Saturday, December 30, 2017

Verbs of Sitting, Part 2: Verbs of sitting in Latin and Spanish

[This entry is an excerpt from, "Verbs of Sitting and Related Words," a chapter in Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]


Lat. sĕdēre

The verb meaning ‘to sit’ in Latin was sĕdēre, whose main meaning was the stative ‘to sit, be sitting’ (Sp. ‘estar sentado’), though seemingly not the active (change of state) meaning ‘to sit down’ (Sp. ‘sentarse’). This verb’s principal parts were the following:

present indicative
sĕdeō
sĕd‑e‑ō
‘I sit’, ‘I am sitting (down)’, ‘I am seated’
present infinitive
sĕdēre
sĕd‑ē‑re
‘to sit’, ‘to be sitting (down)’, ‘to be seated’
perfect active
sēdī
sēd‑ī
‘I sat’, ‘I was sitting’, ‘I was seated’
passive participle
sĕssus
sĕd‑t‑us
‘seated, having been seated’

The two crucial stems here are sĕd‑, as seen in the infinitive, for instance, and sĕss‑, from which other words are derived, including several Spanish-English cognates, such as Eng. session ~ Sp. sesión, as we shall see. In the root sed‑, we recognize the unchanged Proto-Indo-European basic root *sed‑. The derived supine/passive participle stem sess‑ is an irregular one, the result of adding the suffix passive suffix ‑t‑ to the basic root sed‑, a root ending in ‑d, without an intervening vowel. In other words, an original (unattested) *sed-t- changed to sess‑ (cf. Part I, Chapter 8, §8.4.3.5.3.2).

Lat. sīdĕre


In addition to this verb sĕdēre, Latin had an verb that referred to the action of sitting down, namely the third conjugation verb sīdĕre ‘to sit down’, which referred to the action of sitting down. These two verbs are obviously related. We have already mentioned the basic form *sed‑ of the Proto-Indo-European root, as well as the o-grade form *sod‑, from where Eng. set ultimately comes. In addition, there were three more variants of this root. One is the zero-grade variant, namely *sd‑ (it could also be *zd), which was found in reduplicated form and in compounds. A compound example was PIE *ni‑zd‑o‑ ‘nest’, formed with the root *ni‑ ‘down’. From this word come both Eng. nest and Sp. nido. The former comes from Proto-Germanic *nistaz and the latter comes from Lat. nīdus (from an earlier *nizdus).[1]

The reduplicated zero-grade form of this Proto-Indo-European root has been reconstructed *si‑sd‑ or *si‑zd‑. It is from this reduplicated form that the 3rd conjugation Latin verb sīdĕre is thought to have come. Its meaning was an active one, namely ‘to sit down, to seat oneself, to settle’, cf. Eng. sit down, Sp. sentarse. This verb’s principal parts were the following:

present indicative
sīdō
sīd‑ō
‘I sit down’
present infinitive
sīdĕre
sīd‑ĕ‑re
‘to sit down’
perfect active
sīdī
sīd‑ī
‘I sat (myself) down’

As we can see, this verb has no supine or passive participle form and thus no passive verb forms. Its direct source has been reconstructed as Proto-Italic *sizdō (present indicative), and its ultimate source has been reconstructed as Proto-Indo-European *sísdeti, a thematic i-reduplicated verbal root variant of the basic root *sed‑. The verb sīdĕre, as well as other verbs derived from this one by prefixation, such as cōnsīdĕre, are the way to express the action verb of sitting down in Latin.

Verbs of sitting in Spanish and other Romance languages


Forms of the Latin verb sĕdēre suffered several sound changes in Vulgar Latin and early Romance, such as the loss of the intervocalic ‑d‑, resulting in the infinitive verb form seer, for example. In part because of this, some of this verb’s forms became confused in some Romance languages with forms of the third conjugation Vulgar Latin verb ĕssĕre ‘to be’, which had come to replace the even more irregular Classical Latin esse (principal parts: sum, esse, fuī, futūrus). Proof of this confusion is the fact that some of the verbal forms of the Spanish verb ser ‘to be’ come not from equivalent forms of Lat. esse, but rather of the verb sĕdēre, including probably the infinitive form ser by loss of the intervocalic ‑d‑ (sĕdēre > seere > ser) and definitely the present subjunctive forms sea, seas, etc., which obviously comes from Lat. sedeam, sedeās, etc., present subjunctive of sedēre, not of esse. The confusion between the two verbs was probably aided, no doubt, because the verb sĕdēre ‘to be (sitting)’ had come to be used as a synonym of essere ‘to be’ in some contexts.

