Monday, November 19, 2018

Eng. -age ~ Sp. -aje, Part 15: Latin verbs derived from vĭa (e)

[This entry comes from Chapter 18, "Eng. language and Sp. lenguaje: words ending in Eng. -age and Sp. -aje", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]


Sp. aviar

Sp. aviar is a rare verb nowadays, obsolete or at least archaic in perhaps most dialects. This verb should not be confused with the homophonous adjective aviar ‘avian’, derived from the noun ave ‘bird’, as in gripe aviar ‘bird/avian flu’ (cf. Part II, Chapter 36).

The verb aviar looks like it should have come from a Latin *adviāre, except that there is no record of such a verb. Italian also has a verb avviare that means something very similar: ‘to begin’, ‘to launch’, ‘to set up’, etc. Since there is no Latin *adviāre, these verbs were probably created in Vulgar Latin from the phrase ad via, lit. ‘to the road’, formed with the preposition ad ‘to’ and the noun vía ‘road’, very.

The original meaning of the verb aviar in Old Spanish was ‘to prepare things for the road’ or, used reflexively, aviarse, ‘to set off for some place’. There are a few more modern meanings such as transitive ‘to prepare, get ready’ and ‘to provide, supply with’, and intransitive (aviarse) ‘to get going’, and, reflexively, ‘to prepare oneself’, like to go outside, and, finally, ‘to manage’, ‘to get by’, as in Me avío con lo que gano ‘I manage with what I earn’ or No cómo me las avié para llegar a tiempo ‘I don’t know how I managed to arrive on time’. There is a common if a bit archaic Spanish idiomatic expression, ¡Estamos aviados! or ¡Aviados estamos!, which can translate as something like What a mess we’re in!

The noun avío is derived from the verb aviar and it is also now dialectal and rare. It has several senses. The most common ones are ‘preparation for some activity’, ‘profit, benefit, usefulness’, synonymous with provecho, and ‘provisions’, the things one needs to start off on a trip, and also in some dialects, the stuff one needs to prepare a dish. In the plural, avíos means ‘gear, equipment (for a purpose)’, as in avíos de pesca ‘fishing gear’ or avíos de afeitar ‘shaving tools’.

Sp. previo/a ~ Eng. previous

Finally, the cognate words Sp. previo ~ Eng. previous are two other cognates that contain the noun via, though in this case they are not verbs but adjectives. They come from the Latin adjective praevĭus ‘going before, leading the way’, and in post-classical Latin also ‘foregoing, preceding’. It is formed from the prefix and preposition prae ‘before’, the root vi‑ of the noun via ‘way’, and the ‑us masculine nominative inflectional suffix (prae+vĭ+us; the feminine form of this adjective is praevĭa). These are fairly recent learned borrowings in our languages. Eng. previous dates from the early 17th century and Sp. previo/a, from around the same time, according to some sources.

These two adjectives are not fully equivalent, however. Eng. previous can be used attributively, before a noun and then it means ‘coming or going before (in time or order); foregoing, preceding, antecedent’ (OED), e.g. the previous decade, the previous owner. This sense of previous typically translates into Spanish with the adjective anterior, as in la década anterior (not la década previa) and el dueño anterior. However, Sp. previo/a can also be used attributively when talking about experiences, knowledge, or appointments, as in tengo un compromiso previo ‘I have a previous engagement’.

Less, commonly, Eng. previous can be used predicatively, following a noun or after a verb, always followed by the preposition to, and then it means ‘that precedes, that comes before, antecedent to’ (OED), as in the time previous to his fall. This use of previous (to) typically translates as anterior(es) (a) or, using a preposition, antes (de), e.g. the months previous to her arrival ‘los meses anteriores a su llegada’. When used in an adverbial expression, which is quite rare, previous to can be translated as con anterioridad a, as in previous to their arrival ‘con anterioridad a su llegada’. Instead of previous, English often uses the adjective prior in this context, which translates into Spanish the same way, as anterior or previo/a.

Sp. previo/a is found in some common collocations, often as a translation of Eng. prefix fore‑ or pre‑, such as sin aviso previo or sin previo aviso ‘without (fore)warning; unannounced, without notice’, conocimiento previo ‘foreknowledge, prior knowledge’, entrevista previa ‘pre-interview, prior interview’, planificación previa ‘foreplanning’.

There are also adverbs that have been derived in each language from these adjective, namely Sp. previamente and Eng. previously. Spanish previamente is quite rare, however, and Eng. previously is best translated with the adverbs antes, anteriormente, or the adverbial prepositional phrase con anterioridad. In US TV jargon, the adverb previously is used when starting a sequel episode, as in Previously, on “Lost”,… This use of previously can be translated into Spanish as En episodios anteriores de “Perdidos”[a]

[a] Perdidos is the name of the American TV series Lost in Spain. In Spanish America, it was called Desaparecidos.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Eng. -age ~ Sp. -aje, Part 14: Latin verbs derived from vĭa (d)

[This entry is an excerpt from Chapter 18, "Eng. language and Sp. lenguaje: words ending in Eng. -age and Sp. -aje", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]


Lat. obvĭāre

Lat. obvĭāre is another verb that seems to be formed following the same pattern as the previous ones, with the prefix ob­‑ ‘in the way, against, toward’. This verb was several meanings and thus translations. These meanings can be divided into two groups: ‘to withstand, oppose, prevent, hinder, go against, to act counter to’ and, a very different one, ‘to (go out to) meet’.

It does not seem, however, that this Latin verb was derived from the verb viāre by addition of a prefix. Rather, it was derived from the adjective obvĭus (fem. obvĭa, neut. obvĭum), which meant ‘in the way’, ‘obvious’ and ‘meeting’, which is derived from the prefix ob‑ and the root vi‑ of the noun vĭa ‘way’. This Latin adjective is the source of the cognates Sp. obvio/a ~ Eng. obvious, borrowed in the 16th century in English and the 17th in Spanish. Note that English changed the ‑us inflectional ending of the Latin word with the ending ‑ous, which is typically the reflex of the Latin derivational suffix ‑ōsus/a, cf. Sp. ‑os-o/a.[1]

The Latin adjective obvĭus seems to have been derived from an adverbial phrase consisting of preposition plus noun: ob viam ‘in the way, towards, against, etc.’. In other words, the adjective obvius came first, derived from the phrase, and was then turned into the verb obvĭāre by the changing of the inflectional endings without the addition of any derivational affixes.

Eng. obviate is a learned 16th century loan from the Latin verb obvĭāre’s passive participle obvĭātus. Actually, it seems that the post-classical Latin noun obvĭātĭōn‑, derived from this verb, was borrowed into English first, in the early 15th century, resulting in the noun obviation, which was used at different times with the two main senses that the verb had in Latin: (1) ‘the action of preventing or avoiding something by anticipatory measures; prevention’, a meaning that obviation still has today in English, and (2) ‘the action of meeting or encountering something; contact with or exposure to something’, a meaning that is today obsolete (OED).[2]

The English verb obviate means ‘to anticipate and prevent (as a situation) or make unnecessary (as an action)’ (MWALD) and it is thus a synonym of the verb prevent, e.g. This new evidence obviates the need for any further enquiries and Disaster was obviated by the opening of the reserve parachute (OALD). English obviate translates into Spanish as hacer innecesario (lit. ‘to make unnecessary’), eludir (cf. Eng. elude), evitar (lit. ‘to avoid’), and even by the very rare cognate verb obviar, a transitive verb that means ‘to avoid, to shun, to remove obstacles or problems’ (Sp. ‘evitar, rehuir, apartar y quitar de en medio obstáculos o inconvenientes’, DLE).

Curiously, Spanish had a patrimonial verb uviar derived from Lat. obvĭāre, now obsolete, which meant ‘to come to, arrive’ (‘acudir, venir, llegar’, DRAE). This sense obviously came from one of the senses of the Latin verb obvĭāre that we saw earlier, namely ‘to come out to meet’.

Sp. extraviar

Sp. extraviar ‘to mislay, lose’ would also seem to be formed from the same pattern that we have seen before: Latin preposition + vĭāre. There is a Latin preposition extra ‘outside of, without, beyond, etc.’, but there is no Latin verb *extravĭāre and no other Romance languages seem to have cognates of it. This Spanish verb appears to be a neologism, created in Spanish, first seen in a dictionary in the 18th century. It is primarily a fancy synonym for the sense ‘to mislay, lose’ of the verb perder, e.g. Extravié las llaves ‘I lost my keys’. (The first definition or sense of this verb in the DLE is ‘to lose something or to not know or forget where it is’.) As expected, the reflexive (pronominal) form of this verb, extraviarse, translates as ‘to get lost’, e.g. Me extravié ‘I got lost’, Se me extraviaron las llaves ‘I lost my keys’. There is at least one set expression formed with this verb, namely extraviar la mirada ‘to avoid looking at something or someone, to avert one’s eyes’. Curiously, this verb was much more common in the 19th and early 20th century than it is today and thus there is an archaic feeling to it, which is probably what makes it seem rather fancy or formal.

Note that though there is no Latin verb *extravĭāre, there is a phrase extra viam in Latin that means ‘outside the road’ and which could have influenced the creation of this neologism in the way that the phrase ob viam is the source of the Latin adjective obvius and, thus, of the verb obvĭāre (see above). There is no evidence for that, however. Do note that the phrase extra viam is used as a technical term in common law. It is used for instance in the phrase extra viam rights, which means

The right of a traveler upon the highway to travel over the abutting property where the highway is out of repair and impassable for practical purposes. 25 Am J1st High § 615. The right of one having an easement of way to depart from the regularly traveled way or path and pass over the abutting land of the servient owner where the latter has obstructed the private way or made it impassable. 25 Am J2d Ease § 70’ (Ballentine’s law dictionary).

Other minor (and less common) senses of the verb extraviar are ‘to mislead’ (a person), ‘to make someone get lost’, or ‘to lead astray’. The reflexive version of this verb, extraviarse, has the intransitive meaning, namely ‘to get lost’, ‘to get mislaid’, ‘to go missing’, as well as ‘to lose one’s way’ (syn. perderse). Other senses are ‘to go astray’ and ‘to be mistaken’.

The associated noun is extravío ‘loss’ and the associated adjective is derived from the past participle, namely extraviado/a ‘lost’. The primary meaning of the fancy and rare noun extravío is ‘the action or result of losing something or getting lost’, which is synonymous with the noun pérdida ‘loss’, e.g. Han denunciado el extravío de un paquete postal ‘They have reported the loss of a package’ (GDLEL). Another, less common sense of this noun is ‘bad or altered habits or behavior’, e.g. los extravíos de la sexualidad ‘sexual deviations’ (AEIV).

[1] The derivational suffix in question was ‑ōs‑, followed by the nominative inflexional endings (masculine) ‑us, (feminine) ‑a, and neuter ‑um. looked like ‑ōs‑us. English did this spelling change with many other Latin adjectives ending in ‑us that it borrowed.

