Re: Etymology of Left-handedness (left) & C. Ar.laft (left)

From: Brian M. Scott
Message: 69968
Date: 2012-08-12

At 9:10:16 PM on Saturday, August 11, 2012, The Egyptian
Chronicles wrote:


> ETYMOLOGY: "c.1200, from Kentish and northern English
> form of O.E. lyft- "weak, foolish" (cf. lyft-adl
> "lameness, paralysis," E.Fris. luf, Du. dialectal loof
> "weak, worthless"). It emerged 13c. as "opposite of right"
> (the left being usually the weaker hand)itself may have
> been originally a taboo replacement, if instead it
> represents PIE root *laiwo-, meaning "considered
> conspicuous" (represented in Gk. laios, L. laevus, and
> Rus. levyi). Greek also uses a euphemism for "left,"
> aristeros "the better one" (cf. also Avestan vairyastara-
> "to the left," from vairya- "desirable"). But Lith. kairys
> "left" and Lettish kreilis "left hand" derive from a root
> that yields words for "twisted, crooked."


> However, the following Pre-Islamic Classical Arabic term
> "laft" for 'left handed', (from the dialects of Qays and
> Tamiym tribes) has never been explored.


> In my sincere opinion the existence of such an earlier
> Arabic term for "left" trumps all that was given for facts
> above.

Which is why your opinion means very little: bluntly, the
suggestion of an Arabic origin for a term found only in
North Sea Germanic is ridiculous, especially when it has the
wrong meaning.