Espíritu

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  • Xiscomx

    Senior Member
    Español de España y Balear
    Por qué es "espíritu" y no "espírito espirito"? Parece una excepcion.
    Tan fácil como que el primero es el nombre masculino para referirse al diablo y el segundo corresponde a la 1ª persona del verbo espiritar ~ endemoniar, endemoniarse, poco usado por este mercado:
    espíritu. Del lat. spirĭtus.
    7. m. diablo (‖ ángel rebelado). U. m. en pl.
    espiritar. De espíritu, entendiéndose por el demonio.
    1. tr. endemoniar (‖ introducir los demonios en el cuerpo de alguien). U. t. c. prnl.
     

    DarkChild

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Tan fácil como que el primero es el nombre masculino para referirse al diablo y el segundo corresponde a la 1ª persona del verbo espiritar ~ endemoniar, endemoniarse, poco usado por este mercado:
    espíritu. Del lat. spirĭtus.
    7. m. diablo (‖ ángel rebelado). U. m. en pl.
    espiritar. De espíritu, entendiéndose por el demonio.
    1. tr. endemoniar (‖ introducir los demonios en el cuerpo de alguien). U. t. c. prnl.
    La pregunta no se trata del verbo, sino del sustantivo. Pocas palabras terminan en "u".
     

    DarkChild

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    The Spanish noun retains the u in the ending, because spiritus in Latin belonged to the 4th and not to the 2nd declension (spiritus, gen. spiritus - not spiriti). Cf. the ablative case in the Catholic mass (''et cum spiritu tuo'') or the 'sign of the cross': ''..et Spiritus Sancti'' (genitive).
    Okay, but other languages don't. I was wondering why.
     

    pollohispanizado

    Senior Member
    Inglés canadiense
    It's a learned word that maintained its final U because it is part of the ecclesiastic lexicon, which is to say that people learned that word at church and didn't use it outside of that context, and eventually it became fosilized.

    (All other words of the 4th declension were regularlized, save a few like "tribu".)
     

    pollohispanizado

    Senior Member
    Inglés canadiense
    Of course, as noted. Not an exception, but it is interesting none the less.

    Edit: I wonder at what point "esprit" in French started to be used in regular, non-religious contexts (it means "mind" and other things as well as "spirit"). It is the most innovative in pronunciation as well as meaning, which is not surprising when talking about the French language.
     
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    Olaszinhok

    Senior Member
    Standard Italian
    (Note: In Portuguese, all final -o are pronounced [-u], so while it's a regular word in that language, it is closer to the Latin etynom than in any other language except Spanish.)
    Yes, it is. However, that should be the result of a vowel reduction process. Before the 16th century, final unstressed O's were pronounced as (o) just like in Galician or Spanish.
    https://www.jstor.org/stable/412380?seq=1
     
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    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    (All other words of the 4th declension were regularlized, save a few like "tribu".)
    Certainly all of them were eventually regularised - these words belong to the same declension as the o-stems in the Romance languages. Everything about the word tribu screams "Latin borrowing", from both the vowels (expected e-o) through the identical (irregular) form and meaning in every major Romance language.

    I still think we haven't quite satisfied the question of why the Spanish word came to retain the Latin ending through borrowing, given that from the looks of it, the word is also a borrowing in every Romance language, probably even Romansch and Ladin spiert, spért "ghost" and Sicilian spirdu "spirit". According to FEW, a 10th century Old French hagiographic work still has to resort to straight up Latin spiritus - the word only gets borrowed properly a couple of centuries later. The obvious explanation is that Spanish must have had to borrow it at least twice (and judging by the alternative form espirtu, more than twice), after the first attempt had acclimatised all to well on Spanish soil. This is actually very common in Romance languages, often seen through the different meanings each of which goes to a separate borrowing - but rarely do the meanings clash so much that a whole separate form is needed - in this case religious considerations must have been primary.

