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|Extinct||by the Late Middle Ages|
Mozarabic, also called Andalusi Romance, refers to the medieval Romance varieties spoken in the Iberian Peninsula in territories controlled by the Islamic Emirate of Córdoba and its successors. It was gradually submerged by Arabic in the south and, as the Reconquista progressed, by Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese in the north, with its final disappearance dating to around the thirteenth century.[page needed]
Although Mozarabic is today used as an umbrella term for any Romance variety spoken in medieval Al-Andalus--whether in places such as Murcia, Seville, Córdoba, or elsewhere--its speakers would not have referred to it that way. They instead called it Latinus (and derivatives thereof), that is to say Latin, the name also used by Romance speakers in northern Iberia and elsewhere to describe their vernaculars. Arab writers as well referred to Mozarabic as al-Lathin?, as there was not a clear distinction between Latin and Romance at that time. (They would also call it al-ajamiya, meaning 'strange, foreign'.)
Latinus survives in the name Ladino, which in early medieval Spain was used to refer to Romance in general; it later developed the specialized sense of Judeo-Spanish. Latinus also survives in the name of the distant Ladin language, spoken in the Alps of northeastern Italy.
Mozarabic came to be called mozárabe by nineteenth-century Spanish scholars who studied medieval Al-Andalus. The term was borrowed from Andalusi Arabic musta'rab (Classical Arabic musta'rib), which means 'arabizing' or 'adopting the ways of the Arabs', referring to the assimilation of the native population into Arabic culture.
Other than the obvious Arabic influence, and remnants of a pre-Roman substratum, early Mozarabic may also have been affected by African Romance, carried over to the Iberian Peninsula by the Berbers who made up most of the Islamic army that conquered it and remained prominent in the Andalusi administration and army for centuries to come. The possible interaction between these two Romance varieties has yet to be investigated.[page needed]
Mozarabic was spoken by Mozarabs (Christians living as dhimmis), Muladis (natives converted to Islam), Jews, and possibly some of the ruling Arabs and Berbers. The cultural and literary language of the Mozarabs was at first Latin, but as time passed, it came to rather be Arabic, even among Christians.
Because Mozarabic was not a language of higher culture, such as Latin or Arabic, it had no standard writing-system. Numerous Latin documents written by early Mozarabs are, however, extant.
The bulk of surviving material in Mozarabic, as opposed to Latin, is found in the choruses (or kharjas) of Andalusi lyrical compositions known as muwashshahs, which were otherwise written in Arabic. The script used to write the Mozarabic kharjas was invariably Arabic or Hebrew, less often the latter. This poses numerous problems for modern scholars attempting to interpret the underlying Mozarabic. Namely:
The overall effect of this, combined with the rampant textual corruption, is that modern scholars can freely substitute consonants and insert vowels to make sense of the kharjas, leading to considerable leeway, and hence inaccuracy, in interpretation.
It is widely agreed that Mozarabic had the following features:
The following two features remain a matter of debate:
Presented below is one of the few kharjas whose interpretation is secure from beginning to end. It has been transcribed from a late thirteen-century copy in Hebrew script, but it is also attested (in rather poor condition) in an Arabic manuscript from the early twelfth century.
|ky fr'yw 'w ky s?yr'd dmyby
nwn ty?wlgs? dmyby
ke farayo aw ke s?erad de mibe,
What shall I do, or what shall become of me,
Another kharja is presented below, transcribed from Arabic script by García Gómez:
|mw s?d? 'ibr?h?m
y' nw'mn dl?
in nwn s? nwn k'rs?
|Mew s?d? 'Ibr?h?m,
y? nu?mne dolz?e,
In n?n, si n?n k?rís?,
--gar-me 'a 'ob!--
My lord Ibrahim,
However the above kharja, like most others, presents numerous textual difficulties. Below is Jones' transcription of it, with vowels inserted and uncertain readings italicized. Note the discrepancies.
|f?n s?di ibr?h?m
y? nw?mni dalji
in n?n s?i-n?n k?ris?
gar m? <a> ?b
|m? s?di ibr?h?m|
gari mi ?b