Easy Spanish Lesson 4: Spanish in English

Easy Spanish -- Lesson 4 -- Spanish in English:

SPANISH WORDS IN ENGLISH

In English there are words and phrases that are obviously Spanish.

They’re not as common as the usual English words, but used enough in English that you may have heard them and may know what they mean.

English has borrowed words from Spanish over the centuries.

In the United States, Spanish is often heard because of the large population of Mexican-Americans, the numerous Mexican restaurants, and the proximity of Latin America to the United States for travel.

Also in the western United States, Spanish often occurs in place names dating from when the western United States was a Spanish territory.

A few of these borrowings from Spanish have been in English so long that we no longer think of them as foreign.

Others of these borrowed Spanish words have come into the language recently enough that they still seem somewhat foreign to native speakers.

Many Spanish word end in a vowel, unlike most English words.

English contains many words for Mexican food, most of which have entered English recently enough that many still sound Mexican. These words still seem unmistakably foreign and sound "Spanish" to an English-speaking person.

Usually these words borrowed more recently have retained their Spanish pronunciation, spelling, and a few accent marks. Or they still have elements in their spelling or that do not fit into the usual pattern of English.

For example, the Spanish word ‘mole’ which in English speakers would naturally tend to pronounce like "mohl", has been borrowed recently enough that it still retains its Spanish pronunciation "moh-LEH" (sauce). So it still seems more like a borrowed foreign word than a native English word.

Unlike other Spanish words whose pronunciation has been anglicized -- like the word ‘rodeo’, which in Latin America is pronounced [roh-DEH-oh].

So Spanish words in English that still seem Spanish is the logical second category to consider in this survey of what you know about Spanish from your knowledge of English.

You know some of these words, but not as naturally well as you know the English words borrowed by Spanish (discussed in the previous lesson).

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SPANISH WORDS YOU MAY KNOW FROM ENGLISH

You may already know some obviously Spanish words used in English.

As used in English, they retain their Spanish pronunciation, more or less.

Words like these can serve as a good introduction to speaking Spanish, because they are somewhat familiar words you already may know how to pronounce in the Spanish way.

Some foreign words adopted into English have kept their foreign pronunciations.

Many of these words may sound less familiar to you than most other English words.

You may have thought that others were English rather than Spanish imports.

Some have been in English long enough to lose their foreign flair.

Other times, the pronunciation of the foreign word has been anglicized to be pronounced the way it would if it were an English word.

You may already know the Spanish pronunciation of some of these Spanish words that have been adopted into English.

Or you may be unsure of the authentic pronunciation of some. You can use the pronunciation guide with each word to check yours.

The pronunciations listed here are the Spanish ones you would hear in Spain or Latin America rather than the Americanized pronunciations.

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SPANISH FOOD WORDS IN ENGLISH

Skim through the following list looking for ones you know, because the point of this lesson is Spanish words you already know. Just skip over any that you personally do not know.

SPANISH / ENGLISH -- [SAY]

abalone -- [ah-bah-loh-neh]

banana -- [bah-NAH-nah]

barbeque -- [BAHR-beh-koo]

burrito -- [boo-RREE-toh]

cafeteria -- [kah-feh-TEH-ree-ah]

cerveza -- [ser-VEH-zah]

chalupa -- [chah-loo-pah]

chile -- [chee-leh]

chile rellenos -- [CHEE-lee rreh-YEH-nohs]

chile verde -- [CHEE-leh VEHR-deh]

chimichanga -- [chee-mee-CHAHN-gah]

chipotle -- [chee-POHT-leh]

chocolate -- el chocolate -- [Sp. choh-koh-LAH-teh]

chorizo -- [choh-RREE-zoh]

churro-- [CHOO-rroh]

cilantro -- [see-LAHN-troh]

cuba libre -- [koo-bah lee-brah]

daiquiri -- [DAH-kee-ree]

enchilada -- [ehn-chee-LAH-dah]

fajita -- [fah-HEE-tah]

flauta -- [flau-tah]

frijoles -- [free-HOH-lehs]

frito -- [FREE-toh]

garbanzo -- [gahr-BAHN-zoh]

gazpacho -- [gahz-PAH-choh]

guacamole -- [gwah-kah-MOH-leh]

huevos (rancheros) -- [WEH-vohs]

jalapeño -- [hah-lah-PEH-nyoh]

jicama -- [HEE-kah-mah]

margarita -- [mar-gah-RREE-tah]

mescal (Sp. mezcal) -- [mes-KAL]

mojito -- [moh-HEE-toh]

mole [sauce] -- [MOH-leh]

nachos -- [NAH-chohs]

oregano (Sp. orégano) -- [oh-reh-gah-noh]

paella -- [pah-EH-yah]

papaya -- [pah-pah-yah]

picante -- [pee-KAHN-teh]

pimento / pimiento -- [pee-MEHN-toh]

piña colada -- [PEE-nyah koh-LAH-dah]

quesadilla -- [keh-sah-DEE-yah]

salsa -- [SAHL-sah]

sangria -- [sahn-gree-ah]

taco -- [TAH-koh]

tamale -- [tah-MAH-leh]

tapioca -- tah-pee-yoh-kah]

tequila -- [teh-KEE-lah]

tortilla -- [tohr-TEE-yah ]

tostada -- [tohs-TAH-dah]

vino -- [VEE-noh]

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SPANISH WORDS FAMILIAR TO MANY PEOPLE

In the United States, some Spanish words have become familiar to many people for several reasons:

1. Numerous current Spanish-American residents in the United States.

2. Proximity of Mexico and Latin America as travel destinations.

3. History of the western United States as a Mexican territory prior to 1848, when California and New Mexico were ceded to the United States.

