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Sp. viaje ~ Eng. voyage, and the Latin root vi-
3 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
PGmc. *wagjaną ‘to shake, etc.’
PGmc. *wegaz ‘way, path’
PGmc. *wagnaz ‘cart, wagon’
Eng. wain ‘four-wheel cart’
Sp. vía (< Lat. via)
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:
- 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 invĕhī (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 vĭ‑ 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.
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.
 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).
 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’).
 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); https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ViaAppia.jpg (accessed: 2018.11.11)
[ii] Source: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:Proto-Indo-European/we%C7%B5%CA%B0- and links to related pages thereof; cf. also http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/ielex/X/P2108.html