Prima facie is a Latin locution that is usually used in the field of law and can be translated as “at first sight”. It is used to name what is observed or recognized when passing and in a light way, without a thorough analysis.
This means that the criterion formed prima facie is not definitive or conclusive, since a reflection or a deeper look can modify it. What the expression implies, therefore, is a kind of warning or clarification about a concept.
Suppose a researcher should determine what happened to a woman who has been missing for several days. Following some clues, he arrives at a house and, when he enters, he doesn’t find the woman, but he does notice that there are some objects that belong to him. Therefore, in a first contact with the journalists waiting at the door, it says: “We have not found the woman but, prima facie, I can say that she was in this House.”
Similarly, the Doctor of a football team can point out, after reviewing a player who was replaced by an ailment, that the athlete, prima facie, has a strong contracture, although it will be relevant studies that confirm or refute that first Diagnosis.
In the context of a judicial action, the locution prima facie refers to the initial appearance of a certain situation or a right, without that first conception implies prejudging the matter in question.
As with many Latin-origin phrases, in everyday speech several errors are committed when using prima facie. Firstly, with regard to its pronunciation in Spanish, it is common to hear “prima-fache” or “Prima Fasie”, although both are incorrect, because taking into account the rules we know of Classical Latin, the “C” should be pronounced as a “k”; In other words, the right way to pronounce this expression is “prima fakie”.
The second, even more common, error is the prepending of the preposition “a”, something that also with “Grosso modo”, for example. The use of this preposition is unnecessary, since Latin includes in the desinesis of its adjectives and nouns a value of circumstance in a way that contributes the corresponding meaning; Let’s not forget that it is a language of cases or inflected, so that its words can be modified to acquire various nuances, and do not always require the combination with other terms.
That said, it is important to emphasize that we should never say “a prima facie, the problem seems easy to resolve”, but “prima facie, the problem…”. Unfortunately, the misuse of foreign terms and expressions is more common than the opposite case, and this occurs not only in our language, but in all parts of the world. Similarly, just as Spanish speakers can confuse the pronunciation of a Latin word with the poor notions we usually have of Italian, English and Japanese produce much worse sounds.
Why support us in other languages to express concepts and ideas that exist in ours? Some people believe that in that way they will be able to hold a certain intellectual level; Others have more noble motives, such as the idea that only with such resources is it possible to communicate in a rich and complex way.
Spanish is a very rich language and incalculable complexity; If we all striving to study it thoroughly, we would be able to avoid the use of any foreign locution, something that would avoid the humiliation of incurring errors as mentioned above and would give us the satisfaction of communicating in a correct way And of course.