27 feb. 2009

I'm somewhat manic as you might have noticed. One solution that hasn't been working out too well is to have a few beers with dinner to slow myself down a bit in the p.m. It does *work*--but maybe a little bit too well. Anyway, since I didn't have those beers tonight, a little Spanish lesson.

Compare the words:

hembra / femenino

hijo / filial

maestro / magisterio, magistral

hierro / férreo

hacer / satisfacer

maduro / prematuro

fragua / fábrica

dueño, domar / dominar, dominio

Spanish evolved from Latin, and underwent certain phonetic changes. The first term in each pairing is the "evolved" form of the word (hembra from femina). The second, a cognate word or derivative adopted into Spanish at a later date, directly from the Latin, a cultismo, without the normal phonetic changes that the word should have undergone. The evolved words are similar to what we think of in English as "Anglo-Saxon" words, belonging fully to the vernacular. So "hierro," iron, is more colloquial than "férreo" (an adjective meaning iron-like). So phonology effects register: a more elevated vocabulary will be closer to Latin. If you study for a degree in "magisterio" you are studying to be a teacher, a maestra or maestro.

1 comentario:

Ryan dijo...

In most countries in Latin America, the word "hembra" carries much more negative connotations than "feminino." This seems acceptable. In Costa Rica, for example, the idea is that "hembras" are meant for "laying," that the female variety (hembra is usually only used with animals, not people) procreates and nurtures, while the male "varón" wanders curiously and sniffs around.