Easy Spanish Lesson 2: Cognates

Easy Spanish Lesson 2: Cognates are Spanish words similar to English words.


Many Spanish and English Words are similar, because Spanish was the source of many English words.

In North America, English adopted Spanish words from the Spanish territories in the Southwest and California that became part of the United States in the mid 1800’s.

Borrowed Spanish words began a new life in English and found new uses.

Over time, some of the Spanish words gradually sank from prominence or become synonyms for their more frequently used English counterparts.

Other Spanish words, especially those for the frontier aspects of life, remained frequently used, and have become long since thought of as English words.

Since many of the adopted Spanish words entered the English vocabulary years ago, by now some are spelled differently, and pronounced differently than their current Spanish counterparts.

Spellings also changed in both languages until they became uniform in the 19th century.

All through the years, mutual borrowings continued. The most recent are still recognizable as Spanish, words such as ‘mariachi’ and ‘sombrero’.



Knowing which words are similar in the two languages will primarily help you begin to learn Spanish more easily.

But this will also increase your understanding of your native language. You will see how many English words are spelled the way they are because of their Spanish origin. You will see which Spanish words have retained their usefulness in everyday English. You will also see which words have been relegated to being rarely used synonyms for more frequently used English words.

You will also learn more about words in English that still seem Spanish, especially ones you may have seen or heard before but aren’t sure how to pronounce or spell. You may also find some useful new words in English.

So while using this book about cognates as the best way to begin learning Spanish, you will also learn more about English as a side benefit. Just as when you learned English, you were unwittingly learning quite a bit about Spanish also.



Easy Spanish Lesson One begins by explaining how Easiest Spanish is easiest because so many Spanish words are similar to English words.

Easy Spanish Lesson Two introduces Spanish Cognates -- Spanish words that are similar to English words.

Easy Spanish Lesson Three reveals English words that have been adopted into Spanish, in the lesson English Words in Spanish.

Easy Spanish Lesson Four focuses on familiar Spanish words that have been adopted into English, in the lesson Spanish Words in English.

Easy Spanish Lesson Five reveals Spanish Words Spelled Like English.

Easy Spanish Lesson Six has words similar to English but with accent marks in Spanish over some letters, in the lesson Spanish Words with Accent Marks.

Easy Spanish Lesson Seven has Spanish words spelled somewhat like English, with part of the word spelled like English, but other parts spelled differently than English. Progressively it will show you Spanish words spelled increasingly different from their English relatives, although still clearly recognizable as related.

Easy Spanish Lesson Eight examines a different topic – a Spanish word that looks similar to an English word but has a different meaning -- although it is somehow related enough to suggest the correct meaning of the Spanish word.

For example, ‘LIBRERÍA’ in Spanish means bookstore.

So ‘librería’ in Spanish is different from the English word it resembles (library) because it means bookstore, but similar in that both have to do with books, making it easier to remember.

Easy Spanish Lesson Nine introduces Spanish False Cognates that reveal how in some cases a treacherous Spanish word looks like an English word but has a different meaning that can be misleading.

Easy Spanish Lesson Ten, Spanish Pronunciation You Know from English, unlike preceding lessons about look-alikes, focuses on sound-alikes. These are Spanish words you know how to pronounce, because there are some Spanish words you already know how to pronounce in English.

Sound similarities are far fewer than spelling similarities. So this lesson will take you a step farther from the likenesses between the two languages toward the differences. It will prepare you for one of the logical next steps of learning -- listening to and then speaking Spanish.



So exactly how much Spanish do you already know -- just because you know English?

These Easiest Spanish Lessons -- 11 webpages in length -- total the equivalent of 125 pages of Microsoft Word processor.

This means several things:

1. You already know a great amount Spanish just because you know English.

2. These Easy Spanish Lessons will not take long to read through, because they are an easy Review of English that is a quick Preview of Spanish -- no study required.

3. Beginners can skim through these Easiest Spanish Lessons first -- to quickly and easily get ready before any other language course, which will make that difficult course work much easier.