[2] The noun obviation has acquired a new sense in modern American linguistics, one introduced by Leonard Bloomfield in 1927, namely ‘the marking of a subsidiary third person (in Algonquian and certain other languages); the expression of the obviative [case]. Cf. obviative n. and adj.’ (OED).

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Eng. -age ~ Sp. -aje, Part 13: Latin verbs derived from vĭa (c)

[This entry comes from Chapter 18, "Eng. language and Sp. lenguaje: words ending in Eng. -age and Sp. -aje", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]


Lat. dēvĭāre

The next Latin verb derived from vĭāre is dēvĭāre ‘to detour’, ‘to stray’, ‘to depart’. It was formed with the prefix (and preposition) dē ‘(away) from, etc.’. The verb’s principal parts were dēvĭō, dēvĭāre, dēvĭāvī, dēvĭātum. English borrowed this verb from the passive participle form of the verb dēvĭātus in the 16th century, resulting in deviate [ˈɪ̯t], which means ‘to diverge from an established course or from usual or accepted standards’ (COED). In other words, Eng. deviate refers only to metaphorical or figurative departure from a ‘road’, unlike the original Latin word, which had both the (original) literal sense and the figurative one. It is often used in the expression to deviate from the norm. The Spanish equivalent of deviate (from) is desviarse (de), when deviating from a course, and apartarse (de) when deviating from a norm. (We will return to Sp. desviar in a minute.)

There is also a noun deviate in English, pronounced [ˈdi.vɪ.ət], created in the first half of the 20th century and which is now rare since the same meaning is typically expressed by the related word deviant. The meaning of the noun deviate is ‘a person who, or thing which, deviates; especially one who deviates from normal social, etc., standards or behavior; specifically, a sexual pervert’ (OED). The noun deviate was derived, in English, from the verb deviate and it has also been used as an adjective, though deviant is preferred nowadays.

The word deviant [ˈdi.vɪ.ənt] has been around since the early 15th century, when it was an adjective that meant ‘different, deviating, straying’. Although it could have been created in English from the verb deviate and the Latinate suffix ‑ant, it may also presumably have been borrowed from Late Latin dēviāntem ‘straying, deviating, detouring’, accusative form of the present participle of the verb dēviāre (the nominative form of the participle was dēvĭāns). In the early 20th century, Eng. deviant came to be used as a noun that meant ‘something that deviates from normal’ (Sp. anormal) and not until the middle of the 20th century did it come to mean ‘person whose sexuality deviates from what is held to be normal’ (OEtD), a synonym for the noun deviate that we just discussed (OED). The Spanish equivalent noun is pervertido/a, which literally means ‘perverted’, and is derived from the past participle of the verb pervertir ‘to pervert’ (cf. Part II, Chapter 8, §8.2.4).

As we saw above, a possible translation of the English verb deviate in Spanish is desviarse, the reflexive or pronominal (intransitive) form of the verb desviar. The Spanish verb desviar seems to be patrimonial and it is first attested in the 12th century. It is a semi-false friend of the English verb, since their meanings only partially coincide. Also, it appears to be a false cognate since the Spanish verb has a prefix des‑, which is typically a reflex of the Latin prefix dĭs ‘apart, asunder’, which is used with the meanings ‘privation’, ‘negation’, or ‘inverse action’, instead of de‑, which is what the Latin prefix dē‑ changed to. This, however, is a common switch that happened early on in some Spanish patrimonial words. It stems from a confusion between the two Latin prefixes due to the fact that Lat. dĭs lost its s before some consonants, and thus became Sp. de‑, just like Lat. dē‑ did. Thus, Spanish sometimes confused the two prefixes and turned Lat. dē‑ into des‑, as in the case of the word desviar.

Whereas English deviate is an intransitive verb that means ‘diverge from an established course or from usual or accepted standards’ (COED), Spanish desviar is a transitive verb that means primarily ‘to change course of’, ‘to deflect’, and ‘to divert’. The reflexive version desviarse results in the intransitive version of those meanings, namely ‘to go off course’, ‘to make a detour’, ‘to be deflected’, ‘to turn off’ and occasionally, ‘to deviate’, in the sense of deviating from a given course, as we saw earlier.

In addition to these two verbs, we find a pair of derived cognate nouns in English and Spanish, namely Eng. deviation and Sp. desviación. These nouns come from a Latin noun derived from the passive participle stem of this verb, dēviāt‑, plus the noun suffix ‑ĭōn‑ (cf. Part II, Chapter 10). Not surprisingly, these cognate nouns are no better friends than the verbs they are associated with, even though some dictionaries equate the two (e.g. according to AES, Collins, and OSD, Eng. deviation = Sp. desviación).

Eng. deviation [ˌdi.vɪ.’eɪ̯.ʃən] means ‘the act or result of deviating’ (COED), but more specifically, it means ‘a noticeable difference from what is expected or acceptable’ (DOCE), including ‘deviant behavior or attitudes’ and ‘divergence from an accepted political policy or party line’ (AHD). It seems that the only time that desviación is an accurate translation for deviation is in a number of limited cases, such as when it acts as a technical term in statistics (deviation = desviación = ‘the amount by which a single measurement differs from a fixed value such as the mean’ (COED), e.g. standard deviation = desviación estándar or típica. In other cases, deviation should be translated as divergencia, variación, alejamiento, etc.

As for the meaning of desviación, this word translates primarily into English as diversion or detour. It can also translate as departure, deflection, turning aside, digression, aberration, or abnormality. Besides the collocation with desviación in the field of statistics that we just saw, one other collocation with this word in Spanish is desviación de columna ‘abnormal lateral curvature of the spine’, also known as Eng. scoliosis ~ Sp. escoliosis, from Gk. σκολίωσις (skoliosis) ‘bending’.

