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Language and culture contact: Terminology and technology

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Chapter Summary

This chapter inquires into language spread and language dominance in the Western Indian Ocean, in particular the mark that languages have left in nautical and maritime terminology. It considers the relevance of linguistic moulds to our understanding of the history and culture of watercraft. The chapter also addresses the question of cultural and technological exchange, how far did it go and what were its implications. Muslim missionaries followed the footsteps of Hindu religious leaders as well as Buddhist monks and saints in spreading their faith and trading with the indigenous in the Eastern Indian Ocean. No language barrier would have alienated those who wished to communicate their ideas by word or drawing. When a technique is borrowed, the borrower would absorb the term of the source language. Many nautical and maritime terms still exist in the modern repertoire of the Arabian/Persian Gulf which demonstrates this exchange over the centuries.

Keywords: culture of watercraft; Eastern Indian Ocean Arabian Gulf; language dominance; language spread; Muslim missionaries; Persian Gulf; trade language; Western Indian Ocean



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