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Questions tagged [spanish]

For linguistic questions about Spanish, one of the most widely spoken Romance languages, also known as Castilian. For non-linguistic questions about the Spanish language, visit our sister site Spanish Language Stack Exchange.

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4 answers
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Where did Spanish get its /x/? Arabic influence?

Most Romance languages don't have /x/ (like the j in hijo), nor did Latin. Where did Spanish /x/ come from? Internal development, Arabic influence, or something else? Since Moroccan Arabic also has /x/...
Cerberus's user avatar
  • 7,976
16 votes
6 answers
10k views

Why do stem-changing verbs have a vowel change in Spanish?

It may just be that I'm demonstrating my gross ignorance, but I can't seem to find a 'why' for stem-changing verbs in Spanish. I understand that there is some sort of perceived weakness in the vowel ...
jrob's user avatar
  • 163
14 votes
2 answers
6k views

Why does Spanish tend to swap letters in words?

I can't remember the source, but I recall hearing that Spanish (my native tongue) tends to swap letters in words (accidentally). Examples Latin diabolo becomes diablo(o). (perhaps this is a non-...
Pedro's user avatar
  • 301
14 votes
5 answers
2k views

Vowel harmony in Spanish?

Some irregular Spanish verbs with infinite in "-ir" seem to have an interesting pattern in their conjugation: For some verbs with "o" as last vowel in the infinite stem (e.g. dormir, morir), the form ...
dainichi's user avatar
  • 1,564
14 votes
3 answers
768 views

Do Spanish speakers prefer certain words for certain aspects, like in Russian?

In an effort to clearly delineate durar and tardar to my Spanish students, I have been searching for some usage notes and I was not satisfied with anything I found. Instead, I was wondering if these ...
Ryan David Ward's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why does Spanish have so many diphthongs compared to other Romance languages?

I have studied and known Spanish my whole life, and got a job at a University where I am allowed to take some free classes. Over the past three years, I have taken all the Italian classes offered, all ...
Ryan David Ward's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
704 views

Before being borrowed by Europeans, was "hurricane" ever pronounced with an initial "f"?

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, Spanish works about the New World in the 1500s wrote the word we spell in modern English as "hurricane" alternatively as "huracan" or "furacan". A ...
Dan Getz's user avatar
  • 435
10 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why do Spanish and Greek have such a similar phonology?

Is it just a matter of coincidence or did the two language influence each other in some way?
Infinite's user avatar
  • 303
8 votes
2 answers
913 views

Is redundancy in language really impossible? (Case of the Spanish imperfect subjunctive)

I have heard time and again that languages will reject words and structures that are redundant. That is, for example, if though two words may seem like they are perfect synonyms (e.g., rotund and ...
Tim Gorichanaz's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
320 views

Focus-marking in different varieties of Spanish

Spanish is often described as putting focused constituents at the end of the sentence, leading for instance to VOS word order in sentences with a focused subject. (For instance, Maria Zubizarreta's ...
Leah Velleman's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

Any Spanish speech variety where F is pronounced as ϕ?

Are there any living speech varieties of Spanish (geographic, socio-economic) that pronounce the phoneme associated with the letter 'f' as [ϕ], as bilabial rather than labiodental? Just wondering ...
Noble_Bright_Life's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
4k views

How did 'cocodrilo' originate from 'crocodile'?

The English word crocodile seems to originate from the Latin crocodīlus and Ancient Greek κροκόδιλος. Indeed it has ended up very similar in several modern languages: German (Krokodile), Russian (...
Zak McKracken's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
563 views

Apparent exceptions to the sound law f -> h in old Spanish

At some point during the evolution of Spanish, several initial [f] became silent (this is represented with an h in modern Spanish). This explains words such as hacer, harina, herir and many more. ...
Qwertuy's user avatar
  • 703
7 votes
2 answers
469 views

What came first: «starboard» or «estribor»?

In English, the right side of a ship (and everything beyond said side) is called «starboard». I know enough about sailing and about stars to know that stars can't have anything to do with that name, ...
walen's user avatar
  • 184
7 votes
1 answer
113 views

Does a scientific methodology exist for evaluating bilingual dictionaries?

I recently reread What's the difference between the various context dictionaries available for Spanish (e.g., Tatoeba, Reverso, Linguee, …)?. The accepted answer is excellent. But it got me ...
aparente001's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why do many French and Spanish noun cognates have opposing grammatical gender?

While most French/Spanish noun cognates share the same gender (both descending from the same vulgar latin root), there are many exceptions having opposing genders (e.g. la couleur / el color; la ...
user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
503 views

How is an intervocalic "g" pronounced in Andean Spanish?