Finally, we should mention that Spanish has another noun derived from the verb desviar, namely desvío, which is a synonym of the road-related main sense of desviación, namely ‘detour’. The noun desvío is the result of a conversion (zero derivation) of the verb desviar without the use of derivational affixes, just by changing the verbal inflectional ending ‑ar for a masculine noun inflectional ending ‑o (cf. Part I, Chapter 5, §5.7).

Figure 125: Colombian road sign[i]

[i] Source: Detour – Regulatory road sign in Colombia. (accessed: 2012.11.12)

Friday, November 16, 2018

Eng. -age ~ Sp. -aje, Part 12: Latin verbs derived from vĭa (b)

[This entry comes from Chapter 18, "Eng. language and Sp. lenguaje: words ending in Eng. -age and Sp. -aje", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]


Vulgar Latin *convĭāre

Vulgar Latin had another verb derived from vĭāre, namely *convĭāre, which meant ‘to go together on the road, to accompany on the way’ and, derived from that meaning, ‘to escort’. This verb was derived by means of the prefix com- ‘together’. This verb did not get passed on to Spanish, but it resulted in convoier in Old Central French and in conveier in Old Northern French, and both versions of the verb got passed on to English, both in the 14th century.[1]

Old French convoier, meaning primarily ‘to escort’, became Eng. to convoy [ˈkɒn.vɔɪ̯], originally pronounced with final stress. This verb today means ‘to travel with something in order to protect it’ (DOCE). This verb came first into Scots English with the senses ‘to convey’, ‘to conduct’, and ‘to act as escort’. The main Spanish equivalent of this verb is escoltar, a cognate of Eng. escort. The loanword convoyar has also been used for this meaning in Spanish, but it is very rare.

The noun convoy, also pronounced [ˈkɒn.vɔɪ̯] in Modern English, like the verb, means ‘a group of vehicles or ships travelling together, sometimes in order to protect one another’ (DOCE). The noun convoy does not appear in English until the 16th century, two centuries later than the verb. It may be a back-formation from the English verb to convoy or else, it may be a borrowing from French convoi [kɔ̃.ˈvwa], a noun derived from the verb convoier which, speaking of vehicles or ships, meant ‘to convoy’, though it has can also be used with the sense of 'procession', as in convoi funèbre ‘funeral procession’. At least originally, Fr. convoi conveyed the sense that some of the members of the convoy were escorting others, typically for protection.

Spanish borrowed the noun convoy, pronounced [kom.ˈboi̯], in the 17th century, with the same meaning it has in English and spelling pronunciation (plural: comboyes). Presumably, it was borrowed from French convoi, though the Spanish word’s spelling is like that of the English word, with a final y, but that is most likely due to the fact that that is how the diphthong [oi̯] is spelled at the end of a word in Spanish.

Another possible Spanish translation for Eng. convoy is caravana. The expression to travel in convoy translates into Spanish as viajar en convoy or as viajar en caravana. Eng. caravan originally meant ‘a group of people travelling together across a desert in Asia or North Africa’ (COED). Nowadays, the main meaning of this word in North America is ‘a covered motor vehicle with living accommodation’ (Sp. caravana, casa rodante, etc.) and in Britain, ‘a vehicle equipped for living in, usually designed to be towed’ (COED) (Sp. caravana, rulot, remolque). (A gypsy caravan or covered cart is known as carromato in Spanish.) The ‘procession’ sense of Eng. caravan can also be translated as caravana or, more commonly, as procesión. (The noun procession can be defined as 'a number of people or vehicles moving forward in an orderly fashion, especially as part of a ceremony' and, derived from this meaning, 'the action of moving in such a way' and 'a relentless succession of people or things', COED.)

The cognates Eng. caravan ~ Sp. caravana, were probably borrowed from French caravane. The Spanish word is first documented in the 14th century and the English one, in the 16th. The ancestor of this word is first attested in Europe in Medieval Latin in the 12th century, with different spellings having been recorded: carvana, caravanna, caravenna. It is a word picked up by Europeans in the Middle East during the Crusades and it comes ultimately from Persian کاروان (kârvân) ‘caravan, convoy’, a word derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *ker‑ ‘army’. (English had a now obsolete word here that meant ‘army, hostile force’ that descends from the same PIE root.)

The other Old French reflex of Vulgar Latin *convĭāre is conveier, which was borrowed into English as the verb to convey [kən.ˈveɪ̯], also in the 14th century. The modern meanings of this word are ‘transport or carry to a place’, ‘communicate (an idea, impression, or feeling)’ and, in legal terminology, ‘transfer the title to (property)’ (COED). The verb convey has different translations into Spanish, the most common of which are transportar (goods and people) and transmitir, comunicar, expresar (ideas, feelings, thanks, sound, electricity). In legal terminology, to convey translates as traspasar (a cognate of Eng. trespass) or transferir (a cognate of Eng. transfer).

