Saturday, January 18, 2020

Words about emotions, part 7

[This entry is taken from Chapter 55, "Words about emotions in English and Spanish", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

This is Part 7. Go to Part 6.

Eng. sentient and related words

Not surprisingly, English and Spanish also have descendants of the present active participle of the Latin verb sĕntīre, which was sĕntiēns (accusative wordform: sĕntĭentem), a verbal adjective that meant ‘feeling’, ‘perceiving with the senses’, as well as ‘perceiving mentally’. The Latin present participle was formed with the present stem of the verb and the ending ‑ns in the nominative and ‑nt‑ in all the other cases, followed by the case inflection, e.g. ‑nt‑em in the accusative singular. (For fourth conjugation verbs, an ‑e‑ is inserted between the present stem sĕnt‑ĭ‑ and the ending.) Present participles were declined like third declension adjectives (cf. Part I, Chapter 8, §

In the 17th century, English borrowed this word as the adjective sentient with the meaning ‘able to perceive or feel things’ (COED), which is still its current meaning. The term is often used today in the context of animals other than humans as well as extraterrestrial living beings. A cognate of this word is not yet found in the DLE today but in recent years Spanish speakers have borrowed it through English. Interestingly, the Spanish adjective has two versions sentiente and sintiente, both meaning the same thing as their English cognate ‘that feels (= que siente), sentient’. Although neither word is to be found in the Academies’ DLE (2020), both variants are approved by the RAE’s Diccionario panhispánico de dudas as the equivalent of Eng. sentient (2005).[i] It must be said that the word makes a lot of sense to a Spanish speaker since it can be easily related to the verb sentir and to the adjectival ending ‑ente.

As for the two forms the adjective has adopted, note that the patrimonial Spanish verbal root SENT‑ has three allomorphs: sent‑, sient‑ and sint‑. The allomorph sient‑ is only found when the root is stressed, as in the first person singular present tense verb form siento (but not in the first-person plural form sentimos). This is due to a sound change that occurred in Old Spanish in which stressed short ĕ always changed to ie (cf. Part I, Chapter 10, §10.3.2). Since the root vowel in the Spanish adjective cognate of Eng. sentient is not stressed, we would not expect to find the form *sientiente. The variant sent‑ found in sentiente makes sense in a learned loanword from Latin, since the sound change from Latin short ĕ to Spanish ie only happened in patrimonial words, not in loanwords from Latin (note that this form is also closer to the English cognate sentient). The variant sint‑ on the other hand is found in patrimonial forms of the verb sentir in which the following syllable has a diphthong that starts with the semivowel [i̯], namely the verb forms sintió, sintieron and sintiendo. Thus, it makes sense to a Spanish speaker that in a word derived from sentir with the ending ‑iente, which has the semivowel [i̯], would use the allomorph sint‑ in the root, resulting in sintiente, the second alternative approved by the language authorities.

From the stem sentient‑ of the present participle sentiēns, Latin derived a noun sĕntĕntĭa, which must have come from an earlier *sĕntĭĕntĭa in Early Latin by loss of the first short ĭ. It was derived by means of the suffix ‑ĭ‑a that formed feminine abstract nouns from adjective or present participle stems (we can thus analyze the word’s morphemes as follows: sĕnt‑ĭ‑ĕ‑nt‑ĭ‑a). The meaning of the noun sĕntĕntĭa in Classical Latin was ‘a way of thinking, opinion, judgment, sentiment; a purpose, determination, decision, will, etc.’ (L&S). This noun has been borrowed by both English and Spanish as Eng. sentence and Sp. sentencia, two words that are share some of their meanings but not all.

English also has a noun sentience that means either ‘the quality or state of being sentient; consciousness’ or ‘feeling as distinguished from perception or thought’ (AHD). Note that this word looks superficially like a cognate of the word sentence. Actually, Eng. sentience was derived from the adjective sentient in English, in the early 19th century. Since there are many pairs of adjective-nouns in English that end in ‑ent ~ ‑ence, such as patient ~ patience, the noun sentience was created out of the adjective sentient by analogy with those nouns. Thus, we cannot say that Eng. sentence and sentience are cognates, strictly speaking, although they seem to have all of the same word parts, since the former is a loanword from Latin, where the word was formed, whereas the latter was formed in English from descendants of the same word parts that were borrowed from Latin.

Not surprisingly, Spanish has also borrowed this noun, sentience, from English, or calqued it, perhaps we should say, since Spanish also has many words that follow the pattern pacientepaciencia. Again, this word is not yet in the Academies’ dictionary, but it has been approved by related groups.[ii] As in the case of the adjectives, two forms of this word are considered correct and valid: sentiencia, with an e, and sintiencia, with an i.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Words about emotions, part 6

[This entry is taken from Chapter 55, "Words about emotions in English and Spanish", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

This is Part 6. Go to Part 5.

