Hallar, Achar and Afflare


Senior Member
South Florida/Phoenix-Tucson/the Adirondacks. Native of North American English
I was going to post this in the thread about querer/voulloir because of all the commentary about "achar/hallar". I decided it would be best to make a new thread.

In my opinion, it makes more sense for the h- in hallar to be some type of back formation, rather than the pronunciation change of /f/ to /h/ and finally a null value letter (coming from the Latin word afflare). Reason being that the related word in Portuguese is achar and not fachar. Now, on the other hand, an "-ffl-" combination becoming -ll- in Spanish and -ch- in Portuguese would be more possible. I can't argue with the Real Academia, I suppose. Perhaps Portuguese and Spanish borrowed differently.

Example: flames --> chamas (Port.), llamas (Esp.) (Lat. flamma)
*There are many more examples in this category that relate to a Latin word with pl and cl. *compare to rain, lead (the metal), and flat between the two languages and Latin, for example. Since I don't know Latin, it would be prudent to ask for some help from someone who speaks Latin and Spanish and/or Portuguese.

Examples proving the "f" problem:
falcon --> falcão (Port.), halcón (Esp.)
to do/make --> fazer (Port.), hacer (Esp.)
flour --> farinha (Port.), harina (Esp.)
beautiful --> formoso (Port.), hermoso (Esp.)
fed up/full --> farto (Port.), harto (Esp.)
...and many others.
  • Supposedly the sequence was:

    (1) afflare --> (2) achar in Portuguese
    (3) afflare --> (4) fallar --> (5) hallar in Spanish.

    If you are saying that step (3) --> (4) seems dubious, I tend to agree.