[1] Note that this verb does not seem to have been used in Classical Latin. Latin did have verb convehĕre ‘to carry, bear, or bring together’ (L&S), which is not related to the Vulgar Latin verb, despite going back to the same Proto-Indo-European root and contain the same prefix. There are no reflexes of this Latin verb in neither Spanish or English.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Eng. -age ~ Sp. -aje, Part 11: Latin verbs derived from vĭa (a)

[This entry comes from Chapter 18, "Eng. language and Sp. lenguaje: words ending in Eng. -age and Sp. -aje", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]


Lat. vĭāre

Latin had a verb derived from the noun vĭa, namely the first conjugation verb vĭāre ‘to travel, journey’ (vĭ+ā+re; principal parts: vĭō, vĭāre, vĭāvī, vĭātum). This verb has not been passed on to either Spanish or English, either as a patrimonial word (in the case of Spanish) or as a learned borrowing (in the case of either language). However, certain Latin words derived from the verb vĭāre have made it into these two languages, such as Sp. enviar ‘to send’, Sp. desviar ‘to deviate, deflect’ ~ Eng. deviate, and Sp. obviar ‘to obviate, remove’ ~ Eng. obviate. In addition, Spanish has derived a couple of verbs from the noun vía, namely aviar ‘to prepare; to supply, provide’ and extraviar ‘to get lost, go astray, lead astray’. We will look at all of these words in the following sections. 

English and Spanish have cognate adjectives, both spelled viable, which might seem to be related to this verb, or at least to the noun vĭa, but are not. (Eng. viable is pronounced [ˈvaɪ̯.ə.bəl] and Sp. viable, [bi.ˈa.βle].) Their main meaning of these words today is ‘capable of working successfully; feasible’, as well as ‘capable of surviving or living successfully’, its original meaning (COED). These words are loanwords from French viable ‘capable of life’, first attested in the 16th century, which is a word derived from the noun vie ‘life’ (cognate of Sp. vida, both derived from Lat. vīta) by means of the suffix ‑able. English borrowed the word viable from French in the early 19th century and Spanish borrowed it some time after that (it doesn’t appear in the DRAE until 1936). French derived the negative version of this word, inviable, in the early 20th century, and this word was soon after borrowed by both English and Spanish, though it is much more common in Spanish. Sp. inviable is best translated into English as unfeasible, with non-viable and unviable being less common options.

Curiously, the Academy’s dictionary, the DLE, claims that Spanish has a second adjective viable in Spanish that is indeed related to the noun vía and means something like ‘transitable, passable’ (Sp. transitable). According to the DLE, this adjective also comes from French and presumably descends from a Vulgar Latin viabĭlis, which is derived from the Latin word vĭa and which is thus not related to the other adjective (vi‑a‑bĭl‑is). No French dictionary seems to confirm the existence of such a word in French, however. Some Spanish dictionaries, such as María Moliner’s, do not mention this second adjective viable, and others, such as Larousse, lump the two as one word and give the meaning ‘transitable, passable’ as one of the meanings of this single polysemous word, a sense synonymous with Sp. transitable. (The other meaning is ‘capable of living’, of course.)

Lat. invĭāre

Sp. enviar [em.ˈbi̯aɾ] ‘to send’ (also ‘to dispatch’, ‘to ship’). It is a patrimonial verb, written embiar in Old Spanish. It comes from Late Latin invĭāre, which is derived from the verb vĭāre ‘to travel’ by prefixation, with the prefix  in‑ ‘in’. Originally, this Latin verb had the intransitive meaning ‘to go along a path’, and from there developed a transitive one, namely ‘to send someone (along a path)’. Thus, Sp. enviar is synonymous with one of the meanings of the verb mandar ‘to send; to order’ (the other main meaning of mandar is ‘to order’).

French also has a patrimonial cognate of this verb, namely envoyer ‘to send’, pronounced [ɑ̃.vwa.ˈje] in Modern French. From the (masculine form of the) past participle of this verb, namely Fr. envoyé, comes Eng. envoy [ˈɛn.vɔɪ̯], a 17th century loanword (the French word is equivalent to Sp. enviado, past participle of the verb enviar). The meaning of Eng. envoy is ‘a messenger or representative, especially one on a diplomatic mission’ (COED). This word may be translated into Spanish as enviado/a, as in enviado/a especial ‘special envoy’, but also as embajador especial or emisario. This use of the past participle of enviar is clearly a semantic calque of the of the cognate French word.

Spanish has derived the noun envío from the verb enviar, which means something like ‘thing that is sent’ and thus can be translated into English by words such as dispatch, shipment, and consignment. This noun is found in collocations such as hacer un envío ‘to dispatch an order’ and gastos de envío ‘shipping and handling costs’.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Eng. -age ~ Sp. -aje, Part 10: Sp. viaje ~ Eng. voyage (b)

[This entry comes from Chapter 18, "Eng. language and Sp. lenguaje: words ending in Eng. -age and Sp. -aje", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]


Sp. viaje ~ Eng. voyage, and the Latin root vi-

Lat. vĭa, vĭātĭcum, and other related words

Let us look now in more detail at the source of Sp. viaje and Eng. voyage, namely Latin vĭātĭcum ‘travel money, travel provisions’. This noun was derived from the neuter form of the adjective vĭātĭcus ‘of or belonging to a road or journey’ (feminine: vĭātĭca, neuter: vĭātĭcum). This adjective was derived from the Lt. vĭa, which has given us Spanish vía, a word that means ‘road, way’, but also ‘street’, ‘lane’ and, in the modern context of trains, ‘track’ and ‘line’. However, although the meanings of vía and viaje are obviously related, they are so far removed from each other today that speakers probably do not recognize the connection unless it is pointed out to them.

The Latin feminine word vĭa, pronounced [ˈwɪ.a], contained the root vĭ‑ (genitive vĭae, accusative vĭam). Latin vĭa meant literally ‘way, road, street, path’, but it was also used figuratively, with the sense ‘way, method, manner’, and even with the sense ‘journey’. Roman roads had the word vĭa in their names, such as the famous Via Appia that connected Rome with Brindisi, known in Spanish as Vía Apia and in English as Appian Way. Major streets in Spanish sometimes still use this word, such as the Gran Vía in Bilbao, Spain. As you can see, English way is used to translate Lat. vĭa in this context, since in road names, Eng. way means ‘a road, track, path, or street’ (COED).