Probably because of this confusion sound and meaning confusion, alternatives to Lat. sĕdēre appared in some Romance languages. One option was to use a prefixed form of this verb, namely a verb that has been reconstructed as *assedēre, derived from sĕdēre by the addition of the prefix ad‑ ‘to, towards’ (ad+sĕdēre). Actually, this Vulgar Latin or early Romance verb was probably derived from the second-conjugation Latin verb assĭdēre, whose principal parts were assĭdĕō, assĭdēre, assēdī, assĕssum. This verb meant primarily ‘to sit by or near a person or thing’ and was derived from sĕdēre plus the prefix ad‑, with full assimilation of the final d of the prefix to the following s in the root (‑d‑+‑s‑ → ‑ss‑).

Note that the root morpheme of the first two principal parts of this derived verb was ‑sĭd‑, not ‑sĕd‑. The former was an allomorph of the latter and it should not be confused with the root sīd‑, with a long ī, of the third conjugation verb sīdĕre we just saw. Vowel mutation in Latin roots was common when prefixes were added (cf. Part I, Chapter 8, §8.3.3). Much later, the short ĭ was changed to e in the Romance languages, resulting in *assedere, a reconstructed, unattested form. (We will return to this prefixed verb derived from sĕdēre, along with many others, in the following section.)

One Romance language in which the verb meaning ‘to sit’  comes from Latin assĭdēre or *assedere is French. The verb ‘to sit’ in Modern French is asseoir [aswaʀ], which from Vulgar Latin *assedere, with the prefix ad‑, but not the present participle ending ‑ent‑. Actually, asseoir is a transitive verb, just like Sp. sentar is, and it is typically used conjugated reflexively, as s’asseoir ‘to sit down’, the equivalent of Sp. sentarse.

Not all Romance languages resorted to this derived verb for their verb meaning (stative) ‘to sit, be sitting/seated’ or (active) ‘to sit down’. In Catalan, the verb meaning ‘to sit down’ (action) and ‘be sitting’ (state) is (non-reflexive) seure (Sp. sentarse and estar sentado/a), which comes directly from Latin sĕdēre. In Italian, the cognate of this verb is sedere, from the same Latin source. This verb is also used for both the state ‘to sit, be sitting, be seated’ and for the action ‘to sit down’, although for the action, the reflexive form sedersi ‘to sit down’ is also used (cf. Sp. sentarse).

In Spanish and Portuguese, the two main Iberian Romance languages, the solution to the ambiguity of Lat. sĕdēre was to derive a new verb from Lat. sĕdēre. The derived Vulgar Latin or Romance verb for the meaning ‘to sit’ that these languages now have has been reconstructed as *sĕdĕntāre. This first conjugation verb was formed from the stem sĕdĕnt‑ (sĕd-ĕnt‑) of the present participle sĕdēns ‘seating, being seated’ of the verb sĕdēre (sĕd‑ēre). It is from this Vulgar Latin verb that comes the Spanish verb sentar (sent‑ar) by loss of intervocalic ‑d‑ and coalescence of the two short ĕ vowels, as well as the loss of the final ‑e vowel: Vulg. Lat. sĕdĕntāre > Sp. sentar. The verb sentar is a stem-changing verb in which the root’s e vowel changes to ie when stressed, a result of the Old Spanish sound change that affected the Latin short ĕ vowel (cf. Part I, Chapter 10, §10.3.2).

Lat. infinitive
Lat. present participle
V.Lat. derived verb
Spanish
sĕdēre (sĕd‑ē‑re)
sĕdēns, sĕdĕnt‑ (sĕd-ĕnt‑)
sedentare
sentar
assĭdēre (ad‑sĕd‑ē‑re)
assĭdēns, assĭdĕnt‑ (ad‑sĕd‑ĕnt‑)
assedentare
asentar

In Modern Spanish, the verb sentar is first of all a transitive verb meaning ‘to seat’, equivalent to hacer sentarse, though that use is quite rare. In other words, sentar cannot be used for the action of sitting down the way Cat. seure and It. sedere can, though this was possible in Old Spanish. This transitive verb sentar can also have, less commonly, the meaning ‘to set, establish’, especially in several idiomatic expressions such as sentar las bases ‘to lay the foundations’, sentar cabeza ‘to settle down’, or sentar un precedente ‘to set a precedent’.

