Alat. Indigenous or loan?

Discussion in 'Tagalog and Filipino Languages' started by sotos, Jun 8, 2013.

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  1. sotos Senior Member

    Greek
    Is the word alat (salty) a loan from european languages (AGreek αλας, New Gr. αλάτι, En salt etc) via Spanish?
    Thanks for the answers.
     
  2. rbrunner Junior Member

    Switzerland
    German - Switzerland
    Funny that just today I was searching for a Tagalog etymology dictionary and found nothing online and only a probably impossible-to-get book series from 1979 onwards...

    But allow me to make some educated guesses: The letter "s" at the start of a word is no problem at all for speakers of Tagalog. Therefore the fact that the word is alat i.e. lacks an "s" at the start of the word speaks against a loan, in my opinion.

    Tagalog and other Philippine languages like Cebuano borrowed a lot of Spanish words. The could have easily borrowed the full salado from Spanish, including the ending "o". I see the missing "o" at the end of alat as another argument against loaning.

    From looking at Tagalog and Cebuano I got the impression that Cebuano borrowed (or at least kept in use) more words from Spanish than Tagalog. But there is no word alat or similar meaning "salty" in Cebuano. For me just another (albeit admittedly weak) argument against loaning.

    The Cebuano word is parat. I don't know enough about sound shifts in Austronesian languages to confirm or deny a relationship of these two words, but I have a gut feeling that this could work out. If yes, Spanish would probably be out of the way for good.
     
  3. sotos Senior Member

    Greek
    I suppose you mean the opposite: The possibility of a loan cannot be excluded.
    Interestingly, in new Greek the initial aspiration of alas (gen. alatos) has also been lost and is alati.
    If it is not a spanish loan, then we have either an accidental similarity or a loan from IE through a lost connection.
     
  4. rbrunner Junior Member

    Switzerland
    German - Switzerland
    What I meant with this argument is this: If the Filipinos hear Spanish people say salado, and they feel like borrowing the word, they borrow it with the "s", because such a sound at word start is natural for them and known from many other words. I see no reason to drop the "s" later on, some time after borrowing, either. Same with the ending "o": Known from many other Spanish words, no problem to borrow at all.

    So, if a word that we want to check as a possible loan lacks both the starting "s" and the ending "o" from Spanish salado, that's two arguments against loaning for me.

    Examples of Spanish words that are in use in this way include sabado and santo.

    But I admit, lacking hard facts, I am not including or excluding anything, just arguing for a very low probability that the word is a loan from Spanish.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2013
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