11 July, 2008 | 5 comments | Category: I.dentity
Doing a google search, the quirkiest thing came up- Senduq is a word in Maltese which means ‘Chest’, a box for safe keeping. In Dire lingo it is used to describe the cupboards, storage boxes, coca cola racks …basically any storage container with a rectangular form.
Who could have thought that a google search vaguely connected to Dire Dawa’s multicultural lingo lands smack where the Italian and Arabic languages fuse to give Maltese? Malta is the 30th smallest country in the world located across the largest desert and the Mediterranean Sea away from Dire… an island which has a total population of 400,000 (about the size of Dire’s population) and interestingly, not everyone IN Malta speaks Maltese!
Well, well…ok maybe I’m making it sound an itty bit more like an Indiana Jones investigation than it actually is. It appears that Maltese is one of the many semetic languages which may have variations of the word ‘senduq’. I don’t speak all these languages so I wouldn’t know…
wiki says: “Maltese is generally accepted to be descended from Siculo-Arabic, the Arabic dialects that developed in Sicily and the rest of Southern Italy, with substantial borrowing from Sicilian Italian and Italian. It is the only Semitic language written in the Latin alphabet in its standard form.”
an interesting blurb also courtesy of google: ‘Senduq Kuluri Ahmar’ is what they call the ‘storybox’ series which is used for Maltese primary school reading assignments.
So its a bit curious, isn’t it? Makes you wonder the origin of semetic languages like Maltese (Semetic languages being in the Afroasiatic language group)…and how languages mix…where Malta got in the mix in a city within the horn where the Argobbas, Amharas, Tigre, Oromos, Somali, Greeks, Armenians, Indians and Italians once lived in a cosmopolitan hot spot on the rail trade line to Djibouti…
Origins…extensive, well-grounded linguistic research places the Afroasiatic homeland in the southeastern Sahara or adjacent Horn of Africa read more..
it’s interesting, which language did the term come from? Continue reading for my conjectures and projections : Maybe the root for Maltese and all other semetic languages originated in southern Sudan, or western Ethiopia? and how did this word stick in Dire Dawa, Harar and not anywhere else in Ethiopia? Given that its used by a majority of the population, surely it has a semetic root or in a more interesting turn of events… Dire being established in 1906 along with the Railroad, maybe the word is a more recent acquisition and the soldiers from Malta used it during the 5 year Italian occupation in WWII to refer to boxes?
ping me if u know!
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5 comments to “senduQ in Maltese”
Bahir, July 14th, 2008 at 7:38 am:
how did this word stick in Dire Dawa, Harar and not anywhere else in Ethiopia?
if you referring to the Amharic term sanduq ????,, it is also used in northern part of ethiopia, gonder to be more specific.
oh it is? interesting! I had no idea. All the times I have heard it mentioned, amharic speakers outside of Harar and Dire Dawa had not heard of it. In that case, it probably has a more ancient root then…I’m still fascinated by the origin of all the Afro-Asiatic languages…
Thanks for you visit and comment Bahir!
embrt, July 16th, 2008 at 11:57 pm:
language is a awesome tell tale evidence of our collective history. always found philology fascinating.
nyalasmoke, July 17th, 2008 at 11:20 am:
very interesting… The history is kinda getting obscure but Harar always had a strong link with the Arab world. Even been occupied by the Egyptians Turks, result of the Ottoman expansion. Malta was under Arab influence at some time or another. Maybe there is a connection. Language travels quite a distance.
“and how did this word stick in Dire Dawa, Harar and not anywhere else in Ethiopia?” I also came to disagree with you on this one.
Senduq is a common word where I grew up, the Gibe Oromo region.
But it is interesting to investigate how words develop and how they become what they are today.
PS: I have not gone that far with the Amharic translation of the book on Morrie. Still working on it. You are welcome to join me.