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.

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