It seems that at least in the Andes, a lot of people say e.g. [awa] for "agua"[agwa]. What's the phonological rule behind this? Is it really [w]? Why did this happen in the first place?
żaba's user avatar
  • 181
7 votes
1 answer
660 views

Why the grammatical difference between "eu gosto" in Portuguese and "me gusta" in Spanish. What's the historical evolution of this expression?

Apparently, "eu" is the subject in "eu gosto (de isso)" while "me" is the object in "me gusta (algo)". Why such a difference between two languages? What's the historical evolution of this expression?
xji's user avatar
  • 603
6 votes
4 answers
718 views

From Italian to Spanish, consonant + "i" goes to consonant + "l"?

Why is it, that in words like plaza / piazza, or blanca / bianca, the "l" in Spanish corresponds to an "i" in Italian? Is there a preference for this kind of sound in Italian, or ...
user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
199 views

How do Latin American Spanish speakers acquire vosotros forms?

In travels throughout Latin America, during which I spoke Spanish learned in Spain, local people had no problem understanding my use of vosotros forms even if they lived in very isolated rural areas ...
user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
356 views

Suppletion of Spanish "matar" (to kill) by "morir" (to die) in the passive

When saying someone 'was killed' in Spanish in the passive voice, muerto, the past participle of morir ("to die") is used: «Selicho fue muerto a golpes por sus propios funcionarios» Galeano ...
iacobo's user avatar
  • 3,122
5 votes
2 answers
302 views

Voiced labiodental fricative in Puerto Rican Spanish?

I was listening to "Despacito", and it seems that both singers use /v/ (Fonsi at 0:42 with his mouth visible, DY at 1:00) as an allophone of native /β/ (still used, e.g Fonsi, 1:52). Most Spanish ...
Gentsin Zyato's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

For the 'ch' sound in Chilean Spanish, do these symbols differ?

I am researching dialects in Chilean Spanish , and one feature that is often mentioned (and one that you can hear all across Chile in conversation) is the varying pronunciation of the 'ch' sound. I ...
Jack O's user avatar
  • 53
5 votes
2 answers
204 views

Does the Perfect in addition to its perfect meaning also denotes perfective / imperfective / either meaning (in English and Spanish)?

Just to note that I'm well aware as to the difference between the perfect and perfective aspects. Up until recently I though that the Perfect aspect can denote (in addition to its perfect aspect ...
Amit's user avatar
  • 51
4 votes
4 answers
2k views

Does Basque sound like Spanish, or vice versa?

I am always amazed by how similar both languages sound despite being very different in almost every other aspect. I suspect that this is a classical example of a Sprachbund, but I am interested in ...
octosquidopus's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
875 views

How does Metathesis work?

How does it happen? What motivated latin "parabola" to change into Spanish "palabra" and why does english "ask" is often changed to "aks"?
Ergative Man's user avatar
  • 1,446
4 votes
1 answer
345 views

Portuguese — Why use definite articles in front of possessive nouns? Why the extensive use of proposition contraction?

I can speak Spanish and French, and I am currently learning Portuguese. During my learning, I realized that there are some unique features in Portuguese — I don't speak Italian, so I don't know if ...
Yan Zhuang's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
92 views

Looking for Spanish email or chat corpora

I am looking for some corpora containing emails or chats in Spanish.
Yanina Kolotilova's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
522 views

Forced aligner in Spanish? (Similar to P2FA)

I am looking for a forced aligner in Spanish. Something similar to P2FA for American English. I want to force align simple sentences in Mexican Spanish for a project. Does anyone know one?
axme100's user avatar
  • 460
4 votes
1 answer
67 views

Can anybody recommend some textbooks/articles that deal with the adaption of loan words into Spanish?

I'm doing a phonology project on Spanish and one of the components is describing how the language adapts loanwords. I'm particularly interested in Arabic loanwords and how they are adapted as I ...
zettasyntax19's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
263 views

Why do Spanish and other Romance Languages use the preposition "a" for culinary styles?

I've looked in the Real Academia Española dictionary and I can't find any information regarding why Spanish uses the preposition a for cooking styles, and I've noticed French and Italian do it too. I ...
Ryan David Ward's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
990 views

Do you have a vowel trapezoid for Spanish?

I am trying to contrast the vowel systems of English and Spanish, and showing two vowel trapezoids seems like a good approach. I've not yet found one yet. Any ideas?
George Baker's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
90 views

Do constructs like "going to do" and "ir a hacer" share a common origin?

I'm curious about the linguistic background between these phrases because they don't make sense word-for-word in either language, but they work almost identically. Wikipedia says that a similar form ...
Ryan McCampbell's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
170 views

What methods do languages use to re-introduce the subject of a passive construction?

