Verde que te quiero verde

Verde que te quiero verde.
Verde viento. Verdes ramas.
–Federico García Lorca, “Romance sonámbulo”

García Lorca’s poem came decades too late to be set to music by the famous Italian composer Joseph Green. You probably know him as Giuseppe Verdi. And it’s not clear whether he would have changed the location, as he sometimes did in his operas. In this case an appropriate change of venue would have been to the United States, to the Green Mountain state of Vermont, whose name comes from French vert ‘green’ and mont ‘mountain.’ English verdure, also from French, means ‘greenery’ (as found in natural scenery), but the Spanish cognate verdura adds, especially in the plural, the sense ‘vegetable greens.’ Corresponding to the noun verdure is the adjective verdant, which lacks a direct Spanish counterpart, while the Spanish verbs verdear and verdecer ‘to turn green,’ lack a direct English counterpart.

©2010 Steven Schwartzman

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nancy Feigenbaum
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 15:27:35

    Steven, I love this entry. I point out the verde/verdant link to my students every year and collect uses of this rare word.

    — Nancy,
    Yorktown Virginia

    Reply

  2. wordconnections
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 16:26:51

    Thanks, Nancy. Your comment prompted me to do a bit of searching. You and your students may be interested to learn of a series of books called collectively The Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green, written in the 1800s by a certain Cuthbert Bede (actually the pen name of Edward Bradley). If you go to books.google.com and search for “Mr. Verdant Green” you’ll quickly find it.

    That aside, I’m familiar with verdant as a word that turns up primarily in traditional poetry.

    Reply

  3. Trackback: verde 2 « Spanish-English Word Connections

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©2011–2016 Steven Schwartzman
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