Friday, June 1, 2018

Eng. -age ~ Sp. -aje, Part 7: The source of words in Sp. -aje and Eng. -age

[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.]

In the previous section we saw that Sp. lenguaje is not a patrimonial word in Spanish, that it was borrowed either from Old Occitan/Provençal (Southern French) lengatge, through the troubadour connection, or else from the related Catalan word llenguatge, both of which are cognates of the northern French word from where English borrowed the word language (modern French langage [lɑ̃.ˈɡaʒ]). We said that all of these words can be traced back to the Vulgar Latin word *linguāticum, which contains ending ‑āticum, which became a noun-forming derivational suffix in Late Latin. This suffix is attached to the root lĭng‑ of the word lĭngua that meant ‘tongue’ and ‘language’ (cf. patrimonial Sp. lengua).

The origin of ‑ātĭcum as a noun-forming derivational suffix is quite unusual. There is no doubt that this suffix is derived from the neuter form of a minor variant of the adjective forming suffix (nominative) ‑ĭc‑(us) (feminine ‑ĭc‑(a), neuter ‑ĭc‑(um)), one that was derived from it by the adding of the ‘infix’ ‑āt‑, resulting in the ending ‑āt-ĭc-(us). Only a handful of Latin nouns added this ‑āt-ĭc-(us) to a noun to form a derived adjective, however:[1]
  • from the noun aqua ‘water’ (cf. Sp. agua), it derived the adjective ăquātĭcus ‘living, growing, or found in or by the water, aquatic’ (L&S) (cf. Eng. aquatic ~  Sp. acuático/a)
  • from the noun lūna ‘moon’ (cf. Sp. luna), we get lūnātĭcus ‘living on the moon; epileptic, lunatic, moon-struck, crazy’ (cf. Eng. lunatic ~ Sp. lunático/a)
  • from the noun fānum ‘a place dedicated to some deity by forms of consecration, a sanctuary, temple’, we get the adjective fānātĭcus ‘pertaining to a temple; inspired by a divinity, enthusiastic’ (cf. Eng. fanatic ~ Sp. fanático/a)
  • from the noun umbra ‘a shade, shadow; the dark part of a painting, shade, shadow’, we get the adjective umbrātĭcus ‘of or belonging to the shade, found in the shade (figuratively: related to retirement, seclusion, or leisure)’
  • from the noun cēna ‘dinner’ (cf. Sp. cena), we get the very rare adjective cēnātĭcus ‘pertaining to a dinner’
  • from the noun vĭa ‘a way, a highway, road, path, street; a way, method, mode, manner, fashion, etc.,’ (cf. Sp. vía) > vĭātĭcus ‘of or belonging to a road or journey, viatic’ (cf. Eng. viatic ~ Sp. viático)

Occasionally, though very rarely, Latin adjectives ending in …ātĭcus resulted from the addition of the adjectival ‑ĭc‑(us) suffix to a first conjugation verb’s passive participle that ended in ‑ā‑t‑(us). The following is one such case:
  • from the passive participle stem vol‑ā‑t‑ of the passive participle vol‑ā‑tus of the verb volāre ‘to fly’ (cf. Sp. volar), we get vŏlātĭcus ‘flying, winged; fleeting, flighty, volatile, inconstant, transitory’
The birth of the noun-forming suffix ‑ātĭcum seems to have had to do with the derivation of nouns from the neuter form of a few of these adjectives. The prime candidate as the source of the pattern is the adjective vĭātĭcus ‘of or belonging to a road or journey’, which already in Classical Latin resulted in the noun vĭātĭcum, which came to mean ‘travelling money, provision for a journey’ (and, much later, in Church Latin, ‘the Eucharist given to a dying person or one in danger of death’, which is the meaning of Eng. viaticum and Sp. viático). Another example from Classical Latin is the noun cēnātĭcum, derived from the adjective cēnātĭcus (see above), which meant ‘the money given instead of food (to soldiers, priests, etc.), commutation money’.

Late Latin started using the neuter form  ātĭcum of the suffix ‑ātĭcus/a/um to form nouns (not adjectives) from other nouns, such as abstract nouns and collective nouns. So we could say that the meaning of this suffix when added to a noun X is ‘something (abstract, etc.) related to X’. That is how the word lĭnguātĭcum came to be derived from lĭngua ‘tongue’. The motivation may have been to distinguish the two different senses of Lat. lĭngua, namely ‘tongue’ (the organ) and ‘language’.

