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1.10: ¡Aprendamos los cognados!

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    As we end this chapter about vowels and consonants, we have a nice surprise for you—you may already know more Spanish than you think! Many Spanish words have the same origin as English words. In fact, some words are the same word, but are pronounced differently. We have many words that are the same that in Spanish have one consonant but have two consonants in English.

    Let’s see some examples:

    • Capital in English = Capital in Spanish → same word different in pronunciation.
    • Instructions = Instrucciones → same origin: From the Latin: instructĭo,-ōnis.
    • Impossible = Imposible → In Spanish, we have only NN and CC as double consonants*

    *Notice: ch, rr, ll are consonant groups.

    In linguistics a cognate (COGNADO) is a word that has the same origin or root as in another language; it can be Latin, Greek, German, etc.

    How many Spanish words do you already know?

    • Accident = Accidente
    • Banana = Banana
    • Cabin = Cabina
    • December = Diciembre
    • Elephant = Elefante
    • Family = Familia
    • Galaxy = Galaxia
    • Idea = Idea
    • List = Lista
    • Magic = Mágia
    • Natural = Natural
    • Object = Objeto
    • Paper = Papel
    • Radio = Radio
    • Secret = Secreto
    • Telephone = Teléfono

    The next table gives you some equivalents between English and Spanish. These are very helpful to have a better understanding of the COGNADOS and also help you to succeed in spelling Spanish. As you remember, there are some words that need to have an acento ortográfico. We didn’t study the rules for the acentos ortográficos yet; but when you memorize these equivalents you are learning also that all Spanish words that end in ción, sión or ión use an acento ortográfico. When you learn a new Spanish word, always learn it with the correct spelling including the orthographic stress.

    Inglés Equivalencia en Español Ejemplos
    -ade -ada limonada
    -ant -ante instante
    -cy -cia infancia
    chl cl cloro without H
    -ic -ica/-ico música/público
    -ion -ión religión
    -ist -ista artista
    mm nm inmovil
    s + consonant es + consonante especial
    (s)sion -sión pasión
    th t teología without H
    -ty -ad universidad
    -tion -ción nación
    ph f filosofía
    psy psi psicología


    Although it may seem improbable, you can learn 100 Spanish words in record time! We’re just talking about the cognates! As you remember, cognates are words that are identical or nearly identical in spelling in both languages because they have the same origin or root.

    Empecemos—let’s get started…

    Español Inglés
    accidente accident
    actor actor
    analizar to analyze
    ángel angel
    artístico artistic
    banana banana
    banco bank
    balance balance
    cabina cabin
    carro car
    canal channel
    colección collection
    combinar to combine
    concierto concert
    cultura culture
    curioso curious
    delicado delicate
    detalle detail
    distancia distance
    dividir to divide
    enorme enormous
    esencial essential
    excelente excellent
    expreso express
    extremo extreme
    familia family
    fantástico fantastic
    general general
    guía guide
    hospital hospital
    hotel hotel
    importante important
    imposible imposible
    individual individual
    infinito infinite
    interactivo interactive
    invención invention
    ilusión illusion
    isla island
    letra letter
    león lion
    máquina machine
    material material
    melodía melody
    memoria memory
    miserable miserable
    momento momento
    música music
    nación nation
    necesidad necessity
    nota note
    objetivo objective
    océano ocean
    opinión opinión
    opción option
    orden order
    original original
    papel paper
    parque park
    personal personal
    foto photo
    pino pine
    planta plant
    posibilidad possibility
    posible possible
    presidente president
    el problema problema
    proyecto project
    promover promote
    público public
    radio radio
    rancho ranch
    real real/royal
    razón reason
    recibir to receive
    reducir to reduce
    relación relation
    repetir to repeat
    reservación reservation
    restaurante restaurant
    romántico romantic
    rosa rose
    ruta route
    secreto secret
    sensación sensation
    silencio silence
    especial special
    estructura structure
    teléfono telephone
    terrible terrible
    tráfico traffic
    unido united
    urgente urgent
    usual usual
    verbo verb
    vibración vibration
    vacaciones vacation
    virgen virgen
    visitar to visit
    vocabulario vocabulary

    We just learned 100 words in Spanish!!!

    A thumbs-up.

    This page titled 1.10: ¡Aprendamos los cognados! is shared under a CC BY-NC 2.5 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Elizabeth Silvaggio-Adams and Ma. Del Rocío Vallejo-Alegre (Milne Publishing) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform.