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  • Regaliz is the Spanish word for licorice (liquorice?). For weeks I struggled with this word, because it seemed to bear no relation to anything. Then, one day, as I was reading an article about events in some North African country the paper kept calling "Argel", wondering where in hell they were talking about, the penny finally dropped. Argel is Algeria - I had been fooled once again by the random l-r switch. The penny dropped again - regaliz is just another example of the same phenomenon. As is the word for miracle - milagro.

    If any linguists out there would like to comment on this phenomenon, I'd be very interested.

    August 29, 2007

  • Thanks for the explanation, sionnach--don't you love those "Aha!" moments? That phenomenon has always interested me as well.

    August 29, 2007

  • Is there any relation to this word and the ghosted word licoriz?

    December 12, 2008

  • A google search shows, for instance, that the OED identifies 'licoriz' as an earlier form of the word 'licorice'.

    'Licoriz' also shows up on a couple of Spanish-language sites, but I think this is just as a Spanglish version of 'licorice'. 'licoriz' does not appear in the dictionary of the RAE (REAL ACADEMIA ESPAÑOLA), which is the usual arbiter for deciding whether or not something is a legitimate Spanish word.

    December 12, 2008