The Americanisms are words borrowed from American Indian languages and used in other languages. For examples: tobacco , chocolate, hammock .
They are an example of a linguistic loan , that is, the use of words from another language in the speakers of a certain language.
The term Americanism is also used in a complementary sense: words from foreign languages (primarily from the languages of the colonizers, Spanish and English) that are modified for use among Native American populations.
The relationships between the Spanish language and the Native American languages are very frequent due to the intense exchange between colonizers and indigenous people.
Many species (both animals and plants) found in America did not have names in Spanish for the simple fact that they had never been seen by a Spaniard. Hence, many of the words we currently use in Spanish come from native languages.
- Latin voice overs
- Localisms (from different countries)
Examples of Americanisms
- Ají (from the taíno)
- Alpaca (from Aymara “all-paka”)
- Batata (from Taíno)
- Cacao (from the Nahuatl “cacáhua”)
- Cacique (with origin in the peoples of the Caribbean)
- Cayman (from the Taíno)
- Cancha (from Quechua)
- Rubber (from Quechua)
- Chacra (from Quechua)
- Chapulín (from Nahuatl)
- Chicle (from Nahuatl)
- Chile (from Nahuatl)
- Choclo (from Quechua “choccllo”)
- Cigar (from maya)
- Coca (from Quechua “kuka”)
- Condor (from Quechua “cúntur”)
- Coyote (from Nahuatl “coyotl”)
- Cuate (from Nahuatl)
- Guacamole (from Nahuatl)
- Guano (from Quechua “wánu” which means fertilizer)
- Iguana (from the Antillean)
- Llama (from Quechua)
- Parrot (of Caribbean origin)
- Macuto (from the Antillean)
- Malón (from the Mapuche)
- Corn (from the Taíno “mahís”)
- Maraca (from Guaraní)
- Mate (from Quechua “mati”)
- Ñandú (from Guaraní)
- Ombú (from Guaraní)
- Avocado (from Quechua)
- Pampa (from Quechua)
- Papa (from Quechua)
- Papaya (of Caribbean origin)
- Petate (from Nahuatl)
- Piragua (of Caribbean origin)
- Puma (from Quechua)
- Quena (from Quechua)
- Tamal (from Nahuatl)
- Tapioca (from the tupí)
- Tomato (from the Nahuatl “tomatl”)
- Toucan (from Guaraní)
- Vicuña (from Quechua “vicunna”)
- Yacaré (from Guaraní)
- Yuca (from the Taíno)
More Americanisms (explained)
- Avocado. This fruit, also called avocado, comes from the center of what is now Mexico. Its name comes from the Nahuatl language , a language prior to the Aztec culture. Currently the avocado is grown in tropical areas and is exported all over the world.
- Barbecue. It is the custom of cooking meats suspended on a rack above embers, also called a grill. The word barbecue comes from the Arawak language.
- Peanut. Also called peanuts, it is a legume, that is, a form of seed that is contained, in this case, in a pod. The Europeans knew it during the conquest of America, since they were consumed in Tenochtitlan (present-day Mexico). Its name comes from the Nahuatl language.
- Canarreo. Set of maritime channels that are formed near the coast. It is an expression that is used in Cuba.
- Canoe. They are narrow boats that move by rowing. The indigenous peoples built them with birch wood and used tree sap. In the mid-twentieth century they were manufactured in aluminum and currently in fiberglass.
- Mahogany. Wood of certain trees of the tropical zone of America. It has a dark red color that distinguishes it from other types of wood. They are used in cabinetmaking (wooden furniture construction) because they are easy to work with and because they are resistant to parasites and moisture. The best guitars are also made from mahogany.
- Ceiba. Flowering tree characterized by the stingers that young specimens have on the trunk. They inhabit the tropical forests of what is now Mexico and Brazil.
- Chocolate. Neither chocolate nor cocoa were known outside of America before the conquest. The original peoples of Mexico consumed it as a drink, and its unrestricted consumption was a prize for the most outstanding warriors in the Mexican culture. It was used as a currency of exchange between different cultures. Europeans knew him thanks to the fourth voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1502 and adopted his name.
- Fireflies. Also called tucu-tucus, its scientific name is pyrophorus. It is a bioluminescent (light-producing) insect related to fireflies but with two lights near the head and one on the abdomen. They live in wooded areas of America, in warm areas such as the tropics and subtropics.
- Hummingbirds Among the smallest bird species that exist. When they were discovered in America, Europeans tirelessly hunted them to use their feathers as decoration for costume accessories, leading to the extinction of various species.
- Hammock or hammock. It is an elongated canvas or net that, when tied by its ends to fixed points, remains suspended. People are located on them, using them to rest or sleep. The word hammock comes from the Taíno language, which existed in the Antilles during the time of the conquest. Hammocks were used in America and were adopted since the 16th century by sailors, who benefited from the mobility of the hammock: it moves with the boat and the person who sleeps in it cannot fall, as would happen with a fixed bed.
- Hurricane. Meteorological phenomenon that has a closed circulation around a low pressure center. Intense winds and rain occur. They are typical phenomena of the tropics, so the Spanish encounter with them occurred during the colonization of the central region of the American continent.
- Jaguar or jaguar. Feline of the genus of panthers. The name comes from the word “yaguar” which in Guarani means beast. Their coat color can vary from pale yellow to reddish brown. It also has rounded spots that allow it to camouflage itself. It looks a lot like the leopard but is larger. It lives in American jungles and forests, that is, the Spanish did not know it prior to the conquest, and they had to learn its name from Guaraní.
- Poncho. This garment gets its name from Quechua. It is a rectangle of heavy and thick cloth that has a hole in its center through which the head passes, allowing the cloth to hang over the shoulders.
- Tobacco. Surprisingly enough, the European peoples did not use tobacco prior to the conquest. In Europe it began to be used in the 16th century. However, it is believed that in America it was consumed even three thousand years before Christ. Native peoples used it to smoke, chew, eat, drink and even to make ointments for various medicinal functions.