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Semsem arabice vocant sisamum imitando grecum nam proprio ydiomate iuliulem dicitur.


Semsem C ef | Semsez A {"sideways m" misread as "final z"} | Senisem B | Senisom j {'m' misread as 'ni'}
sisamũ ejp | sisam͡ f | sisanum (-nũ A) AC | sisaniũ B {'m' misread as 'n'}
imitando | imittando (ĩmi- e) ef
proprio | pro f
{proprio} capl'o add. e
iuliulem ACD e | juljulẽ p | iuhulẽ fj {‘’uli’ misread as ‘uh‘} | inhelẽ ul’ inhulẽ B


Semsem is what the Arabs call sisanum {"sesame"} imitating this Greek word, but in their own proper language it is called iuliulem.


Wehr (1976): ﺳﻤﺴﻢ /simsim/ "sesame"; Siggel (1950: 43): ﺳﻤﺴﻢ /simsim/ Sesamum indicum od.orientale (Pedaliac.) Sesam {"sesame"}.

The Greek word is σήσɑμον /sḗsamon/, which was taken over in Latin as sesamum/sisamum/sesima/sesama. Simon's sisanum is a misreading for more correct sisamum.

Wehr (1976): ﺟﻠﺠﻼﻥ /ğulğulān, ğilğilān/ "sesame"; Siggel (1950: 26): ﺟﻠﺠﻼﻥ /ğulğulān/ = ﺳﻤﺴﻢ /simsim/ Sesamum indicum. For the use of the letter "I" to express Arabic /ğ/ see comment at Iergir.

Simon's etymological observation that Arab simsim imitates the Greek σήσɑμον /sḗsamon/, σάσɑμον /sásamon/, σάɑμον /sáamon/ is probably factually wrong. According to Frisk (1960-72: II.698), the word is a wanderwort, i.e. a word found in many languages, often along trade routes, where the original etymological source is difficult to establish. The oldest documented forms are Akkadian šammaššamu "sesame", and similar forms are found in Aramaic and Hittite with Aramaic being the most likely source for Arabic.

WilfGunther 22/05/2012

See also: Sisamus, Iuliulem

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