tortipede (tortipede) wrote in linguaphiles,

Portuguese (or Spanish) query: phases of the moon

We're having a Brazilian Portuguese teacher come round to do some little lessons/play sessions with our daughter, and the other week she taught her some actions to go with a song about the phases of the moon. This vocabulary was new to me, too, and led me to a couple of questions:

1) The word minguante sounded kind of familiar to me from Catalan (a language I'm more familiar with), and so I looked up minvar in a big Catalan dictionary and found that it meant to diminish, get smaller, etc., and came from vulgar Latin minuere, related to 'diminish' , and so on and so forth. Looking up minguar in a Portuguese etymological dictionary gave me the same ultimate origin, but what it didn't help with was the ending of the word.

Specifically, in Catalan the present participle of crèixer is creixent, and the present participle of minvar is minvant, and these are the words you use for the moon, as well; but in Portuguese you don't say crescendo and minguando, and so I was wondering where the -nte on the end of minguante (and Castilian, I now discover in writing this post) comes from.

My best guess was that maybe crescente owed its ending to some Latin influence, as an astronomical term, and that minguante was modelled on crescente, but I don't know if that holds water or where I would look to verify it. Can anyone help?

2) What would you call the shape of the moon when it's more than half but less than full ('gibbous' in English)?
Moon on Blue
Would it be gibosa, or just crescente/minguante?
Tags: catalan, etymology, portuguese, spanish, vocabulary

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