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Español

Cuando aprendía español, estaba muy confundido cuando aprendí que saber significa "to know" y "to taste". Los dos verbos en inglés me parecen muy diferentes. ¿Cómo puede ser esto? ¿Cuál es la etimología de saber? ¿Existen algunas situaciones similares con "to know" y "to taste" en otros idiomas?


English

When learning Spanish, I was very confused when I learned that saber means both "to know" and "to taste." The two English verbs seem very different to me. How did this come to be? What is the etymology of saber, and are there similar situations with "to know" and "to taste" in other languages?

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The part of the question about other languages would probably get a much better/thorough answer on Linguistics. –  Flimzy May 24 '12 at 0:05
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2 Answers 2

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Español

De hecho, puedes encontrar rastros de ese tipo de coincidencias también en inglés.

  • Un savant es una persona que sabe mucho. A pesar de que es un préstamo del francés, se usa bastante en inglés. Un sage es también una persona sabia, alguien que sabe mucho.

  • Un plato savoury es un plato salado o condimentado, lo cual se refiere al sabor.

Los dos términos "sage" (o "savant") y "savoury" estan relacionados con el latín sapĕre, muy similar a "saber" en español que, como dice el OP, quiere decir igualmente "to know" y "to taste". Tienen el mismo origen.

Igualmente en francés tenemos savoir ("to know") y saveur ("taste"). La explicación es similar.

Nota. Hay que tener en cuenta que saber ("to taste") se refiere solo al sabor de las cosas, por ejemplo "este paste sabe genial" ("this cake tastes great"); no puede usarse para expresar el acto de probar o saborear algo, por ejemplo "would you like to taste the cake?" o "let me taste it", en estos casos, los verbos correctos en Español son probar o saborear.


English

Actually, you can find traces of that coincidence in English too:

  • A savant is someone who knows a lot. Although this is a loan from French, it is used in Enlgish often enough. A sage is also a wise person, one who knows a lot.
  • A savoury dish is a salty or spicy one. This refers to the quality of taste.

Both "sage" (or "savant") and "savoury" are related to the Latin sapĕre, very much like the Spanish "saber" which, as the OP says, means both "to know" and "to taste". They have a common origin.

Also, in French, we have savoir ("to know") and saveur ("taste"). Similar explanation.

Side note. Please note that saber (as in "to taste") refers only to how something tastes, e.g. "this cake tastes great" (este pastel sabe genial); it cannot be used to express one tasting something, e.g. "would you like to taste the cake?" or "let me taste it"; in these cases, the correct Spanish verbs would be probar or saborear.

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One way of getting to "know" something is to "taste" it.

Of course, one can get similar "knowledge," by seeing, hearing, feeling, or smelling. But "tasting" is the arguably the most intimate.

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