The ISM Rule (Major)

This Rule applies to those words in English that end with the letters

....ity (or ysm)

To translate them into Spanish, we will substitute the ending with


As an example, the English word tourism is the Spanish word turismo.
In this example, you will have noticed the difference in Spelling.
You will recall that in Chapter One we established that Spanish is pronounced exactly as it is written!
The English word TOURISM is pronounced TOO-RISM, with the "U" being silent (that is, not participating in the pronunciation of the word).
The Spanish word, TURISMO, is pronounced TOO-REES-MO.
English is phonetic (which, as you learned in Chapter Six, is "fonético") meaning that words are spelled according to their sound. Spanish, on the other hand, is pronounced according to the spelling, and no "trick combinations" of letters are allowed!
In Spanish if you can pronounce the word, you can spell it and vice-versa.
How is that for easy?
Here are a few more Examples

The ISM / YSM Rule

English Spanish Helpful Reminders
...ism / ysm ...ismo
Abysm Abismo * I for Y
Anachronism Anacronismo C for CH
Aneurysm Aneurisma femenine gender
Baptism Bautismo different spelling
Cauterism Cauterismo
Cannibalism Canibalismo only 1 N
Colloquialism Colaquialismo only 1 L
Darwinism Darwinismo
Dynamism Dinamismo I for Y
Embolism Embolismo
Euphonism Eufonismo quirk #5
Fanaticism Fanaticismo
Geotropism Geotropismo G pron. like H
Heliotropism Heliotropismo quirk #1
Herbalism Herbalismo quirk #1
Imagism Imaginismo
Imperialism Imperialismo
Impressionism Impresionismo only 1 S
Individualism Individualismo
Legalism Legalismo
Martialism Marcialismo C for T
Materialism Materialismo
Mercantilism Mercantilismo
Mysticism Misticismo I for Y
Novelism Novelismo
Occultism Ocultismo only 1 C
Organism Organismo
Opportunism Oportunismo only 1 P
Prism Prisma feminine gender
Paternalism Paternalismo
Phototropism Fototropismo quirk #5
Quietism Quietismo quirk #7
Rationalism Racionalismo C for T
Realism Realismo
Ritualism Ritualismo
Sadism Sadismo
Sensualism Sensualismo
Socialism Socialismo
Totalitarism Totalitarismo
Universalism Universalismo
Utalitarism Utalitarismo
Volcanism Vulcanismo U for O

You may be surprised to learn that there are nearly three-hundred other ISM's in English! Many of them, however, are derived from Greek-root words that most of us have never heard of. But look at it this way: A few moments ago, who would have ever thought that you would know the Spanish translation for the word Transcendentalism?!

[*] The English word, Abysm, is not as commonly used (in English) as Abyss; however, in Spanish, "Abismo" is a rather conmon word. Latin America is very mountainous and, consequently, is full of "Abismos".

There are approximately 200,000 English words catalogued in most unabridged English-language dictionaries. These do not include many more thousands of specialized terms, slang words of common usage, professional verbage and foreign words that have been "incorporated" into popular English. The total number of words used in the English language is phenomenal. It isn't surprising, then, to learn that at least 75,000 words in English are rooted in commonspace with Spanish! There are words in English, particularly technical terminology, that have no similar counterparts in Spanish. The Spanish language academies have been slow to assimilate new words into the language, so words such as "OK", "grid", "quark", "chip", "modem", and "stunt", among many others, have no precise Spanish translation. English, on the other hand, borrows words from other languages quite readily. Many aeronautical terms, like "aileron" and "fuselage" were simply taken from French and incorporated, for lack of an English description. English includes many Spanish words, such as "taco", "adios", "villa", and "corral" all of which are of common, popular usage, and are in the dictionary. Spanish, on the other hand, popularly uses many English words, although they have not yet been assimilated by the academicians. Words like "O.K." (sp. "oquei), T-Bone (sp. "tibón"), Motel (sp. "motel"), Sandwich (Sp. Sanwich), Football (Sp. Futbol) and Baseball (sp. Beisbol) are commonly used throughout Latin America, but not one of them has made it into the Spanish dictionaries! This gives much meaning to the words of J. Vendryes!