Figure 124: Via Appia in ancient Rome[i]

English has borrowed the Latin word via, spelled also via and pronounced [ˈvaɪ̯.ə] or [ˈvi.ə], as a preposition with the sense of ‘by way of’, as in I’m travelling to London via New York. Spanish vía [ˈbi.a] can be used in the exact same way, as in Vine vía París ‘I came by way of Paris’. Spanish also uses the noun vía with a similar meaning of conveyance in the phrase por vía…, as in por vía hereditaria ‘through heredity’, por vía terrestre ‘by land/surface (mail)’ (= por tierra), por vía aérea ‘by air (mail)’ (= por avión), por vía electrónica ‘by/via email or electronically’, por vía satélite ‘by satellite’ (= por satélite), etc.

The source of Latin vĭa has been reconstructed as Proto-Italic *wijā, meaning ‘road’. Some think that Lat. via and Eng. way are related. This is not due to English having borrowed it from Latin, as one might have thought, but rather, to the two languages having inherited it from their ancestor languages, going all the way to Proto-Indo-European. It doesn’t seem that the two words descend from the exact same Proto-Indo-European word, but they may share a root, going all the way to Proto-Indo-European verbal root *weǵʰ‑ which meant ‘to bring, to transport’. In Table 166 you can see the descendants of this root in English and Spanish. As you can see, the exact sourceword of Lat. via, that is, what derived form of PIE *weǵʰ‑ it comes from, is not exactly known.

Extended PIE root
Modern reflexes or derived words
*wéǵʰ-e- ‎(root present)
PGmc. *weganą ‘to carry’, ‘to weigh’
Eng. weigh, weight
Lat. vehĕre ‘to carry, transport’
Sp. vehículo, Eng. vehicle
*woǵʰ-éye- ‎(causative)
PGmc. *wagjaną ‘to shake, etc.’
Eng. wedge
PGmc. *wegaz ‘way, path’
Eng. way
PGmc. *wagnaz ‘cart, wagon’
Eng. wain ‘four-wheel cart’[1]
PItal. *wijā
Sp. vía (< Lat. via)
Table 166: Descendants of the PIE root *weǵʰ‑ in English and Spanish[ii]

As we can see in Table 166, the PIE root *weǵʰ‑ may be at the core of the Latin noun via, just like it is at the core of the English word way. There is, however, another theory that says that it comes Proto-Indo-European *wih₁eh₂‑, from the root *weyh₁‑ ‘to pursue, be strong’. Eng. way is a patrimonial word that descends from a Germanic verbal root that ‘originally refers to carrying, bearing loads, and hence transportation’ (OED) and which definitely goes back to PIE *weǵʰ‑. Actually, way in Old English was spelled weg and had not changed that much from the original form of the word in Proto-Indo-European. Although, as we saw, Eng. way can translate as ‘road, etc.’ in place names, its main meaning today is ‘a method, style, or manner of doing something’ (COED), as in I did it my way, a meaning that is very similar to one of the derived, figurative meanings of Latin vĭa.

The same PIE root *weǵʰ‑ is at the core of the Latin verb vĕhĕre ‘to carry, to transport’ (principal parts: vĕho, vĕhĕre, vĕxi, vĕctum). Although this verb has not made it into English or Spanish, a number of verbs and nouns derived from it have, such as the cognates Eng. vehicle and Sp. vehículo. The following are the descendants of this verb, some of which are cognates:[2]

  • Eng. vehicle [’vi.ə.kəl] ~ Sp. vehículo [be.ˈi.ku.lo] < Lat. vĕhĭcŭlum (vĕh-ĭ-cŭl-um) ‘a means of transport, a carriage, conveyance, vehicle’, a noun that seems to contain the diminutive suffix ‑cŭl‑, derived from the verb vĕhĕre ‘to carry, transport’ (cf. Table 166); English and Spanish borrowed these words in the 17th century through Fr. véhicule, which borrowed it from Latin first, in the mid-16th century.
  • Eng. inveigh [ɪn.ˈveɪ̯] ‘to criticize someone or something strongly’; a 15th century loan that originally meant ‘to carry oneself in against’; its current meaning is from the 16th century. The source is Lat. invĕhī ‘to be borne, carry oneself, or go into, to attack, to assail with words’ (OED), present passive infinitive of invĕhĕre ‘to carry or bear to or into, bring in’ (OED); cf. obsolete Sp. invehír ‘hacer o decir invectivas contra alguien’ (DLE)
  • Eng. invective ~ Sp. invectiva, both nouns meaning ‘abusive or highly critical language’ (COED); these nouns come from the Late Latin adjective invĕctīvus ‘attacking; reproachful, abusive’ (in‑vĕct‑īv‑us) < Latin invĕctus (in‑vĕct‑us), passive participle of invĕ (see above)
  • Eng. vector [ˈvɛk.təɹ] ~ Sp. vector [bek.ˈt̪oɾ]; in biology, these words mean ‘an organism that transmits a particular disease or parasite from one animal or plant to another’, etc. (COED); in mathematics and physics, they mean ‘a quantity having direction as well as magnitude, especially as determining the position of one point in space relative to another’ (COED); they are loanwords from Lat. vector ‘carrier, one who carries or conveys; one who rides’, a word derived from vect‑(us) (stem of the passive participle of vehĕre ‘to carry’) + ‑ōr‑ (agent suffix); cf. the derived adjectives Eng. vectorial [vɛk.ˈtɔ.ɹɪə̯l] ~ Sp. vectorial [bek.t̪o.ˈɾi̯al], derived in the modern languages from the noun by the Latinate suffix ‑al that comes from the third declension Latin adjectival suffix ‑āl‑ (in other words, there was no adjective *vertorialis in Latin)