Another derivation that we find in Late Latin that used this suffix is the word mĭssātĭcum ‘message’, which in this case is derived from the stem mĭss‑ of the passive participle mĭssum ‘sent’ of the third conjugation verb mĭttĕre ‘to send, release, discharge, etc.’ (mĭss‑um). This noun is the source of the English word message, as well as the Spanish word mensaje (with spreading of the nasality of the initial m to the following syllable.

The Latin suffix ‑ātĭcum is said sometimes to have morphed to ‑agĭum in the spelling in post-classical Latin. Others think, however, that this Late Latin ending ‑agium is nothing but the Latinization of the Romance suffix that was spelled ‑age in northern Gaul and ‑atge in southern Gaul (and ‑azgo in Castilian Romance). One some of Romance words in ‑age are attested in Latinate form with the ‑agium suffix. Thus, along with the original Latin word missaticum, source of the Old French word message, we also find this same word written in Late Latin as messagium, but that was not a Classical Latin word, but a Latinization of the Old French word message that descended from Lat. missaticum by regular sound changes and spelling adaptations.

In the varieties of Old French spoken in what is now northern France, the suffix ‑ātĭcum changed to ‑age, which is pronounced [aʒ] in Modern French, and these Romance varieties created many more words that did not exist in Late Latin by means of this suffix. English has borrowed many of these words, which also end in the spelling ‑age, pronounced [ɪʤ]. Among the words English has borrowed from French with this suffix we have voyage, folliage, lineage, courage, garage, and savage. Note that an English speaker has no way of recognizing ‑age as a suffix in English, since the ‘root’ of these words, what remains after taking out the ending ‑age (folli‑, line‑, cour‑, gar‑, sav‑) from these words are not recognizable or at least meaningful morphemes of English.

You may have noticed that many of the English words that end in ‑age have Spanish cognates that end in ‑aje, cf. viaje, follaje, linaje, coraje, garaje, and salvaje. It turns out that none of these words are patrimonial words in Spanish. All the words in ‑aje in Spanish are borrowings from either Standard French, Southern French (Occitan), or Catalan. These are words that ended in ‑age in northern French, and or ‑adge in Occitan or Catalan (the two are closely related). Spanish just changed the spelling of all these endings to ‑aje. The suffix is pronounced [ˈa.xe] in modern Spanish, but it used to be pronounced [ˈa.ʒe] (cf. Part I, Chapters 7 and 10).

By the way, the English word age is also related to the ‑āticum suffix, even though it looks just like the suffix ‑age and nothing else. That is because English age comes from Old French age, from Late Latin *aetāticum, derived from Latin aetātem (nom. aetās), meaning ‘lifetime, age, generation, stage, period of life, time, era’. The Spanish word for age, namely edad, does not come from Late Lat. *aetāticum but, rather, from Lat. aetātem Spanish, by totally regular and predictable changes (ae changed to e, the ‑t‑ between vowels changed to ‑d‑, twice, the final ‑m dropped first, and then the final ‑e dropped again before a preceding t; cf. Part I, Chapter 10). Both English age and Spanish edad have the same two senses just the same as the original Latin word did: (1) number of years, as in Eng. What’s your age? / Sp. ¿Qué edad tienes? (alternative ways to the questions Eng. How old are you? / Sp. ¿Cuántos años tienes?) and (2) period of time, as in Middle Ages / Edad Media.

The native reflex in Castilian of the Late Latin suffix ‑āticum is ‑azgo (‑adgo in Old Spanish), a suffix that was not as productive as its cognates were in French or Occitan and which has not left us near as many words. The most common words with the suffix ‑azgo in Modern Spanish are the following:
  • noviazgo ‘courtship, engagement (to marry)’, from novio/novia ‘boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancé/fiancée’)
  • hallazgo ‘finding’, from hallar ‘to find’
  • (rare) hartazgo ‘bellyful, satiety, satiation’, from hartar ‘to satisfy; to irritate, tire, overwhelm’; cf. hartarse ‘to stuff oneself; to get fed up with’), and
  • liderazgo ‘leadership, position or duties of a leader’, a 19th century creation derived from the English loanword líder ‘leader’

There are a few other words that contain the suffix ‑azgo in Modern Spanish and they are all quite rare today. These are the main ones: almirantazgo ‘admiralship’, padrinazgo ‘patronage’, comadrazgo ‘godmother relationship’, hermanazgo ‘brothership, brotherhood’ (cf. harmandad), madrinazgo ‘godmothership’, mayorazgo ‘primogeniture’, mecenazgo ‘patronage, sponsorship’, patronazgo ‘patronage’ (cf. patronato, patrocinio), and portazgo ‘toll’ (cf. portaje, peaje).

