About Spanish and English Cognates
Welcome to SpanishCognates.org!
This website contains a comprehensive list of Spanish cognates. People learning English vocabulary words are in luck: About 90% of Spanish cognates have the same meaning in English. The similarity of give Spanish speakers a built-in vocabulary base that transfers over when learning English vocabulary. However, ESL students should be careful to note that not all Spanish cognates have the same meaning in English. We will go into the different kinds of Spanish cognates below.
There are two kinds of Spanish cognates: true cognates and false cognates. Each kind of cognate will be discussed in more detail below:
True Spanish and English Cognates
True cognates are every ESL student’s best friend, helping them to learn English vocabulary words more quickly. True cognates are the words in Spanish and English that share the same Latin root and are very similar in spelling and have the same meaning. ESL students trying to learn English are fortunate that the English language borrows many words from Spanish. Spanish cognates are an excellent language source for Latino ESL students to build off of when learning English vocabulary. Simply identifying the cognates that transfer over gives Latino ESL students knowledge of thousands of English vocabulary words that they already know, albeit with minor differences in spelling and pronunciation. Once ESL students learn the spelling and pronunciation rules, Spanish cognates can be an invaluable source for learning English vocabulary words.
False Spanish and English Cognates
False cognates are where learning English vocabulary gets tricky. False cognates are Spanish or English vocabulary words that sound the same, but do not have the same meaning. Many Spanish cognates do not transfer over to English exactly. One common false cognate is the Spanish word “embarazada,” which means “pregnant” in Spanish. Many English speakers mistake this false cognate for “embarrassed,” with – ironically – often embarrassing results.
If true cognates are every ESL student’s best friend, then false cognates are every ESL student’s worst nightmare: words that look the same in Spanish and English, but with either significant or completely different meanings. Our extensive list of cognates – both true and false – makes it easier for ESL students to learn which Spanish cognates are false cognates.
Spanish Cognates: the Ultimate Teaching and Learning Tool
On the flip side, Spanish cognates are the ultimate teaching tool for ESL students. Spanishcognates.org has sought to collect a comprehensive list of the most commonly used English Spanish cognates. We hope that teachers and ESL students will find this website useful in learning English vocabulary.