As we said earlier, the Latin noun vĭa has survived into Spanish as vía, but its primary meaning today is not ‘road’ or ‘street’ as it once was, since that sense has been replaced by words like camino, a word that means ‘path, track’, ‘way, route’, and even figuratively, ‘way’ (Sp. camino is a word of Celtic origin). If a Spanish speaker hears the word vía out of context today, she will probably think first of the meaning ‘(train) track’, as in la vía del tren ‘the train track’, often in the plural las vías ‘the (train) tracks’. Spanish vía is used in certain phrases with a meaning close to the original one, such as salirse de la vía ‘to get off the lane’ or ‘to get off the tracks’ (the meaning ‘to get off the road/pavement’ could be expressed as salirse de la calzada).

The Spanish word vía is found ‘embedded’ in numerous words, such as viaje ‘trip’, viajar ‘to travel’, which we have already seen. The word viajero ‘traveler’ also belongs to this family since it is derived from the verb. Another related word is viandante ‘pedestrian, passerby’, which goes back to the 13th or 14th century. It is formed from vía and andante ‘walking, walker’, present participle of the verb andar ‘to walk’. Perhaps because of the rarity of the noun vía, most speakers probably would not make a connection between these derived words and the noun vía.

A pair of cognates derived from Latin vĭa is Eng. viaduct ~ Sp. viaducto, which mean ‘a long bridge-like structure, typically a series of arches, carrying a road or railway across a valley or other low ground’ (COED). Actually, the word viaduct was created in English, in 1816, on the pattern of the word aqueduct (cf. Sp. acueducto), derived from Latin noun aquaeductus, from the phrase aquae ductus ‘conveyance of water’, borrowed from Latin into English in the 16th century. This Latin word was formed out of the genitive aquae of the noun root aqu‑ ‘water’ (cf. Sp. patrimonial agua) and the noun ductus ‘conveyance, conducting, leading’, from the past participle of the Latin verb dūcĕre ‘to lead, guide, etc.’ (cf. Part II, Chapter 12). Spanish borrowed (and adapted) the word viaducto from English in the mid-19th century.

A pair of cognates that is derived from Lat. vĭa, in Latin, not the modern languages, is the adjective trivial, pronounced [t̪ɾi.ˈβi̯al] in Spanish and [ˈtʰɹɪ.vɪə̯ɫ] in English. The English word is first attested in the late 16th century and it may have come through Fr. trivial, which seems to have borrowed it from Latin a few decades earlier. These learned loanwords come ultimately from the Latin adjective trĭvĭālis, meaning ‘that may be found everywhere, common, commonplace, vulgar, ordinary, trivial’ (L&S) or, originally, ‘of or belonging in the crossroads’ (trĭ‑vĭ‑āl‑is).

The Latin adjective trĭvĭālis is derived by means of the third declension adjectival suffix ‑āl‑ from the noun trĭvĭum ‘a place where three roads meet, a fork in the roads, cross-road’ (L&S), from tri‑ ‘three’ and the root ‑ of the noun via ‘road, way’, plus the inflection ‑um (trĭ‑vĭ‑um, trĭ-vĭ-āl-is). Thus, the original meaning of the adjective trivĭālis was ‘of or pertaining to the crossroads’, but it came to mean something like ‘public’, and hence ‘commonplace, ordinary’, and from here to the meaning ‘insignificant, trifling’ in English and Spanish, in the late 16th century for English, and a bit later for Spanish.[3]

The root vía is also found in the Spanish adverb todavía, which means ‘still’ in affirmative sentences and ‘yet’ in negative ones, e.g. Todavía vivo aquí ‘I still live here’, Todavía no hemos llegado ‘We haven’t arrived yet’. This word clearly contains the feminine adjective toda ‘all’ and the noun vía ‘road’ and (in earlier times) ‘manner, way’. The current meaning of the word, however, is totally different from what the meaning of those component words would suggest. It is safe to say that native speakers today do not realize that the word vía is 'inside' the word todavía, given the lack of semantic transparency of this compound. There are dialectal variants of the word todavía in Spain, the most common one being probably entodavía, used in western Spain.

The word todavía is equivalent in its composition to the English word always, which contains very similar parts: all and ways (actually, the English word always is the genitive form of an earlier alway). Furthermore, originally Sp. todavía also meant ‘always, constantly, in every situation’. The source of this word is to be found in Vulgar Latin, since other Romance languages also have this expression, such as the Italian conjunction tuttavia ‘however, nevertheless, still, yet’ (in earlier times, It. tuttavia also meant ‘always’ and ‘in every way’, just like in Medieval Spanish).

The word todavía seems to have its origin in the Latin phrase tōta vĭa, which is in the ablative case and meant, literally, ‘through any road, by any means, in all circumstances, etc.’ This expression is found, for example, in the Latin expression tota via errare ‘to be completely mistaken’. Eventually, this phrase became an adverb in Vulgar Latin with the meaning ‘always, in every way’. Only in Spanish did the reflex of this phrase develop the meaning it has now much later. The English expression always may have been a calque of the Latin phrase tōta vĭa, though there is no clear evidence for that.