There is an intransitive use of sentar that is very common, however, always accompanied by an adverb such as bien ‘well’ or mal ‘badly’. The subject of this intransitive sentar are things that do good to or upset someone, such as foods, drinks, the climate, etc. Sentences with this sense of sentar always have an indirect object, thus making this a verb of the gustar type. The following are some sample sentences:
  • Me sentó mal la comida ‘The meal made me sick/feel bad’
  • Al niño le sentó bien la sopa ‘The soup made the child feel good/better’
  • La cerveza me sienta mal ‘Beer doesn’t agree (disagrees) with me’
  • Sus palabras le sentaron como un tiro ‘His words came down like a bombshell’
  • Les sentó mal que no fuéramos ‘They were upset because we didn’t go’
  • El (color) verde no te sienta bien ‘Green doesn’t look good on you’
Much more common than this transitive verb sentar ‘to seat’ is the intransitive reflexive variant sentarse ‘to sit down’. Both sentar and sentarse are verbs that denote actions, cf. English transitive seat and intransitive sit down, respectively. The stative sense of the English verb to sit (equivalent to be seated or be sitting) is expressed not with a verb in Spanish, but with the adjective sentado/a derived (converted) from the identical past participle of this verb, as in estar sentado ‘to be seated/sitting (down)’ (sent‑a‑d‑o). The ‘be located’ sense of Eng. sit translates as estar (situado/a), hallarse, among others, e.g. The house sits on top of a hill ‘la casa está (situada) en lo alto de una colina’. There are also idiomatic expressions with Eng. sit that do not translate into Spanish with the verb sentar(se), such as sit still ‘quedarse quieto’, sit tight ‘quedarse en un sitio’, or sit on a jury ‘ser miembro de un jurado’.

We should also note that the verb sentarse ‘to sit down’, which primarily refers to the action of sitting down, can also sometimes be used with a stative (non-active) sense of being sat down (i.e. sitting or being seated). Thus, for instance, the main meaning of the sentence Íñigo se sentó en esa silla is ‘Íñigo sat down on that chair’, but the sentence can also refer to the period of time that this person was sitting there, which would translate as ‘Íñigo sat (was sitting/seated) on that chair’. The same thing is true in the habitual present tense, so that Íñigo normalmente se sienta en esa silla means primarily ‘Íñigo usually sits down on that chair’, but it can also have the stative meaning ‘Íñigo usually sits (is seated) on that chair’. The ambiguity of the active and stative senses of Sp. sentarse are also found in Eng. sit, as we saw earlier and, no doubt, in Lat. sĕdēre, a fact that accounts of these words typically do not clearly specify.

The Spanish verb sentar has cognates in Galician and Portuguese and, curiously also in Friulian and Venetian, but not in other Romance languages. It is also interesting that patrimonial Sp. sentar is not attested until rather late, in the 15th century. That is because in Old Spanish, the patrimonial version of this verb, as attested in the Cid, for example, was assentar, not sentar. In other words, the patrimonial Spanish verb was derived not from a Vulgar Latin *sĕdĕntāre but from *assĕdĕntāre. In other words, the verb assentar was derived not from the present participle of sĕdēre but from the present participle of assĕdēre (see above) (ad‑sĕd‑ĕnt‑ā‑re). The prefixation, in addition to the suffixation, of this root would seem to have been ways to make up for the confusion between the Latin verbs sĕdēre and *essĕre (Classical Lat. esse). Although assentar is found in reflexive form early on, between the 12th and 14th centuries, as in assentarse a la mesa ‘to sit at the table’, this verb could also be used non-reflexively with the intransitive active meaning that require reflexive forms today.

It would seem that Old Spanish assentar(se) lost the initial a‑ vowel. (The ‑ss‑ was the way the sound [s] was spelled in Old Spanish between vowels, since one ‑s‑ alone between vowels was pronounced [z].) However, the verb asentar(se) was not totally replaced by the verb sentar(se). The verb asentar(se) still exists in Spanish. As a transitive verb it is rare, and it means ‘to set firmly, to fix, set, etc.’, as in the phrase asentar las bases ‘to lay the foundations’. But, as in the case of the verb sentar, Spanish asentar is mostly used intransitively as a reflexive, namely as asentarse, which means  ‘to settle’ or, when talking of birds, ‘to perch’. The noun derived from this verb is asentamiento, which means ‘settlement’ (a‑sent‑a‑mient‑o).

