Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Sobre geografía léxica española: distribución y áreas léxicas de la mustela

Enrique Pato


The geographical distribution of words for WEASEL (mustela nivalis) in the Iberian Peninsula allows us to shed light on the complex history of this word using unpublished dialect data from surveys conducted in the first half of the last century (Atlas Lingüístico de la Península Ibérica). There exists a wide range of lexical variants for this animal: alongside standard Spanish comadreja, one finds mustela, donicela, paniquesa and bonuca, in different Spanish, Galician-Portuguese and Catalan dialects. The resulting lexical map can be compared to data from some of regional Spanish atlases (Atlas Lingüístico y Etnográfico de Aragón, Navarra y Rioja and the Atlas Lingüístico y Etnográfico de Cantabria) which
also include this term in their questionnaires. Although the complex history of these terms reflects in part traditional superstitions about this particular animal, their geographic distribution compares well with one of the few maps which Menéndez Pidal includes in Orígenes del español. This distribution appears to lend striking support to Menéndez Pidal’s long-debated “wedge theory” (teoría de la cuña).

Text complet: PDF