Eng. sense, Sp. seso and related words

As we saw, the passive participle of the Latin verb sĕntīre ‘to feel’ was sēnsus ‘felt’, which was converted in Latin into a masculine fourth declension noun. In other words, a noun was derived from this participle by conversion or zero-derivation, without the use of any affixes (cf. Part I, Chapter 5). The noun sēnsus meant something very close to what Eng. feeling means, namely ‘the faculty or power of perceiving, perception, feeling, sensation, sense, etc.’ (L&S). This word became the patrimonial Spanish word seso which meant ‘brain’ and, figuratively, ‘prudence, common sense’ in Old Spanish, and which is now somewhat archaic. In the plural, it is still used to refer to the brains of an animal in various cuisines. The loss of the syllable-final ‑n‑ before ‑s‑ in the Latin word sensus is a well-attested change in patrimonial Spanish words (Lat. -ns- > O.Sp. -s-). The same change happened to Lat. pensāre, which changed to patrimonial Old Sp. pesar, for example (cf. Part I, Chapter 10, §; Sp. pensar is a semi-learned doublet of pesar).

The English word sense also comes from Lat. sēnsus, and it is that a cognate of Sp. seso. English borrowed it in the early 15th century from Old French sens, which meant pretty much what seso meant in Old Spanish. The meaning of Eng. sense was later influenced by the meaning this word had in Latin, however. Eng. sense is highly polysemous. Dictionaries differ as to how many senses they ascribe to the noun sense. Macmillan English Dictionary gives four main senses, some of which have subsenses. The following is a summary of the four senses with examples:

1.   a strong feeling or belief about yourself, e.g. sense of achievement, sense of urgency
2.   one of the natural abilities that most people have to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel things, known as the five senses ·      a natural ability or quality that some people have, e.g. sense of balance, sense of humor
3.   a good reason, or a useful purpose, e.g. to make sense
4.   the meaning of a word or phrase
·      a way of thinking about or understanding something, although there may be other ways, e.g. in a sense, in one sense

Note that in the late 16th century, English has developed a verb to sense from the noun sense. Its meanings are ‘perceive by a sense or senses’, ‘be vaguely or indefinably aware of’, and when the subject is a ‘machine or similar device’, ‘detect’ (COED).

Most of the senses of the noun sense translate into Spanish with the noun sentido, which was derived by conversion from the past participle of the verb sentir. An exception is the ‘strong feeling’ sense in #1 above, which translates as sensación. The idiomatic expression to make sense, for example, translates as tener sentido. The sense ‘meaning of a word’ can be translated as sentido, but perhaps more common options are significado and acepción, in particular when referring to the different senses of a polysemous word. The noun sentido doesn’t just translate as sense either. It can also translate as consciousness, as in perder el sentido (= perder el conocimiento) ‘to lose consciousness’, which is equivalent to perder el conocimiento.

There is also an adjective sentido/a derived from the past participle of the verb sentir, though it is much less common than then noun sentido. Its meaning is something like ‘deeply felt’ and it is found in the common idiomatic expression nuestro más sentido pésame ‘our deepest sympathy’.

English developed the verb to sense from the noun sense by conversion in the late 16th century. Its main meaning is ‘[to] perceive by a sense or senses’ and, derived from it, ‘[to] be vaguely or indefinably aware of’ (COED). When applied to machines, its meaning is ‘to detect’. This verb translates into Spanish as sentir, percibir, presentir or intuir when applied to people, and as detectar when applied to machines.

Words derived from Lat. sens sēnsus

From the noun sēnsus, (post-classical) Latin derived the adjective sēnsātus/a by means of the suffix ‑āt‑ that formed adjectives from nouns indicating the possession of a thing or a quality, such as Lat. barbātus ‘bearded’ from the Latin noun barba ‘beard’ (cf. Sp. barbado and barba). This suffix ‑āt-us/a is closely related to the ending ‑ā‑t‑us/a that derived first conjugation passive participles of verbs, e.g. cantātus ‘sung’ from cantāre ‘to sing’: cant‑ā‑re ~ cant‑ā‑t‑us (cf. Part I, Chapters 5, 8).  Lat. sēnsātus/a meant ‘gifted with sense, intelligent’ (L&S). Spanish has borrowed this word as sensato/a, which means ‘sensible, judicious, level-headed’. The word first appeared in the 17th century, probably through French, and it made it into the DRAE in 1803. There are several words derived from sensato in Spanish: the antonym insensato ‘foolish, senseless’, the derived abstract noun sensatez ‘good sense’, formed with the suffix ‑ez, and its antonym insensatez ‘foolishness, senselessness’. Note that English also borrowed cognates of these Latin words in the early 16th century, as sensate and insensate, but they are archaic or quite rare today, unlike their Spanish cognates. The dictionary tells us that the adjective sensate means ‘perceiving or perceived with the senses’ (COED) and insensate ‘lacking physical sensation’, ‘lacking sympathy; unfeeling’, or ‘completely lacking sense’ (COED).

