Alquerque twelve

 Point of departure is the structure of the name for morris and draughts in Italy and France: Italian marella di novi respectively marella di dudici and French merelles à neuf respectively merelles à douze. Marella and merelles derive from the Latin word marrus, stone, gaming piece. So, the literal name of morris is “nine pieces” and of draughts “twelve pieces”.
The name of morris and alquerque in the Alfonso manuscript have the same structure: alquerque de nueve, alquerque de doze. The literal meaning should be the same as in Italian and French, I think: “nine pieces” respectively “twelve pieces”.
The answer is hampered because of the fact that alquerque seems to be an Arab word, with the article al that is affixed to the noun querque. We should nonetheless first of all seek the etymon in Latin: the number of Arab words borrowed permanently by Spanish from the Moors is not more than 400, the greater part of the Spanish lexis is from Latin origin. Consequently, the Italian linguist Alberto Zamboni sought the origin of querque in Latin, where he found the word calculus, piece on the abacus, gaming piece, as the etymon of querque. The shift calcul-querque, so the shift of the consonants L and R, is not unusual. I refer for example to the Spanish and French word for beach, respectively plage and playa, against Portuguese praia.
Zamboni’s etymology answers my question. Yes: alquerque de nueve and alquerque de doze do literally mean “nine pieces” and “twelve pieces”.
If these names with their literal sense meant in the sister languages Italian and French morris respectively draughts, these names have according to the probability the same sense in Spanish.
These conclusions from my linguistic inquiry allow me to penetrate further into the past of draughts, see chapter 11.

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