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Em­ba­ja­da and Em­bassy

Em­bassy (and Am­bas­sador) and its Span­ish equiv­a­lent, Em­ba­ja­da (and Em­ba­jador), both come from the same an­ces­tor, the Old French Am­bac­tos.

What is most in­ter­est­ing about these two is that it is an ex­am­ple of the pat­tern where the ‑j- sound in Span­ish maps to the ‑sh- sound (and its cousins, like ‑ss- and ‑ch-) in Eng­lish. Re­mem­ber syrup and jarabe, chess and aje­drez, sher­ry and jerez, and push and em­pu­jar for a few ex­am­ples.

Thus, the m‑b-j of emaba­ja­da maps to the m‑b-ss of em­bassy.

Lig­ar and Al­le­giance

Al­le­giance is a very Ro­man idea: strong loy­al­ty to your team, your em­pire.

So it’s not sur­pris­ing that the word it­self comes from the Latin, lig­are — to bind. Your al­le­giance is what binds you or ties you to your team.

From the Latin lig­are, we get the Span­ish… lig­ar, mean­ing the same, ty­ing or bind­ing!

Thus, the l‑g root is clear­ly vis­i­ble in both ver­sions.

Huir and Fugi­tive

Fugitive huir 3

The Span­ish “Huir” comes from the same Latin root as “fugi­tive”, “fugi­tivus”, mean­ing, “to flee”.

Pat­tern: Latin words that be­gan with an ‘F’ tend­ed to lose that ini­tial ‘F’ sound and be­came silent (yet rep­re­sent­ed in writ­ing with an ‘H’) as vul­gar Latin turned in­to Span­ish.

Salir, Saltar — As­sault, Salient

Salir, the com­mon Span­ish word mean­ing, “to leave” sounds like it has noth­ing to do with any­thing. Or does it?

Salir comes from the Latin salire mean­ing the same, “to jump”. Sur­prise, sur­prise.

From this same Latin root was get a bunch of fun Eng­lish words, in­clud­ing:

  • As­sault — an as­sault is lit­er­al­ly some­one jump­ing out at you!
  • As­sail — the same as an as­sault!
  • Salient — that which stands out at you is, lit­er­al­ly, that which jumps out at you!

We al­so get an­oth­er Span­ish word from the same root: saltar (“to jump”). You can see the s‑l map­ping across all de­scen­dants of the word!

Lazar and Las­so

Lazar (Span­ish for “to tie, such as with a rib­bon”) comes from the Latin laque­um, mean­ing “a tie, such as a noose”. From that same root, we get the Eng­lish… las­so. A las­so, af­ter all, is re­al­ly a ca­ble that can be used to tie some­one or some­thing up…!

The l‑z of lazar clear­ly maps to the l‑ss of las­so.


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