Peter Abelard sez of Heloise: “Que cum per faciem non esset infima, per habundantiam litterarum erat suprema.” [She was hot, and also supreme in abundance of letters. -d]
I find his misspelling “habundantiam” interesting. It pretty much means that he’s no longer seeing the metaphor in the verb abundare – since unda means wave, this verb is literally something like “overflow” – the image, to me, is of waves spilling out. But nobody spells ab, “from”, as hab, not even Abelard. So it looks to me like he’s probably not hip to the metaphor.
Hidden metaphors like this were so cool to me when I was first learning Spanish. They say “sobrevenir” for “overcome”. How crazy is that?!
And it’s not just word-to-word correspondences like that – where Latin has the verb convenire, the source of our “convenient”, we use the expression “everything’s coming together nicely” and the like.
Some might say this sort of thing hints at universal structures in the human mind. Others might excoriate them for drawing such broad conclusions based on only a few Indo-European languages. The former parties would no doubt agree that to be a problem, and would then have to look into the current research, or learn more languages, or both.
Now let’s all think about the metaphor in “inundate”!