Learning Spanish & Etymology Pattern-Matching for Nerds http://www.spanishetymology.com Learning Spanish & Etymology Pattern-Matching for Nerds Wed, 26 Apr 2017 01:05:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.4 Despedirse and Repeat http://www.spanishetymology.com/despedirse-and-repeat/ http://www.spanishetymology.com/despedirse-and-repeat/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 01:05:11 +0000 http://spanishetymology.com/?p=581 The Spanish despedirse (“to say goodbye; leave”) comes from the Latin petere (“to seek.”) With the des– prefix, despedirse literally means: to seek away from. You say goodbye when you’re looking for something else, away from where you are now.

From the Latin root, we get a few English words including:

  • Petulant. The petulant kid never stops seeking more and more.
  • Perpetual. What is doing something perpetually if not, looking for something and never getting what you want?
  • Repeat. That’s when you keep on looking for something over and over, and never find it.
  • Compete. It’s when you’re looking for something — and so is someone else.
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Echar and Jet http://www.spanishetymology.com/echar-and-jet/ http://www.spanishetymology.com/echar-and-jet/#respond Tue, 25 Apr 2017 00:34:33 +0000 http://spanishetymology.com/?p=603 Echar (Spanish for “to throw,” particularly in the metaphoric sense such as, “to throw out”) comes from the Latin Iactare, meaning “to throw”. From the same root, we get the English jet — a jet plane throws itself at an incredible speed!

But the words look nothing alike? How is that?

Two patterns, we must remember. Firstly, the ct- sound in Latin became a ch- in Spanish. Hence the ct- in ictare now looks like the ch- in echar. Secondly, Latin had no “j” and the initial “i” in Latin often became a “j” in English. Hence, the “j” in jet!

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Junta and Joint http://www.spanishetymology.com/junta-and-joint/ http://www.spanishetymology.com/junta-and-joint/#respond Mon, 24 Apr 2017 00:06:51 +0000 http://www.fornerds.org/?p=448 The Spanish junta (“together”) comes from the Latin iunctus for “joined.” If you are together, then you are joined in one form or another.

From the Latin root iunctus, we get the English joint. A joint, after all, is just the exact point where two different things come together!

Both junta and joint have the j-n-t root, although it’s always fun to remember that both had an i- instead of a j- in Latin. Just like INRI.

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Sacudir and Percussion, Discussion, Concussion http://www.spanishetymology.com/sacudir-and-percussion-discussion-concussion/ http://www.spanishetymology.com/sacudir-and-percussion-discussion-concussion/#respond Sun, 23 Apr 2017 00:02:34 +0000 http://spanishetymology.com/?p=593 Sacudir, Spanish for “to shake” comes from the Latin for the same, quatere.

From that same root, we get a bunch of English –cussion words, including:

  • Discussion — that’s when you shake up what you’re talking about!
  • Concussion — that’s when you shake someone so hard, they get hurt!
  • Percussion — that’s when you shake the drums a lot!

You can see the s-c in reverse in the Spanish sacudir and the –cussion words.

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Gestación and Gestate http://www.spanishetymology.com/gestacion-and-gestate/ http://www.spanishetymology.com/gestacion-and-gestate/#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 23:54:16 +0000 http://spanishetymology.com/?p=604 Gestación (“to develop”) comes from the Latin gestare (“to bear, carry, gestate”) from which we also get — not that surprisingly — the English word gestate. While the original word and the English version focused on developing a baby, in Spanish it has come to be used more broadly: like a business idea develops. The g-st root is clearly visible in both words.

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Ubicar and Ubiquitous http://www.spanishetymology.com/ubicar-and-ubiquitous/ http://www.spanishetymology.com/ubicar-and-ubiquitous/#respond Thu, 20 Apr 2017 23:30:11 +0000 http://www.fornerds.org/?p=392 Ubicar (Spanish for “to put somewhere” or “to place”) comes from the Latin ubi, meaning “where.”

From the Latin ubi, we get a bunch of location-related words in English, such as, ubiquitous — which actually means, “everywhere!” Something that is ubiquitous really is everywhere.

The u-b-c of ubicar maps clearly to the u-b-qu of ubiquitous.

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Boda – Vote http://www.spanishetymology.com/boda-vote/ http://www.spanishetymology.com/boda-vote/#respond Wed, 19 Apr 2017 23:08:16 +0000 http://www.fornerds.org/?p=140 Boda, Spanish for “wedding,” comes from the Latin word votum, meaning a “vote, promise”.

This, indeed, makes sense: what is a wedding if not just a vote in the other person, and a promise to be with them? At least in Spanish it is. (The other word for wedding in Spanish, casamiento, is related to the Spanish for “home”, casa).

This one isn’t obvious, at all, based on the spelling, but it is based on the sound. One lesson is to guess parallel words based on the sounds more than the letters. But pay attention to the letters when they are unexpected or voiced weirdly.

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Feliz and Felicity, Fecund http://www.spanishetymology.com/feliz-and-felicity-fecund/ http://www.spanishetymology.com/feliz-and-felicity-fecund/#respond Tue, 18 Apr 2017 22:45:32 +0000 http://www.fornerds.org/?p=270 Feliz (Spanish for “happiness”) comes from the Latin felix, meaning both “happy” and “fertile”.

It is indeed curious how, linguistically, happiness and having children and plentiful crops are deeply intertwined.

From the same root, we get the English felicity, which we can see in the f-l-z to f-l-c mapping very clearly.

Most distantly, we also have the English fecund and fetus.

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Jerez – Sherry http://www.spanishetymology.com/jerez-sherry/ http://www.spanishetymology.com/jerez-sherry/#respond Mon, 17 Apr 2017 22:42:12 +0000 http://www.fornerds.org/?p=87 Sherry jerez spanish englishThe Latin sounds for “sh” — and similar variations, like “ch” and “ss” — became a “j” sound in Spanish.

Thus, the English sherry is near identical to the Spanish jerez!

These sh/j sounds were often spelt with a “x” in old Spanish; and sherry itself is named after the town it first came from, Xeres, which is near Cordova.

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Gama and Gamut http://www.spanishetymology.com/gama-and-gamut/ http://www.spanishetymology.com/gama-and-gamut/#respond Sun, 16 Apr 2017 22:17:12 +0000 http://www.spanishetymology.com/?p=764 Gama (Spanish for “range”) comes from the Greek gamma, the third letter of the alphabet: alpha beta gamma. But it came to mean “range” in an interesting way: music. The traditional musical note gamma — which today is just ‘g’ — was used, in classic musical notation, and still today — to refer to the note that is both just below the primary starting letter ‘a’ (hence, on a piano, the ‘g’ key is immediately to the left of the ‘a’ key), as well as the highest note that ends the octave on the other side. Thus, the gamma refers to the whole range of notes!

From the same root, and with the same musical history, we also get the English SAT-synonym for “range”… gamut.

The g-m root is clearly visible in both.

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