From the stem sēnsāt‑ of the adjective sēnsātus, the noun sēnsātĭo (accusative: sēnsātĭōnem) was developed in Medieval Latin by means of the suffix ‑ĭōn‑ that we have seen so many times already. Both English and Spanish have borrowed this word: Eng. sensation and Sp. sensación. Their primary meaning is ‘a perception associated with stimulation of a sense organ or with a specific body condition’ (AHD). Eng. sensation [sɛnˈseı̯ʃən] is first attested in the early 17th century and Sp. sensación [ˈθi̯on] first appeared in a dictionary in 1721 (DIRAE). Since a cognate of this word is attested in French in the second half of the 14th century, it is quite likely that both English and Spanish borrowed the word through French, not directly from Latin. Eng. sensation translates as sensación when it has the ‘feeling’ or ‘excitement’ sense, but as sensibilidad when it has the ‘ability to feel’ sense and as éxito when it has the ‘success’ sense.

All three of these languages also share a word derived from this one, namely Eng. sensational, Sp. sensacional, and Fr. sensationnel (fem. sensationnelle). The word seems to have appeared first in English in early 19th century philosophical writings to refer to a ‘doctrine or theory that knowledge is derived solely from the senses’ (OED). It is obviously derived from the noun sensation and the Latinate suffix ‑al that creates adjectives. French borrowed or calqued the word in the 19th century and so did Spanish in the 20th (DRAE, 1927). All three words have now the sense ‘very interesting, exciting, and surprising’ (LDCE) or ‘outstanding; spectacular’ (AHD), though a few English dictionaries still give as the primary sense for this word is ‘of or relating to sensation or the senses’ (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate). That sense is rare if not archaic today in English and the Spanish cognate sensacional has never had it.

Other Spanish words that are derived in one way or another from the Latin root sēns‑ are sensible ‘sensitive’, sensibilidad ‘sensitivity, feeling’, sensibilizar ‘to sensitize; to make aware’, insensible ‘insensitive’, insensibilidad ‘insensitivity; numbness’, insensibilizar ‘to desensitize; to numb’, sensitivo/a ‘sensitive; sentient; sensory’, sensorial ‘sensory, sensorial’, sensual ‘sensual, sensuous’, sensualidad ‘sensuality, sensuousness’, asentir ‘to agree, assent’, asentimiento ‘approval, assent’, consenso ‘consensus’, consensual ‘consensual’, disentir ‘to dissent, disagree’, disenso ‘dissent’, disensión ‘disagreement, dissension’, presentir ‘to have a premonition of’, presentimiento ‘premonition, presentiment’, resentirse (de) ‘to feel the effects (of); to suffer; to get upset’.

The most common English words that include the roots sens- or sent‑ are the following, with their Spanish translations (included are some that we have already seen): assent (n.) ‘asentimiento m, aprobación f, asenso’, assent (v.) ‘asentir*, expresar su (or mi etc) conformidad’, consensual ‘(a) (approach, politics) consensuado; (b) (sexual activity) consentido(a); (c) contract) consensual’ (Harrap’s), consensus ‘consenso, etc.’, consent (to) (v.) ‘acceder/consentir (en)’, consent (n.) ‘consentimiento’, desensitization ‘insensibilización’, desensitize ‘insensibilizar’, dissension ‘disensión, desacuerdo’, dissent (noun) ‘discrepancia, desacuerdo, disconformidad, disensión; US LAW voto particular’ (Harrap’s), dissent (verb) ‘disentir, discrepar’, dissenter ‘disidente’, dissenting ‘discrepante, discordante’, insensate ‘insensato; etc.’, insensible ‘inconsciente’, insensitive ‘insensible’, insensitivity ‘insensibilidad, falta de sensibilidad’, nonsense ‘tonterías, disparates, estupideces’, nonsensical ‘disparatado, absurdo’, resent ‘ofenderse por (algo), tomarse a mal (algo); guardar rencor a (alguien), etc.’, resentful ‘ofendido, rencoroso, etc.’, resentment ‘resentimiento, rencor’, sensation ‘(feeling) sensación; (ability to feel) sensibilidad’, sensational ‘sensacional; que causa sensación’, sensationalism ‘sensacionalismo’, sensationalist ‘sensacionalista’, senseless ‘(unconscious) inconsciente, sin sentido; (pointless) sin sentido’, sensibility ‘sensibilidad’, sensible ‘sensato, prudente, razonable; práctico, cómodo’, sensibly ‘con sensatez, con tino, sensatamente, atinadamente, razonablemente’, sensitive ‘sensible; susceptible; etc.’, sensitivity ‘sensibilidad; susceptibilidad; etc.’, sensitization ‘sensibilización’, sensitize ‘sensibilizar; concienciar, concientizar’, sensor ‘sensor’, sensory ‘sensorial’, sensual ‘sensual’, sensuality ‘sensualidad’, sensuous ‘sensual’, sentence (n.) ‘GRAM frase, oración; LAW sentencia, fallo’, sentence (v.) ‘LAW condenar, sentenciar’, sentience ‘la capacidad de sentir, (neol. philos.) sintiencia’, sentient ‘que siente, con sentimientos, dotado de sentidos, consciente, sensitivo, sensible?, (neol. philos.) sintiente’, sentiment ‘sentimiento, sentir, parecer, etc.’, and sentimental ‘sentimental’.

Go to Part 7

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Words about emotions, part 5

[This entry is taken from Chapter 55, "Words about emotions in English and Spanish", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

This is Part 5. Go to Part 4.

Words for feelings and related words

Eng. feeling and feel

As we saw earlier, the term emotion is typically defined in dictionaries in terms of the term feeling. Thus, a dictionary may tell us that an emotion is simply ‘a strong feeling, such as joy, anger, or sadness’ (COED) or in dictionaries that give us more senses for this word, one of them is likely to equate emotions with feelings (cf. RHWU sense #2 above). So, let us take a look at the word feeling now and its Spanish equivalents.

Our word feeling [ˈfilɪŋ] is a noun, identical in form to the present participle of the verb to feel in a phrase like I am feeling sick.[1] The verb feel from which the noun feeling is ultimately derived is a patrimonial one, attested in Old English as felan, whose original sense was ‘to perceive through the senses’, a sense (meaning) that is still central to this verb, though other senses have developed through the years, along with many idiomatic expressions, such as feel at home, feel like (doing) something, feel the need to do something, or feel free to do something.

The noun feeling is attested already in the early 13th century with the meaning ‘the capacity to experience the sense of touch or other bodily sensations (as of heat, cold, pain, motion, etc.)’ and, more generally, ‘physical sensation other than sight, hearing, taste, or smell’ (OED). By the middle of the 14th century, the word feeling was being used for ‘an affective state of consciousness, such as that resulting from emotions, sentiments, or desires’ (AHD), as in a feeling of excitement. By the the middle of the 15th century, it was being used to refer to what one feels about something or one’s opinion, ‘opinion based more on emotion than on reason; sentiment’ (AHD), as in That’s my feeling too (cf. Sp. Eso es lo que pienso yo también). Other senses came later, such as ‘capacity to experience the higher emotions; sensitivity; sensibility: [e.g.] a man of feeling’ and, in the plural, ‘susceptibility to emotional response; sensibilities: [e.g.] The child's feelings are easily hurt’ (AHD).

As we can see, the noun feeling is quite polysemous today, with dictionaries varying in the amount and types of senses they ascribe to the noun feeling. In addition, note that there is also an adjective feeling, as in the phrase a feeling heart, equivalent to a heart that feels. The AHD gives us eight senses, one of which has 3 subsenses and 3 of which have 2 subsenses. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary gives nine senses for this noun, summarized here, with examples:

1.   something that you feel: guilty feelings
2.   idea/belief/impression: the feeling of being followed
3.   attitude/opinion: mixed feelings
4.   emotions (as opposed to thoughts or ideas): to talk about one’s feelings
5.   emotion (strong): to speak with feeling
6.   understanding: a feeling for color
7.   sympathy/love: I have feelings for her
8.   physical sensation: I have lost feeling in my legs
9.   atmosphere: to recreate the feeling of the original theatre

It is clear then that when we define the term emotion in terms of the term feeling, we should clarify that it is only some of the senses of the word feeling that are compatible with the word emotion, such as senses 4 and 5 in this list, not all of them.

Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary has even more senses for this word: 11 for the noun feeling and 3 for the adjective feeling, and Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English has 14 for the noun and 1 for the adjective. As usual, the most concise of all dictionaries is the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, which gives 4 senses (with 3 additional sub-senses) for the noun and 1 for the adjective. Curiously, the first sense and its two sub-senses are defined in terms of emotion:

1.   an emotional state or reaction.
(feelings) emotional responses or tendencies to respond.
strong emotion.
2.   a belief or opinion.
3.   the capacity to experience the sense of touch.
the sensation of touching or being touched.
4.   (feeling for) a sensitivity to or intuitive understanding of.
5.    adjective showing emotion or sensitivity.

Here, it is sense 1 that is compatible with the main meaning of the word emotion, but none of the rest are.

Sp. sentir, sentimiento, and related words

As for the way to translate the noun feeling into Spanish, dictionaries also differ as to how they divide the senses. Out of the blue, we may think that sentimiento is the main Spanish word to translate Eng. feeling, but things are actually not that simple. The following is the division made in Harrap’s English-Spanish Dictionary with a paraphrase or synonym of each sense of the word feeling in English and the most common word to express it in Spanish.

1.   (sensation) (of cold, pain) sensación
2.   (ability to feel) sensibilidad
3.   (emotion) sentimiento
4.   (sensitivity) sensibilidad
5.   (opinion) opinion
6.   (intuition) impression (also sensación)

As we can see, only one of the senses of Eng. feeling translates as sentimiento according of this particular classification of senses.

Note that for every one of these senses, the Spanish ‘equivalent’ word is not always the best way to translate that sense of the word feeling. In other words, a translation of a phrase with a particular sense of the word feeling will not necessarily be translated by the equivalent word given. Thus, for instance, when the Harrap’s dictionary gives examples of a sense it doesn’t always use the given word in the Spanish example, showing us that there may be more appropriate translations. Thus, for the first sense of the word feeling, the ‘sensation’ one, an example given is A feeling of unease came over her, which is translated into Spanish as La invadió cierta inquietud, not an expression with the word sensación at all, such as sensación de inquietud, though that longer expression could have been used as well, though it sounds redundant. Also, for sense #3, Harrap’s translates the idiomatic expression I know the feeling! as ¡Sé cómo te sientes!, lit. ‘I know how you feel/are feeling’, using the verb sentir ‘to feel’ and not the derived noun sentimiento.

The Vox English-Spanish dictionary gives 8 senses and typical one-word translations for the noun feeling, as well as some alternative translations for English expressions containing this word. A paraphrase or synonym of the sense of the word feeling in question is given in parentheses.

1.   (emotion) sentimiento, emoción, pasión: feeling of guilt sentimiento de culpabilidad; to speak with feeling hablar con pasión
2.   (sensation) sensación: a feeling of nausea  una sensación de náusea
3.   (sense) sensibilidad: I’ve lost all feeling in my legs  he perdido la sensibilidad en las piernas
4.   (concern) compasión, ternura: You have no feeling!  ¡Qué insensible eres!
5.   (impression) impresión, sensación, presentimiento:  I have the feeling that ...  tengo la impresión de que ...
6.   (artistic) sensibilidad, talento: to play with great feeling tocar con gran sensibilidad
7.   (opinion) sentir, opinión, actitud, parecer: my own feeling is that ...  en mi opinión ...
8.   (atmosphere) ambiente

As we can see, two of the most common Spanish words to translate Eng. feeling are the nouns sensación and sentimiento. These two words are related to the Spanish verb sentir ‘to feel’, a patrimonial stem-changing (e>ie) verb whose main meaning is ‘to feel’. At least the Latin source-words of these two nouns were related to the source-word of the source-word of the verb sentir, namely the Latin verb sĕntīre, whose main meaning is ‘to discern by the senses; to feel, hear, see, etc.’ (L&S) (principal parts: sĕntiō, sĕntīre, sēnsī, sēnsus). The source of this Latin verb has been reconstructed as the Proto-Indo-European verbal root *sent‑, which also meant ‘to feel’, so little seems to have changed in more than 5,000 years. Sp. sentir if often used to translate Eng. feel, but note that sentir has developed a secondary sense besides ‘to feel’, namely ‘to regret, to be sorry’, as in Siento que no vinieras ‘I’m sorry you didn’t come’ and the common phrase Lo siento ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘I regret it’. A synonym of this sense of sentir is lamentar. Spanish has also converted the verb sentir into a noun meaning something like ‘opinion, feeling’, as in the sentence Ese es mi sentir ‘that is my feeling, how I feel, my opinion’. Note that sentir is a transitive verb and to use it intransitively it must be conjugated reflexively, as in Me siento enfermo ‘I feel sick’. Reflexive sentirse is used primarily to express internal feelings and states, as opposed to those from the outside world.

English has an unlikely cognate of Sp. sentir, namely the verb to scent [ˈsɛnt] (originally spelled sent) that means ‘to perceive or identify by the sense of smell’. It was borrowed from Old French sentir in the late 14th century. The noun scent, which today is more common than the verb scent, was derived in English from the verb by conversion also in the late 14th century.

Let us go look first at the source-word of the cognates Sp. sentimiento ~ Eng. sentiment. English borrowed the noun sentiment [ˈsɛn.tɪ.mənt], at first spelled sentement, in the late 14th century from Old French, which itself borrowed it from Medieval Latin. English first borrowed this noun with the meaning ‘personal experience, one’s own feeling’ (OED), which is now obsolete. The original meanings and spelling of this Middle English word were replaced by the late 17th century, when it acquired the current meaning, no doubt through French, something like ‘a mental feeling’ or ‘a thought, view, or attitude, especially one based mainly on emotion instead of reason’, as in An anti-American sentiment swept through the country (AHD). It was quite a popular word in the middle of the 19th century with the meaning ‘a thought or reflection colored by or proceeding from emotion’ (OED), though the word has lost some popularity since then.

The source-word is Medieval Latin word sĕntīmĕntum, meaning ‘feeling’ as well as ‘opinion (derived from a feeling)’. This noun was formed with the root sĕnt‑ of the verb sĕntīre plus the suffix ‑mĕnt-um that formed nouns typically with the meaning ‘instrument, medium, or result’, as in the word monumentum, which literally meant ‘medium of remembrance’, derived from the verb monēre ‘to remind’ (cf. Eng. monument ~ Sp. monumento).

Sp. sentimiento is also obviously a loanword from Medieval Latin, but an early one. It is attested already in the middle of the 13th century. This noun is not a very good friend of its cognate Eng. sentiment, since it typically translates into English as feeling, with one of the senses of that English noun and not the others, as we have seen. Some examples of the word in use are found in the collocations sentimiento de culpa(bilidad) ‘guilt(y) feelings’, no tener sentimientos ‘to have no feelings’, declarar los sentimientos ‘to declare one’s feelings’, and herir los sentimientos ‘to hurt one’s feelings’. In some contexts, the word sentimiento has the sense ‘sad feelings’, in which case it may be translated as sorrow or grief . We find this sense in the idiomatic expression Le acompaño en el sentimiento, an idiomatic expression to express one’s sympathy on someone’s passing.

