Espíritu, tribu ...

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francisgranada

Senior Member
Hungarian
Hello,

What is the explanation for the fact that the Spanish nouns espíritu and tribu maintain the final -u (Latin u-stem)?

Are there more nouns like these in Spanish ?

Gracias de antemano.
 
  • jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Latin spiritus and tribus are fourth declension nouns, but that probably doesn't explain much, since other fourth declension nouns have evolved into an o in Spanish. But tribus also ends in u in Italian (tribù) and French (tribu). I even think I have seen Portuguese tribu in old texts (spelled tribo now for several decades). What's up with that?
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    ...What's up with that? ...
    Yes, that's question here :)... The Italian tribù is also a "non standard solution" because of the stress on the last syllable. As if we had tribus, *tributis in Latin, like e.g. virtus, virtutis that regularly becomes virtù (from a former *virtute) in Italian.
     
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    Angelo di fuoco

    Senior Member
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Most word which have been inherited from Latin derive from the accusative form, not from the nominative. If the Latin nouns shift the stress in the casus obliqui (i. e., all cases except the nominative) towards the ending of the word, this is kept in the Italian word. However, if you look at some names and "learned" words, you see that, when absorbed by the Italian language, they keep the accusative stress, whereas many "cultismos" in Spanish (I'm especially thinking of the names of the Greek and Roman Gods) have been formed using the Latin nominative: Júpiter (Juppiter, where "piter" is a form of "pater" - a common phonetic phenomenon in Latin: the formerly stressed stem vowel is reduced when adding a prefix) & Venus in Spanish, but Giove & Venere in Italian.
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Of course, but your examples do not explain the stress in tribù.

    In your examples the stress is maintained both in Spanish and in Italian: the Spanish Júpiter comes from the Latin nominative Iuppiter, maintaining the stress on the first syllable, while the Italian Giove derives from the Latin accusative Iovem (or casus obliqui Iov...) and also keeps the original stress. It's the case of Venus/Venere as well, but not the case of tribu/tribù.
     

    Angelo di fuoco

    Senior Member
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Unfortunately, I don't know Latin well enough to tell you what the forms are in the casus obliqui and whether the stress is shifted or not.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    I even think I have seen Portuguese tribu in old texts (spelled tribo now for several decades). What's up with that?
    Maybe this is because unaccented final o and u rhyme in Portuguese, /u/. Since final unaccented consonant + o is much more common in the language they (some authority?) must have decided to regularize all final /u/ with o. Does this happen with other words (c + /u/)? On the other hand, vowel + /u/ with u seems to be the norm: romeu, meu...
     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Maybe this is because unaccented final o and u rhyme in Portuguese, /u/.
    If a word ends in u, the stress is on the last syllable (urubu, jaburu, tatu, Botucatu, Bauru). It it ends in o, the stress is on the syllable before (Paulo. Pedro, romeno, ouvido, etc.) And I don't think they are exactly the same sound, u is more or less like the oo in food and unstressed o is more or less like the oo in book.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    If a word ends in u, the stress is on the last syllable (urubu, jaburu, tatu, Botucatu, Bauru). It it ends in o, the stress is on the syllable before (Paulo. Pedro, romeno, ouvido, etc.) And I don't think they are exactly the same sound, u is more or less like the oo in food and unstressed o is more or less like the oo in book.
    Thanks for the info, Jazyk. I guess Portuguese accentuation is much more complex than I thought. "The endings -a, -e, -o, -as, -es, -os, -am, -em, -ens are unstressed." So that would mean every other ending, including -u is stressed. That would probably explain why they decided to write it "tribo" and "espirito", basically to stress the "i" and not the ending. The new orthographic rules eliminate lots of accent marks too, which doesn't make it easier.

    "Note: There are neither proparoxytone nor paroxytone words ending in u in Portuguese." (unilang.org)
     
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    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    Hello,

    What is the explanation for the fact that the Spanish nouns espíritu and tribu maintain the final -u (Latin u-stem)?

    Are there more nouns like these in Spanish ?

    Gracias de antemano.
    In Spanish, unaccented final /u/ is not possible in native words, those that evolved naturally from Latin: tribus would probably have evolved naturally into something like *trebo, spiritus to *espirdo. So these words ending in -u are all cultisms taken into Spanish in the XV century, and are only partly adapted phonetically to the language (i.e. the linguistic changes do not occur retroactively). According to Joan Coromines, "tribu" appears in 1490, "espíritu" 1440, "ímpetu" 15th century.
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    In Spanish, unaccented final /u/ is not possible in native words, those that evolved naturally from Latin: tribus would probably have evolved naturally into something like *trebo, spiritus to *espirdo. So these words ending in -u are all cultisms taken into Spanish in the XV century, and are only partly adapted phonetically to the language (i.e. the linguistic changes do not occur retroactively). According to Joan Coromines, "tribu" appears in 1490, "espíritu" 1440, "ímpetu" 15th century.
    Tribu/tribù/tribo and ímpetu/impeto seem to be "cultismos" in all the romance languages (including the regulars form in -o). But the -u in espíritu is not so obvious to me for the following reasons:

    1. The word “spiritus” (whatever was it’s spelled form in the past) necesseraliy exsisted in Spanish "continuousely", not only from 1440. With other words, it cannot be a "new" term, existing only from the 15th century.

