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Why does Spanish tend to swap letters in words?

Metathesis is common across languages, including in the varieties of Romance that emerged from Vulgar Latin. However, Western Romance had it more than Eastern Romance; within Western Romance, Iberian ...
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11 votes

How did 'cocodrilo' originate from 'crocodile'?

This is an example of metathesis, the rearranging of sounds or syllables in a word. It occurred in a number of words in the evolution from Latin to Spanish: Latin parabola > Old Spanish parabla > ...
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11 votes
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What came first: «starboard» or «estribor»?

According to CRNTL1 and the RAE2: Proto-Germanic *steuraz + *burdą Old English stēorbord Middle English sterbord English starboard Classic Dutch stierboord (1588) Old French destribort (1550)9 /...
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10 votes
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Before being borrowed by Europeans, was "hurricane" ever pronounced with an initial "f"?

From this book in Asturian: D'una voz indíxena americana HURAKAN que'l cast. huracán fexo llegar al fr. ouragan y al it. uragano (REW s.v. hurakan). L'ast., lo mesmo que'l port. furacão, gall. ...
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10 votes

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

Spanish and Italian are both languages descended from Latin. As such, many of their words are cognate sharing a common Latin ancestor, but the sounds in these words evolved over time and evolved ...
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10 votes

When did Spanish develop perfect aspect?

I think this question is confused Latin did have a perfect aspect, it was only available in the present, past, and future tenses (these verb forms are usually described as the perfect, pluperfect, ...
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Apparent exceptions to the sound law f -> h in old Spanish

Some of these words were re-loaned from Classical Latin after the change of Old Spanish /f/ to /h/ had stopped: compare loaned forma "shape" against inherited horma "mold" (as you ...
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9 votes
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Is it accurate to say that the Spanish language has no connection whatsoever with the Greek language?

No, it isn't. Spanish and Greek are both part of the Indogermanic language family and therefore historically connected. However, this historic connection is rather old, the split between proto-Greek ...
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8 votes

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

As jlawler says in his comment, what's really going on is that [s] has become [h] in certain positions. This is a pretty common type of sound change, which falls under the rubric of "debuccalization". ...
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8 votes
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Two languages have the same homonym for two meanings but different phonetics

The words utrom, morgen, mañana don't all derive from the same word in Proto-Indo-european, so that is why they are pronounced differently. As to why "morning" and "tomorrow" are sufficiently similar ...
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8 votes
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Are the English words "essence" and "essential" related to the Spanish word "ser"?

Some forms of ser are cognate with "essence", but ser itself is not. Ser in Spanish is a "suppletive verb", which is missing some of its forms and has stolen them from other verbs ...
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8 votes
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Which language is the closest lexically to Spanish?

The map you have doesn't pass the sniff test for me. I don't imagine anyone realistically saying Catalonian being closer to Spanish than Galician. I can't speak for other Romance groups, but for ...
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8 votes

Latin jūs and sūcus, and the words in Romance languages

sorry - no time to write, just posting a screenshot from Penny 2002:
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7 votes
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Why is it correct to say "Honey, I'm home", but "Miel, soy casa" is not?

Because home is not only a noun: it is also an adverb. This is not predictable: it just happens to be a fact about English.
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7 votes

Does a scientific methodology exist for evaluating bilingual dictionaries?

That answer on Spanish SE is misleading on key points - "neural networks" have nothing to do with dictionaries. Let's step back and imagine that we are tasked with creating bilingual dictionaries ...
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7 votes

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

The occurrence of the sound change [f] > [h] > ∅ in modern Spanish words does seem fairly unpredictable. I think this is a situation where dialect mixing and reborrowing/learned re-formation of ...
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7 votes

Italian 'gn' vs Spanish 'ñ' - Why does their use differ intervocalically and word internally?

The most obvious reason for the difference is that Spanish, like English, does not have geminate consonants (aside from occasional “fake” geminates that arise from the same consonant occurring on ...
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6 votes
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Any Spanish speech variety where F is pronounced as ϕ?

/f/ as [ϕ] in Andean, Palenquero, Caribbean, Puerto Rican Spanish The Linguistics of Spanish - Andean Spanish - 2. Pronunciation 2.4 Pronunciation of /f/ /f/ is commonly articulated as a ...
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6 votes

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

Abbreviare to abréger is a very regular sound change, it went something along these lines. [a.bbre.vi.a:.re] > [a.bre.vja.re] > [a.brɛ.vɟær] > [a.brɛ.vɟʒier] > [a.bre.dʒier] > [a.bre.dʒie] > [a.bre....
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6 votes

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

As Draconis says, some conjugations of ser are cognate with Latin esse derived words in English, but not all. I made this chart (based on this blog post) a while ago, it details which are which: ^ ...
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6 votes
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Choice of phonemic symbol for /b/, /d/, /g/, /ʝ/ in Spanish

/ʝ/ vs. /ɟ/ Phonetically, there is a lot of variability in the realization of the Spanish sound that Wikipedia transcribes as /ʝ/, both between dialects, and in some cases between different utterances ...
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6 votes

Looking for Spanish email or chat corpora

The Grupo de Ingeniería Lingüística, part of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México has a WhatsApp corpus of undergraduate students. They have a paper that introduces it: http://www.aclweb.org/...
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5 votes

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

These words are called doublets: In etymology, two or more words in the same language are called doublets or etymological twins (or possibly triplets, etc.) when they have different phonological ...
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5 votes

Have the Spanish tenses stopped evolving?

Languages change, it's inevitable. Even an almost geographically isolated language will change: maybe in a limited way, or at a slower pace, but it will. Some changes are more visible and happen in ...
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To what extent can Japanese Kana be adapted to the Spanish language and be intelligible?

The phonology of Spanish might be vaguely similar to that of Japanese but the differences are also relevant. There are many consonantal clusters in Spanish and also word final consonants, and this ...
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5 votes
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Do all colonized countries use formal second pronouns person in daily life?

Québec, which originated as a French colony in North America, offers a very clear counterexample: it is well-known that speakers of Québécois French use tu in many more situations and much more ...
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5 votes
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How does Metathesis work?

This is just a partial answer. I think metathesis is often explained in terms of perceptual similarities between the variants. Additionally, sometimes we can say that one form has a "preferred" ...
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5 votes

Why does Spanish tend to swap letters in words?

The modern language Spanish does not have a significant "tendency" to moving segments (a process known as metathesis), but there are some historical cases of metathesis going historically from Latin ...
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5 votes

Why does Spanish have obsolete tenses?

Because language changes gradually. So for some features (in this case the mentioned Spanish tenses) there is first some alternative to express them, and this alternative becomes more frequent than ...
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5 votes

Why is Spanish SVO and not VSO?

The simplest answer is that the classification into VSO, SVO etc. as "types" is based on the order of full-word elements, thus full verbs and noun phrases as subject and object. Subject or object ...
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