Have you ever gotten stuck in the middle of a Spanish conversation because you couldn’t remember a word and then it turned out to be almost exactly the same as the English word you had in head?
Well, you’re not the only one. It’s happened to many Spanish learners and vice versa. It’s happened to me. Luckily, as you might have already noticed, English and Spanish have many similar words, which, if you think about it, can make your English or Spanish learning way faster and easier. So, in this sense, we can call these fabulous similar words friends, although the actual name for them is cognates.
But... What is a cognate? Cognates are words of different languages that share the same etymological origin which makes such words sound pretty similar. Thank God, English and Spanish have many perfect cognates such as actor, alcohol, cafe, capital, chocolate, doctor, director, error, drama, hospital, material, natural, normal, radio, simple, social, etc; with some variations in pronunciation and accent. So here is the hack, if you learn the patterns that such words follow you will probably guess words correctly. Therefore, English and Spanish learners can benefit tremendously from them if they apply the right technique. Now, take a look at the following examples:
And adverbs that end in -ly in English and -mente in Spanish
Usually - usualmente, normally - normalmente, correctly - correctamente, approximately- aproximadamente
Now you have surely realized that you already know a lot of Spanish words, but some of them might be tricky ones. So don't let them trick you! These tricky words might look similar, just as cognates do, but might posses a totally different meaning. So here you have a list of some of the most astonishing English - Spanish "false friends" or false cognates.
Whether you are learning English or Spanish, I hope you find these tips helpful and encourage you to take you languages to the next level. Here I leave a deck of flashcards for you to practice your new vocabulary. ¡Hasta luego!