charco [was: la leche]

Max Wheeler maxw at
Thu Mar 8 16:12:10 UTC 2001

The point that Corominas is making is that charco is a Mozarabic version of
Latin circum, at least as regards the initial consonant, given that there's
substantial evidence that in Mozarabic Romance Latin /k/ before front
vowels was realized as a (pre-)palatal affricate (as it was and is in
Italian). This evidence comes a) from place-names such as Ferrutx <
ferrucium, Marchilliena < Marcilium + -ena  and b) from representation of
Mozarabic words in Arabic script where the reflex of /k/ before front
vowels is written with <jim>, or even more precisely with geminate <jim>
which is interpreted as indicating a voiceless (pre-)palatal affricate,
e.g. <djjmbr> 'December'. The pronunciation of coronal fricatives has
nothing to do with charco. He's claiming that what is 'Arabized' is the
realization of /e/ as /a/.

I've taken the examples above from A. Galmés de Fuentes, Dialectología
mozárabe, Madrid:
Gredos, 1983.

However, Corominas's attempt at relating charco to circum in BDELC is now
of merely academic interest, since in DCECH (1980), in a 6.5 column article
on charco, Corominas & Pascual do not even mention this etymology among the
several they consider or reject, concluding 'de origen desconocido, quizá


--On Saturday, March 3, 2001 10:41 -0500 Rick Mc Callister
<rmccalli at sunmuw1.MUW.Edu> wrote:

>> But Arabic /s/ is dorso-alveolar, whereas Spanish /s/ is
>> apico-alveolar (sounding slightly hushing to a foreign ear).

>	 This is true
> but Arabic has emphatic /S/
> which seems to be a better match for apico-dorsal /s/
> than /s^/ is
> but I admit I studied Arabic many years ago and was only exposed to
> Levantine Saudi varieties

>	 The other qualm I have about /k/ > /s^/ in charco is that /s^/
> normally evolved to /x, h/, so we would expect *jarco /xarko, harko/
>	 It's true that Portuguese loanwords borrowed after the 1500s
> beginning in /s^, z^/ are often Hispanicized as /c^/
>	 but Corominas 1980 [where he says the word is pre-Romance] claims
> that it first appeared 1335
>	 I'm not trying to be polemical, I'm just trying to figure out this
> puzzle

Max W. Wheeler
School of Cognitive & Computing Sciences
University of Sussex

Tel: +44 (0)1273 678975 Fax: +44 (0)1273 671320 Email:
maxw at

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