Learning new words in a different language can turn up some interesting surprises. While you often see hints of roots from a related language that help you puzzle out the meaning, sometimes you see things that aren’t actually there.
Take, for instance, a Spanish word that I learned last week. Related to the word for early morning (madrugada), it is a verb that means to get up very early, conjugated for second person familiar, the tú form. The word is madrugaste.
I was thinking about this word one morning as I was finding it hard to get out of bed. We’re probably past the time when we can blame jet lag, but a couple of other factors still have me struggling to break the surface of sleep. For one, the matrimonio (bed for a couple, which the realtor took pains to assure us is new), is proving hard to get used to (emphasis on hard).* For another, there’s the strange time shift for which we can thank Generalissimo Franco and his relationship with Hitler, details of which are another story.
I don’t think I really fit the profile of either a night owl or a morning person, but for right now, the early morning doesn’t seem to be agreeing with me. Maybe that’s why I’m seeing things that aren’t there; I look at the word madrugaste, literally “you, my close friend, got up really early,” and in that one tidy package I see mad, drug, and something that looks suspiciously like “ghastly.”
*It takes me back, and not in a good way, to settling in during our first winter in Spain, about which more here, with a charming picture from the Bodleian library archives.
[Images: Tiger Sun, taken recently from our window by el Guapo; Soleil, painted summer 2015 by el Guapo; Wikipedia]