The etymology of the paella
To speak about the etymology of the name “paella”, it is necessary to understand that one calls “paella” in all the area of Valencia, the pan in which the paella is cooked.
Hence the generic name Paella Valenciana which is prepared in the said utensil.
Etymology is therefore about the pan and not the dish.
The origin of the name of Paella
The etymon of the word paella is Latin PATELLAM, and the rules of phonetic evolution from Latin to Romance languages, easily explain its form.
These are the changes that have occurred over the centuries:
- The Latin form from which we must leave is the accusative, that is, PATELLAM [patellam]. The geminate LL must be pronounced as a double l, ie [ll]. The final [m] was already obsoleted in Latin a century BC:
patellam [patéllam]> patella [patélla]
- At the end of the 4th century, the intervocalic voiceless consonants become sound,
and [t]> [d]:
patella [patélla]> padella [padélla] (which remained as is in Italian).
- Between the end of the fifth century and the end of the sixth century, this [d] intervocalic is spiranting (which corresponds to a weakening of this consonant):
padella [padélla]> padella [pað̞élla]
Note: Towards the 7th century, the simplification of the geminine [ll]> [l] occurs in French, which invalidates the idea that the word can be borrowed from French.
They are simply both from the same Latin etymon.
- At the end of the 11th century, the intervocalic spirante is reduced, [ð̞]> [ø]:
padella [pað̞élla]> paella [paélla]
This erasure is not general; it does not occur in Italian (padella), nor in Occitan (padelle)
It is found however in old French (paele, which will give stove)
- In the 13th century, the geminate [ll] palatalises, just as in Castilian> [ʎ]:
paella [paélla]> paella [paéaa], which is the current form and pronunciation.
Etymological explanations provided by Gilhem