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En­señar and Sign

The Span­ish for “to teach,” en­señar comes from the Latin insignare (“to mark”). From the same Latin root, we get the Eng­lish to sign — sign­ing, af­ter all, is mak­ing your mark up­on a pa­per!

But how did sign­ing turn in­to teach­ing, in Span­ish? Well, think about the Eng­lish ex­pres­sion… to make a mark on some­one. A great teacher tru­ly leaves a last­ing mark on you — lit­er­al­ly.

The s‑ñ of en­señar maps to the s‑gn of “sign,” with the ñ turn­ing in­to a gn in Eng­lish, as it com­mon­ly does.

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