Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Words about Spices and Herbs, Part 2: Eng. salt and Sp. sal

[This entry is an excerpt from the second section ("Condiments and seasonings") of Chapter 43 ("Spices and herbs") of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An (Unorthodox) Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

The English word salt, pronounced /sɔlt/ in Modern English (/sɒlt/ in some dialects), is a native (patrimonial) word. It was sealt in Old English and it descends from a Proto-Indo-European root, namely *seh₂l-. From this very same PIE root come also patrimonial cognates of Eng. salt in other languages such as Ancient Greek ἅλς ‎(háls) and Latin sal (acc. salem), the source of Spanish sal ‘salt’. In other words, all of these words descend from the same root in the ancestral Proto-Indo-European language and are thus cognate with each other.

The most common type of salt, also known as common salt (Sp. sal común), table salt (Sp. sal de mesa), or cooking salt (Sp. sal de cocina), consists mainly of sodium chloride (NaCl) and it is used extensively as a condiment as well as a preservative all over the world. Salt is obtained in nature from salt mines or from evaporation of seawater or mineral-rich spring water.

In chemistry, since the late 18th century, the noun salt has been extended to similar chemical compounds, crystaline minerals, in particular ‘any chemical compound formed by the reaction of an acid with a base, with the hydrogen of the acid replaced by a metal or other cation (positively charged ion)’ (COED). Thus, from a chemical perspective, there are many different types of salts, besides sodium chloride.

Salt was a very valuable commodity in ancient times, so much so that Roman soldiers were given a stipend to purchase salt, one which was known as salārium, a word which came to mean ‘salary, stipend, pension’, but which originally meant something like ‘salt-money’, an allowance for the purchase of salt, an expensive commodity which was considered essential. The noun salārium is derived from the neuter form of the adjective salārius ‘pertaining to salt’, derived from the noun/root sal and the adjectival suffix ‑āri(‑us), used to form adjectives from nouns and from numerals.[i] From Lat. salārium come the cognates Eng. salary and Sp. salario, meaning ‘a fixed regular payment made usually on a monthly basis by an employer to an employee, especially a professional or white-collar worker’ (COED). Eng. salary is a late 13th century borrowing from Anglo-French salarie, from Old French salaire ‘wages, pay, reward’.

Because salt was a rare and valuable resource, we find a number of expressions containing this word. One of them is (to be) worth one’s salt (first attested in 1830), meaning ‘efficient and capable’ (AHD). This expression can be translated into Spanish with expressions such as digno de su nombre, digno de respeto, among others. Another English expression containing the word salt is to be the salt of the earth, which is already present in Old English and which is a calque of a Biblical expression (cf. Matthew 13). It means ‘a person or group considered as the best or noblest part of society’ (AHD). The equivalent in Spanish is ser la sal de la tierra, which is also a calque from Biblical Hebrew.

The belief that spilling salt brings bad luck has been attested in English since the 16th century. The compound salt-shaker (equivalent of Sp. salero) was first attested in the late 19th century. The idiomatic expression to take something with a grain of salt, meaning ‘not too literally; with some reservations’ (WNWC), is first attested in English in the 17th century. It is a calque of the Latin expression cum grano salis ‘with a grain of salt’. This Latin expression does not exist in Spanish and it is best translated as con cautela ‘with caution’ or a similar phrase.

The Spanish noun salario, mentioned earlier, is a learned word, first attested in the 15th century. There is a patrimonial word in Spanish of similar meaning, namely sueldo, which means ‘salary, pay, wages’. This noun comes from Late Latin sŏlĭdus, the name of a certain Roman gold coin, which used to correspond to a mercenary soldier’s pay. This same word is the source of the learned adjectives Eng. solid and Sp. sólido. The word asalariado in Modern Spanish can be an adjective meaning ‘salaried’, or a noun meaning ‘wage earner’, ‘salaried worker’.

There are verbs derived from the nouns Eng. salt and Sp. sal, cf. Eng. to salt and Sp. salar. Sp. salar comes from Vulgar Latin salāre. This verb was a modified version of  Classical Latin sallīre ‘salt, salt down, preserve with salt’ and Old Latin salĕre. The sense of the English verb to salt that means ‘to cure’, for example hams, is typically expressed with conservar en sal or curar, not salar. The sense of the verb to salt that means ‘to add salt (to food or to the roads in the winter)’ is best expressed with echar sal, also not salar. The verb salar is used in Spanish American with different senses, such as ‘to cause to have bad luck’ (Colombia, Costa Rica, México), ‘to cause a plan or project to fail’ (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Perú, Puerto Rico), or ‘to dishonour, defame’ (Peru). Additionally, salar can also be a noun in parts of South America equivalent to salitral or salina ‘saltworks’, ‘a place where salt is made, as by evaporation of natural brines’ (WNW).

There are many words and expressions that contain the morpheme sal‑, used to refer to things related to this condiment. Speaking of the place where salt comes from, the two main options are underground sources, called salt mines in English, and minas de sal in Spanish, and above-ground sources, where salt is extracted from salty water by evaporation, called salt pan, saltwork(s) or salina in English and salina, usually in the plural salinas, in Spanish. The word salina in Spanish and English salina is derived from Lat. salīna, also meaning ‘salt pan’ (‘flat expanse of ground naturally covered with salt’ or salt works’ (‘place where salt is refined and prepared commercially’).[ii] Salinas is also the name of many towns and cities in the Spanish-speaking world, including Salinas, California, the the county seat and largest municipality of Monterey County, California.[iii]

Below you can see some of the other most common words that contain the root sal‑ in Spanish, many of which have corresponding words in English containing the same morpheme:

  • Sp. salitre = Eng. saltpeter (saltpetre in Br.Eng.): ‘potassium nitrate or (Chile saltpetre) sodium nitrate’ (COED); Sp. salitre seems to be a borrowing from Catalan salnitre, a compound with sal ‘salt’ and nitre, from Lat. nitrum ‘alkali, especially soda ash’; Eng. saltpeter seems to come from Med.Lat. salpetra, probably a contraction of sal petrae, lit. ‘salt of rock’ (i.e. found as an encrustation) (COED)
  • Sp. salado/a = Eng. salted ‘seasoned, cured, or otherwise treated with salt’ (RHWU) or salty ‘tasting of, containing, or preserved with salt’ (COED). Sp. salado/a and Eng. salted are adjectives derived from the past participle of the respective verbs Sp. salar and Eng. to salt (see above). Eng. salty is formed with the Germanic suffix ‑y, meaning ‘full of or characterized by’ (‑ig in Old English) (there are other suffixes ‑y in English, cf. Part I, Chapter 5)
  •  Sp. salazón: this word can refer to ‘the act of salting’, but it can also refer to the resulting product, namely ‘salted meat/fish’
  • Sp. salero ~ Eng. salt shaker (saltcellar in Br.Eng.). Sp. salero can also mean ‘saltwarehouse’, and (figuratively) ‘charm, wit, panache’; for this last sense there is a derived adjective saleroso/a ‘charming, witty’
  • Sp. ensalada = Eng. salad: from Vulgar Latin *salata, literally ‘salted’, a noun derived from the past participle of the verb Lat. salāre (see above). Vulgar Latin *salata was short for herba salata ‘salted vegetables’, i.e. vegetables seasoned with brine which was a popular Roman dish (OnED); Spanish added to this noun the pleonastic prefix en‑, perhaps to differentiate it from the homophonous adjective.
  • Sp. salsa = Eng. sauce: both of these words come from Latin salsa ‘things salted, salt food’, a noun derived from either the fem. singular or neuter plural of adjective salsus ‘salted’, from the past participle of Old Latin sallĕre ‘to salt’ (see above); Eng. sauce /ˈsɔs/ is a mid-14th century loan from Old French sauce or sausse (the l > u sound change was common in Romance before a consonant); Eng. salsa /ˈsɑl.sə/ (/ˈsæl.sə/ in Br.Eng.) is a mid-19th century loan from Sp. salsa for a specific kind of sauce, namely a ‘kind of relish with chopped-up ingredients’ (OnED); the use of this word for a type of Latin jazz music is from around 1975
  • Sp. salsero/a: an adjective and noun derived from salsa with the suffix ‑er‑; in parts of Spain it is used with the meaning ‘meddlesome (person)’ (a synonym is entremetido/a). Related to this adjective is the verb salsear ‘to meddle, etc.’; in Spanish American, salsero is sometimes used for a fan of salsa music
  • Sp. salmuera ‘brine’: from sal + the descendant of Lat. mŭrĭa ‘brine, salt liquor, pickling’ (Eng. brine comes from O.Eng. bryne, of unknown origin)
  • Sp. salpicar ‘to sprinkle, to splash, to splatter’: this word perhaps comes from Catalan; this verb may have been derived from the adjective/noun salpicado ‘studded, dotted, sprinkled’/’studs, dots, sprinkles’, to refer to the salt grains that appear on a surface after salt water dries (cf. Corominas). That salpicado would be composed of sal and picar, which means, among other things, ‘to finely chop’ or ‘mince’.[1]



[1] Sp. picar is an interesting word. It can mean ‘to bite’ and ‘to sting’ (as done by insects), ‘to jab, goad’, ‘to chop finely, mince’, ‘to nibble (food)’, ‘to arouse (curiosity)’, ‘to bite’ (fish), ‘to itch’, ‘to be hot (spicy)’, among other things. One might have thought that it is related to the word pico ‘beak’, but according to Corominas, it is not. Cognates of picar exist in other Romance languages, even though there is no Latin equivalent and even though many of these Romance languages do not have cognates of Sp. pico. Supposedly, the word has an onomatopoeic origin. An onomatopoeia is ‘the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g. cuckoo, sizzle)’ (COED).

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Embarrassing pregnancies, Part 2: Spanish vergüenza and pena

[This entry is an excerpt from the second section of Chapter 3 of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An (Unorthodox) Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

Sp. vergüenza


If embarazar does not mean ‘to embarrass’ and embarazado/a does not mean ‘embarrassed’, then how do we express these meanings in Spanish? The most widespread Spanish equivalents for these words in standard Spanish are avergonzar for the verb embarrass and avergonzado/a for the adjective embarrassed. However, Spanish prefers to use neither the adjective nor the verb, but rather the related noun vergüenza /beɾ.ˈɡu̯en.θa/ to express these meanings, along with the verbs dar, tener, or sentir. Thus, what a student who is too shy to speak up in class would probably say something one of the following where an English student might say ‘I am embarrassed (by it)’:
  • Me da vergüenza, lit. ‘It gives me embarrassment’, i.e. ‘It embarrasses me’
  • Tengo vergüenza, lit. ‘I have embarrassment’
  • Siento vergüenza, lit. ‘I feel embarrassment’

Either one of these three ways is more common than Estoy avergonzado/a, with the adjective, or Me avergüenza, with the verb. These last two sentences are quite acceptable Spanish sentences, but their meaning is quite a bit stronger than ‘I am embarrassed’, since they express more a sense of ‘shame’ than ‘embarrassment’, though the two concepts are somehow related. Thus, the sentence Estoy avergonzado/a can be best translated as I am ashamed and the sentence Me avergüenza as It makes me feel ashamed.

The patrimonial noun vergüenza comes from Lat. vĕrēcŭndĭa ‘shamefacedness, shame’, ‘bashfulness, shyness’, and even ‘respect’, that is, ‘a natural and positive feeling of shame (face loss), by whatever cause it is produced’. This noun was derived from the adjective vĕrēcŭndus (fem. vĕrēcŭnda, stem: vĕrēcund‑) and the suffix ‑ia which created abstract nouns typically out of adjectives, as in this case (cf. Part I, Chapters 5 and 8). The adjective vĕrēcundus meant ‘feeling shame (at any thing good or bad); bashful, shy, etc.’.[1] This adjective was itself derived from the second-conjugation deponent verb verērī ‘to respect, revere, fear’, a verb that is cognate with the English adjective aware, since they both descend from the same Proto-Indo-European root. (The principal parts of this Latin verb are vereor, verērī, veritus sum.)

The reason for these differences in meaning of vergüenza and the words derived from it is that vergüenza is a polysemous word, namely one that has more than one meaning (sense), as often happens in language (cf. Part I, Chapter 6). Most English-Spanish dictionaries tell us that the noun vergüenza has three major senses, one of which is sometimes divided into two subsenses:
  • Embarrassment/shyness, with two subsenses
    • Subsense 1: Shyness
      • Meaning: ‘bashfulness’, ‘shyness’, i.e. ‘feeling bad about doing something which might make you lose face or feel humiliation’
      • Synonyms: timidez, corte(dad), apocamiento
      • Examples: Me da vergüenza hablar en clase or Tengo vergüenza de hablar en clase ‘I’m embarrassed about speaking in class’
    •  Subsense 2: Embarrassment
      • Meaning:  ‘embarrassment’, i.e. ‘feeling bad about something that happens to you that might make you lose face or feel humiliation’
      • Synonyms: turbación, sonrojo, sensación de ridículo, rubor, bochorno
      • Examples: Me dio vergüenza cuando me caí or Pasé vergüenza cuando me caí ‘I was embarrassed when I fell down’
  • Sense of shame
    • Synonyms: sentido del decoro, deshonor, sentimiento de dignidad,
    • Example: No tienes vergüenza ‘You have no (sense of) shame’, ‘You should be ashamed of yourself’
  • Something disgraceful (that causes or should cause embarrassment or shame)
    • Synonyms: escándalo, motivo de oprobio
    • Example: Estos precios son una vergüenza ‘These prices are outrageous, disgraceful’

The first sense is the one that is the one that compares to Eng. embarrassment and embarrassed. Notice that this sense has two subsenses. The first one refers to the uneasy feeling about doing something that may cause embarrassment. Eng. shyness and (the somewhat archaic) bashfulness are probably the best equivalents of this sense of the noun vergüenza when this noun is used as an abstract noun. When it is used to express how a person feels at a particular moment, as in No tengas vergüenza ‘Don’t be shy/embarrassed’, the equivalent in English can be the adjective embarrassed (as well as shy or bashful, of course).

The noun timidez is a synonym of this sense of vergüenza, a word that translates as bashfulness, shyness. The noun timidez is derived from the adjective tímido/a ‘shy’ by means of the suffix -ez that creates abstract nouns out of adjectives in Spanish, after removing the inflexional ending ‑o/a (tímid-ez, cf. Part I, Chapter 5). The adjective tímido/a, of course, is cognate of Eng. timid, and it is a synonym of the Spanish adjective vergonzoso/a that we mentioned earlier. Sp. tímido also translates Eng. shy, which is much more common than its synonym timid. Both Eng. timid and Sp. tímido are learned loanwords from the Latin adjective tĭmĭdus/tĭmĭda ‘fearful, afraid, faint-hearted, cowardly, timid’ (English borrowed it in the mid-16th century and Spanish in the late 15th century). This Latin adjective was derived from the root tĭm‑ of the verb tĭmēre ‘to fear, be afraid, be fearful, be apprehensive, dread’, the source of patrimonial Sp. temer, with the same meaning. Another pair of cognates derived from the same root are Eng. intimidate and Sp. intimidar.[2]

The second subsense of the first sense of the noun vergüenza is the one closest to the English noun embarrassment (synonym: ‘anxiety, worry’) and thus to the adjective embarrassed when the noun vergüenza is used to describe how a person is feeling. It refers to the uneasy feeling about something that has happened that is seen as being embarrassing or anxiety provoking. Note that the expression dar vergüenza can be used with both subsenses, whereas pasar vergüenza can only be used with the second subsense. The expression tener vergüenza, on the other hand, can only be used with the first one.

The second major sense of vergüenza is ‘shame’, a sense much stronger than ‘embarrassment’, but one that shares with it the sense of ‘loss of face’, i.e. ‘loss of respectability in front of others’.  The word vergüenza with this ‘strong’ sense of ‘shame’ is used in a number of expressions. One of them is tener vergüenza, which we just saw could be used with the sense of the first subsense of the first sense. The noun vergüenza can also have the strong sense of ‘shame’ in the expression dar vergüenza, if used in the right context. Thus, for instance, the sentence Debería darte vergüenza can probably best be translated (typically) as You should be ashamed and not You should be embarrassed.

Spanish
English

vergüenza
embarrassment
small face-loss
shame
big face-loss

As we saw earlier, the expression dar vergüenza can also be used to translate the English verb to embarrass or to make (one) feel embarrassed/embarrassment, as in Me dio vergüenza lo que hizo mi hijo ‘What my son did made me feel embarrassed’. Another way to express this verb’s transitive meaning is hacer pasar vergüenza ‘to make (someone) feel embarrassment’.

Words related to vergüenza


There are a number of words derived from Sp. vergüenza. In addition to dar vergüenza and hacer pasar vergüenza, there is also a transitive verb avergonzar (a‑vergonz‑ar; o > ue). Like the noun, it can have both the strong and the weak senses, namely ‘cause shame’ and ‘cause embarrassment’.  We find the strong sense in a sentence such as in Mi novia me avergonzó delante de mis padres ‘My fiancée embarrassed/shamed me in front of my parents’. This verb is most commonly used reflexively, that is, as intransitive avergonzarse (de) ‘to feel shame/embarrassment (about)’, as in Me avergüenzo de lo que he hecho ‘I am ashamed/embarrassed of/for what I’ve done’. Sometimes, one of the two senses comes through more clearly, as in Me avergüenzo de ti ‘I’m ashamed of you’. From the past participle of the verb avergonzar we get the adjective avergonzado/a ‘ashamed’ or ‘embarrassed’ (a‑vergonz‑ado/a).

The Latin adjective vĕrēcŭndus that we saw in the previous section was not passed on to Spanish as a patrimonial word and it was not borrowed from Latin later either. Rather, Spanish developed the adjectives from the noun vergüenza. One is vergonzoso/a (vergonz-os-o/a), which has two senses: (1) ‘causing shame, shameful, disgraceful, etc.’, as in un asunto vergonzoso ‘a shameful matter’ or Tus palabras fueron vergonzosas ‘Your words were shameful’. The other sense, not surprisingly, is  ‘shy, bashful’, as in un niño vergonzoso ‘a shy boy’ or Soy vergonzoso ‘I’m shy’ (equivalent to Tengo vergüenza).

The other adjective related to vergüenza is actually derived from the past participle of a verb derived from the noun vergüenza, namely avergonzar (a-vergonz-ar), whose two main senses are ‘to cause shame; to cause embarrassment’. This transitive verb is often used as an intransitive in its reflexive form avergonzarse, also with two meanings: ‘to be or become ashamed’ and ‘to be or become embarrassed’. The participle of this verb is avergonzado/a, which can be used as an adjective, also meaning either ‘ashamed’ or ‘embarrassed’.

