Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Word Mystery: mirror / espejo / Spiegel

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Wednesdays, I explore the linguistic origins of one word in different languages.

I recently saw Disney’s SLEEPING BEAUTY for the first time and was significantly blown away by how beautiful it is. The background images are very stylized and I love them. I wish I had wallpaper of some of the forest scenes so that I could sleep surrounded by weird ferns and gnarled trees.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Besides being stunning to look at, the story is well told and not at all annoying (unlike Disney’s SNOW WHITE which I can’t get through because Snow’s voice makes me want to tear my ears off). Also fun: finding a Word Mystery in the looking glass!

EN → mirror — a reflective surface, now typically of glass coated with a metal amalgam, that reflects a clear image. ORIGIN from Old French mirour, based on Latin mirare [look at].

ES → espejoTabla de cristal azogado por la parte posterior, y también de acero u otro material bruñido, para que se reflejen en él los objetos que tenga delante. [Glass piece which is silvered on the back (also steel or other brushed metal) so that objects placed in front of it are reflected.] ORIGIN Latin specŭlum.

GR → SpiegelGegenstand aus Glas oder Metall, dessen glänzende, glatte Fläche Bilder, optische Erscheinungen zurückwirft. [An article of glass or metal which reflects back the shiny, smooth surface of photo optical phenomena.] ORIGIN Latin specŭlum.

Spanish note: this is one of the most oddly worded definitions I’ve come across. I usually waver between semi-literal translations and ones that read better, but this one kind of stumped me. Even in Spanish I think it reads badly. Loses just because it offended me on an aesthetic level.

German note: I’m more than a little disappointed that this shares the exact same root as Spanish. I wonder how many Latin words root German ones? Will have to look into this.

German note Zwei: I don’t speak German. I only know this word because it’s printed on the side of my mirror.

Today’s winner is English since I love the Latin meaning.

⇒ See more backgrounds from SLEEPING BEAUTY by clicking here or here.

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Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

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