    A curious detail about French esp(e)rit: its final vowel was only stressed in Latin in the Dative spirítui, meaning it was borrowed as part of the doxology "gloria . . . et spiritui sancto"- so it's also an irregular borrowing in this respect. ...wait! Cannot the Spanish form derive precisely from the same thing, only pronounced differently - /espír(i)tuy/? I think that must be it!

    Oh, and the presence of the /s/ (instead of *éprit) in French despite having been first borrowed before its deletion+vowel lengthening also points to the word's continual renewal through the Church.
     
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    pollohispanizado

    Senior Member
    Inglés canadiense
    I'm not sure, but could it have been due to the fact that church services continued in Latin for longer in Hispania than in Gaul? If in Gaul they started prosthetyzing in sermo vulgo early on in the language development, it could make sense that the religious terms would undergo normal evolution (even if later they borrowed an earlier form of the word), as opposed to where they continued to preach in Latin up until and beyond thw time when it was no longer understandable by the masses? Academic Spanish did eventually incorporate a huge number of Latin loans, both adapted and as latinisms, so maybe "espíritu" was in that streams of neologisms.

    Also: Couldn't "tribu" have been another one of those words from the Bible? (My biblical knowledge is rusty, but isn't there a lot of talk of tribes of Israel or something?)
     

    pollohispanizado

    Senior Member
    Inglés canadiense
    Tribù is retained in Italian and Catalan (tribu) as well. It was introduced into Italian in the 14th century
    Do you know under which circumstances it entered those languages?

    My french dictionary says for "tribu": "(1355) Du latin tribus"

    And for "esprit": "(début XIIIe siècle) Du latin spiritus"

    The 600+ years difference can be seen obviously in the two modern French words (although, one would expect something like *éprit if it had evolved with no interference). I think it's safe to assume that in Spanish "espíritu" and "tribu" were borrowed from Latin around the same time
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    These two words are actually quite different - one is part of several religious formulas integral to the mass and heard as well as repeated on a regular basis by everyone who went to church; the other was really ever seen only by the Bible-reading types. I see no necessary link between their dates of borrowing.

    What I'd like to figure out is:
    • what meanings existed for the word in OSp. and whether it's possible that some of them, "devil" in particular, were inherited or dialectal, even if the form was borrowed and literary;
    • if it wasn't inherited, when did it appear;
    • why is it that RAE gives no such form as espírito and lists the meaning "diablo" under espíritu.
     

    pollohispanizado

    Senior Member
    Inglés canadiense
    why is it that RAE gives no such form as espírito and lists the meaning "diablo" under espíritu.
    This is a good question, since the RAE tends to overdo it with alternate forms and antiquated words in the dictionary (they still have some that haven't been used regularly since the medieval times). If I knew how to use their CORDE (Corpus diacrónico del español), I would look it up there. Unfortunately I have never quite understood how. 🙈

    (PD. I just sent la RAE a message asking why this is. Hopefully they get back to me.)
     
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    Dymn

    Senior Member
    Before the 16th century, final unstressed O's were pronounced as (o) just like in Galician or Spanish.
    In Galician final unstressed o are a very closed o which is far from /o/ but still not /u/, I've seen them transcribed as /ʊ/. News hosts may use the Spanish o but it's not the traditional pronunciation most natives use.
     

    Olaszinhok

    Senior Member
    Standard Italian
    In Galician final unstressed o are a very closed o which is far from /o/ but still not /u/,
    You are right, when I wrote my previous message I was in a hurry and consequently what I wrote is not accurate at all, I have to say. Final unstressed o's in Galician are not the same as in Spanish, that's for sure, except perhaps the one spoken by most presenters on Galician TV, which sounds highly castilianized. Even though I have never been to Galicia so far, I happened to watch and hear some videos about Galician speakers on the Internet, particularly some people from the most remote villages, located in the countryside. Their Galician is expected to be more authentic and better preserved. However, their final o's are rather closed, but still not /u/, nor /ʊ/ at least to my ears. I may be wrong, though. I am not an expert on the Galician language, so I could be talking nonsense. :)
    For instance, the chap in the following video speaks both Portuguese and Galician (actually he starts with Portuguese, then he switches to Galician), his final unstressed o's sound like closed o to me.

