Learning a new language can be a daunting task, but what if there was a shortcut to expanding your vocabulary?
Enter cognates, a linguistic phenomenon that can significantly speed up your journey to mastering Spanish.
Cognates are words that share a similar form and meaning across different languages, making them invaluable tools for language learners.
In this article, we’ll explore the power of cognates in Spanish, showcasing how they can help you quickly grasp new words and enhance your language skills.
First we’ll give you a few examples, and then a quick hack that will make thousands of Spanish words easy to learn!
A Few Examples
Acción – Action
One of the most recognizable and straightforward examples of cognates is “acción” and “action.” These words share not only a striking resemblance in spelling but also a common meaning. So, the next time you encounter the word “acción” in Spanish, you’ll instantly know its English counterpart.
Chocolate – Chocolate
Who doesn’t love chocolate? The word “chocolate” is a delightful cognate that spans multiple languages. Whether you’re in English or Spanish-speaking territory, your sweet tooth will appreciate the familiarity of this delicious word.
Hotel – Hotel
Planning a vacation in a Spanish-speaking country?
Don’t worry about booking accommodations, as the word “hotel” remains the same in both languages. With this cognate, you can effortlessly navigate the world of travel and accommodations.
Familia – Family
No matter where you are in the world, the importance of family is universal. In Spanish, “familia” means the same as “family” in English. This powerful cognate helps build connections and reinforces the shared values we hold dear.
Televisión – Television
After a long day of language learning, sometimes all you need is some quality time in front of the television. Luckily, “televisión” is a familiar cognate that will guide you to your favorite shows and entertainment in Spanish-speaking countries.
Elefante – Elephant
In the animal kingdom, there’s an impressive similarity between “elefante” in Spanish and “elephant” in English. With this cognate, you’ll have no trouble recognizing one of nature’s most magnificent creatures.
Música – Music
Let the universal language of music guide your Spanish learning journey. “Música” and “music” share the same melodious connection, reminding us that the power of music transcends linguistic boundaries.
Popular – Popular:
When something is well-liked and widely known, it’s “popular” in both English and Spanish. This cognate effortlessly navigates the realm of trends, culture, and societal preferences.
Unlock Thousands of Words by Understanding Suffixes
In addition to individual cognates, there is a whole world of cognates that share common suffixes between English and Spanish.
These shared suffixes can open up a treasure trove of vocabulary and help you expand your language skills even further.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these common suffixes and their corresponding counterparts in Spanish:
-tion becomes -ción
English words ending in -tion often have a Spanish counterpart ending in -ción.
- Nation – Nación
- Celebration – Celebración
- Information – Información
- Translation – Traducción
By recognizing this pattern, you can quickly identify and understand a multitude of words in Spanish that share the same meaning as their English counterparts.
-ity becomes -idad
English words ending in -ity can often be transformed into their Spanish equivalents by changing the -ity to -idad.
Here are a few examples:
- Reality – Realidad
- Quality – Calidad
- Diversity – Diversidad
- Creativity – Creatividad
By identifying this suffix, you can effortlessly expand your Spanish vocabulary and express yourself with precision.
-al becomes -al:
Words ending in -al in English often have a cognate in Spanish with the same ending.
Some examples include:
- Animal – Animal
- Cultural – Cultural
- Natural – Natural
- Emotional – Emocional
Recognizing the -al suffix can help you make connections and deepen your understanding of Spanish vocabulary.
-able becomes -able:
English words ending in -able can usually be converted into Spanish by changing -able to -able.
Consider the following examples:
- Comfortable – Cómodo/a
- Presentable – Presentable
- Valuable – Valioso/a
By identifying this suffix, you can effortlessly expand your vocabulary and express yourself more fluently in Spanish.
-ic becomes -ico:
English words ending in -ic often have a Spanish equivalent with the suffix -ico.
Here are a few examples:
- Fantastic – Fantástico/a
- Basic – Básico/a
- Economic – Económico/a
- Specific – Específico/a
Recognizing this pattern allows you to easily grasp the meaning of these words in Spanish.
Cognates, including those with shared suffixes, are linguistic treasures that can significantly enhance your language learning experience.
By understanding the commonalities between English and Spanish suffixes, such as -tion/-ción, -ity/-idad, -al/-al, -able/-able, and -ic/-ico, you can quickly expand your vocabulary and communicate more effectively in Spanish.
These shared suffixes provide shortcuts to understanding and unlocking the meanings of countless words, allowing you to navigate the Spanish language with ease.
So, embrace the power of suffixes, explore the world of cognates, and watch as your Spanish vocabulary flourishes.
Happy learning and may your cognate adventures be both enlightening and entertaining!
¡Feliz aprendizaje! (Happy learning!)
Check out our series of Complete Spanish Grammar articles – everything you’ll ever need to know about Spanish grammar.
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