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Old 02-17-2004, 06:06 PM
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Why doesn't Spanish have more Visigothic-origin words...Or does it?

Why is it that the Norman Conquest had such a tremendous impact on the English language, but the early barbarian conquests of the Latin West seem to have left few linguistic traces on French and Spanish? In the case of the latter, a number of words do seem to have been borrowed from the Moors, but one never hears of words adapted from the Germanic. How does the language of a captured people capture their captors, so to speak?

On a related note, I'd be interested in the etymology of common Spanish names. Rodrigo, I know, comes from Roderick, but what about other peculiarly Spanish names like Gomez, Perez, Sanchez, and so on?
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#2
Old 02-18-2004, 07:41 AM
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Note: This post lists facts I learned when studying Spanish or which I found on the internet, and I draw my conclusions from these findings. I cannot guarantee for its correctness, it's more a WAG than anything, and I will gladly stand corrected.


There are a few hundred words of Germanic origin in Spanish, not much compared to the Arabic influences.
According to this page http://cursos.pnte.cfnavarra.es/mmur...e/lexico01.htm, the Visigoths mostly adapted to the culture and religion, and consequently to the language. (The page lists a few words in the section "Germanismos").

Also, the Visigoths only reigned for a few centuries, while the Moorish influence on Spain was much longer.

Many words of Germanic origin appear to be related to war and everyday things, while I believe that many of the words of Arabic origin are related to culture, architecture, science and other elements that were newly introduced into the Spanish culture. (With new concepts, it is obvious why a new word would be easily accepted, but substituting already existing words is harder - WAG).

The site lists quite a few very common words, such as war (werra->guerra) or clothing (ropa) (interesting take on the latter here: http://elcastellano.org/parent10.html, if you read Spanish. Never heard it, so I can't tell whether it's true, but it sounds possible. Basically, the author argues that the words "ropa" - clothes and "robar" - to steal, rob are related.)

As to why some victors become assimilated and others assimilate the culture of the people they have conquered - I'm not sure that question can be answered.
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Old 02-18-2004, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus
On a related note, I'd be interested in the etymology of common Spanish names. Rodrigo, I know, comes from Roderick, but what about other peculiarly Spanish names like Gomez, Perez, Sanchez, and so on?

Most -- not all -- of the old Castillian -ez names are patronymics: they designate "son of" or "descendant from":
Perez -> Pero, archaic for Pedro (Peter)
Sanchez -> Sancho
Martinez -> Martin
Lopez -> Lope
Hernandez -> Hernando or Hernan
Díaz -> Diego (itself from D'Iago, "Of James")

Notice that this could be associated with the Germanic possessive/genitive "-es" ending, the source of the English -'s possessive.

García is both a first-name AND a surname, an archaic form alternate was Garci, the Spanish form of Garth, maybe?

Another apparent Visigothic descendant is the word for a male-gender person, "varón", that exists parallel to the latin-derived "hombre" ( = "man", including the generic sense of humanity) and "macho".

One hypothesis on how come the Goths & Franks became latinized rather than Hispania and Gaul becoming germanized is that these provinces had already very large Romance-speaking populations, and firmly established Latin-based economies: The Romans had spent the previous 500 years making a concerted effort to colonize those provinces, founding whole cities using Rome's excess population and offering incentives to the Celtic inhabitants to adopt roman ways. The Goths, Franks, etc. moved in as the dominant/ruling class/ethnic group, but were never really a true cultural majority; besides they were really not destructively barbarous and were quite ready to adapt the structures left in-place by the Romans, including using Latin-speakers to do the management work. The Goths had been banging around inside the empire's borders, as sometimes-allied, sometimes-hostile foederates since the late 300s, so a couple of generations of cultural cross-pollination were already under their belts before they settled in Hispania.
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Old 02-18-2004, 09:35 AM
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Thanks for the responses.

Universe, didn't the Visgothic rulers continue to form the overclass, until the Moorish invasion? If so, then their rule was not a flash in the pan lasting only a generation or two.

