25 dic. 2010

Beginning

Spanish students often invent the word "la empieza" for "the beginning," unaware that other Spanish students have already invented this word countless times in the past. The correct word that they are looking for is "el comienzo" or "el inicio."

It's kind of interesting, actually. Empezar, iniciar, and comenzar all mean "to begin." So the student is deriving a noun from a verb her subconscious, grammar-making mind. The only mistakes he is making are choosing the wrong verb and choosing the wrong gender for the noun. The fact that many students make the exact same mistake indicates that this is a natural path for the grammar-making mind to make. It is not cause by interference from English (which causes students to write "explanación" for "explicación) but an internal to Spanish morphological operation. They are producing a Spanish word they have never seen in an authentic text.

I still wish they wouldn't do it though.

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BS will be on hiatus until January 1. Merry Christmas, to those of you who celebrate that holiday.