Spanish ex-, Spanish liberals?

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 6 00:10:16 UTC 2010

Even Wikipedia knows that "(i)n Spain, the Liberales, the first group to
use the liberal label in a political context, fought for the
implementation of the 1812 Constitution for decades—overthrowing the
monarchy in 1820 as part of the Trienio Liberal and defeating the
conservative Carlists in the 1830s."


On 4/5/2010 7:00 PM, Federico Escobar wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society<ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Federico Escobar<federicoescobarcordoba at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Spanish ex-, Spanish liberals?
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> I read recently of two alleged examples of the influence of Spanish on
> English, but I have found no real evidence to back up either claim.
> The first was presented by the Colombian grammarian Fernando Avila, who said
> that the widespread use of the prefix ex- in English, as in ex-president or
> ex-wife, is due to the common use of that prefix in Spanish (in fact, "ex"
> is now used as an adjective in that language: "ex presidente", for
> instance). OED2 ("ex-" prefix1, 3) has political examples going back to 1398
> and the broader use is attributed to the influence of French. Thus, this
> does not seem to give credence to Avila's claim, but then again it is
> difficult to ascertain the frequency of use from the OED. No other
> dictionary I turned to gave any useful additional information.
> The second comes from the British historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, in his
> book *The Americas: A Hemispheric History*. On page 198, the author says
> this: "The word *liberal* in its political sense is one of the terms English
> owes to Spanish." Again, the OED does not present any direct link to
> Spanish, and neither did any other dictionaries I checked.
> Does anybody think these statements are plausible?
> F.
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