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The Nerdy Way To Learn: Spanish »

Co­brar and Re­cu­per­ate

The Span­ish co­brar (“to charge”; in the sense of, to charge a fee or col­lect a pay­ment) comes from the old­er Span­ish re­co­brar (mean­ing, “to re­cu­per­ate”) — which it­self comes from the Latin re­cu­per­are for the same “to re­cu­per­ate.”

We can see the c‑b-r map­ping to the c‑p-r clear­ly, since the ‑c- and ‑p- are of­ten in­ter­changed.

Les­son: charg­ing for some­thing is re­al­ly just re­cu­per­at­ing mon­ey that is owed to you any­way!

Gremio and Con­gre­gate

Gremio (Span­ish for “union,”, in the sense of work­ers, unite!; for­mer­ly “guild”–which is re­al­ly just an old-school union!) comes from the Latin Gremi­um, mean­ing “round.” How did this trans­for­ma­tion hap­pen? Well, a round pen was where you held on­to things; it turned in­to the word for where peo­ple got to­geth­er, which turned in­to guild (a com­mon rea­son peo­ple got to­geth­er!) and then, even­tu­al­ly, to mean union.

How­ev­er, it gets much more in­ter­est­ing. The Latin gremi­um comes from the pro­to-in­do-eu­ro­pean root *ger- mean­ing.… to get to­geth­er! From this root, we al­so get (via Greek) words like con­gre­gate (to bring peo­ple to­geth­er) and seg­re­gate (to bring peo­ple apart!).

Thus, gremio took an in­ter­est­ing turn over the last few thou­sand years: from the mean­ing con­gre­gate to round to con­gre­gate again!

We can see the g‑r root clear­ly in gremio as well as con­gre­gate and seg­re­gate.

Creer — In­cred­i­ble

The Span­ish creer, “to be­lieve”, is easy to re­mem­ber once we re­al­ize it comes from the same root as… in­cred­i­ble. Both are from the Latin cred­i­bilis (mean­ing “worth of be­liev­ing”), and the in- pre­fix is a nega­tion, so that which is in­cred­i­ble is lit­er­al­ly… un­be­liev­able. And thus creer is al­so a first cousin to be­ing… cred­i­ble. Ah­hh!

Cuel­lo and Col­lar, Ac­co­lades

Cuel­lo (Span­ish for “neck”) comes from the Latin col­lum, al­so mean­ing “neck.” From col­lum, we get the Eng­lish… col­lar. We can see the c‑ll map­ping in both.

More in­ter­est­ing, though, is from that same root, we al­so get the Eng­lish ac­co­lades, which is just col­lum with the clas­sic Latin ad- (“to­wards”) pre­fix.

How did we get from “to­wards the neck” to “giv­ing hon­ors and awards”? Well, ac­co­lades was orig­i­nal­ly used in the sense of, rest­ing the sword on your shoulder–like the King does to you when he turns you in­to a knight. Be­ing knight­ed was the ul­ti­mate hon­or you could re­ceive, with the king be­stow­ing it by plac­ing the sword on your shoul­der.

Since me­dieval times, ap­par­ent­ly, hon­ors have be­come in­creas­ing­ly easy to give and re­ceive, since know we get ac­co­lades for every lit­tle “job well done”!

Bus­car and Pos­tu­late

Bus­car (Span­ish for “to ask for”) comes from the Latin poscere (“to ask ur­gent­ly”). In the tran­si­tion from Latin to Span­ish, the word was def­i­nite­ly weak­ened since bus­car does­n’t have any ur­gent im­pli­ca­tion.

From this Latin root, we al­so get the Eng­lish word… pos­tu­late. Pos­tu­lat­ing is re­al­ly just for­mu­lat­ing a the­sis and want­i­ng re­spons­es — which is just a so­phis­ti­cat­ed form of ask­ing a ques­tion!

We can see the b‑s-c of bus­car maps to the p‑s-t of pos­tu­late.

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