Sub in Romance languages


Senior Member
Do direct descendents of "sub" (As a preposition) only exist in Ibero-Romance(Spanish,Asturian,and Portuguese)?Most other Romance languages seem to use the derivative "subtus" to express "under".
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  • Sardokan1.0

    Senior Member
    Sardu / Italianu
    In Sardinian there are at least three different ways to express "under" or "below"

    • sutta or a sutta (from "subta") - under
    • josso (from "deorsum"; compare also with Romanian "jos") - down, below, downstairs
    • in basciu (compare with Portuguese "abaixo") - down, below


    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    Romanian has su.
    I found, indeed, this word mentioned in: Meyer-Lübke - Romanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch


    Me, as Romanian native speaker, I haven't heard or read such word, but I don't exclude the possibility to be regional.

    Romanian online dictionary does not mention a su:
    dexonline - su

    We are currently using the word sub, which has attested forms like subt or supt in 18th and 19th century:
    dexonline - sub

    The word supărete might have induced to Meyer-Lübke an etymology like:
    rom. supărete < lat. sub + parietem (accusative of parietis)
    I think the evolution was:
    lat. subtus + parietem > *subtpariete > *suptpariete > supărete
    because of the difficulty in pronouncing the group of consonants: btp or ptp.

    dexonline - supărete
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    Senior Member
    I feel curious about the final b in Portuguese sob. Final stops aren't allowed by Portuguese phonotactics (or weren't, in EP), but on the other hand it's not a Latinism because that would have been sub, not sob. I guess it was added later to draw closer to Latin, and pronunciation was shaped after writing.


    Senior Member
    Galician & Spanish
    So / su / sob / sub was rather common in Medieval Galician, although today, spelled "so", belongs just to literary registers and proverbs. Anyway, it is very frequent in toponyms (Suaigrexa / Suirexa < sub illa ecclesia, Somonte < sub montem, Somoza < Sub Montia, Sorribas < sub ripas, Socastro/Sucastro < Sub castrum, etc), meaning "under" or "upon".

    In my opinion these place names show that the sob spelling in Medieval Galician-Portuguese, retained in Modern Portuguese but not in Galician, was just a spelling.
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