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Apo­yar and Podi­um

The Span­ish apo­yar, to help, has a sur­pris­ing root: po­di­are, the Latin mean­ing “to step on.” Think of the Span­ish pie, from the same root.

This came about through an in­ter­est­ing lin­guis­tic turn of events: po­di­are orig­i­nal­ly meant “to step on” and then it came to mean, “to raise up” — like, to put on a podi­um. A podi­um is, af­ter all, a raised plat­form that you step on!

Help­ing some­one, in Span­ish, is thus a form of lift­ing them up — lit­er­al­ly. Or maybe, step­ping on them?

This im­plies a ques­tion: what hap­pened to the ‑d-? The p‑y of apo­yar maps to the p‑d of podi­um, but how did the ‑d- turn in­to a ‑y-? The an­swer is that, apo­yar en­tered Span­ish, from po­di­are, via Ital­ian — it first turned in­to ap­pog­gia­re, the Ital­ian for the same! So the ‑d- turned in­to a ‑g- which turned in­to a ‑y-.


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