In German and Spanish (I think), you use the word for 'from'. In Japanese though, I think they use 'ni' (which can either mean 'to' or 'at'). In English we use the preposition 'by', which is rarely ...
user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
97 views

Does California vowel shift occur in bilingual Spanish speakers?

I know that recently there has been a lot of research done on the California vowel shift being a key part of a California accent for younger kids who have grown up there. Knowing that there is a ...
user28146's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
702 views

Aramaic compared to Spanish

Is it possible to compare Aramaic to Spanish? If so, what are the differences and what are common? I have Spanish at school, and when I saw Passion of the Christ, I recognized lots of words (I don't ...
Friend of Kim's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

When did Spanish develop perfect aspect?

Latin and many other Romance languages do not have perfect aspect, but Greek has perfect aspect and Iberia was a land for Ancient Greek colonies. So how and when Spanish integrates perfect aspect into ...
Houman's user avatar
  • 487
3 votes
2 answers
631 views

Are the English words "essence" and "essential" related to the Spanish word "ser"?

I always think of the Spanish verb "ser" being related to "essence", which can be contrasted with the verb "estar", which is related to "state". "Ser" is also a noun with various meanings including "...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 14.7k
3 votes
2 answers
3k views

Origin of silent 's' in some Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries?

In Cuba and perhaps to a lesser extent the Dominican Republic (and perhaps other countries), the 's' is often silent. How and why did this come to be? A layperson's guess (and I am a layperson) is ...
user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

Choice of phonemic symbol for /b/, /d/, /g/, /ʝ/ in Spanish

Wikipedia states this on the Spanish consonants /b/, /d/, /ɡ/ and /ʝ/: The phonemes /b/, /d/, and /ɡ/ are realized as approximants (namely [β̞, ð̞, ɣ˕]) or fricatives in all places except after a ...
iacobo's user avatar
  • 3,122
3 votes
1 answer
288 views

Does -z / -ces in Spanish plurals reflect sound change in the past?

Spanish nouns ending with -z become -ces in plural forms. (e.g. lapiz-lapices, vez-veces, etc.) While -zes and -ces sound same in Modern Spanish, they represented different sounds between 15-16th ...
puzzlet's user avatar
  • 405
3 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why is it correct to say "Honey, I'm home", but "Miel, soy casa" is not?

Inspired by the picture below (thanks to brainlesstaless), when I got home I called to my wife: "Miel, soy casa". After a short pause, she started laughing. I know in Spanish this sentence makes no ...
mai's user avatar
  • 141
3 votes
1 answer
579 views

What explains the sound development from Latin -vi- to French -dg- ?

abridge (v.) [...] from Old French abregier "abridge, diminish, shorten," from Late Latin abbreviare "make short" (see abbreviate). The sound development from Latin -vi- to French -dg- is ...
user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
468 views

What explains the differences between doublet verbs that differ by a prefix?

The differences in meanings of doublet verbs such as 3-6 below: Are there any resources that investigate the big picture behind them? I abhor to memorise, and prefer to understand, such differences. ...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
266 views

Have the Spanish tenses stopped evolving?

I suspect that evolution of Spanish tenses stopped, while being in the middle of replacement of conjugated tenses by compound tenses. In some scenarios compound tense was adopted, in some other cases ...
foobarbaz's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
648 views

Absence of vowel combination /ou/ in Spanish

Spanish has many words containing the diphthongs /au/, /eu/ and /iu/, but the only instances of words containing /ou/ (as a diphthong or in hiatus) are a very small set of foreign loanwords: bou, ...
iacobo's user avatar
  • 3,122
3 votes
1 answer
86 views

What is the name of this syntactic construct: "May [Subject] [Verb]"?

Sentences like "Let such and such be done" or "May this happen". What is the name of this construct? More examples from Spanish: Que ellos entren ahora (Let them in now). Que se muerte les ...
omarzd's user avatar
  • 53
3 votes
2 answers
230 views

What are the benefits of learning Latin using Spanish?

I am a native speaker of Spanish. I also learned English. I am now trying to learn Latin. Obviously, the Spanish --> Latin route is a lot more preferable than the English --> Latin route given that ...
ltcomdata's user avatar
  • 141
3 votes
2 answers
600 views

Teaching children Spanish and Esperanto at home from non-native speakers

A question has already been asked on teaching a child a foreign language if you aren't a native speaker, but the answers are mixed - the 'right' answer says languages can be taught by a non-native ...
Powers's user avatar
  • 184
3 votes
1 answer
99 views

Is there such a thing as attributive vs. modifier uses of adj? Is un rojo carro vs. un carro rojo the same difference as 红房子 vs. 红的房子?

In teaching Spanish I often explain the difference between pre-nominal adjectives and post-nominal adjectives as the difference between an English noun phrase in which the adjective is stressed, and ...
Buddy L's user avatar
  • 151