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The Nerdy Way To Learn: Spanish » Patterns » PL to LL »

Llu­via and Plu­vial

The Span­ish llu­via (for “rain”) comes Latin plu­via for the same — a change that may not be ob­vi­ous be­cause the -pl- of Latin some­times be­came a -ll- in Span­ish.

From the same root, we get the so­phis­ti­cat­ed Eng­lish word plu­vial which means… lots of rain!

The ll‑v of llu­via clear­ly maps to the p‑l of plu­vial.

Lleno — Plen­ty

Llenar — Span­ish mean­ing “to fill” — comes from the Latin plenus, mean­ing “full”.

This, there­fore, con­nects it to the Eng­lish for the same, from the same root: Plen­ty. Not to men­tion, the less com­mon Eng­lish word ple­nary.

These words sound so dif­fer­ent yet they’re so sim­i­lar. Here’s how: Latin words that be­gan with pl- usu­al­ly turned in­to ll- when Latin evolved in­to Span­ish. But as these words moved in­to Eng­lish via French, they re­mained un­changed.

This ex­plains not just llenar/plenty but ex­plains a bunch of oth­er words, in­clud­ing llama/flame.

Llenar and Ex­ple­tive

Llenar comes from the Latin plere (“to fill”), as we’ve pre­vi­ous­ly dis­cussed. But here’s an­oth­er Eng­lish word that comes from the same Latin root: ex­ple­tive, yes, that eu­phemism for vul­gar words!

Ex­ple­tive lit­er­al­ly means to “fill” with the ex­pan­sive ex- pre­fix which, tak­en to­geth­er, mean, “to fill out your words.” An ex­ple­tive is lit­er­al­ly fill­ing con­ver­sa­tion with words when you don’t know what else to say!


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