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kimma February 07, 2016 02:38 AM

Vocabulary/etymology differences between English and Spanish
As I'm learning Spanish, I'm loving how many of the words have the same word roots as English words. Often though it's a fancy English word because the commonly used English word has come from a different language.

So I've been wondering if the 'fancy' word in Spanish is the common word, what are the actual fancy words? I have read that Spanish does absorb words from other languages but that like most languages the old ones get replaced. Is that true?

If there isn't another layer (or two) like there is in English, are they made up for with phrases and compound words? I am sure that Spanish has all the same nuances and breath of ideas that English does, but I'm only in the early stages of learning at the moment and the vocab is pretty basic.

I love etymology, if you can't tell. :)

AngelicaDeAlquezar February 07, 2016 02:46 PM

I don't think it's the etymology what makes one word in Spanish sound fancier than other, but I'm unable to say what actually determines that a word is fancy or not. One just doesn't hear such a word very often, either because it's archaic or because it "belongs" to the realm of educated writing.

Of course, the words derived from Greek or Latin are more unusual in English, whose foundations come from different places, but those are the basic etymologies of most Spanish words.
When I write or speak in English, I tend to use the direct translation of many words that are very common in Spanish, and English native speakers take them for fancy words; only then I learn they're not as common in English and that I may even not be understood because of that.
In any case, it's just by learning and practicing the language that one gets to know what words will be closer to your listener or your reader.

kimma February 07, 2016 03:27 PM

I was thinking about science in Spanish too. It must be easier on one hand because a lot of everyday words have the same word roots as the scientific terms since they all come from latin. But I also see how confused people get in English when an everyday word happens to be the same as a scientific word and they assume they mean the same thing exactly even though the everyday word has drifted and is less specific.

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