The Spanish Yin-Yang (B1)

yinyangI’ve met many brothers and sisters in my life. They’re often quite similar but not always. I’m sure you know brothers or sisters who are totally different. One of them might be a hardworking person but the other could be irresponsible and lazy, even though they have the same parents.

This happens in Spanish, too. There are pairs of words that have their origin in an ancient Latin word (their mother). However, they have evolved in a different way, not only their forms, but also their meanings.

En www.spanishviaskype.com hablarás español (on www.spanishviaskype.com you’ll speak Spanish). We’ve used the verb hablar (To speak). This verb comes from the Latin word FABULARE. But it’s not the only one. We can find in modern Spanish the word fabular (To invent a story) or fábula (a fable). Therefore, fabular has sometimes a negative meaning: to lie.

¿Estás casado? No, estoy soltero (Are you married? No, I’m single). Do you think, “single” is synonymous with “lonely”? This has not to be true. Soltero means a non married person and it comes from the Latin word SOLITARIUS. From this word, we also have solitario (lonely) in Spanish. Again, you can find a neutral word (soltero) and another with a negative meaning (solitario).

Muchos estudiantes foráneos estudian español por Skype (Many foreign students study Spanish via Skype). Are all foreign people antisocial and grumpy? Of course not. Foreign and foráneo come from FORANĔUS in Latin.  But there is one more in Spanish: huraño. It means “a person who is quite reserved, antisocial and sometimes grumpy”. It’s easy to guess which is the negative one, isn’t it?

Take a look to these sentences: “un foráneo soltero está hablando (a foreing and single person is speaking) and: “un huraño solitario está fabulando (an antisocial and lonely person is inventing stories or lying). Like the Yin-Yang, some Latin words evolved towards the light, but others towards the darkness. If you want to be enlightened in Spanish, you may reserve a Free Trial Class here.

By | 2017-02-15T22:32:13+00:00 Enero 15th, 2014|B1, Sin categoría, Words made in Spain|Sin comentarios

About the Author:

I was born in Badajoz (Extremadura) and I currently live in Bilbao (Basque Country). I studied a Bachelor degree in Spanish Language and Literature and an International House degree as a qualified teacher of Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language. I think languages are the key that opens the doors to new cultures and I love teaching mine.

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