Posts tagged Iberian Peninsula

A Mão Esquerda da Escuridão

So I don’t know if this is your thing, but if it is, you may have noticed that in all of the Iberian Romance languages, the most commonly used words for the left — the direction left, or on the left-hand side — are obviously related to each other: Castilian Spanish izquierdo, Catalan esquerre, Galego/Portuguese esquerdo, etc. — are all obviously related to each other, but none of them seem to bear any particular relation to the usual Latin word for left, which is sinister.[1] So then if they didn’t get it from granddaddy Latin, where’d they all get it? Well, the other day I learned that the answer is that when people give you directions on the Iberian peninsula, they’re all getting their word for left from Basque. Neat.

Shared Article from Wiktionary

ezker - Wiktionary

en.wiktionary.org


  1. [1]Forms of that word still exist in the modern languages — it’s siniestro in Castilian Spanish, sestro in Portuguese, etc. — and they can strictly speaking still be used to mean to the left or on the left-hand side. But their primary use is much more like English sinister, to suggest something perverse, evil, unsettling or insidious; using them to indicate left as a direction or handedness would be to make a word choice with a certain connotation of archaism or exoticism, like using sable instead of black to describe the color of my coffee table.