Challenges in the Study of “Spanish” Loanwords in Late Medieval and Early Modern English
The study of copious Latin and French loanwords which entered the English language in the Middle Ages and the early modern period has tended to eclipse the appreciation of more limited—yet equally noteworthy—lexical contributions from other languages. One of such languages, Spanish, is the focus of this article. A concise overview of the Spanish influence on English throughout its history will help to contextualize a set of lexicographical data from the OED which has received scant attention in research into the influence of Spanish on English, that is, lexis dating to the late medieval and early modern period. It re-evaluates the underlying Arabic influx in English common to Spanish and revisits some of the lexicographical challenges in tracing the etymology of words which could have potentially been borrowed from a range of Romance languages.