By Jean-Benoît Nadeau & Julie Barlow
There has been some confusion as to whether or not the word toro (bull) originates from Latin. Toro is commonly believed to have come from the Latin taurus. However this is a general misconception. Like we explain in our book, The Story of Spanish (on page 10), the word toro comes from a pre-Roman language of Spain.
The Spanish philologist Rafael Lapesa writes, on page 47 of Historia de la lengua española that “The list of words of Celtic or pre-Celtic origin includes substantives that refer to the land.” He then presents a long list of words that includes puerco (pig) and toro. He explains that the two terms appear in an inscription engraved in the religious site of Cabeço das Fraguas, in Portugal, where they are written as porcom and taurom which “anticipates the latin porcus and taurus.” Read more »
Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoît Nadeau follow up their exploration of French with The Story of Spanish
By Marian Scott, The Gazette
The Story of Spanish
By Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow, St. Martin’s Press, 496 pages, $31.99
Montreal journalists Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoît Nadeau are the husband-and-wife team who authored The Story of French (St. Martin’s Press, 2006), an award-winning biography of the language of Molière. Now they are back with The Story of Spanish, a popular history that recounts how an obscure dialect of Latin spoken in northern Spain crossed the sea to become the world’s third most spoken language.
The couple’s six books also include the best-selling Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong, which explains the French penchant for everything from street protests to five-course meals.
As part of their three years of research for The Story of Spanish, Barlow and Nadeau moved with their twin daughters, then 6 years old, to a suburb of Phoenix, Ariz., at the height of debate over a 2010 state law that gave police unprecedented powers to track down and detain undocumented immigrants.
The authors are already planning upcoming books on Arabic and Mandarin, as well as a travel book focusing on French conversation.
The Gazette sat down with Barlow and Nadeau to explore The Story of Spanish. Read the whole article »
Recently, The Story of Spanish was featured in The Economist’s Books and Arts section.
The Story of Spanish. By Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow. St Martin’s Press; 496 pages; $27.99. Buy from Amazon.com
THE Iberian peninsula was conquered and settled many times, but only one of those conquests was a long-term linguistic success. The languages of the Celts and the Iberians left little mark on Spain. The Phoenicians were no more successful, although they bequeathed a memorable nickname to posterity: I-shepan-ha, “land of hyraxes” (more familiar as Hispania). The Romans had better luck. Their soldiers’ and settlers’ vulgar Latin (always distinct from the written, classical kind) spread to the masses. Read the whole article »
“We know that Spanish has given us “gringo“, “macho“, and “marijuana”, but it’s also given us the terms for filibuster, concentration camp, and the dollar as well as the $ sign, according to the new book “The Story of Spanish” by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow.” - Marsha Dubrow, Examiner.com. Read the article »
Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow launched their latest book The Story of Spanish with the help of the Embassy of Spain in Washington. The sold-out event was a success and Nadeau & Barlow were joined by Felix Sánchez (left), Chairman and Co-founder of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, as well as Guillermo Corral (right), the embassy’s Cultural Attaché, for a lively discussion on the new book.
“A fascinating exploration. As Cervantes asked, can we ever have too much of a good thing?” - Marsha Dubrow, Examiner.com. Read the article »
Our first newspaper review in The Wall Street Journal, by the paper’s former Latin American correspondent, Joel Millman, came out recently. He praises the book as “part linguistic primer, part cultural history,” and calls The Story of Spanish “entertaining,” and says it “zips along crisply.”
But strangely, he criticizes us for writing more about “Spanish speakers” than about Spanish. Curious, since the point of the book is to explain how Spanish grew and spread. It’s hard to imagine how that could have happened without the people who spoke it.
Read the review »
Interviewed in the May 3 issue of Shelf-Awareness, Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoît Nadeau talk about some of the discoveries they made when they were researching and writing The Story of Spanish. Shelf-Awareness calls the book “an engaging mix of travel, personal anecdotes and extensive research.”
Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoît Nadeau live together, work together and, between the two of them, have published six books (including Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong and The Story of French) and more than 1,000 magazine articles, and have won multiple awards in journalism. Their new book, The Story of Spanish (St. Martin’s Press), is a history of Spanish from its roots as an obscure dialect confined to a remote group of farmers in northern Spain to a language spoken by 450 million people in 22 countries. Read more »