Spanish Cognates: Learn Spanish Fast

Learning Spanish vocabulary can be quite simple if you are a native English speaker because English borrows many words from Latin. By identifying these words, called cognates, you will have an instant Spanish vocabulary of thousands of words.


When learning Spanish, have you ever found out words that are spelled exactly the same in English and in Spanish, and they mean the same thing in both languages? Those similar words are called cognates.


About 90% of Spanish cognates have the same meaning in English. This is because the two languages share many of the same Latin and Greek roots. These similarities allow you to learn Spanish vocabulary words faster since writing and pronunciation of these words are familiar to English speakers.


There are two kinds of Spanish cognates: true cognates and false cognates (also called “false friends”).


True Spanish Cognates


These are words that have a common etymological origin; in other words, they share the same Latin root and are very similar in spelling and meaning.


For example, the word “animal” is a true English-Spanish cognate that comes from the Greek root “anima”, which means breath, life or spirit, and the word “social” comes from the Latin root “socius, sociare”, which means group. Other examples of English-Spanish cognates are:



As you can see, by identifying the cognates you will get the knowledge of thousands of Spanish vocabulary words that you already know. From now on, Spanish cognates can be an invaluable learning tool for you. You can find many true cognates in our Pinterest account.


False Cognates


False cognates or “false friends” are words that are spelled the same or similar but actually have different etymologies, and therefore, mean completely different things. For example:



As you can see, Spanish language has traps there waiting for you, and if you're not aware of them you could well end up feeling embarrassed. You can find the most frequently confused false cognates in our Pinterest account.



Do you know any Spanish cognates or any false friends?


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