Spanish sin embargo and non obstante

Spanish sin embargo and non obstante (or no obstante) both mean "however", but literally, "without embargo" and "no obstacle", respectively. Some articles such as this try to explain the etymology from the semantic perspective. For our purpose of learning the words and phrases, we can just analyze, i.e. decompose, the phrases into two separate words, and see if we can find a similar composition in English. And we can. English notwithstanding is almost a calque (loan translation, word-for-word or root-for-root translation). The word withstand is semantically linked to an obstacle, resistance, difficulty, and the word not in front simply negates that. If we were to insert a space after not, the phrase thus formed would match the Spanish phrases even better.

By the way, according to Cornell Law School's legal dictionary, non obstante veredicto or notwithstanding the verdict refers to "a decision of a judge to set aside a jury's decision when the judge is convinced the verdict is not reasonably supported by the facts or the law". So if you knew this legal term, you would sure know the Spanish phrase non obstante.
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Published on April 12, 2020 07:19
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Learning Spanish and French Words Through Etymology and Mnemonics

Yong Huang
(1) Small corrections and updates to the published book, Learning Spanish Words Through Etymology and Mnemonics
(2) Miscellaneous notes about the unpublished book, Learning French Words Through Etymolo
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