Derived from the cognate nouns Sp. sentimiento ~ Eng. sentiment are the cognate adjectives Sp. sentimental ~ Eng. sentimental. The word was first created in English by means of the adjectival suffix ‑al in the mid-18th century, much like we saw the adjective emotional was derived in English from the noun emotion. The original sense of the English word sentimental was something like ‘deriving from feelings of tenderness, sadness, or nostalgia’ from which the sense ‘having or arousing such feelings in an exaggerated and self-indulgent way’ derived. By 1769, the word had been borrowed by French and it was in the Academy’s DRAE by the middle of the next century, in 1843. Although Eng. sentimental and Sp. sentimental are close friends, the Spanish word has developed a sense that its English cognate does not have in expressions such as vida sentimental ‘love life’ and problemas sentimentales ‘problems in one’s love life’.

[1] Actually, the ancestor of the ending ‑ing was only used for creating nouns from verbs and not to form the present participle. In Old English it was ‑ing or -ung, from Proto-Germanic *‑ingō or *‑ungō (cognate to the rare Spanish suffix ‑engo, seemingly a loan from Gothic). The ending for forming the present participle was ‑ende in Old English, a cognate of Latin ‑ant‑/‑ent‑, but this suffix merged with the other one, cf. the Latin suffix ‑ant‑ found in many words that English has borrowed from French, such as important and president. Thus, we can say that there are two homonymous ‑ing suffixes in English, from different sources.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Words about emotions, part 4

[This entry is taken from Chapter 55, "Words about emotions in English and Spanish", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

This is Part 4. Go to Part 3

Words derived from emotion in English and Spanish

In an earlier section (§55.1.4) we saw that Spanish had derived the verb emocionar and the adjective emocionate from the noun emoción, both of which were related to the ‘excitement’ sense that the word emoción has, not the other sense that it shares with Eng. emotion. In this section we are going to look at two adjectives found in both English and Spanish as cognates which are related to their respective nouns: Eng. emotional ~ Sp. emocional and Eng. emotive ~ Sp. emotivo/a.

The English adjective emotional was derived in English in the early 19th century out of the noun emotion by addition of the Latinate suffix ‑al that forms adjectives. It is first attested in 1821, with the meaning ‘related to or having to do with emotions’. A couple more senses were added to this word later on, namely the sense ‘characterized by or arousing intense feeling: an emotional speech’ (COED) and, when used in reference to people, a third sense that can be defined as ‘emotionally affected; upset’, as in He got all emotional (COED).  The French cognate of Eng. emotional, namely émotionnel (fem. émotionnelle), is not attested until 1875, so it is quite likely that it was a calque from the English word. The Spanish cognate emocional does not appear in a dictionary until 1917 and it is quite likely a calque from either English or French.

The English adjective emotive, pronounced [əˈmoʊ̯ɾɪv] or [əˈmoʊ̯ɾɪv] ([ᵻˈmə̯ʊtɪv] in the UK), is much less common and it seems to have been also created in English first, out of the stem emot‑ of noun emotion and the Latinate suffix ‑ive that also produces adjectives. Although there is an example of a noun emotive from 1596, the adjective emotive with something close to its current meaning is from the first half of the 19th century. Its French cognate émotif (fem. émotive) is first attested in the second half of the 19th century (1877) and Sp. emotivo/a does not appear in a dictionary until 1917 (in the DRAE in 1925), so it is quite likely that the two latter words are ultimate loans from English too.

The meaning of Eng. emotive is primarily ‘arousing intense feeling: animal experimentation is an emotive subject’, which makes it a synonym of the second sense of the word emotional that we just saw. Some dictionaries mention other senses. Many dictionaries give a sense for this word that is like the first sense of the word emotional, namely ‘of or relating to the emotions’ (MWC, no example given).  This same dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate, renders the ‘arousing’ sense as ‘appealing to or expressing emotion’ (MWC). Again, because this is a fancy or rare word, there seems to be variation as to how it is used, even by the people who do use it.

1. related to emotion(s)
2. arousing emotions (~ emotive)
3. aroused/affected by emotions

1. arousing emotions
(2. related to emotion(s) ?)

Although the English adjectives emotional and emotive have cognates in Spanish, which may very well be both loans from English, Sp. emocional and emotivo/a are not always necessarily the best translations of Eng. emotional and emotive, respectively, though some bilingual dictionaries say they are equivalent without fully explaining the differences.  Sp. emocional can mean ‘relating to emotions’, just like Eng. emotional, as in the phrase estado emocional ‘emotional state’. Dictionaries differ as to whether Sp. emocional has the two other senses that we just saw of Eng. emotional. Some do not mention such senses, such as María Moliner’s dictionary. Others say Sp. emocional has sense #3 above, such as the Academies’ DLE, which give ‘sensitive to emotions’ (‘sensible a las emociones’) as the second sense of emocional, which it says is a synonym of emotivo (see below). Clave is another dictionary that gives this second sense of emocional (‘Que se deja llevar por las emociones’), giving the example: Es una persona muy emocional, y a veces no se puede controlar ‘He is a very emotional person and sometimes he cannot control himself’. The Vox dictionary, on the other hand, gives sense #2 as the (only) second sense of the word emocional: ‘that produces or tends to produce emotion’ (‘Que produce emoción o tiende a hacerlo: una película emocional’).

