Sunday, November 25, 2018

Eng. -age ~ Sp. -aje, Part 20: Spanish words in -aje (e)

[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.]


bagaje (1832) ‘baggage, luggage’ (all the things one takes on a trip), though that use is rare. Traditionally it was used in military contexts for the ‘military baggage of an army or troop on the move’ (DLE). More common today is perhaps its figurative use for ‘knowledge and experiences that a person has accumulated over time’.

Sp. bagaje is probably a 16th century loanword from Fr. bagage, a word that was created in the 13th century, though it could have come from its Provençal cognate bagatge. The original meaning was that of ‘property packed up for carriage’ and, later, ‘military equipment one takes along on a campaign’, a sense which is now archaic. The sense of ‘(personal) luggage’ for the word is from the 19th century and it happened first in the French word, from which it was passed on to Spanish, though it is rarely used that way, since equipaje is the preferred word for this meaning (see below).

English baggage is a cognate, also a loanword from French, borrowed in the 15th century. Fr. bagage seems to have developed from the noun bague ‘pack, bundle, sack’, typically used in the plural as bagues, which is related to Provençal bagua, Italian baga, and Late Latin baga ‘chest, sack’. This bague seems to be a cognate of Eng. bag, first attested in the 13th century, which probably came into English from Old Norse baggi ‘bag, pack, bundle’. The origin of all these words is not clear, however. Several theories have been proposed, none of which holds much water. Fr. bagage could have come from the French verb baguer ‘to tie up’, derived from the noun bagues, rather than from the noun itself.

As we mentioned, the main use of Sp. bagaje today is figurative, in phrases such as bagaje emocional, bagaje cultural, bagaje intelectual, and bagaje artístico, perhaps under the influence (semantic calque) of English, for Eng. baggage is often used with the sense ‘past experiences or long-held opinions perceived as encumbrances’, as in emotional baggage (COED). The collocation bagaje cultural, when speaking of a person can translate as cultural knowledge, knowledge of culture, experience, or background, and of a people, as cultural heritage. The expression bagaje emocional is also a common collocation, probably as a calque of the English expression emotional baggage, which the Urban Dictionary defines as ‘painful memories, mistrust and hurt carried around from past sexual or emotional rejection’ and as ‘an excuse commonly used by Peter Pans and other immature men to avoid commitment yet maintain a sexual relationship’.

brebaje (1832) ‘brew, potion, concoction’, as in brebaje mágico ‘magic potion’. This is a 13th century loanword from Old. French bevrage or buverage which is first attested in the 12th century and which originally meant ‘beverage’ (Sp. bebida), cf. Modern French breuvage [bʀœ.ˈvaʒ]) ‘concoction, potion’ (like in Spanish), though in Québec it still means ‘(non-alcoholic) beverage’, perhaps from the influence of this word’s English cognate beverage. Cognates of this word are found in several Romance languages (e.g. Cat. beuratge, same meaning as Sp. brebaje; It. beveraggio), which suggests that there may have been a Vulgar Latin *biberaticum, though such a word is unattested and there is no patrimonial Spanish word derived from it. Sp. brebaje does not appear in the Academy’s dictionary until 1832, though it is found in another dictionary in 1786.

Old Fr. bevrage was derived from the Old French verb bevre ‘to drink’ (cf. Modern French boire [ˈbwaʀ]), a cognate of Sp. beber ‘to drink’. Both verbs are patrimonial descendants from Latin bĭbĕre (same meaning; cf. Cat. beure, It. bere, Port. beber; Eng. bib ‘to drink; keep on drinking, tipple’, OED, may be an adaptation of this verb too). The metathesis of the r in Sp. brebaje (with respect to Old French bevrage) was seemingly due to the influence of a patrimonial Spanish word brebajo for a drink given to animals made with water and other ingredients such as flour, potatoes and bran. This brebajo was derived from the same verb with the suffix ‑ajo that comes from Lat. ‑aculum (cf. Cat. beurall). The metathesis is also found in the patrimonial Spanish verb abrevar ‘to water, give water to (animals); to drink (said of animals)’ that comes from Vulgar Latin *abbiberare (same meaning), derived from the Latin verb bĭbĕre. Derived from Sp. abrevar is the noun abrevadero ‘watering hole, watering trough, water trough, drinking trough’.

Eng. beverage is a cognate, and false friend, of Sp. brebaje. Eng. beverage was borrowed from French in the mid-13th century, from the same French source as the Spanish word. Eng. beverage is expressed in Spanish by bebida, a noun derived by conversion from the identical feminine form of the past participle of the verb beber. The change in meaning from ‘beverage’ to ‘concoction’ occurred in Spanish and in French, though not in English. It is quite likely that it happened in Standard French first and that Spanish borrowed the sense later (semantic calquing). The Grand Robert defines the new sense of Fr. breuvage as ‘drink of a special composition or having a particular virtue (‘boisson d’une composition spéciale ou ayant une vertu particulière’).

Note that these words are not related to Eng. brew, which does not contain the same root either. Eng. brew (Old English bréow-an) is a common Germanic word descended from the Germanic verb-root *brū‑ (pre-Germanic bhreu‑, OED; Eng. broth would be derived from the same root).

In Argentina, the word beberaje was created in the 20th century presumably from beber + ‑aje, though there is little doubt that it is a calque from Eng. beverage. Its meaning is ‘alcoholic beverage’, which in Standard Spanish is bebida alcohólica.

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