In Italian, like in Spanish, the suffix ‑ātĭcum resulted in two different suffixes, one patrimonial and the other one borrowed. The patrimonial reflex of Latin ‑ātĭcum is ‑atico, or ‑àtico, a suffix which, like ‑azgo in Spanish, is not very common in modern Italian. The other reflex of the suffix ‑ātĭcum is -àggio or -aggio, as in linguaggio ‘language’ and viaggio ‘voyage’, cognates of Spanish lenguaje and viaje, respectively. This suffix was borrowed from Occitan, much like Spanish ‑aje was. In Occitan the form of the suffix was -atge, like in Catalan.

Notice that there are no learned words with the suffix ‑ātĭcum, since this was a Vulgar and Late Latin nominal suffix only, not a Classical Latin one. But there are learned words that come from Latin words which the adjectival ‑ā‑t‑ĭc‑us endings. As we saw earlier, this …aticus ending was a combination of several suffixes and it could have different sources. As some point, however, it seems there was some confusion about the analysis of these suffixes and ‑(a)tĭcus came to be applied to non-verbal stems. Actually, most of the approximately 200 words that end in ‑atic in English and the approximately 30 words that end in ‑atical are adjectives that come from Greek adjectives ending in …ατικός (…atikos), which seem to be for the most part Greek words that had stems that ended in …at‑, not necessarily a suffix, to which the adjectival suffix ‑ik‑ was added, e.g. Eng. automatic ~ Sp. automático/a (see examples in footnote l on page 1426 above).[i]

[1] An even smaller number of adjectives were derived from nouns by what looks like a suffix ‑t‑ĭc‑us, with a ‑t‑ and with or without other changes or additions to the stem: dŏmestĭcus (adj. of dŏmus ‘house’) ‘of or belonging to the house’, ‘of or belonging to one's family; domestic, familiar, household’; (2) rustĭcus (adj. of rūs, genitive rūris, ‘the country (as opposed to the city), lands, fields; a country-seat, farm, estate, etc.') ‘of or belonging to the country, rural, rustic, country’, ‘countrylike, rustic, simple, in a good or (more freq.) in a bad sense, etc.’

Most Latin adjectives that end in the spelling …aticus are actually adjectives derived by means of the plain adjectival suffix ‑ĭc‑(us) attached to nouns of Greek origin whose regular stems ended in …ăt‑ (notice the short ă, not long ā) and whose nominative case wordforms ended in …ma, e.g. ărōma, gen. ărōmătis > ărōmăticus ‘aromatic’ (cf. Gk. ρωματικός); dogma, gen. dogmătis > dogmătĭcus ‘dogmatic’ (cf. Gk. δογματικός); drama, gen. dramătis ‘an act, a theatrical act, a play’ > dramātĭcus ‘dramatic, pertaining to plays’ (cf. Gk. δραματικός); pragma, gen. pragmătis ‘a matter, affair, business’, cf. Gk. πργμα (prâgma) > pragmātĭcus ‘skilled in business, esp. experienced in matters of law’ (cf. Gk. πραγματικός). All of these words have equivalent Greek adjectives that end in …ατικός (‑atikos), from which the Latin words were borrowed. Some Greek adjectives in …ατικός (‑atikos), however, were borrowed without borrowing the underlying noun, such as Lat. grammătĭcus and măthēmătĭcus.

Lat. grammătĭcus ‘of or belonging to grammar, grammatical’ is a loan from Gk. γραμματικός (grammatikós) ‘knowing one’s letters, of a good scholar, concerned with textual criticism’ and in the phrase γραμματικ τέχνη (grammatike tékhnē) ‘the grammatical art, skill, craft, i.e. grammar’; this adjective is derived by means of the adjectival suffix‎ ‑κ‑ός (-ik‑ós) from γρ́μμ (grámma), gen. γρ́μμτος (grámmatos) (the noun γρ́μμ (grámma) meant ‘that which is written, that which is drawn, picture; a letter; (in the plural) an alphabet; writing, book’; this noun is derived from the root of the verb γράφειν ‘to draw, etc.; to write’ and the suffix ‑μα (-ma) that formed result nouns.

Lat. măthēmătĭcus ‘of or belonging to mathematics, mathematical’ is a loanword from Gk. μαθηματικο:ς (same meaning), which is derived from the noun μάθημα (máthēma), genitive μαθήματος (mathḗmatos) ‘learning, knowledge; a lesson; a creed; astrology’. This noun was often used in the plural: μαθήμτ. The noun μάθημα (máthēma) is derived from the root of the verb μνθ́νειν (manthánein) ‘to learn’ and the suffix ‑μα (-ma) that formed result nouns.

[i] Cf. There are over 200 words that end in ‑atic in English ( and 30 words that end in ‑atical (

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