Learning Spanish & Etymology Pattern-Matching for Nerds

Tripulacion, Pulir and Polish, Interpolate

Tripulación (Spanish for “crew”, such as on a boat or plane) comes from the Latin prefix inter– (“between”) and the Latin root polire (“to polish” in Latin). A crew probably spends much of their time polishing the ship to perfection, right?

From the same Latin root polire, we get another Spanish word: pulir which means… “to polish”. Surprise, surprise!

From this root, we also get the English polish as well, in addition to the less obvious: interpolate. How did that transformation of meaning happen? Remember that in interpolating, you’re really polishing up the data! You’re taking data from the dusty bins of forgotten files, dusting it off, and reusing it: just like polishing up a ship.

The p-l root is clear in all variations as well.

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