Words have a history, generally, if we go to the etymologies of them we will discover their origin and their deepest meaning. Additionally, today we continue to invent words with roots from ancient languages. Cultism origin meaning and examples
It has happened to you that you hear a strange word that sounds “cultured” or “intellectual”. This may be because it is a cultism. Well, these are terms that are not commonly used and are closely linked to their etymology, which according to the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language is defined as:
Thus, cultisms are closely linked to their origin. They are often used in literature, poetry and academic spaces. However, there is also the exception to the rule, as there are also cultisms that are used more frequently.
“Origin of words, reason for their existence, their meaning and their form”.
Various cultisms are drawn directly from dead languages such as Latin or Greek . They are also used to name new technologies or scientific concepts. As the author Ángel Luis Gallego indicates in his text Definitions of Cultism, Semicultism and Heritage Word , one of the main characteristics of cultism is that it occurred when Spanish was already consolidated as a language: “Cultism hardly modifies its Latin form to adapt to the orthographic and phonological conventions (…) it goes through all the transformations that the roots and morphemes underwent in the development of the Romance language ”.
Origins of cultism
Although this has been a phenomenon that occurs even today. It highlights the work of Luis de Góngora who through poetic language introduced and rescued old terms to renew his verse. Within the Spanish Baroque literature, Góngora is one of the main references of Culteranismo, a literary style characterized by the exaggerated use of cultism, poetic forms that are difficult to understand and an expansion of vocabulary.
How to recognize a cultism?
As we saw throughout this article, despite the fact that all cultisms come from Greco-Latin roots, there are some of little use and some of common use . In this way, we could divide the use of cultism into two large groups: Cultism origin meaning and examples
- Those that are used within poetry, philosophy or science to expand vocabulary , designate a new object, invention or description of some phenomenon. These can be of little use as “epistemology” that is usually used in areas of a mostly academic nature or more commonly with terms such as “psychology”.
- On the other hand, there are those cultisms that have been introduced into our daily lives by their use. Here are words like “astronaut”, “album” or “slip”
In short, cultisms are a sign that language has an organic character that carries a history. Even if new terms are invented, others are stopped or a new letter is constituted, every lexicon has a basis and a past. For this reason, old words will continue to serve us to build those of the future.
Examples of cultisms
As we pointed out at the beginning of this lesson from a Teacher, now that we have seen the meaning of cultisms, we will go on to highlight some examples.
There are cultisms that are characterized by maintaining the Latin ending “us” or “um”, within them we find:
- Memorandum : to be remembered. It also refers to an official or protocol document.
- Album : book or notebook to draw, save photos, stamps, autograph, etc.
- Forum : meeting where current issues and common interest are discussed where the public can give their opinion.
- Lapsus : due to lack of attention, make a mistake.
Within science , the use of cultisms has served to mix the deep meaning of certain Greco-Latin words with new inventions :
- Astronaut from the Greek “astro” which means star and “nauta” which means navigator.
- Microscope from the Greek “micro”, small, and “scopio”, vision.
- Paleolithic from the Greek “paleo” which refers to ancient and “lithic”, stone
On the other hand, the term “logy” in Greek means study, we find terms that would enter into cultism but that today are frequently used by mixing this term with other ancient roots:
- Psychology : study of the mental processes, the perceptions, the mental faculties and the behavior of the human being.
- Epistemology : branch of philosophy that analyzes, describes and studies human knowledge.
- Biology : scientific discipline that studies the processes and structure of living things.
Cultism origin meaning and examples