Spanish Lessons -- Length

In number of pages of Microsoft Word


Easy Spanish Lessons -- 3

Lesson 1 Easiest Spanish -- 5

Lesson 2 Cognates -- 6

Lesson 3 English in Spanish -- 9

Lesson 4 Spanish in English -- 6

Lesson 5 Spelled Like English -- 8

Lesson 6 Accent Marks -- 9

Lesson 7 Spelled Differently -- 26

Lesson 8 Suggests Meaning -- 10

Lesson 9 False Cognates -- 5

Lesson 10 Pronunciation -- 38


TOTAL pages of MS Word -- 125



Although the main purpose of Easy Spanish Lessons is to present the similarities between English and written Spanish, the secondary purpose is to prepare you for the next steps in learning -- listening to and then speaking Spanish.

Since you are already familiar with these look-alike words in English, it is easier to focus on learning the new Spanish pronunciation of a familiar word.

Mispronouncing Spanish Words that Look Like English

Even while reading, which is the focus of these Easy Spanish Lessons, you may find yourself trying to pronounce these Spanish words that look like English ones.

Seeing any unfamiliar word in print sometimes prompts the urge to try to pronounce it.

In our native language we often can come close to the correct pronunciation of a new word by following pronunciation guidelines we have unconsciously assimilated over years of speaking our native language.

Your first reaction when you see a Spanish word spelled exactly like an English one may be to pronounce it as you would in English.

With Spanish, that is often not the way it is pronounced.

You have previously learned to associate a certain English pronunciation with a cognate that has a different pronunciation in Spanish.

So whenever you see the word in Spanish, your previously learned English pronunciation of it may interfere with your attempts to pronounce it the Spanish way.

Spanish pronunciation gives some people trouble, because when first seeing a new word and attempting to pronounce it, the natural tendency is to follow the rules of English pronunciation most people assimilated subconsciously.

So when it comes to guessing how a word is pronounced in a foreign language, the guess is often wrong.

A printed pronunciation guide is included so you will have help when you try to pronounce these cognates.

By sounding out the pronunciation guide, you should get the basic sound of the word — and a Spanish person would probably understand you.

This pronunciation guide describes the sounds of Spanish in a very simple way. Wherever possible it uses letter combinations of sounds from English that are closest to the sounds in Spanish, so that you can combine these common English sounds into Spanish words.

You don't have to try to make the word sound foreign -- yet. Be aware that it is difficult to reproduce the sound of Spanish perfectly, just from reading a phonetic guide.

Spanish has a different system of pronunciation than English, so you would hear these words pronounced somewhat differently by a native Spanish-speaker.

Especially the words containing any of the letters "r" or "ll" or “j”, all of which the Spanish pronounce differently than they are pronounced in English.)

However, you don't need perfect pronunciation to make yourself understood in a Spanish-speaking country.

Tourists are not primarily concerned with perfect pronunciation -- they just want to communicate their needs.

So these Easy Spanish Lessons provides you with the easiest introduction to Spanish pronunciation, through Spanish variations of familiar English words.

The next step is listening to recordings of Spanish pronunciation, which is the best way to learn correct pronunciation.



These Easy Spanish Lessons are the easiest way to introduce yourself to Spanish, by concentrating on the similarities between the two languages.

This progressively leads you into Spanish by using its similarities to English to make learning less difficult.

So read through these Easy Spanish Lessons first, before trying to listen to recordings of tourist phrases, because most of the similarities are in the written form.

In the spoken form, many Spanish cognates do not sound identical to their English counterparts.

The many written resemblances between the two languages will enable you to read a little Spanish more easily than speak it or listen to it.

While words that look alike can help you learn Spanish, care must be taken with any differences in meaning (explained in later lessons), because some meanings have drifted apart in the two languages over the centuries.

Care must be also be taken with differences in pronunciation (which are explained more fully in a later lesson).

In order to keep the following lessons simple, all lists of Spanish words similar to English contain the most familiar examples to demonstrate the point of each lesson.

These lists are not intended to be complete, and more examples exist for each category.

These Easy Spanish Lessons are the easiest way to begin learning Spanish – guaranteed..

These Easy Spanish Lessons will prepare you easily and enjoyably for your next steps in learning Spanish.



Return to Easy Spanish Lessons.



Looking for something else?

Use this search feature to find it:

Custom Search



Easiest Languages have thousands of words similar to English, so:

“This is The Easiest Way to Begin Learning Foreign Languages.”

Helping More People Begin Foreign Languages The Easiest Way.