    2. In the Glosas Emilianenses (around 1000 Anno Domini) we find:

    ... e qual dueño tienet era (=ela?) mandacione cono Patre cono Spiritu Sancto, enos sieculos de los sieculos ...
     
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    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    Tribu/tribù/tribo and ímpetu/impeto seem to be "cultismos" in all the romance languages (including the regulars form in -o). But the -u in espíritu is not so obvious to me for the following reasons:

    1. The word “spiritus” (whatever was it’s spelled form in the past) necesseraliy exsisted in Spanish "continuousely", not only from 1440. With other words, it cannot be a "new" term, existing only from the 15th century.

    2. In the Glosas Emilianenses (around 1000 Anno Domini) we find:

    ... e qual dueño tienet era (=ela?) mandacione cono Patre cono Spiritu Sancto, enos sieculos de los sieculos ...
    Yes, even with o they are only partially adapted, but I'm not sure what that would mean in Italian, that evolved differently perhaps less, not dropping unaccented syllables, changing consonants etc.

    I think it means when Espíritu started to be used naturally as a genuine word in Spanish (genio), for example espíritu santo, and not just a Latin quote. Of course, Spiritus and probably all other religious terms from Latin existed constantly from the start. Ela > La
    Yes, it did have time to change to /o/ as it developed epenthetical e- but perhaps it has something to do with it being a cultured word, not at all common in daily speech? Also what I said before that changes are not usually retroactive. U became o quite early, but it isn't cut and dry. Lots of (short lived) Latinisms during the baroque time were brought into the language with -o. Perhaps the church also had an influence... using latin?

    Besides, all 3 words we have mentioned are still pretty cultivated words in Spanish. For example, Esprit (adapted) has taken on some very colloquial meanings in French that Espíritu doesn't have in Spanish. Perhaps in Italian too, I know there's "spirtoso". Just a thought that might contribute to the -u...

    Edit: Ok, Latin Spíritus is dated 1220-50, but still later than your Glosas Emilianenses...
     
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    miguel89

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    There is ímpeto in Spanish, but it is archaic. Tribu and espíritu may have retained their final -u due to the strong religious association with las doce tribus and to Spiritus Sanctus.
     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    I don't know how relevant this is, but my Dicionário etimológico da língua portuguesa states that espírito was first attested in the 13th century and tribo in the 14th century.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    But the -u in espíritu is not so obvious to me for the following reasons:

    1. The word “spiritus” (whatever was it’s spelled form in the past) necesseraliy exsisted in Spanish "continuousely", not only from 1440. With other words, it cannot be a "new" term, existing only from the 15th century.

    2. In the Glosas Emilianenses (around 1000 Anno Domini) we find:

    ... e qual dueño tienet era (=ela?) mandacione cono Patre cono Spiritu Sancto, enos sieculos de los sieculos ...
    I have wondered if the spelling with u in Spanish might be an ecclesiastical purism of some sort, since this word would most likely have been predominantly used by the clergy.
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    I don't know how relevant this is, but my Dicionário etimológico da língua portuguesa states that espírito was first attested in the 13th century and tribo in the 14th century.
    I think this is relevant, because it confirms that also in the Iberian peninsula, i.e. in the (south]western Romance, regardless of the modern forms, historically there existed the word "spiritus" in -o as well.
     
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    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I think this is relevant, because it confirms that also in the Iberian peninsula, i.e. in the (south]western Romance, regardless of the modern forms, historically there existed the word "spiritus" in -o as well.
    I don't think it's easy to draw conclusions from that, since in Portuguese final unstressed -o is pronounced pretty much, or exactly like, . This feature can also be found in Astur-Leonese, so I suppose it's probably ancient.
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    It's not a conclusion, only an observation :). On the other hand, maybe in the 13th century the Portuguese final unstressed -o was not yet pronounced . I think, there must be some reason for the final -o in the written form. In Astur-Leonese, as far as I know, the spelling of -u/-o corresponds to the pronouciation (but I don't know if it was true also in the past ...)
     
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    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    It means that the first written occurence of the Latin word Spiritus is only from the 13th century?.
    I'm not sure about this. I take it to mean used as a latinism. There are probably 4 stages with every word like this. 1) used in latin by Spanish speaking people (priests), 2) used as a latinism in Spanish itself, like what today is written in italics, 3) used as a Spanish word, 4) adapted to Spanish according to what's needed at that time and after (phonetics). Then it might adopt different meanings as a native word. Miguel's idea sounds reasonable. Spiritus would certainly be a word used by every priest in the church, and constantly. Contrary to Portuguese -o and -u are distinguished rigorously in Castilian.
     
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