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Sen­tir — Re­sent, Sen­tence, Send

The Span­ish sen­tir (“to feel”) does­n’t bear an ob­vi­ous re­la­tion to the same Eng­lish word. But looks can be de­ceiv­ing:

Sen­tir comes from the Latin for the same, sen­tire, which in turn comes from the Pro­to-In­do-Eu­ro­pean root *sent, mean­ing, “to go” — feels are thus, de­f­i­n­i­tion­al­ly, fleet­ing, things that come and go.

From the Latin sen­tire, we get a bunch of sim­i­lar words in Eng­lish, in­clud­ing:

  • Sen­tence — which orig­i­nal­ly meant, “a thought, judg­ment, opin­ion.” A sen­tence is a judg­ment in­deed!
  • Sense — which is a feel­ing!
  • Re­sent — these are just your feel­ings, mag­ni­fied with a re!
  • Scent — to smell some­thing is to have a feel­ing for it, too!

And a few oth­ers, in­clud­ing as­sent, con­sent, dis­sent and, most ob­vi­ous­ly, sen­ti­ment.

From the orig­i­nal Pro­to-In­do-Eu­ro­pean root *sent, mean­ing “to go” — via Ger­man, that turned in­to some sim­pler Eng­lish words that we can now con­sid­er dis­tant cousins of Sen­tir: send. Feel­ings do come and go!

Gratis and Grat­i­fy, Gra­tu­ity

Gratis (Span­ish for “free,” in the sense of “free beer”, not “free speech”) is a close cousin of the Eng­lish grat­i­fy and gra­tu­itous (and its cousin gra­tu­ity).

Up­on re­al­iz­ing this, it sud­den­ly be­comes ob­vi­ous: all share the gr‑t root, plus vague­ly re­lat­ed mean­ings. All come from the Latin gra­tus, mean­ing, “pleas­ing.”

It par­al­lel be­comes more ob­vi­ous when we think of the con­nec­tion of the Eng­lish words to the orig­i­nal mean­ing of “pleas­ing”: that which is grat­i­fy­ing is pleas­ing, and you leave a gra­tu­ity when you are pleased. And gratis, free, is a re­ward to those who want to please oth­ers!

Saber and Sage

Saber (Span­ish for “to know”, in the sense of “know­ing a fact”–not “know­ing a per­son”) comes from the Latin sapere, mean­ing “to taste.” I guess you can taste a fact more eas­i­ly than a per­son!

From the same Latin root, we get (via French) the Eng­lish word… sage. Sagac­i­ty is a form of wis­dom — which is a form of knowl­edge.

The s‑b to s‑g map­ping is clear, and the ‑b- and ‑g- have sim­i­lar soft sounds.

Afi­nar and Re­fine

Afi­nar, mean­ing “to tune” — as in, you tune your gui­tar — comes from the Latin fi­nis, mean­ing, “bor­der”: tun­ing a gui­tar is re­al­ly find­ing the ex­act bor­der be­tween this note and the oth­er one.

From the same Latin root fi­nis, we get Eng­lish words such as fine, re­fine (re­mem­ber the re- pre­fix is just an in­ten­si­fi­er), as well as the Eng­lish fin­ish.

Tun­ing your gui­tar, in oth­er words, as re­al­ly an act of re­fin­ing the souds.

The f‑n root is clear­ly vis­i­ble in all.

Asun­to and As­sump­tion

Asun­to (Span­ish for “sub­ject,” in the sense of, “theme”) come from the Latin for the same, as­sump­tus (“tak­en”) — from which we get the al­most iden­ti­cal Eng­lish, as­sume.

In­ter­est­ing­ly, as­sump­tion orig­i­nal­ly had a ful­ly re­li­gious con­no­ta­tion, some­thing we of­ten for­get or I some­times vague­ly re­mem­ber to­day: you’re re­ceived in­to heav­en. An as­sump­tion, in its mod­ern sense, is re­al­ly just a re­li­gious be­lief ac­tu­al­ly!

The Latin root as­sump­tus it­self comes from ad- (“up, to”) and sumere (“to take”) — so when you as­sume, you’re re­al­ly “tak­ing it up”!

The a‑s-t of asun­to maps clear­ly to the a‑ss-(m)-t of as­sump­tion.

Nac­er and Re­nais­sance

Nac­er comes from the Latin for the same, nascere: “to be born.”

From the Latin nascere, with an added pre­fix of re- mean­ing “again”, we get the Re­nais­sance — lit­er­al­ly, “the re­birth”!

Thus, Nac­er and Re­nais­sance are close cousins, and we can see that the n‑c of nac­er maps to the ®-n‑s of re­nais­sance.

Tra­ba and Tav­ern

The Span­ish for “ob­sta­cle”, tra­ba, comes from the Latin tra­bis, mean­ing… “wood”.

The same Latin room, tra­bis, evolved in Latin to mean “tim­ber or a beam of wood” and from there, over time, evolved in­to the Eng­lish (via French) tav­ern. What is a tav­ern if not an old wood­en house?

So next time you’re drink­ing in a tav­ern, re­mem­ber that the tav­ern is an ob­sta­cle to your pro­duc­tiv­i­ty! But that’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly a bad thing.

Izar and Hoist

Izar (Span­ish for “hoist” — as in, you hoist the flag) comes from the French hiss­er for the same, which it­self comes from the old Ger­man words for the same, hissen. And from that Ger­man root, we get the Eng­lish hoist it­self. The i‑z root of izar clear­ly maps to the hoi‑s root of hoist.

Rezar — Re­cite

Rezar pray spanish english

The Span­ish for “to pray” is rezar. Al­though not ob­vi­ous at first, it is from the Latin recitare, from which we get the Eng­lish — sur­prise, sur­prise — re­cite. The “cit” group­ing was con­flat­ed in­to a “z” sound, so the Eng­lish (and Latin) r‑cit‑r maps to the Span­ish r‑z-r.

Eta­pa and Sta­ple

Eta­pa (Span­ish for “stage, lev­el”) comes from old Dutch word (re­mem­ber, the whole Span­ish-Nether­lands 80 years war? They did in­flu­ence each oth­er a lot!) stapel mean­ing, “de­posit; store.”

The Eng­lish sta­ple comes from the Old Ger­man stapu­laz (“pil­lar”) — from which we al­so get the Dutch stapel and then the Span­ish eta­pa!

But how did a word mean­ing “pil­lar” be­come “stage” or “sta­ple”? Well, a pil­lar holds up the next lev­el — the next stage! (Think of floors in a build­ing as be­ing stages of de­vel­op­ment. Ul­ti­mate­ly we reach the pent­house!). Or think about the pil­lar — that which holds every­thing else up so it does­n’t fall — is the sta­ple of the build­ing, the most ba­sic build­ing block, to en­sure it does­n’t col­lapse!

We can see the t‑p root in both the Eng­lish and Span­ish words.


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