As for the adjective emotivo/a, all Spanish dictionaries agree that it has three senses, namely basically the three senses we just saw that Eng. emotional has, though there is little doubt the two words are not equivalent or good translations of each other. Dictionaries tell us that Eng. emotive translates into Spanish as emotivo/a. As for Sp. emotivo/a, one dictionary, Vox, tells us that it can be translated either as emotional when referring to a person (sense #3 of emotional), as moving or touching when referring to an act (sense #2), and as emotive, stirring, rousing (sense #2) when referring to words. Other dictionaries, however, differ somewhat as to the exact translations of Sp. emotivo/a in different contexts. This is probably due to there being some variation in how this word is used in Spanish, variation which may be dialectal and perhaps at least in part due to the influence of how the cognates of this word are used in other languages, such as English.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Words about emotions, part 3

[This entry is taken from Chapter 55, "Words about emotions in English and Spanish", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

Go to Part 2

Other words to refer to emotions

Let us return now to other words that were used to refer to emotions in the more restricted sense before the word emotion came to be used in the 17th century for basic and strong emotions. Although the word emotion is relatively recent and although, as we saw, its Latin ancestor was not used by the Romans with this meaning, the concept itself is not new. Aristotle famously wrote about emotions more than 2,300 years ago. The word that he used in Ancient Greek for ‘emotion’ was π́θος (páthos) a word that literally meant ‘pain’, ‘suffering’, but also ‘passion’, ‘emotion’ and ‘feeling’, among other things. The plural (nominative) wordform of this lexeme was π́θη (páthē). This Greek noun was derived from the verb πάσχειν (páskhein) which meant primarily ‘to undergo, experience’. Aristotle used it in a much more restricted way than our own emotion, using it to refer to certain primal intense negative emotions such as fear and anger, something closer to the meaning the word emotion had in English in the 17th century.

The Ancient Greek word π́θος (páthos) has been borrowed into English as pathos, first attested in 1579, with the meaning ‘a quality, as of an experience or a work of art, that arouses feelings of pity, sympathy, tenderness, or sorrow’ and ‘the feeling, as of sympathy or pity, so aroused’ (AHD). It is pronounced mostly [ˈpʰeɪ̯θɒs], but also [ˈpʰeɪ̯θɑs], [ˈpʰeɪ̯θɔs], or [ˈpʰeɪ̯θoʊ̯s]. Dictionaries agree that the Spanish translation of this word is patetismo, a paronym of the English word and an early 20th century creation, derived in Spanish from the stem patet‑ of the adjective patético (see below) and the suffix ‑ism‑o.[1] Both Eng. pathos and Sp. patetismo are rather formal or technical terms that are not known to most speakers of these languages.

English and Spanish have cognate adjectives derived from this Greek noun, namely Eng. pathetic [pəˈθɛɾɪk] ~ Sp. patético/a. The literal or original meaning of both of these words is ‘pitiful’, that is, ‘arousing pity, especially through vulnerability or sadness’, but they both have a secondary colloquial sense that can be defined as ‘miserably inadequate’ (COED). It would seem that this latter sense arose first in the English word and that it was calqued into the Spanish word in recent times, an example of semantic calquing (cf. Part I, Chapters 1 §1.5.2, 2 §, and 4 §4.8.2). These words are loanwords from post-classical Latin patheticus/a, a word used in the 4th century as a technical term in rhetoric and, later, in theater studies (tragedy). Latin borrowed this word from Greek πᾰθητκός (pathētikós) ‘subject to feeling or passion; full of feeling or passion’. This Greek adjective is derived from the noun we just saw by means of the suffix -τικός (-tikós), a verbal adjective suffix formed with ‑τος (‑tos), a verbal adjective suffix, plus‎ ‑ικός (‑ik‑ós) an adjective-forming suffix (path‑ē‑tik‑ós).

Let us look now at the words that were used in Latin to express the meanings ‘emotion’ and/or ‘feeling’. For strong emotions, what we could call passions in English and pasiones in Spanish, post-Classical Latin used the word from which these words come from, namely păssĭo (accusative wordform: păssĭōnem), which was the word that the Romans used to translate Greek πάθος (pathos) ‘a strong feeling, passion’ (see above). The word păssĭo meant literally ‘a suffering, enduring’. From this meaning, two others were derived: ‘an event, occurrence, phenomenon’ and ‘a passion, affection’.

