curious as to how it migrated into usage in some geographic areas of the States. Back in the 1960s, I knew some very old cowboys in New Mexico who regularly referred to them as "wadis". Perhaps the Spanish connection mentioned in Wikipedia explains that...

I'm only guessing here, not even sure if the pieces below belong to the same puzzle...

A Spanish connection doesn't seem logical to me. Older loan words with initial in Spanish with word initial w- as 'wadi' got 'hispanicised' to gu- (as Guadiana, from Wadi-Anas; see also guerra < Germ. werre, war).
On the other hand, 'wadi' (as a technical word) seems to be a re-loan in Spanish (couldn't find a date for that).

The explanation in Encarta looks very plausible to me:
"Aside from other direct borrowings [edit: into English] readily recognizable as Arabic émigrés, for example, falafel, kebab, imam, madrasa, and wadi, a few derive from place names."

BTW, etymonline gives 1839 as the date of the first attestation in English.

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Last edited by frank on Fri Jun 16, 2006 2:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Garzo » Fri Jun 16, 2006 6:42 am

I think the links posted above make the issue quite clear, but I'll say it out loud anyway. The Arabic word is واد wādin or وادي wādī. Seeing as plurals are always fun with Arabic, you get two of them: اودية awdiyä or وديان wadyān. The word is used for any valley, wet or dry.

There are a significant number of Arabic loanwords in Spanish due to Arabic being the main language of much of mediaeval Spain. So you get the Arabic place name وادي الحجارة wādī al-ḥijārä, meaning 'the valley of stones', becoming the Spanish Guadalajara. The change of initial w- to gʷ- is universal in Spanish.

The most memorable wadi I've seen is the narrow ravine through which tourists walk to get to Petra in Jordan. Suddenly, you turn a corner, and you can glimpse something of the first carved façade through the narrow wadi opening. The ravine is Wādī al-Mūsà — Moses' Valley.

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