The word sinvergüenza, formed from the preposition sin ‘without’ and the noun vergüenza  can be used as an adjective with the strong sense meaning something like ‘shameless’, as in No seas sinvergüenza ‘Don’t be shameless’. It can also be used as a noun and, as such, it translates as ‘shameless (person)’ or ‘scoundrel’, e.g. Juan es un sinvergüenza ‘Juan is a scoundrel’. Sometimes, however, the word is used tongue-in-cheek in contexts in which the word is not quite as strong, especially when employed often to refer to children who misbehave. Then the adjective is best translated as cheeky or rascally and the noun as rascal or brat.

Since the preposition sin ‘without’ is not used commonly as a prefix in Spanish, the word sinvergüenza is obviously derived from the phrase sin vergüenza, lit. ‘without shame’, as in una persona sin vergüenza or un tipo sin vergüenza ‘a person without shame’.[3]  If we drop the noun, we get the noun phrase with the same meaning, namely un(a) sin vergüenza, in which the prepositional phrase sin vergüenza ‘without shame’ has been nominalized (become a noun), namely sinvergüenza ‘shameless’ or ‘shameless person’.

Derived from sinvergüenza is the noun sinvergonzonería that means ‘shameful act, impudence, shamelessness’ or, more properly, ‘the quality of being a sinvergüenza’ or ‘an act typical of a sinvergüenza’. It is formed from the colloquial augmentative of sinvergüenza, namely sinvergonzón, and the ending ‑er‑ía (sin‑vergonz‑on‑er‑ía).

3. Sp. pena


The word vergüenza is not the only way to express the meaning of ‘embarrassment’ in Spanish. Perhaps because this word has two major senses (‘embarrassment’ and ‘shame’), in some dialects, the word pena is used to express the weak sense instead of vergüenza. According to the DLE, in Central America, the Caribbean islands, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela, the word pena is used instead of vergüenza for the sense of ‘bashfulness’ or ‘embarrassment’. In some countries, namely Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama, the word pena is also equivalent to the related sense of the word pudor ‘modesty, sense of decency, decorum, bashfulness’, so that in these dialects the meaning of pena extends to embarrassment about the display of one’s body and behavior that is considered immodest.

In these countries, the noun pena is used with this sense of bashfulness with the verbs tener ‘to have’, sentir ‘to feel’, or dar ‘to give’, as in Tengo pena, Siento pena, or Me da pena translate in these dialects as ‘I’m embarrassed’ (equivalent to Me da vergüenza in other dialects, such as those found in Spain). The very common phrase Don’t be embarrassed translates in these dialects as No tengas pena.

The expressions that we have just seen would be interpreted very different in other countries, such as Spain, for instance, since there the word pena does not have this meaning. In those other countries, pena translates primarily as pity (or as shame, but only in the phrase What a shame!, equivalent to What a pity!). In the plural, penas typically means ‘sorrows’ and in legal terminology pena can mean ‘penalty’. The word pena comes from Lat. poena ‘penalty, punishment’, which was a loan from Gk. ποινή ‎(poinḗ) ‘penalty, fine, blood money’.

The English noun pain is a cognate of Sp. pena, but they are false friends since their senses are different. Eng. pain was borrowed from French in the late 13th century with the sense of ‘penalty’. Since judicial penalties in those days involved the infliction of pain (torture), it is no surprise that the word pain came to acquire the meaning it currently has in English, though not in Spanish.

The main sense of Eng. pain translates into Spanish as dolor. Do note that dolor is also an English word, albeit a rare one. It means ‘grief, sorrow’. They come from Lat. dolor (acc. dolōr-em), which meant primarily ‘pain, ache’, but also ‘anguish, grief, sorrow’ and ‘indignation, anger’.

In Spanish, pena can still mean ‘punishment’, as it did in Latin, so that pena de muerte means ‘death penalty’, but that is not its main meaning nowadays. (Eng. penalty is derived from the same root; the expression pain of death is still used as equivalent to dealth penalty.) As we said, the main sense of pena in standard Spanish is ‘grief, sorrow, pity’. It is used very often in sentences such as Juan me da pena ‘I feel sorry for Juan’ and ¡Qué pena! ‘What a pity’, and Siento pena ‘I feel sorry’. It is obviously from this sense of ‘grief, sorrow, pity’ that the ‘embarrassment’ sense was derived for the word pena in certain collocations and in certain countries (though not all).




[1] In Old Spanish, the noun vergüença, the precursor of Mod.Sp. vergüenza, alternated with a synonym vergüeña (cognate of Catalan vergonya). Corominas thinks that vergüeña is the true patrimonial word whereas vergüenza comes from a semi-learned Medieval pronunciation vergundia, which later became vergunzia (/beɾ.ɡun.ʣ̪i̯a/), verguinza (/beɾ.ɡui̯n.ʣ̪a/), and eventually vergüenza. French lost this Latin word and its meaning is expressed in French by the noun honte /ˈɔ̃t/ ‘shame’, from Frankish *haunitha ‘disdain, scorn, ridicule’. By the way, Eng. shame is a patrimonial word that descends from O.Eng. scamu (also attested as scomu, sceamu, sceomu), which also meant ‘shame’. The plural of the noun vergüenza, namely vergüenzas, is also a euphemism for ‘private parts’.

[2] Derived from the verb tĭmēre Latin had the noun tĭmor (accusative: tĭmōrem), meaning ‘fear, dread’, which is the source of the Spanish noun temor, with the same meaning. Another word derived, in Spanish, from this noun is atemorizar ‘to frighten, scare; to terrorize’. From the verb temer, Spanish has also derived the adjective temeroso/a ‘fearful’.

[3] Another words formed on this pattern is sintecho, lit. ‘without roof’, which is one way to refer to a ‘homeless person’.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Personal Names, Part 1: Introduction

[This entry is an excerpt from the first section of Chapter 44 ("Personal Names") of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An (Unorthodox) Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

Our name is something that we are attached to for life.[i] There are exceptions, of course, such as when women in some cultures change their last name from their father’s family name to their husband’s one, an ancient patriarchal tradition. However, for the most part, the name we are given at birth follows us until we die.

Naming conventions are similar in many different cultures and countries, though there are many differences as well. As we will see, this is true of the customs in Spanish-speaking (Hispanophone) and the English-speaking (Anglophone) countries, which share similarities but are not identical.[ii] In this chapter, we will look at naming conventions, as well as the origin of some very common names, including a fair number of Spanish-English cognate names.

Different as they obviously seem at first sight, the English word name and the Spanish word nombre ‘name’ are historical cognates, going back to the same source in Proto-Indo-European. Also, they are both native words in their languages, not borrowed. English name comes from Old English nama, and Spanish nombre comes from Latin nōmen (same in the nominative and the accusative). Both, in turn, are derived from Proto-Indo-European root *nomn- with the same meaning.

The Ancient Greek equivalent of this word was ὄνομα (ónoma) ‘name’, which in the Doric and Aolic dialects was νυμα (ónuma). This latter wordform survives in the cognate form Eng. ‑onym ~ Sp. -ónimo in words that we have seen in this book, such as synonym and homonym (see Part I, Chapter 6). English words ending in ‑onym are nouns and their derived adjectives end in ‑onymous. Spanish words in ‑ónimo are nouns as well as adjectives. Other common words from this Greek root are the following (in total there are around 60 words in English that end in ‑onym, many of them recent New Latin creations):
  • Eng. pseudonym /ˈsʊ.də.nɪm/ ~ Sp. seudónimo: ‘a fictitious name, especially one used by an author’ (COED); it is a 19th century back-formation from the adjective pseudonymous, which comes ultimately from Gr. ψευδώνυµος ‘under a false name, falsely named’, from the prefix ψευδο- (pseudo-), combining form of ψευδής (pseudḗs) ‘false’
  • Eng. eponym /ˈɛ.pə.nɪm/ ~ Sp. epónimo: ‘a word or name derived from the name of a person’ (COED); a back formation from the Greek adjective ἐπώνυμος (epṓnumos) ‘named in a significant manner, with a significant name; concerning giving one's name to something’, from ἐπί (epí) ‘upon’
  • Eng. toponym /ˈtɒ.pə.nɪm/ ~ Sp. topónimo: ‘a place name, especially one derived from a topographical feature’ (COED); first coined in the 19th century, with τοπο-, combining form of Gk. τόπος (tópos) ‘place’
  • Eng. ethnonym /ˈɛθ.nə.nɪm/ ~ Sp. etnónimo (synonym of gentilicio): ‘the name of a people or ethnic group’ (AHD); coined first in English in the 1960s; from Gk. ἔθνος (éthnos) ‘a company’ and later ‘a people, nation’ (the combining form ethn(o)‑ is used in other words such as ethnography)[1]
  • Eng. acronym /ˈæ.kɹə.nɪm/ ~ Sp. acrónimo (synonym of siglas) ‘a word formed from the initial letters of other words (e.g. laser, Aids)’ (COED); coined first in German in the early 20th century; found in English in the 1940s; acro­‑ is from Gr. ἀκρο- combining form of ἄκρος ‘a tip, point, extremity, peak, summit’

Another common word that contain this morpheme is Eng. anonymous ~ Sp. anónimo/a, adjectives that mean primarily ‘not identified by name; of unknown identity’, as well as ‘having no individual or unusual features’ (COED). They are loanwords from Lat. anōnymus, which is a loanword from Gk. ἀνώνυµος, formed with the privative prefix ἀν ‘without’.

Although, as we saw, the word name /ˈneɪ̯m/ is patrimonial (not borrowed), English has also borrowed a descendant of Latin nōmen, namely the word noun /ˈnaʊ̯n/, which was taken in the 14th century from Anglo-Norman French. English noun is used in grammar to refer to ‘a word (other than a pronoun) used to identify any of a class of people, places, or things (common noun), or to name a particular one of these (proper noun)’ (COED). The reason for calling these words nouns is that in the Latin grammatical tradition a noun was called nomen substantivum ‘self-existing name’. That is also the source of the Spanish equivalent word in Spanish grammar, namely sustantivo, taken from the second part of that phase, not the first one. However, the word nombre is also used in some contexts to refer to nouns, as in nombre común ‘common noun’ (lit. ‘common name’) and nombre propio ‘proper noun’ (lit. ‘own name’).[iii] In other words, Sp. nombre can translate either name or noun.

The word name refers to ‘a word or term used for identification’ (Wikipedia) or ‘a word or set of words by which someone or something is known, addressed, or referred to’ (COED). And, as we saw in the definition of noun, a name can refer to a single thing or individual, which is a proper noun, or to a category of things or individuals, a common noun. Thus, the noun ship is the name for any ‘large seagoing boat’ (among other things) (COED), which is a category of things (a common noun). We are in the habit of giving these names to categories of things in our surroundings, though some languages seem to be able to tolerate not having a name for less common things better than others. Particular individuals or members of a category have individual names (proper nouns). So, for instance, a particular ship can have its own name, such as Titanic. We tend to name ships, and even boats, but for some reason not automobiles (or trees, for that matter), though some people do name their cars, somewhat facetiously. We also typically name pets and other animals with which we have a relationship, such as large zoo animals, like tigers (though probably not snakes).

The branch of lexicography that studies proper names goes by the name of onomastics, onomástica in Spanish, a word derived (shortened) from the Greek phrase ὀνομαστική [ἐπιστήμη] (onomastiké [epistéme]), ‘[knowledge] about naming’. This word is derived from the Greek word ὄνομα (onoma) ‘name’ that we have just discussed.[iv] The study of the proper names of human beings is known as anthroponomastics (or anthroponymy), antroponimia in Spanish. Finally, the name for the study of place names is toponymy, or toponomastics (Sp. toponimia).

In this chapter we are going to look at the origin of a number of typical Spanish and English proper names, including first names and last names, as well as hypocorisms or pet names. We will pay particular attention to names that are cognate in both of these languages and many of them are, in particular first names, since they are often derived from other languages, such as Latin, Greek, or Hebrew.