In the Latin word păssĭo (regular stem: păssĭōn‑) we recognize the noun ending ‑ĭōn‑ which was used to derive (mostly action) nouns from the stem of the passive participle of verbs. In this case, the passive participle was passus (pass-(us) + ‑ĭōnŽ passĭōn‑), and the verb was the third conjugation -variant, deponent verb pă (principal parts: pătĭor, patī, passus sum) that meant ‘to bear, support, undergo, suffer, endure’ (L&S).[2]

English borrowed the word passion [ˈpʰæʃən] from Old French in the late 12th century, which itself borrowed it from Latin in the 10th century. It was first borrowed with the sense ‘the suffering and death of Jesus’ (COED), a sense the word still has for Christians. In Modern English, the word passion has several meanings, but the first one in any dictionary is something like ‘a powerful emotion, such as love, joy, hatred, or anger’ (AHD). Other dictionaries relegate this sense to second place and add to that sense the idea that passions are often negative: ‘a strong feeling (such as anger) that causes you to act in a dangerous way’ (Merriam-Webster's Advanced Learner’s Dictionary; the first sense of the word passion in this dictionary is ‘a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something’).

The Romans treated what we call moods and emotions as states of the mind or soul, and so they used the word that meant ‘mind’ and/or ‘soul’ for this: animus, which is the source word for patrimonial Sp. alma ‘soul’. This word’s stem anim‑ is also found in many English and Spanish words, from animal to animate (Sp. animal and animar). The Romans also used the phrase affectus animi ‘state of mind/soul’ to refer to what we now call emotions. This phrase could be reduced to just affectus through ellipsis of the word animus (cf. Chapter 5, §5.10.5). The noun affectus meant more generally ‘a state of body, and especially of mind produced in one by some influence (cf. affectio, I.), a state or disposition of mind, affection, mood’ (L&S). The noun affectus is derived by conversion (without affixes) from the identical passive participle of the verb affĭcĕre ‘to do something to one, i.e. to exert an influence on body or mind, so that it is brought into such or such a state’ (L&S). This verb was derived from the verb făcĕre ‘to do’ (source of patrimonial Sp. hacer) by means of the prefix ad‑ ‘to’ and its principal parts are afficiō, afficĕre, affēcī, affectus. The philosopher Seneca used the term affectus as a general term to refer to emotions such as anger, desire, courage, and fear. This, of course, is the source of the technical term affect in English that we saw above. The English noun affect was borrowed in the late 14th century from the Latin noun affectus and it was used with the meaning ‘mental state’ for a long time until it became archaic, only to be recovered as a technical term in psychology meaning ‘emotion or desire as influencing behavior’ (COED). As we saw earlier, Spanish has a cognate of this Eng. affect, namely afecto, but the two words are false friends.

Another term that the Romans would use to express what we now use the term emotion for is mōtus. This noun literally meant ‘a moving, movement, motion’ and it was short for (a clipping of) (anĭmī) mōtus, which meant literally ‘movement (of the mind/soul)’. As you may have noticed, this word contains the same root, mōt‑, as the Latin word ēmōtĭo (ex+mōt+ĭōn‑). Interestingly, one of the many senses of the English verb move is related to emotions as well. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary has 10 senses for this verb, and one of them, #8, is ‘to cause somebody to have strong feelings, especially of sympathy or sadness’, e.g. We were deeply moved by her plight. This sense is expressed in French with the verb émouvoir, as we saw earlier.

Spanish, however, does not have a cognate of Fr. émouvoir and Sp. mover cannot be used with this sense. The closest Spanish verb to express this meaning is another verb derived from mover, namely conmover. (When the verb is used to refer to things it means something like ‘to shake, shock’ as in El país se conmovió con la noticia ‘The news shocked the country’ (OSD) or La ciudad se conmovió por el terremoto ‘The city was shaken by the earthquake’ (Larousse).

The verb conmover is a loanword from Latin, first attested at the beginning of the 15th century. It is a stem-changing verb conjugated as mover ‘to move’. Lat. commŏvēre was derived from the verb mŏvēre by means of the prefix con‑ ‘with, together, etc.’, which had multiple meanings, the first one being ‘to put something in violent motion, to move; both of removing from a place and backwards and forwards in a place; to shake, stir’ (L&S) though when speaking of passions and emotions, it meant ‘to rouse, stir up, excite, produce, generate’ (L&S) (its principal parts were commŏveō, commŏvēre, commōvī, commōtum). As we saw earlier, Spanish did not borrow the ‘move emotionally’ sense of Latin mŏvēre, unlike English, which can use its borrowed verb move with that sense (e.g. I was moved by his words). Spanish has derived an adjective from the verb conmover, namely conmovedor which translates as ‘(emotionally) moving, touching’, as in una escena conmovedora ‘a moving scene’.

[1] This time Spanish did not borrow this word from French, since French translates the English noun pathos as either pathos or pathétique.

[2] Note that there were three different homonymous words passus in Latin. Besides the passive participle of the verb pă, there was another passus that was the passive participle of the verb pandĕre ‘to spread out, expand’. A verb derived from this one by prefixation was expandĕre, source of Eng. expand ~ Sp. expandir. This Latin verb’s passive participle as expānsus, not expassus, hence the derived noun expansĭōn‑, source of Eng. expansion ~ Sp. expansión. The third Latin word passus was a noun derived from this last passive participle by conversion. It meant ‘step; pace’ and it was the source of the cognates Eng. pace ~ Sp. paso ‘step, pace’.

Words about emotions, part 7

[This entry is taken from Chapter 55, "Words about emotions in English and Spanish", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanis...