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Two Portuguese and Spanish Etymologies

Author(s): Norman P. Sacks

Source: Hispanic Review, Vol. 6, No. 3 (Jul., 1938), pp. 264-265
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press
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Accessed: 02-04-2017 05:24 UTC

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Hispanic Review

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as early as 1621. He may have composed a synthetic fiesta, co

ing to nothing real. One would like to know whether th
Messina celebration, of June 1623 or 1624, was genuine.
University of California


THE fn IN PTG. muito [mUintu], SP. muncho

IN A recent article entitled "Old and Dialectal Spanish m
Portuguese muito" it is suggested that the influence of V
muntu upon both mucho and muito (from multu) may be re
the forms muncho and muito [m iintu].
That Spanish mucho is derived from multu is well establis
muntu, a form occurring only once in all Latinity (C. I. L., IV
any way responsible for regular Ptg. muito and dialectal Sp. m
There are several words in Portuguese which illustrate the
enon of progressive nasalization: nec > nem; matre > maie (cf
where there is no nasalization); mea > mia > mia > minha;
> mim; nidu > niu > nio > ninho. Muito is simply anothe
In the popular Portuguese form munto, the i has fallen an
consonant has developed before the following t. This is pa
where in Portuguese: hac nocte > doite > ~oite > ooit' > on
dIctu > beeito > bento.
Dialectal Sp. muncho may be explained in the same manner as Ptg.
muito. The n is a product of the nasal resonance originating in the
initial m. Spanish manzana (from mattianu) is another example of the
same phenomenon.3
In an article entitled "Portuguese, Spanish Cisco, Ciscar," I the
etymon *ciniscus s is proposed for Ptg., Sp., cisco, with the following
development: *cfnkscu (by dissimilation) > *ctns'cu > cisco. This ex-
planation offers phonological difficulties. The form *cintscus, assumed
as the starting point, is open to objection. In the first place, Lat. cinis
'ashes,' from which *cinlscus is formed, has a short i in the initial
syllable (cf. Fr. cendre, Sp. cenizas, It. cenere, Ptg. cinza). There seems
to be, therefore, no justification for the long i in *cinlscus. Secondly, it
1 By M. A. Luria in Language, XIII (1937), 317.
2 Men6ndez Pidal, Manual de Gramdtica Hist6rica Espaiiola, Madrid, 1925,
? 47.
3For other examples of this development in Spanish, see Meyer-Liibke,
Grammaire des Langues Romanes, Paris, 1890, I, ? 589.
4 By M. A. Luria in Language, XIII (1937), 317.
5 The form appearing in the article is *ctnscus, a misprint corrected in
Language, XIV (1938), 65.

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is the penultimate s
and not the initial
to *cins'cu is not cle
unusual explanation
If syncope is mean
under exceptional co
The existence of the Latin word cintsczlus 'a little ashes' is attested.7
Though the etymon ciniscilum, suggested for Ptg. cisco by Carolina
Michaelis,8 presents a phonological problem, we may derive the Portu-
guese word from *c-nisculus.9 Since in Vulgar Latin the suffix -tcilus at
times became -ciclus,o1 it is conceivable that -tsculus (construed as a
suffix) might have become -tsciilus, as here. The development, then, for
Portuguese would be as follows: *cinisculu > *ceiscoo > *ciscoo (an un-
accented vowel in hiatus with an accented vowel is assimilated and con-
tracted, if it is more open than the accented vowel, in the series a, e, e,
i1) > cisco (by contraction of the two o's).12
The phonological development of Ptg. cisco does not hold for Sp. cisco,
of course. Sp. cisco is then to be regarded as a borrowing from Por-


IN THE following passage from the sixth paso of the Dele

three unintelligible-looking speeches which the editors

CEVAD6N iHombre de bien!

SAMADEL La gran bagasa quius pari.
CEVAD6N No habla cristianamente, sefior.
BREVANO Sepamos, pues, en qu6 lengua habla.
SAMADEL Yuta drame a roquido dotos los durbeles.
BREgANO jQu6 dixo?
CEVAD6N Que se los comi6 de pasteles.
6 Cf. Grandgent, An Introduction to Vulgar Latin, ? 232 ff., New York, 1907.
7 Harpers' Latin Dictionary, New York, 1907.
8 Revista Lusitana, III (1895), 140.
9 That Sp. cisco may be derived from *cinlsculus is suggested in the Diccionario
Enciclopedico de la Lengua Castellana, Compuesto por Elias Zerolo, Miguel de
Toro y G6mez, Emiliano Isaza y otros escritores espafioles y americanos. Cuarta
Edici6n, Paris, n. d.
10 Grandgent, op. cit., ? 42, 2.
11 E. B. Williams, "The Preterit of Portuguese Vir," Romanic Review, XXII
(1931), 43.
12 There are other examples in Portuguese of the contraction of two o's:
p$pilu > povoo > povo; artcidlu > artigoo > artigo.
1 Fuensanta del Valle, Cotarelo y Mori, and Moreno Villa.

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