[1] Anthropologists distinguish different types of names for ethnic groups depending on whether it’s the name they give themselves or the name outsiders give them. Thus an Eng. autonym ~ Sp. autónimo or Eng. endonym ~ Sp. endónimo is ‘a name used by a group or category of people to refer to themselves or their language, as opposed to a name given to them by other groups’ (e.g. Deutsche for ‘German’). The prefix auto‑ ‘self’ comes ultimately from Gk. ατός (autós) ‘self’ and endo‑ ‘inside’ comes ultimately from Gk. νδον (éndon) ‘inner; internal’. The word for a name outsiders give to a people is Eng. exonym ~ Sp. exónimo, e.g. Eng. Spain in an exonym for España. This word was formed with the prefix exo‑ ‘outside’ (opposite of endo‑), from Gk. ξω (éxō) ‘outer, external’. A recently coined synonym of ethnonym in English is demonym ‘a name for an inhabitant or native of a specific place that is derived from the name of the place’, e.g. American from America, δμος (dêmos) ‘people’.
The traditional word to refer to the name of a people in Spanish is gentilicio, a noun derived from an identical adjective which is a borrowing from the Latin adjective gentilicĭus or gentilitĭus ‘belonging to a particular Roman gens (tribe, clan, house); of a people, nation, group’, from which came the phrase nōmen gentīlicium ‘the name designating a Roman citizen as a member of a particular gens; a gentile name’. However, the noun gentilicio is not used just for ethnic groups, but for groups based on residence. Thus, in Spanish, madrileño is the gentilicio of people from Madrid. English has a (semi-)cognate of Sp. gentilicio, namely gentilic (formed in English from Lat. gentīl‑is plus the suffix ‑ic), which is primarily an adjective meaning ‘tribal, racial, national’ in the 19th century (when first coined, in the 17th century it meant something more like ‘heathen, pagan’), but which has also been used as a noun synonymous with ethnomym. This word is less common than its Spanish counterpart.



[iii] The words Eng. adjective and Sp. adjetivo, are derived from Latin adjectivum, which is short for nomen adjectivum, literally meaning ‘name thrown next to’. The words Eng. pronoun and Sp. pronombre, come from Lat. prōnōmen, lit. prō ‘instead of’ + nōmen ‘name’, which is a calque of A.Gk. ἀντωνυμία (antōnumía). Cf. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/adjective, https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pronomen#Latin

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Words for Family Relations, Part 3: Words for Children

[This entry comes from the fourth section of chapter 5 ("Words for family relations") of Part II of the open textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Introduction to Spanish Linguistics]

Sp. hijo and hija and words from the same root


Spanish has kept the word for son and daughter from Latin, though because of the phonetic changes these words underwent, they may seem hardly recognizable. The Latin word for ‘son’ was fīlĭus, with the root fīlĭ‑ and the nominative masculine singular inflection ‑us. The accusative form is fīlĭum (cf. fīlĭ+um). From this fīlĭum comes Spanish hijo ‘son’, pronounced/ˈi.xo/. The Latin word for ‘daughter’ was fīlĭa, formed from the same root fīlĭ‑ plus the nominative feminine singular inflection ‑a (cf. fīlĭ+a; acc. fīlĭam, cf. fīlĭ+am). From that feminine form, we get Spanish hija /ˈi.xa/.

Different as the two words fīlĭus and hijo look and sound, the sound changes involved to get from the Latin word to the Spanish word are totally regular and general (cf. Part I, Chapter 10). First of all, the initial f changed its sound to [h], as we just saw in the previous section when we saw the derivation of the Latin word fēmina to Sp. hembra. The other major sound in this word is exactly the same one that we saw in the previous section for the word mulier, which became Spanish mujer.

Latin
F
Ī
LĬ
Ŭ(M)
Mod. Spanish
h
i
j
o

As we mentioned earlier, Latin fīlĭus and fīlĭa are not the original words for ‘son’ and ‘daughter’ in Indo-European. Rather, they probably derive from the Proto-Indo-European word for ‘sucker’ *dhē(i)‑li-os (*dʰeh₁y-li-os), derived from the verbal root *dhē(i)‑ (*dʰeh₁(y)‑), meaning ‘to suck, suckle’.

In addition to these patrimonial words, Spanish has a learned (borrowed) Latin word that was derived from the original fīlĭ‑ root and the adjectival ending ‑āl‑, namely the adjective fīlĭālis (morphemes: fīlĭ+āl+is), meaning ‘of or pertaining to a son or daughter’. From this Latin word, we get the Spanish learned word filial /fi.ˈli̯al/ with the same meaning, which is a fancy, uncommon word. There is an English cognate of this word, namely filial /ˈfɪ.li.əl/, also meaning ‘relating to the relationship of a son or daughter to their parents’ (DOCE), as in filial love or filial respect. This is an even rarer and fancier word in English. In Spanish, the word filial can also be a (feminine) noun, and it is said of a business or another entity that depends on another, as in Audi es una filial del grupo Wolkswagen ‘Audi is a subsidiary of the Wolkswagen group’.

Latin also had verb derived from the root fīlĭ‑, namely affīlĭāre, meaning ‘to adopt as a son’. It is formed from the Latin preposition ad, the root fīlĭ‑ of  fīlĭus ‘son’, and the verbal endings, such as the infinitive ending ‑āre (ad+fīlĭ+āre). This verb has been borrowed by English and Spanish. English borrowed the verb affiliate in the 18th century. It means ‘to officially attach or connect to an organization’ or ‘to admit as a member (organization)’ (COED). We can see the connection to the noun filial in Spanish. The Spanish cognate of Eng. affiliate is afiliar, also a learned word, with the same meaning. The verb is typically used intransitively, as the reflexive afiliarse, which means primarily ‘to join an organization’.

In the next century, English also started using affiliate as a noun with the meaning ‘a person, organization, or establishment associated with another as a subordinate, subsidiary, or member’ (AHD). This noun is very close to the meaning of the Spanish noun filial, though filial cannot be used for persons. Also in the 19th century, English borrowed the noun affiliation, which means ‘a person's connection with a political party, religion, etc.’ as well as ‘one group or organization's official connection with another’ (ALD).  Spanish also has a cognate of this word, namely afiliación, which is very close in meaning. Sp. afiliación sometimes translates better as membership and English affiliation sometimes translates better as conexión. In addition, Spanish has the less common noun filiación, which is sometimes confused with afiliación, but which means something like ‘personal information’ or ‘information about one’s personal connections’. This noun is related to the rare verb filiar, which means primarily to take someone’s information down’.

Eng. child, Sp. niño and other words for offspring


Unlike Latin, Old English kept the Proto-Indo-European words for ‘son’ and ‘daughter’, which is why these words are not cognates of the Spanish words with the same meaning. English, however, uses two other words to refer to someone’s offspring, namely child and kid. Both of these words can be equivalent to Spanish niño ‘boy, (male) child’, fem. niña ‘girl, (female) child’. In English, however, we often use child and kid, and their plural forms children and kids, to refer to someone’s offspring, in a way that its Spanish equivalents are not. Thus, Eng. my children or my kids translates into Spanish as mis hijos, rarely mis niños. A teacher might use the phrase mis niños, for instance, but probably not a parent.

The English word child is a patrimonial one. In Old English, cild meant ‘fetus, infant, unborn or newly born person’. That explains expressions such as to be with child ‘to be pregnant’. Also, in Old English the word for ‘womb’ was cildhama, lit. ‘child-home’. The word kid, on the other hand, is a loanword from Old Norse. Originally it meant (and still means) ‘young of a goat’, but it became a slang word for ‘child’ in the late 16th century, and it was fully established with that meaning by the mid-19th century. The verb to kid, meaning ‘to tease playfully’, is derived from the noun kid, through the sense ‘to treat as a child, make a kid of’. It also dates from the mid-19th century.

By the way, the patrimonial Spanish word niño /ˈni.ɲo/ seems to come from a Vulgar Latin word *nīnnus which was probably based on imitation of child language. There are a few words derived from this one. The main ones are niñera ‘nanny, nursemaid’ (there is no equivalent niñero, since this does not seem to have been a male occupation) and niñería ‘a trifle; childish behavior’.

In English, the phase El Niño refers to ‘a warming of the ocean surface off the western coast of South America that occurs every 4 to 12 years when upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water does not occur. It causes die-offs of plankton and fish and affects Pacific jet stream winds, altering storm tracks and creating unusual weather patterns in various parts of the world’ (AHD). This climatic phenomenon is called El Niño because it occurs around Christmas time, when Christ’s birth is celebrated. That is because, in Spanish, (el) Niño Jesús means ‘Baby Jesus’ or ‘Christ child’. This climatic condition has a counterpart that is called La Niña in English and Spanish, a term based on El Niño. It refers to ‘a cooling of the ocean surface off the western coast of South America, occurring periodically every 4 to 12 years and affecting Pacific and other weather patterns’ (AHD).

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Words about Spices and Herbs, Part 1: Introduction

[This entry is an excerpt from the first section of Chapter 43 of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An (Unorthodox) Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

Introduction


Herbs and spices have been used for cooking for a very long time. Herbs are easy enough to come by, since in most cases they are grown locally. Spices, on the other hand, are rarer and they have been very valuable—and thus expensive—commodities since antiquity. We have evidence of the trading of spices in South Asia and the Middle East dating back some 4,000 years. They were a big part of European trade with Asia and Africa, the sources of most spices, for a long time.

The monopoly that Venice had over the spice trade from the 8th through the 15th century, and their resulting high prices, is in part what drove the Spanish and the Portuguese to search for a direct route to the source of spices, one that did not go overland through the Middle East, which at the time was part of the Ottoman empire. This eventually led to the European colonial expansion in Africa and the Americas. Columbus was not searching for a new continent when he came upon the Americas, but for a shorter route to India, the source of spices, and hence the early name for the “new” continent.[i]

The terms Indies in English and Indias in Spanish to refer to the Indian subcontinent and other parts of Asia where spices and other exotic things came from was popularized in Europe by the famous traveler Marco Polo in the 14th century. When Columbus reached the American continent, he thought he had reached the very same Indies and that is what he called this land.



Figure 124: Referents of the word Indies in English from the 16th to the 19th centuries. (1) East Indies (Indias Orientales):      (light orange): East Indies, narrowly conceived (the Indian subcontinent);     (bright orange)  East Indies broadly conceived (includes South Asia and South East Asia). (2) West Indies (Indias Occidentales):     (dark green) narrowly conceived;     (light green) broadly conceived.[ii]

The term Indias was used in Spain to refer to the American colonies until at least the 19th century. Likewise, in the British Empire the term West Indies in English (Indias Occidentales in Spanish) is used to this day to refer to Caribbean islands, in particular those that were former colonies and which are now part of the British Commonwealth. The West Indies or Indias Occidentales include three major Caribbean island groups (see Figure 125):
  • The Bahamas (Islas Bahamas or Islas Lucayas in Spanish): Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos (United Kingdom)
  • Greater Antilles (Antillas Mayores in Spanish): Cuba, Hispaniola (the island shared by Dominican Republic and Haiti), Jamaica and Puerto Rico
  • Lesser Antilles (Antillas Menores in Spanish): Anguilla (UK), Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba (Netherlands), Barbados, Bonaire (Netherlands), British Virgin Islands (UK), Curaçao (Netherlands), Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe (France), Martinique (France), Montserrat (UK), Nueva Esparta (Venezuela), Saba (Netherlands), Saint Barthélemy (France), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint-Martin (France), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Eustatius (Netherlands), Sint Maarten (Netherlands), Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, United States Virgin Islands (United States), and the Federal Dependencies of Venezuela (Venezuela)

Additionally, in the Caribbean we find the Cayman Islands (Islas Caimán), which belong to the UK and are not considered to be part of any of these groups of islands. All of these lands became colonies of Spain, France, Britain, the Netherlands, and even Denmark (St. Thomas, Saint John, and Saint Croix, which were sold to the US in 1916 and are now part of the U.S. Virgin Islands).


Figure 125: The narrow term West Indies includes three major Caribbean island groups:
   (bright orange) Bahamas (Islas Bahamas or Islas Lucayas in Spanish);
   (yellow) Greater Antilles (Antillas Mayores in Spanish);   (green) Lesser Antilles (Antillas Menores in Spanish).   (brown) The Cayman Islands (Islas Caimán).
[iii]
We should also mention that along with the terms Eng. Indies ~ Sp. Indias for the Americas or parts of the Americas, the derived terms Eng. Indian and Sp. indio were also used for a long time, and are used to this day in some places, to refer to native American peoples. These words are derived from the original place name. The word Indian has pretty much been replaced in modern times in the US by the term Native American. In Canada, these peoples are called First Nations (Premières Nations in French).  In Spanish, the term indio is still used in some places to refer to unassimilated indigenous peoples, though this term has been replaced in many contexts by the terms indígena ‘indigenous (person)’, indígena (americano) ‘indigenous (American) person’, amerindio ‘Amerindian (person)’, among other names.

1.1.1. Eng. spice ~ Sp. especia


The word spice /ˈspaɪ̯s/ in English means ‘an aromatic or pungent vegetable substance used to flavor food, e.g. pepper’ (COED). It is a 12th century borrowing from Old French espice (Modern French épice /e.ˈpis/), which comes from Late Latin (plural) spĕciēs ‘goods, wares’ and, derived from that meaning, ‘spices’. The original Latin (singular) word spĕciēs ‘kind, sort, type’ and, earlier, ‘look, appearance’ (singular and plural of this word are identical in the nominative case, but not in the other cases).

