Take the 2-minute tour ×
Spanish Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Spanish language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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

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

1 Answer 1

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.

share|improve this answer
4  
Llama «llama» la llama a la llama. :) –  guifa Jul 15 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 at 17:15
2  
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 at 1:50

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.