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Why and how has the word llama(s) 3 meanings?

  • (you) call
  • llama (the animal)
  • flame
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English is just a bad. How about "pine" the tree and "pine" the verb? – Walter Mitty Jul 16 '14 at 9:31

As to why, quite simple: three different etimologycal origins have resulted in the same word:

  1. The verb llamar comes from latin clamare
  2. The animal llama comes directly from a quechua word
  3. The flame llama comes from latin flamma

Latin consonant groups -cl-, -fl- and others (such as -pl-) have frequently evolved into -ll- in Spanish, so these evolutions are quite normal.

As for confusing, I don't think so. It is not easy to construct a sentence where a verb and a noun could be confused. The two nouns (the flame and the animal) might be confused, but their meanings are so different that, aside from jokes or especially constructed sentences, I don't think it is very likely to happen because the context would give away the real meaning.

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Llama «llama» la llama a la llama. :) – guifa Jul 15 '14 at 13:11
In voseo-speaking countries like Argentina is even less confusing since the first case (you call) is pronounced "llamás" (different accent). – Carlos Ferreyra Jul 15 '14 at 17:15
As a side note, this can be used for puns. There was a series of ads for a phone company in the late 90's, called "la llama que llama" (it was about a llama that made prank calls, using equally bad puns) – Diego Mijelshon Jul 22 '14 at 1:50

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