Learning Spanish & Etymology Pattern-Matching for Nerds

Mentira and Amendment

Spanish for “lie” (Mentira) comes from the Latin mandacium for the same, which in turn, comes from the earlier Latin menda for “defect; fault”. But the Latin Menda comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *mend- meaning the same, fault or defect.

Thus, we see an interesting transition over time: a defect turned into a lie. The word took on more and more agency: the problem didn’t just happen; it was an explicit lie!

The same PIE root *mend-, in English, took a different route: via French, it turned into the modern English amend and amendment. Thus, in English, “defect” turned into the more accidental, less bad, “lets make a change!”.

We can see the parallels easily: the m-n-t of mentira map to the (a)-m-n-d of amend. The d- and t- transformation is very common and the sounds are often interchangeable.

We also have the English mendacious which is a direct parallel to mentira… but everyone seems to have forgotten that word.

what is the etymological way to learn spanish?

Nerds love to pattern-match, to find commonalities among everything. Our approach to learning languages revolves (the same -volve- that is in “volver”, to “return”) around connecting the Spanish words to the related English words via their common etymologies – to find the linguistic patterns, because these patterns become easy triggers to remember what words mean. Want to know more? Email us and ask:

patterns to help us learn spanish:

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For Nerds Learning Spanish via Etymologies