Lat. sēdāre


In addition to sĕdēre and sīdĕre, Latin also had a verb sēdāre, which meant ‘to bring to rest, lay’, ‘to settle, calm (down)’, etc. It a causative form of sĕdēre and it comes from the same Proto-Indo-European root or, actually, from a lengthened e-grade version of that root (see above). The verb sēdāre is the source of the cognates Eng. sedate ~ Sp. sedar, both of which fairly recent learned words, especially Sp. sedar, which didn’t appear in the DRAE until 1817. Their meaning is the same, namely ‘to administer a sedative to; calm or relieve by means of a sedative drug’ (AHD). As usual, the base form of this Latinate Spanish verb, sedar, is derived from the Latin infinitive form, sēdāre, and the base form of this Latinate English verb, sedate, is derived from the passive participle form, sēdātus.

The English verb sedate [sə.ˈdeɪ̯t] is first attested in the 17th century with the sense ‘to make calm’, not the current one. Actually, the original Eng. sedate eventually became archaic, if not obsolete, and the modern verb to sedate is thought to be a back-formation of the noun sedative [ˈsɛ.də.tɪv], a noun derived by ellipsis from the phrase sedative drug (for back formation and ellipsis, see Part I, Chapter 5, §5.9, §5.10.5). In other words, the noun sedative was derived from the identical adjective sedative meaning ‘promoting calm or inducing sleep’ (COED). This adjective is first attested in English in the early 15th century and it is a borrowing from Medieval Latin sedativus (sed‑at‑iv‑us), formed with the adjective forming Latin suffix ‑īv‑ added to the passive participle stem sēdāt‑ of the verb sēdāre. The English adjective sedative quite likely came into the language through French, where learned sédatif is attested already in the early 14th century. Spanish no doubt got both the adjective sedativo/a and the verb sedar through French and perhaps English as well.

The Latin verb sēdāre was a regular first conjugation verb whose principal parts were the following:

present indicative
sēdō
sēd-ō
‘I allay, settle, still, calm, assuage, appease’
present infinitive
sēdāre
sēd-ā-re
‘to I allay, settle, still, calm, assuage, appease’
perfect active
sēdāvī
sēd-ā-vī
‘I allayed, settled, stilled, calmed, assuaged, appeased’
passive participle
sēdātus
sēd-ā-t-us
‘allayed, calmed, appeased’

In addition to the verb sedate, English also borrowed the Latin adjective sedate in the 17th century, with the same pronunciation, which means ‘serenely deliberate, composed, and dignified in character or manner’ (AHD). The adjective sedate translates into Spanish as sosegado/a, sereno/a, tranquilo/a. Of course, there are also past participles of these verbs, namely Eng. sedated ~ Sp. sedado/a, which can be used as adjectives as well, with the same meaning, ‘treated with sedatives’.

Both the adjective and the noun sedative translate into Spanish primarily as (masc.) sedante (calmante is another option for the noun), though sedativo is also a less common option for both.

Besides Medieval Latin sedativus, there were two other nouns in Classical Latin that were derived from the passive participle stem sēdāt‑ (sēd‑ā‑t‑), namely sēdātĭō and sēdātor. Lat. sēdātĭō was formed with the suffix ‑ĭōn‑ that created nouns of action or effect, and it meant ‘an allaying, assuaging, calming’. Lat. sēdātor was formed with the agent suffix ‑ōr‑ and it meant ‘an allayer, calmer, quieter’. The latter noun has not been borrowed into English or Spanish but the former has as Eng. sedation and Sp. sedación. The Spanish word is very rare but the English one is often found in the expression under sedation, which translates into Spanish with the adjective sedado/a (see above). Eng. sedation refers to ‘the administering of a sedative drug to produce a state of calm or sleep’ and, derived from it, ‘a state of calm or sleep produced by a sedative’ (COED).

Conclusion


Now we can see together the three Latin verbs derived from the same Proto-Indo-European root *sed‑ or one of its variants. In order of commonality, these are the three verbs, from the second, third, and first conjugation, respectively.

sĕdēre
‘to sit, be sitting’,  ‘to remain’, ‘to settle’, ‘to encamp’
sīdĕre
‘to sit down, to seat oneself’, ‘to settle’
sēdāre
‘to bring to rest, lay’, ‘to settle, calm (down)’, etc.

In the next section we will look at Latin words derived from these verbs and the English and Spanish cognates that they have resulted in. The derivates come for the most part from Lat. sĕdēre, the most common of all three verbs.




[1] It has been suggested that the cognates Eng. niche (pronounced [nɪʧ] or [niʃ]) ~ Sp. nicho also come ultimately from Lat. nīdus. According to a theory, these words come Vulgar Latin *nīdicāre or *nid(i)c(u)lare ‘to nest’, from Latin nīdus ‘nest’, though this theory has its problems.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Verbs of Sitting, Part 1: Verbs of sitting in English

[This entry is an excerpt from, "Verbs of Sitting and Related Words," a chapter in Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]


Figure 99: Buddha sitting in bhumisparsha-mudra posture[i]


Although they do not look much alike, the Spanish verb sentar and the English verb sit are indeed cognate, if not exactly cognates, since they both can be traced back to the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European root *sed- ‘to sit, be seated’. In this chapter we will tell the story of words that have come into English and Spanish from this root, which as we will see had three variants in the original Proto-Indo-European language, and the many cognates in these languages that are derived from it. Cognates typically came through Latin, not as in the case of sentar and sit, which are patrimonial words in their respective languages.

The intransitive English verb sit [ˈsɪt] is a common Germanic one, with cognates in all other Germanic languages, such as Dutch zitten, German sitzen, and Swedish sitta. In Middle English, it was sitten and in Old English sittan. The Proto-Germanic word that these Garmanic verbs come from has been constructed as *sitjaną. It has cognates in other Indo-European languages, such as Irish suigh, Sanskrit सीदति (sīdati), and Russian сиде́ть (sidétʹ).

In Modern English, the verb sit is typically a stative one, equivalent to to be sitting (down). For the action of sitting, the phrasal verb sit down is typically used, although in some situations the adverbial down is not needed. For instance, in the command forms Sit!, which does indeed refer to the act of sitting down, the adverbial down can sometimes be omitted, such as when giving commands to dogs. (For more on English phrasal verbs, see Part I, Chapter 4, §4.12.3.)

Verb (complex)
Semantics
Spanish equivalent
sit
stative
estar sentado/a
sit (down)
active
sentarse
sit up[1]
active antonym
levantarse, incorporarse; enderezarse
be sitting
stative
estar sentado/a
be seated
stative
estar sentado/a

The verb sit is what’s called a strong verb whose past tense and past participle are both sat [ˈsæt]. (In Old English, the past tense of this verb is attested as set and sette, among others, and the past participle as geseten and seten, among others.)

English also has a transitive verb to seat, whose main meaning today is ‘to place on a seat or seats; to cause to sit down’ (OED). This verb developed in the 16th century out of the noun seat, whose primary meaning is ‘a thing made or used for sitting on, such as a chair or stool’ (COED), though it has a few other secondary senses (see below). The noun seat is a loanword from around the year 1200 from Old Norse sæti ‘seat, position’, from Proto-Germanic *sētiją. The verb seat that was derived from the noun seat at first meant ‘to be in a certain position’, but already in the early 1600’s it had acquired its modern transitive and causative meaning ‘to cause to be seated’. The past participle of the verb seat is seated, which has been converted into an adjective too, which is how this word is mostly used. It is equivalent to Sp. sentado/a, the past participle of Sp. sentar (see below), as in She was seated to his right (Sp. Estaba sentada a su izquierda).

The noun seat translates in different ways into Spanish since seat is a polysemous word, with senses such as ‘place to sit’ (Sp. asiento), ‘part of a chair’ (Sp. asiento as well), ‘part of trousers’ (Sp. parte del trasero, etc.), etc. The most common equivalent of the noun seat in Spanish is asiento, which translates its main meaning, a word that will be explored below. Other words may be used to translate the noun seat, however. A numbered seat in a stadium may be called localidad and in a theater butaca. In a legislature, a seat is known as escaño, and in a committee, it is a puesto or lugar, and on a bus or airplane it may translate as plaza. Also, a bicycle seat is a sillín in Spanish. When a seat refers to a headquarters, central office or venue, Spanish may use the word sede, which we will return to later as well, since it is derived from the same root (more on Sp. sede below).

Additionally, this word is found in many idiomatic expressions, such as to take a seat (Sp. tomar asiento), to take a back seat (Sp. tomar un papel secundario, mantenerse al margen) and in the driver’s seat (Sp. al control, llevar las riendas), and collocations, such as window seat (Sp. asiento de la ventana) and reserve a seat (Sp. reservar una plaza, etc.).

