You are here:

Spanish Language/The Spanish Articles "el" and "al"...Ayudame, por favor!

Advertisement


Question
Hola! I desperately need your help. My question is: it is believed the articles "El" or/and "al" come from the arabic because they do not exist in Latin. But is this an imposition of Islam on Spain through language?? (ala=allah)? My address is Apsara214@hotmail.com
Gracias!

Answer
You are correct in the first part of you statement; because of the strong geographic and historical correlation between Spain and the Moors, especially during the formative period of the Spanish language, there are many artifacts of Arabic remaining in Spanish.  As well, Latin had no definite articles, while Arabic does ("al" being the basic one).  Spanish, of course, has definite articles.  You know this already, however.

Does this mean that the definite articles in Spanish were imposed as a relic of Islamic culture?  Not necessarily.  French, Italian, Romanian, and Portugese all developed from Latin, like Spanish, and they developed definite articles too.  Their articles bear passing resemblance to those of Spanish; the principle of articles is common to all, but the particular development in each language was influenced heavily by local factors.  

There is probably a derivative of "Allah" in the Spanish language, but that doesn't mean that it was imposed on Spanish-speakers by Muslims.  Rather, it was probably adopted by the Spanish because of common usage among the Moors and corrupted slowly to its present meaning.  Now, it has the same religious significance now as "goodbye" would for English speakers ("goodbye" being a contraction of "God be with you").  As such, its probably unfair to say that's it an imposition of Islam on Spain through its language.  It's more of a linguistic curiosity than anything else.  

Hopefully this has helped you.  Buena suerte.

Spanish Language

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Thomas Hobbes

Expertise

I can greatly aid those with difficulty in academic Spanish (as taught at the secondary level). Giving aid with homework is my forte, but I as well can render assistance with unusual constructions and the like.

Experience


Past/Present clients
D. Dugan
B. Hermann
K. Meggisson

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.