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Spanish words in -aje
Another, even more common ‑aje word without an English cognate is aprendizaje which has as it major meaning ‘the action or result of learning something’ or ‘the time spent in such learning’. Thus it can be translated into English as apprenticeship, training period, and even learning. This noun is clearly related to the Spanish verb aprender ‘to learn’ and it is derived from the noun aprendiz ‘apprentice, trainee, novice’. Some use Sp. aprendiz to translate Eng. learner due to the lack of a better noun since, curiously, the excellent potential alternatives aprendedor and aprendiente, which used to exist in Spanish, are now obsolete words. Spanish aprentiz, which is already attested in 14th century texts, is a loanword from Old French aprentiz, from Lat. apprenditicius, and it won over the other two obsolete options. From this same French word comes Eng. apprentice, which is thus a cognate of Sp. aprendiz.
As in the case of English, there aren’t that many words that contain the suffix ‑aje in Spanish, either transparently as in the word ramaje or opaquely as in the word garaje. If one looks at words that end in ‑aje in Spanish by looking at the DRAE’s inverse/reverse dictionary, one gets 325 results, all but half a dozen of which can be recognized as having the suffix ‑aje.[i] Of these, many are quite rare. Only over 80 words would be quite familiar to an educated Spanish speaker. Curiously, they are for the most part fairly recent loanwords or creations. Many of them were only introduced in the DLE dictionary in its 1832 edition. Some were introduced even later. What follows is the list of these 80+ words. We include next to each word the year it first appeared in the DRAE if it is mentioned in the DRAE itself or in Corominas’ dictionary.
abordaje (1837): ‘boarding of a ship in an attack’, as in ¡Al abordaje! ‘Stand by to board!’, ‘Away boarders!’. It is related to the verb abordar that today means primarily ‘to board (a ship or airplane)’ or ‘to tackle (a problem)’. It is a 16th century loanword from French abordage [a.bɔʀ.ˈdaʒ], a word that was also created in the 16th century from the French verb aborder created in the 13th century from the phrase à bord ‘to the edge/side’ (cf. Sp. lit. al borde), which used adverbially translates into English as on board and into Spanish as a bordo, both calques from French.
Spanish borrowed the verb abordar from French in the 15th century and just like it, it has three main meanings: ‘to accost, to walk up to, to approach’, ‘to enter, embark on’ (in some dialects, in others: embarcarse), and ‘to tackle, to get to grips with’.
The Spanish word borde ‘edge’ also comes from French and shares its meanings, cf. el borde de la mesa ‘the edge of the table’, el borde del vaso ‘the rim of the glass’. It originally referred to the side of a ship. This word comes from Frankish and is of Germanic origin, where it meant ‘board, plank’ and ‘the side of a ship’. (It is thus obviously related to patrimonial English words board and starboard (the latter from Old English stēor ‘steer’ and bord ‘side (of a ship)’.)
alunizaje (1970) ‘moon landing’: related to the verb alunizar ‘to land on the moon’ (also DRAE 1970). Both the noun and the verb are French loanwords or calques of words derived from Fr. lune ‘moon’. Sp. alunizaje is a loan from Fr. alunissage (same meaning; first attested in 1923), which is derived from the past participle stem aluniss‑ of the verb alunir ‘to land (on the moon)’.
The Spanish verb alunizar seems to be a back formation from the noun alunizaje, however, for as we have seen, the French verb is alunir, which would have given us (non-existent) *alunar in Spanish, not alunizar. The French noun alunissage was created on the model of atterrissage ‘landing’, source of Sp. aterrizaje ‘landing’ (see below), a noun derived from the verb atterrir ‘to land’, itself derived from the noun terre ‘land’ (Sp. tierra), cf. Sp. aterrizar.
amperaje (1970) ‘amperage’, i.e. the ‘strength of an electrical current measured in amperes’, or amps for short (Sp. amperios). This word was created in the late 19th century in French (ampérage) on the model of voltage (Sp. voltaje) (see below). The word ampere comes from the name of French physicist André-Marie Ampère (1775-1836). English borrowed the words amp(ere) and amperage from French in the late 19th century. The words Eng. ampere ~ Sp. amperio refer to ‘a unit for measuring the rate at which electric current flows’ (MWALD)
anclaje (1832) ‘anchorage, anchoring’: noun related to the verb anclar ‘to anchor’, derived from the noun ancla ‘anchor’, first attested in the 13th century, which comes from Lat. ancora (also the source of Eng. anchor). The learned word áncora in Spanish is a 15th century loanword from the Latin word. From this word we get the Spanish ancoraje (also 1832).
The verb anclar is attested in the 16th century and the noun anclaje came later, which is why it’s likely that this is a calque of French ancrage ‘anchorage’ (15th century) derived from ancrer (12th century), from ancre (12th century).
Just like Eng. anchorage, the word anclaje is polysemous and can refer, first of all, to the action of anchoring a boat, but also to ‘a place safe for anchoring’, and to the ‘the fee charged for anchoring’ (Sp. fondear).
In recent decades, Sp. anclaje has also come to mean ‘a thing used to attach something firmly to something else, such as a wall or the ground’, and thus is equivalent to Eng. fastening or fastener. This has resulted in a surge in the usage of this word in the language as shown in statistical analyses of Spanish corpora.
The word anclaje (a red) has also come to translate the English term tethering (or phone-as-modem), which refers to ‘the connection of a personal computer to a mobile phone so as to obtain wireless Internet access from the computer’ (Wkt.).