Thursday, July 5, 2018

Sp. llamar / clamar & Eng. claim: the root CLAM, Part 3

[This entry comes from Chapter 15, "Llamar/clamar & claim: the root CLAM- and related words", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]


Sp. clamar and Eng. to claim


As we saw above, the Latin verb clāmāre evolved into the patrimonial Spanish verb llamar, with the form and the meaning of the word evolving along the way. The meaning of the verb clāmāre involved the use of a loud or intense voice, typically for the purpose of sending a message. That is why it is said to have had the following main senses:
  • shout (intransitive): ‘to call, cry out, shout aloud, to complain with a loud voice’ (L&S) (Sp. ‘dar voces, gritar, lamentarse a gritos’, Vox); synonym: vōciferārī
  • declare / proclaim (transitive): ‘to call or cry aloud to something or someone, to proclaim, declare, to invoke, call upon’ (L&S) (Sp. ‘proclamar, llamar (to name); anunciar, manifestar’, Vox),  synonym exclamāre
  • call/ask for: ‘to ask for, call for, clamor for, demand’ (Sp. llamar, pedir, etc.)

The last of these three senses seems to have developed out of the other two at a later date. As we can see, the meaning of Sp. llamar has evolved to a large extent from the meanings of the original Latin word. The ‘naming’ sense seems to have derived from the ‘proclaim’ sense and the ‘summon’ sense most likely came from the ‘call for’ sense. As for the form of Sp. llamar, we already saw that it displays the typical sound change that converted the CL [kl] sound sequence (consonant cluster) of Latin to Old Spanish LL [ʎ] (cf. Part I, Chapter 10, §10.4.6.1).

As we saw earlier, much later, in the first half of the 15th century, Spanish borrowed this very same verb from Latin, a learned doublet of llamar, namely the fancy verb clamar, meaning ‘to cry out for, to clamor for’. It is a fancy and literary word, typically used transitively in collocation with certain nouns, such as in clamar justicia ‘to cry out for justice’ or clamar venganza ‘to cry out for revenge’. However, it can also be used with an object with the prepositions por ‘for, in favor of’ or contra ‘against’, as in clamar por la justicia ‘to cry out for justice’.

As we also mentioned earlier, Spanish llamar and clamar are cognates of the English verb to claim [ˈkʰleɪ̯m]. As in the case of the verb to call, which has a homonymous noun call, the verb claim also has an identical noun claim. The meaning of the English verb claim, however, is not in any way equivalent to (a good friend of) the Spanish words, llamar or clamar, even though their meanings are obviously derived from and related to the original meaning of Latin clāmāre, as we shall see.

The English verb to claim is a 14th century borrowing from the Old French verb clamer whose main meaning was ‘to declare (loudly), proclaim’ but probably also had the ‘cry for, demand’ sense that the sourceword had acquired in Latin, but not the primary senses that the Spanish patrimonial reflex of this Latin word, llamar, had come to have, such as the ‘name’ and ‘summon’ senses. The two major senses of the verb to claim in Modern English are exactly those two:
  • the assert senses (‘allege’, ‘profess’, etc.): ‘assert that something is the case’ (COED); this meaning translates into Spanish as alegar, afirmar, sostener, or decir; e.g. She claims to know the truth ‘Afirma saber la verdad’
  •  the demand senses (‘assert a title, a right, etc.’): ‘demand as one’s own property, earnings, right, etc.’; these senses translate into Spanish as reclamar, exigir, reivindicar, solicitar, pedir, or cobrar, depending on the context; e.g. She claimed the reward ‘Pidió/reclamó la recompensa’; She claimed diplomatic immunity ‘Alegó inmunidad diplomática’,

If we look at how the two senses are expressed in Spanish, we see that only one of them can be expressed, in some contexts, with a word that also contains the clam‑ root, namely reclamar, which besides meaning ‘to claim; to demand’ can also mean, in legal terminology, ‘to appeal’ (see below).
The English noun claim also has two major senses, an ‘assertion’ sense and a ‘demand’ sense, just like the verb it is derived from:
  • the assertion senses: cf. Sp. afirmación, opinión, noción, declaración, tesis, etc., depending on the context; e.g. I don’t believe his claim ‘No creo lo que dijo’
  • the demand sense: cf. Sp. reclamación, reivindicación, demanda, etc., depending on the context; e.g. She put in a claim with her insurance ‘Puso una reclamación al seguro’

As with the case of the verb to claim, of the several ways to translate the two senses of the English noun claim, only one contains the same Latin root, namely reclamación (see below).

