Turkish and the Arabic verb jamaʿa, “to collect”

Over at the Arabic blog we’re breaking down the verb jamaʿa, which means “to collect” or “to gather,” to see how a single root verb can become several derived verbs and concepts, while at the Persian blog we’re looking at how that Arabic root was adopted by Persian to mean largely the same thing. That kind of borrowing goes on from Arabic to Turkish as well, and from Persian to Turkish, and from Turkish to both of the other two languages, but unfortunately this particular Arabic root isn’t that instructive since it wasn’t really adopted by Turkish except in a couple of derivations. The most important of these is the Turkish word cami, or “mosque,” which is the Arabic jāmiʿ. In Arabic this refers specifically to the large, communal type of mosque in which Friday group prayer would be conducted, and that’s also basically true in Turkish, where the word mescit (the Arabic masjid) is used to refer to smaller venues suitable for individual prayer. Another important Turkish use of the Arabic root is cemaat, “community,” although there is also a common Turkish word for “community” that you’ll see below.

The Turkish verb toplamak means “to collect” or “to gather.” Some vocabulary related to this and to the derivations of jamaʿa that you’ll find on the other two blogs:

  • toplantı: meeting (in the sense of convention or assembly)
  • toplama: collection, gathering, concentration
  • toplu: collective
  • topluluk: community
  • biriktirmek: to accumulate (toplamak can also have this meaning)
  • dernek: association, society
  • birlik: unity
  • üniversite: university
  • fikir birliği: consensus (fikir is “idea,” so literally “united idea”)

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