    O galego explicado em Portugal (I) - YouTube
     
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    Zec

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    A curious detail about French esp(e)rit: its final vowel was only stressed in Latin in the Dative spirítui, meaning it was borrowed as part of the doxology "gloria . . . et spiritui sancto"- so it's also an irregular borrowing in this respect.
    I always assumed French had simply adapted the word to its native stress patterns, as happened with many other Latin loanwords (it's true, however, that these are younger borrowings, and that some older borrowings instead keep the original stress pattern... esp(e)rit might be located close to the breaking point when French stopped tolerating foreign stress patterns in loanwords).
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Weren't unstressed medial vowels deleted at quite an early stage of common Romance? I'd expect spiritum > spirto as the starting point of native sound changes, then espirto in Gallo-Iberian, and whatever -irt would then become in French.
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    However, their final o's are rather closed, but still not /u/, nor /ʊ/ at least to my ears. I may be wrong, though. I am not an expert on the Galician language, so I could be talking nonsense. :)
    For instance, the chap in the following video speaks both Portuguese and Galician (actually he starts with Portuguese, then he switches to Galician), his final unstressed o's sound like closed o to me.
    I'm no expert either, but the only thing it's clear to me is the traditional pronunciation is neither Portuguese /u/ nor Spanish /o/. I've seen /ʊ/ in Wiktionary, whereas in the Dicionario de pronuncia da lingua galega they use /o̝/. In real life, I guess it goes from the traditional pronunciation to Spanish /o/, depending on the speaker (urban vs. rural, old vs. young). Even the same speaker sometimes seems to have some vacillation (like this guy).
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    why is it that RAE gives no such form as espírito
    Espírito is documented between XIIIth Century and XVIIth Century (maybe earlier too but I didn't look for earlier documents) but the same is true for espíritu being the later more frequent.
     

    jilar

    Senior Member
    Español
    Por si interesa a quienes debaten sobre los fonemas del gallego para la letra o.
    Tenemos la o abierta y la o cerrada. Según la normativa estos son los fonemas /o/ y /ɔ/. Alfabeto gallego - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

    Mi abuelo materno sí los diferenciaba (estoy hablando de alguien prácticamente analfabeto -lo reconocía él mismo- y que simplemente hablaba como hablaban los de su entorno, el gallego era su lengua materna, el castellano a la que tuvo que adaptarse), pero ni sus hijas ni sus nietos - ya con una educación, pero principalmente en castellano- somos capaces de apreciar la diferencia, y por tanto tampoco hacemos la variación.

    Lo curioso es que hay muchos ejemplos donde usar un fonema u otro aporta el significado de la palabra. Ejemplo:
    Pola (rama) y pola (gallina). Una es con o abierta y la otra con o cerrada. No me preguntéis cuál es cuál, pues como he dicho, en la práctica yo las digo igual. ;) Hay también "pola" como contracción de "por + a". Una frase de ejemplo medio trabalenguas sería: Unha pola pola pola camiñaba. (Una gallina por la rama caminaba) ;)

    Recuerdo que también la vocal e tiene estas dos formas, abierta y cerrada.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Some early editions of the DRAE (1791-1817) mention esprito as an old variant, saying: ant. Lo mismo que espíritu.

    That's also the form in some dialects of Aragonese.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Weren't unstressed medial vowels deleted at quite an early stage of common Romance? I'd expect spiritum > spirto as the starting point of native sound changes, then espirto in Gallo-Iberian, and whatever -irt would then become in French.
    Not necessarily. Sometimes evolution follows unsuspected paths. In Catalan, at least, there was a clear change of stress: SPÍRITU > (E)SPIRÍT(U) > ESPIRIT > ESPERIT > esperit [əspə'ɾit] (the second schwa often being dropped: [əsp'ɾit]). Some give as a reason the common use of the Latin dative form (spirítui) in some prayers.
     
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