A heathen named Guiri

“The Mahávansa and the Rájaratnákari state, that the king Walakanabhaya, or according to the latter work, Deveny Paetissa, caused the temple of a heathen named Girrie (doubtless Giri) to be destroyed, and caused to be constructed upon its site twelve temples consecrated to Sákya, which communicated with each other; and in the midst of which was erected an immense vihara.” (The pilgrimage of Fa Hian. I’ve been meaning to post something for … ooh … years)

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  1. I have always been struck by the similarity between Punjabi/Kashmiri “Guri”, used in the north of England to denote non-muslim, and Guiri.

    The Carlist war etymology is obviously false,I wonder if the word might have passed into Spanish through Arabic or Romany?

  2. A couple of years ago I collected several hundred instances of use ranging in chronologically/geographically coherent fashion in the region ranging from S Asia to the western Med, which I will publish as soon as I can decipher the format I saved it in. Goytisolo was on to something similar in his Sarajevo novel, but I don’t know if he took it any further.

  3. Could it be from Lingua Franca/Sabir? It is often postulated as a template from which all modern era pidgins are descended, including those of Goa and the rest of India.

    Guiri could have been carried either way by the Portuguese, or taken into Arabic from the subcontinent then borrowed into Lingua France and thence into Spanish.

    As a digression: Libyan Arabic is full of expressions that they swear blind are Italian but are actually from Lingua Franca;

    Kasr = break (french caisser)
    Munjaria = food
    Klefti = thief (via greek klepto)
    Cushik = spoon

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