The noun claim entered English in the early 14th century, soon after the adoption of the verb. Unlike with the noun call, which was derived in English from the verb to call by conversion (zero derivation; see Part I, §5.7), the noun claim seems to have been borrowed from the French noun claime ‘claim, complaint’, which was derived (in French) from the verb clamer (see above) and only later did the two words, the noun and the verb, come to be pronounced and spelled the same way.

There are a few idiomatic expressions with the verb and noun claim in English. Their meanings are related to the main meanings mentioned earlier. The following are some of the most common ones:

Idiom with claim
Spanish equivalent
one’s claim to fame
por lo que se le conoce a uno, el mérito de uno
to claim (for) something
reclamar algo
to claim responsibility for
reivindicar
to have a claim on something
tener derecho a algo
advertising claim
afirmación publicitaria
to back up someone’s claim
respaldar la opinión de alguien
to lay claim to something
reclamar el derecho a algo, reivindicar algo
to (make a) claim for damages
demandar/presentar una demanda por daños
compensation claim
solicitud/reclamación de indemnización
to make good on one’s claim
probar/demostrar lo que uno dice
to claim may lives
cobrarse muchas vidas
to claim victory
cantar victoria
to claim credit
atribuirse el mérito
to make no claim to
no pretender

There are also a few English words derived from the noun claim. One is the noun claimant, created in English in the 18th century out of the verb to claim with the ‑ant suffix, that is, following the model on words such as appellant (< appeal) and defendant (< defend). The suffix ‑ant is originally a French present participle and it is found mostly in French loanwords but, in this case, English used the pattern analogically to form the word claimant out of the verb (in other words, the noun claimant is not a loan from French, though the parts it is made of are French). The equivalent in Spanish would be solicitante, referring to someone who makes a legal claim, and pretendiente, when referring to someone with claims to a throne.

Another English word that contains the noun claim is quitclaim, a legal term meaning ‘a formal renunciation or relinquishing of a claim’ (COED), often found in property deeds, particularly in North America. In Spanish, quiteclaim can be translated as transferencia or traspaso (de propiedad). Eng. quitclaim is partly a late 13th or early 14th century loanword from Anglo-French quiteclame (among other spellings), but also partly derived in English from the verb quitclaim ‘to declare (a person) free; to release, acquit, or discharge’, a verb that is now archaic. The quit in quitclaim is related to the verb to quit ‘to give up’, which comes from Old French quiter ‘to clear, establish one’s innocence’ and ‘to release, let go, relinquish, abandon’.[1]

Finally, we should mention that Latin had a noun derived from the verb clāmāre, namely clāmor, that meant ‘a loud call/shout, battle cry; cry of fear, pain or mourning’ (in Old Latin it was clāmŏs).[2] Both English and Spanish have learned, fancy cognate nouns that are borrowed from this Latin word, namely Sp. clamor [kla.ˈmoɾ] and Eng. clamor [ˈkʰlæ.məɹ]. Both nouns mean ‘a loud and confused noise, especially of shouting’ and, derived from it, ‘a vehement protest or demand’ (COED).

Eng. clamor is a late 14th century loan from Old French clamor, an early loanword from Latin (mid-11th century; cf. Mod. Fr. clameur). Sp. clamor is also an early loan from Latin, already found in the Cid, though it may have come through Occitan. Eng. clamor can also be used as a verb, namely to clamor, ‘([said] of a group) [to] shout or demand loudly’ (COED). This verb was derived from the noun by conversion (zero derivation). It translates into Spanish as gritar, clamar (por), or pedir (a gritos). The two nouns, Eng. clamor and Sp. clamor, are close friends. Synonyms of Sp. clamor are griterío, related to gritar ‘to scream’; vociferación, from the verb vociferar ‘to vociferate, shout’; and the phrase demanda a voces.[3] However, a verb was also derived in Spanish from the noun clamor in the 17th century, namely clamorear, though it is quite fancy and rare today. It is a transitive verb that means ‘to make a begging and plaintive request’.




