Posted by: Jack Henry | January 27, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Spanish to English

¡Hola, mis amigos!

I have just returned from a short trip south of the border, where I searched for wild iguanas, watched frigatebirds soar over the ocean, and enjoyed the company of friends and family. In honor of my visit to Mexico, I thought it might be nice to look at some of the words we have adopted into English from the Spanish language. I found a great website called Babbel, and today’s topic is about which of our state names are actually Spanish words:

· Arizona – From Spanish Arizonac, itself an adoption of the word alĭ ṣonak, meaning “little spring,” from the local O’odham language. [KC – From Wikipedia:
O’odham (or Papago-Pima) is a Uto-Aztecan language of southern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico.] Alternate etymology may be the Basque haritz ona (“good oak”).

· California – A mythical island from the 1510 Spanish novel Las sergas de Esplandián by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo.

· Colorado – Red-colored (referring to the color of the Colorado river).

· Florida – Flowery.

· Montana – From montaña (mountain).

· Nevada – Snowy.

· New Mexico – Nuevo México.

· Texas – The Spanish adopted the word tejas from the language of the indigenous Cado people. It means “friends” or “allies.”

· Utah – Derived from the name of the indigenous Ute people, via Spanish yuta.

Kara Church

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