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Pul­ga and Flea

It is both sur­pris­ing and fun­ny that in Span­ish, a Flea Mar­ket is trans­lat­ed to be, lit­er­al­ly, ex­act­ly the same: Mer­ca­do de Pul­gas.

But it is even more sur­pris­ing (al­though prob­a­bly less fun­ny) that flea and its Span­ish trans­la­tion, pul­ga, are close cousins — de­spite the dif­fer­ent sounds.

Both de­rive from the In­do-Eu­ro­pean *plou. To un­der­stand this trans­for­ma­tion, we should re­mem­ber that the In­do-Eu­ro­pean p- sounds stayed the same in Latin (and thus Span­ish) but be­came an f- sound in Ger­man (and thus Eng­lish).

There­fore, the f‑l of flea maps ex­act­ly to the p‑l of pul­ga!

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