The Spanish equivalent of Eng. spice is especia, a cognate and an early, learned borrowing (mid-13th century) from the same Latin word, with the meaning this Latin word had in the plural, namely ‘spice’. The words Eng. spice ~ Sp. especia are doublets of the also learned words Eng. species ~ Sp. especie. Spanish especie is a common word in Modern Spanish, first attested in the 15th century, with the same meaning singular species had in Latin: ‘kind, sort, type’. The biological sense of especie came later, in the 17th century. The doublet of Eng. spice, namely species /ˈs.pi.ʃis/, entered the language in the late 14th century as a term in logic and in the early 17th century it came to take on its current biological sense.

The Latin noun spĕciēs is itself derived from the root of the Old Latin verb specĕre ‘to observe, watch, look at’ (speciō, specere, spexī, spectum), with the suffix ‑iēs, which was used to create abstract nouns. From the root of the verb specĕre we get many English and Spanish cognates, such as Eng. inspect ~ Sp. inspeccionar, Eng. prospect ~ Sp. prospecto, Eng. respect ~ Sp. respeto/respecto, Eng. perspective ~ Sp. perspectiva, Eng. specimen ~ Sp. espécimen, Eng. spectacle ~ Sp. espectáculo, Eng. specify ~ Sp. especificar, Eng. specific ~ Sp. específico. All of these words are learned borrowings, but Spanish also has a patrimonial word that contains the Latin root spec‑, namely Sp. espejo ‘mirror’. The Latin root goes back to the Proto-Indo-European root *speḱ‑, which gave us patrimonial words in Germanic languages, such as spy in English.

Latin had an adjective derived from the noun spĕciēs by addition of the adjectival suffix ‑āl‑, namely the third declension adjective masc./fem. speciālis ‎(speci+āl+is; neuter speciāle). Its meaning was ‘specific, particular, individual’. This adjective came into English in the 12th century as special, through French special (also written especial and especiel, Mod.Fr. spécial) ‘special, particular, unusual’. A number of words have been derived from this adjective: Eng. especially & specially[1] ~ Sp. especialmente, Eng. specialty ~ Sp. especialidad, Eng. specialist ~ Sp. especialista, Eng. specific ~ Sp. específico, Eng. specify ~ Sp. especificar, and Eng. specialize ~ Sp. especializarse.


1.1.2. Eng. herb ~ Sp. hierba


The English word herb, pronounced /ˈɜɹb/ or /ˈhɜɹb/, depending on the dialect, is used to refer to certain culinary and medicinal plants.[iv] Its popular meaning is ‘any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume’, though technically in botany it means ‘any seed-bearing plant which does not have a woody stem and dies down to the ground after flowering’ (COED).

The source of the word herb is Latin hĕrba, though the Latin word was broader in meaning, since it meant ‘grass’, ‘green crops’, and ‘herb’. The Spanish patrimonial descendant of Lat. hĕrba is hierba, which has the same meaning as its Latin source, namely ‘grass’ and, in the right context, and especially in the plural, hierba can have the same meaning as the ‘popular’ meaning of Eng. herb.

English
Spanish
grass
hierba
herb

English got the noun herb from Old French erb in the 13th century. Old French, like Old Spanish and even post-first-century Latin, did not pronounce the Latin h and in some cases, such as this one, it did not write it either. English reintroduced the h to the spelling of this word in the 15th century, to make it look more like the Latin original and, for at least some English speakers, this h began to be pronounced in the 19th century, a phenomenon known as spelling pronunciation (cf. Part I, Chapter 3, §3.6.4.9, and Chapter 4, §4.6).[2]

Spanish hierba, pronounced /ˈʝeɾ.ba/ reflects the diphthongization of Latin short ĕ to ie [i̯e], with the expected consonantization of an initial [i̯] to [ʝ] (the initial i becomes a consonant; the pronunciation is [j] in some dialects, at least in some contexts). Sometimes one hears this word pronounced [i.ˈeɾ.ba] (or even [ˈi̯eɾ.ba]), which seems to be nothing but a spelling pronunciation. There is an alternative spelling for this word (same pronunciation), namely yerba. This spelling is most commonly used in collocations such as (1) yerba buena, a perennial herb of North America (same in English, since it is a 19th century borrowing from Spanish, as we will see later on), and (2) yerba mate or yerba maté, another name for maté, an Andean plant that is used in infusions (the name comes from the Quechua word mati; in English it is called yerba maté and the Latin botanical name is ilex paraguariensis).

Some dialects of Spanish do not use the word hierba for the meaning ‘grass’, preferring alternatives such as pasto, lit. ‘pasture’, grama, lit. a type of grass, and césped, lit. ‘lawn’. In some countries and among some people the word hierba is used to refer to marijuana, much like grass used to have that meaning in English in the late 20th century.



[1] There are two ways to spell this word in English and supposedly each spelling corresponds to a different meaning or usage, though that is probably not widely known. OALD explains the supposed difference between especially and specially, one that is probably rather artificial to most English speakers: “Especially usually means ‘particularly’: She loves all sports, especially swimming. It is not placed first in a sentence: I especially like sweet things [OK]. *Especially I like sweet things [not OK]. Specially usually means ‘for a particular purpose’ and is often followed by a past participle, such as designed, developed or made: a course specially designed to meet your needs, She has her clothes specially made in Paris. In BrE, especially and specially are often used in the same way and it can be hard to hear the difference when people speak. Specially is less formal: I bought this especially/specially for you. It is especially/specially important to remember this.
[2] The French borrowings haste /ˈheɪ̯st/ and hostel /ˈhɒs.təl/ are examples of the many words where the spelling pronunciation has succeeded, even though the h’s in these words were originally silent. The h in other French borrowings has remained silent, as in honor, honest, hour, and heir. In other cases, such as humble, human and humor, the h is pronounced in some dialects but not in others. The h in English patrimonial Germanic words, such as in happy and hot, is always pronounced.




[ii] «Las Indias» by user Maulucioni, derived from image by user Deepak, Wikipedia en español. Disponible bajo la licencia Dominio público vía Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Las_Indias.png
[iii] «CaribbeanIslandGroups». Publicado bajo la licencia Dominio público vía Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CaribbeanIslandGroups.png

Words about Spices and Herbs, Part 2: Eng. salt and Sp. sal

[This entry is an excerpt from the second section ("Condiments and seasonings") of Chapter 43 ("Spices and herbs") of Pa...