Even today I wonder if there is a preponderance of Gothic origin names in high places. The name Asnar (sp?), for example, sounds like it could be Germanic.
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Old 02-18-2004, 10:10 AM
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Andalusia (souther Spain) was named after the Vandals (by the Moors), another Germanic tribe who stayed there for a while before moving on to Africa.

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Old 02-18-2004, 12:34 PM
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Remember the invading Germanic groups were not excessively large. The Saxons had the benefit of continual reinforcements from the mainland. The Franks, before the partition of the Carolingian empire, had the benfits of a pool from Franconia ( who didn't necessarily all migrate, but rather added a additional source of military recruitment ). But groups like the Vandals, Ostrogoths, and Visigoths were more-or-less single-shot groups of maybe ~60,000-100,000. Compared to the Latinized populations of Gaul and Iberia, this was not a lot. In addition they tended to be at least somewhat parasitic on the Latin institutions they conquered ( not being sophisticated enough administratively to manage such large regions themselves ). So is not surprising they were eventually submerged, culturally

A similar situation can be seen with many other groups, as for example the Turkic Bulgars, the Nordic Rus, probably the originally Indo-Iranian Serbs and Croats - all of whom were absorbed by the mass of Slavic speakers they ostensibly ruled ( and in those cases transferred their names and not a lot else to these new, largely Slavic amalgamations ). Or for another example on the other side of the globe, you have the Manchus.

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Old 02-18-2004, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus
Thanks for the responses.

Universe, didn't the Visgothic rulers continue to form the overclass, until the Moorish invasion? If so, then their rule was not a flash in the pan lasting only a generation or two.

Even today I wonder if there is a preponderance of Gothic origin names in high places. The name Asnar (sp?), for example, sounds like it could be Germanic.

Many Spanish noble families do trace some of their ancestry to Visigoths who held out after the Moorish invasion in the far north of Spain (Asturias, parts of Cantabria). One such noble was Pelayo, who led "Christian" resistance against the Moors in the eighth century. This was over 200 years after the original Visigoth invasion. But the Visogths have long since become absorbed into the Spanish populace.

Aznar is derived from the word "asno" (ass), and means something like "one who raises or cares for donkeys". In fact, most of the Visigothic surnames seem to be the more common ones such as "Gonzalez" (from Gundisalvis).

Also, much later, during the Hapsburg era (roughly 1500-1700) there were a fair number of Austro-Germanic nobles coming into Spain. There are Spaniards that come from old Spanish families but have very Germanic names such as Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau, the infamous Spanish general of the Spanish-American War.

Also, "Alemán" (German) itself is a common surname, as well as "Franco" (Frank or Frenchman). I suppose that attests to some German presence in Spain just as "Welch/Walsh", "Scott", and "French" are fairly English surnames derived from nationalities.
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Old 02-19-2004, 11:46 PM
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On a related note, I've sometimes wondered about the name "Guzman" - I thought it was a German name, but I gather it's a Spanish name. Is the -man ending just a coincidence, or does it have Germanic roots?
#9
Old 02-20-2004, 06:04 AM
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The name Guzman comes from Arabic, I think. There was a Spanish Arab poet named Ibn Quzmân. Another Spanish name of Arabic origin is Almodóbar, from Arabic al-mudabbir 'the director', an appropriate name for a famous Spanish film director.

The Visigoths ruled Spain until the 8th century, when the Muslims took it. An early Arab historian of Spain was named Ibn al-Qûtiyah, 'Son of the Goth Woman'. His mom was a Visigoth. His very name shows how he belonged to the transitional generation.
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Old 09-13-2014, 10:02 PM
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Probably cause the Goths and Franks picked up the language.
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Old 09-14-2014, 01:20 AM
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Jodete, we prefer that old threads be revived in General Questions only to add new factual information. Since I don't think your post qualifies, I'm closing this.

We also don't allow offensive usernames. I suggest you contact Tubadiva at [email protected] to request a name change.

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