Yusuf B Gursey
2016-02-21 13:37:41 UTC
As I had said before Wadi Ramm in Jordan was identified
with 'iram (Iram of the Pillars) by the medieval geographer
Yaqut and inscriptions in Ancient North Arabian script,
and a tribe 3a:d <3d> as in the Qur'an. Now 'iram >
ramm could be simple reetymologizing of a biliteral root.
However, I noticed that it is pronounced rAmm with a distinct
back vowel, and popularly romanized as Wadi Rum, <Rum> to be
read as in the drink "rum". One possibility would be that
the local dialect regularly uses an emphatic r and has a
back vowel associated with it as is normal for Iraqi and
Gulf Arabic. Another possibilty is that it is another case
of secondary emphatic r resulting from contact with a
glottal stop. Thus 'iram > 'ram > RAm > RAmm (triliteralizing).
This happened in Moroccan Arabic: mRA "woman" from Classical
al-mar'a(t) contrasting mra "to shine" from mira:yah "mirror".
I had proposed the same mechanism fro the emphatic l in Allah
al-'ila:h > al'la:h > aLLA:h .
I have to know more about the local though to be sure. Comments welcome, espacially from those who know the speeech of the region.