Cognates are words that are identical or similar in both English and Spanish.

Cognates exist because both languages contain words that evolved from Latin.

English also acquired a complete (educated class of words) vocabulary based on French words that were derived from Latin.

Spanish also copies English words, by the thousands. These words are called, “Anglicism.”

So, Spanish cognates related to English word number in the thousands, and some language learning approaches use Spanish cognates to build an almost instant listening, reading and speaking vocabulary.

For example:

Hay mucho vino en el bar.

You can figure out that there is a lot of wine at the bar. Or…

Las hamburguesas y bistec son deliciosos en este restaurante.

The hamburgers and steak are delicious in this restaurant.

However, you must be alert for “False Cognates.” There are words that seem similar, but do not mean the same thing in both languages. For example: If you think you hear Spanish that sounds like the young woman is embarrassed, while this might be the case, what that Spanish False Cognate means is “Pregnant.”

From: Profesora Chmielewski