[1] Modern French quitter means primarily ‘to leave, abandon, get rid of’, as in the title of the famous 1959 song by Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel Ne me quitte pas ‘Don’t leave me’ (Sp. ‘No me dejes’). These words are cognates of Sp. quitar, which is a false friend since it means primarily ‘to remove, take off, take away, steal, etc.’. All of these verbs are derived from the Latin adjective quĭētus ‘at rest, free from exertion, inactive, in repose’, ‘undisturbed, free from agitation, quiet, peaceful’, cf. the false friends Eng. quiet ‘silent’ ~ Sp. quieto ‘motionless’. This Latin adjective is derived by conversion from the identical passive participle of the verb quiēscĕre ‘to rest, repose, etc.’ (principal parts: quiēscō, quiēscĕre, quiēvī, quiētus). The verb itself is derived from the noun quĭes (genitive quĭētis), which had two main senses, ‘rest’ (cf. Sp. quieto) and ‘quiet’ (cf. Eng. quiet).

Sp. quieto [ˈki̯e.t̪o] is a learned word, a loan from the Latin adjective quĭētus. This word started to replace its patrimonial cognate quedo (from Vulgar Latin quētus) in the 16th century, becoming very common already in the early 17th century, cf. Cervantes’ El Quixote. From the adjective quedo, Spanish developed the polysemous verb quedar(se) ‘to stay, remain, etc.’ by the 13th century.

Eng. quiet [ˈkwaɪ̯.ət] is a late 14th century loan from learned Fr. quiet or from Lat. quietus. Originally the meaning of Eng. quiet was ‘peaceable, at rest, restful, tranquil’. In the 15th century the meaning was extended to include the sense ‘averse to making stir, noise, etc.’, which eventually became the word’s main meaning.

From the adjective quĭētus, Latin developed the deponent verb quiētarī ‘‘to calm, quiet down’ (Sp. ‘calmar, apaciguar’; principal parts: quiētor, quiētarī, quiētātus sum). This verb changed to a first conjugation quĭētāre and eventually, in Medieval Latin, to quitare. Also, it came to have a technical legal meaning, something like ‘to put someone at rest/peace by removing some burden (such as an accusation, tribute, debt, or duty)’. (The Medieval Latin adjective quitus or quittus could also mean ‘free of war, debt, or another burden, see below.) Eventually, only the sense of removing remained from the verb, as in Spanish quitar. In other languages, descendants of this Latin verb evolved even further, as in Fr. quitter ‘to leave, abandon’ (i.e. ‘to remove oneself’) and Eng. quit. The main sense of Eng. quit used to be until not too long ago ‘to leave, especially permanently’, as in She quit the premises, a sense that is now somewhat archaic in North American English. The main modern meanings of Eng. quit developed from that sense, however. They are the informal ‘resign from (a job)’ sense, as in I quit my job, and the (mostly North American) ‘stop or discontinue’ sense, as in I quit smoking.

By the way, the English adverb quite is also related to this family of words. It used to mean only ‘to the greatest extent; completely, thoroughly’, as in quite alone, though now it can also have a much less strong sense, namely ‘somewhat, to a degree’, as in quite soon. This adverb is derived from the now archaic adjective quit ‘absolved of a duty or an obligation; free’ (AHD), ‘rid of’ (COED), as in I want to be quit of him, etc. This adjective quit is a loan (c. 1200) from Old French quite or quitte ‘free, clear, entire, at liberty; discharged; unmarried’, which comes from Medieval Latin quitus or quittus ‘free of burden’ (see above), which ultimately comes from Classical Latin quietus. Spanish also borrowed this adjective at one point, as quito. It also meant ‘free, exempt (of a debt or obligation)’. However, that word is now archaic, if not obsolete. By the way, this word quito is not related to the word Quito, the name of the capital of Ecuador. This city’s name is thought to come from an indigenous language and to mean ‘middle of the earth’.

[2] The Old Latin genitive form of this word would have been clāmŏsis, with an r instead of an s in the final syllable. However, in Old Latin, intervocalic s became r and, eventually, the s also changed to r in the nominative form (where it was not between vowels) by analogy. Other common words that display this s to r change are arbor ‘tree’ (earlier arbos; cf. Sp. árbol ‘tree’) and labor ‘work’ (earlier labos; cf. Sp. labor and Sp. labor).

[3] The Spanish verb vociferar ‘to shout’ has a cognate in Eng. vociferate. They are both fancy words, though the English one is probably less common and less well known. The are both loanwords from Lat. vōcĭfĕrārī ‘to cry out, cry aloud, exclaim, scream, bawl, vociferate' (or from the rarer, regularized version of the deponent verb, vōcĭfĕrāre). This verb is formed from the root vōc‑ of the noun vōx vōcis ‘voice’ and from the root of the verb ferre ‘to carry, bear’ (ferō, ferre, tulī/tetulī, lātus).

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