Date of Award

Spring 2024

Degree Type



Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Director of Thesis

Dr. D. Eric Holt

First Reader

Dr. F. David Mesa Muñoz


After Latin, which makes up about 75-80% of the Spanish lexicon (Comparán Rizo, 2006, p. 17), Arabic is the most important linguistic contributor to the branch of Romance languages that would come to be known as Spanish or Castellano (Castilian), surpassing Germanic influence and that of other contributors such as French and Celtic languages. The broad range of Arabisms found in Spanish can be attributed to certain cultural and social changes that took place under Arab-Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula between 711 and 1492 and during the period following the so-called “Reconquista” of Spain by the Christian kingdoms to the north. In fact, sociocultural mechanisms can be considered the most important element in the transmission between Arabic and the language that would become Spanish, consequently leading to the greatest influence on the Spanish lexicon as opposed to on other linguistic areas. This thesis will examine the extent and nature of the adoption of words of Arabic origin, specifically investigating which semantic areas were most affected; how this language transmission took place, emphasizing that lexical influence was more significant than any other linguistic area; and historical changes in the use of Arabisms in Spanish.

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