In Spanish, todavía changed its meaning starting in the 15th century and it became synonymous with the adverb aún that meant ‘still’/’yet’. These two words, todavía and aún, are synonymous today when used as adverbs. It is a meaning change that Spanish shares with Asturleonese, the language spoken to the west of the Castilian area. Note that Sp. aún has another sense that todavía does not have. It can mean ‘even’, as in aún así ‘even so’ or ni aún así ‘not even then’, a sense synonymous with incluso (cf. aunque ‘even though’, followed by indicative tensens, and ‘even if’, followed by subjunctive tenses). It is often used with a gerund, as in the phrase aún teniendo esto en cuenta ‘even taking this into account’.

The noun vía is also found in recently created collocations, such as de dos vías ‘two-way’, as in calle de dos vías ‘two-way street’ and radio de dos vías ‘two-way radio’, which is probably a calque of the English expression. Finally, the word vía also shows up in one borrowing or, rather calque from English, namely the word tranvía ‘streetcar, tram, tramway; short-distance train’, from English tramway. This English word is derived from the word tram, used primarily in Great Britain, meaning ‘streetcar’, but also ‘a cable car, especially one suspended from an overhead cable’, and in earlier times, ‘a four-wheeled, open, box-shaped wagon or iron car run on tracks in a coal mine’ (AHD).

Finally, let us look at a pair of cognates that are learned loanwords from the very Latin word from which Sp. viaje and Eng. voyage come from, namely the source of Lat. vĭātĭcum, which originally meant ‘travelling-money, provision for a journey’, but which also acquired other meanings such as ‘money made by a soldier in the wars, savings, prize-money’ and ‘money to pay the expenses of one studying abroad’. The source word for this noun is the Latin adjective vĭātĭcus (feminine: vĭātĭca; neuter: vĭātĭcum). This word was first of all an adjective formed with the ‘new’ Latin suffix vĭātĭcus (vĭ‑ātĭc‑us) and which meant ‘of or belonging to a road or journey’.

English borrowed the adjective vĭātĭcus as viatic in the mid-17th century, with the meaning ‘of or having to do with travel’, though the word is quite rare. Another version of this English borrowed adjective is viatical, which is like viatic but with the Latinate adjectival suffix ‑al added to it, something that English often did with borrowed adjectives ending in ‑ic (‑icus/‑ica/‑icum in Latin). Spanish never borrowed this adjective.

English also borrowed the noun viaticum from Church Latin (also known as Ecclesiastical Latin) in the mid-16th century. In Cristianity this word means ‘the Eucharist given to a dying person or one in danger of death’ (AHD), which is to prepare an individual for that trip beyond life that Christians belive in. The Spanish equivalent of this Eng. viaticum is viático, a word that was borrowed into Spanish probably in the 17th century. As you can see, Spanish modified the inflection to make it match the patrimonial ‑o ending of Spanish masculine words. The noun viático is also used in Spanish with the meaning ‘provisions or money for a trip’ and, in some dialects, ‘money given for performing some activity’. The plural form viáticos is used in Spanish, particularly in American Spanish, to mean ‘travel allowance’. These uses reflect the uses that the word had in Latin.

[1] English wain is today archaic. It descends from Old English wægn ‘wheeled vehicle, wagon, cart’. This word has been replaced by the word wagon, which is a loanword from Middle Dutch wagen or waghen, a cognate of the Old English word (and thus of Eng. wain). Spanish vagón is a 19th century loanword from English wagon (though French). The only sense that Spanish vagón borrowed from the English word is the British English sense of ‘railway truck’ (‘a railway freight vehicle; a truck’, COED). The other major sense of Eng. wagon, ‘a vehicle, especially a horse-drawn one, for transporting goods’ (COED), translates into Spanish as carro (a cart drawn by animals) or carromato (if the cart is covered).

[2] Some words look like they might be related to this Latin root, but they are not. Eng. provide ~ Sp. proveer come from Lat. prōvidēre ‘to provide for’ (from the root vid‑ ‘to see’), not from prōvehere, which meant ‘to carry on, carry forward, advance, promote, etc.’ Also not related to vehĕre are Sp. provecho ~ Eng. profit, which come from Lat. profectus, from past participle of proficĕre ‘make progress, to profit’ (< prō‑ ‘forward’ + facĕre ‘to make’), and Eng. evict (related to the very rare Sp. evicción,), from evincĕre ‘to overcome and expel, conquer, etc.’ (<ex‑ ‘out’ + vincĕre ‘to conquer’).

[3] In Medieval Latin, the word trĭvĭum was used to refer to ‘the lower division of the seven liberal arts in medieval schools, consisting of grammar, logic, and rhetoric’ (AHD), and this word has been borrowed into English and Spanish with just that sense. After completion of the trivium, students went on to study the quadrivium, ‘the higher division of the seven liberal arts in the Middle Ages, composed of geometry, astronomy, arithmetic, and music’ (AHD). In Latin, th word quādrĭvĭum meant ‘a place where four ways meet, a crossway, cross-road’ (L&S).

[i] Source: Pierers Universal-Conversations-Lexikon. Neuestes Encycklopädisches Wörterbuch, by Heinrich August Pierer, 1891; public domain; scanned by Immanuel Giel 12:39, 31 May 2005 (UTC); (accessed: 2018.11.11)

Eng. -age ~ Sp. -aje, Part 15: Latin verbs derived from vĭa (e)

[This entry comes from Chapter 18, "Eng. language and Sp. lenguaje : words ending in Eng. - age and Sp. - aje ", of Part II of t...