The noun seat that was borrowed from Old Norse was a cognate of Old English noun set, derived from the also patrimonial verb to set, and meaning ‘the act of setting’, as in sunset, but it could also mean ‘seat’, ‘a place where people remain’, etc. The verb set comes from Old English settan which meant ‘to cause to sit, put in some place’ among other things, much like Modern English set does. The verbs seat and set derive from transitive (causative) Proto-Germanic *(bi)satjan ‘to cause to sit, set’, which comes from a Proto-Indo-European root *sod‑, which was a variant of the root *sed‑ that we have already seen.[2]

Proto-Indo-European roots had variants in which the vowel could change to modify the meaning of the root. (For more on Proto-Indo-European, see Part I, Chapter 3; for more on what a root is, see Part I, Chapter 5.) This system is known as ablaut (cf. Part I, Chapter 8, §8.3.3). The English wordforms sing sang sung song are a remnant of a type of ablaut in English, a Germanic language. Proto-Indo-European roots could have different ablaut grades, depending on what the root’s vowel was, such as the following:

zero
short
long
e
ē
o
ō

Investigators have been able to reconstruct some aspects of the Proto-Indo-European ablaut system. According to these reconstructions, we know that this PIE root had four different forms, each one of them has been found to have had different optional suffixes attached to them: (1) basic form sed‑; (2) an o-grade variant sod‑; (3) a zero-grade variant sd‑; and (4) a lengthened-grade form *sēd. From these different variants come a number of words in English and Spanish, from Eng. sit, nest, and soot, to Sp. sentar, asiento, and silla. In this chapter we will look at all of these words.

Finally, before moving on to look ‘verbs of sitting’ in English and Spanish, we should mention one other native word that contains this root and which has a similar meaning, namely the verb settle. This verb, which was setlen in Middle English, comes from Old English setlan meaning ‘to settle, seat, put to rest’, which is only attested once and which was derived from the Old English noun setl ‘seat, place of rest’, and thus we can see it was once a verb of sitting.[1] The noun setl is derived from the Proto-Indo-European stem *sedla‑, which contains the root *sed‑ ‘to sit’, from which also come Latin sella ‘seat, chair’, source of Sp. silla ‘chair’ (see below), and Old English sadol ‘saddle’, source of Mod. Eng. saddle.

The Old English verb setlan meant ‘to seat; to put in a seat or place of rest; also, to cause to sit down’ (OED), a meaning that is now obsolete. The OED gives 35 senses for this word, some containing subsenses, most of which are not obsolete.[2] However, the main meanings of these verb today are transitive ‘to put into order; arrange or fix definitely as desired’ and intransitive ‘to discontinue moving and come to rest in one place’ (AHD).



[1] Note that it seems that ‘in some uses, the verb [settle] became synonymous with the like-sounding Middle English saȝtle ‘to appease, reconcile’ (saughtel v.), association with which may perhaps have influenced the development of these uses’ (OED).
[2] Regarfding those 35 senses, the OED tells us that “In many of the senses explained below, the verb frequently appears with a colouring derived from senses of different origin, so that the position of many of the examples is open to dispute”.



[1] In some dialects of English, sit up can also have the meaning ‘refrain from going to bed until later than usual’ (COED). This would translate into Spanish as quedarse levantado or, if one sits up waiting for someone, esperar levantado. English also has a noun derived from the phrasal verb sit up, namely situp or sit-up, that means ‘a physical exercise designed to strengthen the abdominal muscles, in which a person sits up from a supine position without using the arms for leverage’ (COED). The noun dates from the mid-1950s in English. The Spanish equivalent is (ejercicio) abdominal (thus, to do situps translates as hacer abdominales in Spanish).

[2] The noun set meaning ‘collection of things’, equivalent to Sp. conjunto, is according to some an unrelated homonym. It is a mid-15th century loan from Old French sette ‘sequence’, a variant of secte ‘religious community’," from Medieval Latin secta ‘retinue’, from Latin secta ‘a faction’ or ‘a following’. According to others, English just borrowed this new sense, a semantic calque, for the existing English word set.




[i] Source: Buddha sitting in bhumisparsha-mudra posture (calling the earth to be his witness). Burma. White marble with traces of polychromy. Photograph by Rama. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buddha_sitting-MGR_Lyon-IMG_9878.jpg#/media/File:Buddha_sitting-MGR_Lyon-IMG_9878.jpg

Intimate intimacy

[This entry is an excerpt from Chapter 53, "Intimate intimacy", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: A...