4. Western movies containing Mexican words.

So you may know some of the following Spanish words. Some have become so frequently used in American English they need little explanation.

However, for others of these Spanish words you may already know in English, your knowledge may have several levels:

1) You may have seen a Spanish word in English writing, and know how it is spelled, and perhaps a few with Spanish accent marks.

2) You may know the retained Spanish pronunciation of a borrowed word.

3) You may know the meaning of a borrowed word, but not know the meanings of others.

Skim through the following list looking for ones you know, because the point of this lesson is Spanish words you already know. Just skip over any that you personally do not know.

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SPANISH -- [SAY]

adiós -- [ah-dee-YOHS]

adobe --[ah-DOH-beh]

aficionado -- [ah-fee-see-yoh-NAH-doh]

alpaca -- [ahl-PAH-kah]

amigo -- [ah-MEE-goh]

armada -- [ahr-MAH-dah]

armadillo -- [Sp. ahr-mah-DEE-yoh]

arroyo -- [ah-RROH-yoh]

bandido -- [bahn-DEE-doh]

barracuda -- [bah-rah-KOO-dah]

barrio -- [BAH-rree-yoh]

bodega -- [boh-DEH-gah]

bolero -- [boh-LEH-roh]

bonanza -- [boh-NAHN-zah]

bronco -- [BROHN-koh]

bueno -- [BWEH-noh]

burro -- [BOO-rroh]

cabana (Sp. cabaña) -- [kah-BAH-nah]

caballero -- [kah-bah-YEH-rroh]

caldera -- [kahl-DEH-rah]

camino -- [kah-MEE-noh]

cantina -- [kahn-TEE-nah]

caramba -- [kah-RRAHM-bah]

castanets -- [kahs-tah-NEHTS]

chico/a -- [CHEE-koh/kah]

chihuahua -- [chee-WAH-wah]

chollo -- [CHOH-yoh]

coca -- [KOH-kah]

cojones -- [coh-HOH-nehs]

compañeros -- [kom-pahn-YEH-rohs]

condor -- [KOHN-dohr]

conquistador -- [kohn-KEES-tah-dohr]

corral -- [koh-RRAHL]

coyote -- [koh-YOH-teh]

cucaracha -- [koo-kah-RAH-chah]

dengue -- [DEHN-geh]

dinero -- [dee-NEH-roh]

embarcadero -- [ehm-bahr-kah-DEH-roh]

embargo -- [ehm-BAHR-goh]

espagñol -- [eh-spah-NYOHL]

fiesta -- [fee-YEHS-tah]

flamenco -- [flah-MEHN-koh]

gaucho -- [GAU-choh]

gracias -- [GRAH-see-ahs]

gringo -- [GREEN-goh]

guerrilla -- [Sp. geh-RREE-yah]

hacienda -- [Sp. ah-see-YEHN-dah]

hombre -- hombre -- [OHM-breh]

hola -- [OH-lah]

hidalgo -- [Sp. ee-DAHL-goh]

iguana -- [ee-GWAH-nah]

incommunicado (Sp. incomunicado) -- [een-koh-moo-nee-KAH-doh]

junta -- [HOON-tah]

llama -- [LAH-mah]

loco -- [LOH-koh]

macho -- [MAH-choh]

madre -- [MAH-dreh]

mañana -- [mah-NYAH-nah]

mariachi -- [mah-rree-AH-chee]

mesquite (Sp. mezquite) -- [mehs-KEET]

mestizo -- [mehs-TEE-zoh]

mosquito -- [mohs-KEE-toh]

muchacho/a -- [moo-CHAH-choh/chah]

mucho -- [MOO-choh]

mulatto -- [moo-LAH-toh]

nada -- [NAH-dah]

negro -- [NEH-groh]

niño/a -- [NEEN-yoh/ah]

ocatillo -- [oh-kah-TEE-yoh]

olé -- [oh-LEH]

padre -- [PAH-dreh]

palmetto -- [pahl-MEH-toh]

pancho -- [PAHN-choh]

patio -- [PAH-tee-yoh]

peso -- [PEH-soh]

peyote -- [peh-YOH-teh]

piñata -- [pee-NYAH-tah]

plaza -- [PLAH-zah]

politico -- [poh-LEE-tee-koh]

pronto -- [PROHN-toh]

pueblo -- [PWEHB-loh]

puma -- [POO-mah]

Que? -- [keh]

rancho -- [RAHN-choh]

rumba -- [ROOM-bah]

salsa (dance) -- [SAHL-sah]

señor -- [SEH-nyohr]

señora -- [seh-NYOH-rah]

señorita -- [seh-nyoh-REE-tah]

sí -- [see]

sierra -- [see-EH-rrah]

siesta -- [see-YEHS-tah]

simpático/a -- [seem-PAH-tee-koh]

sombrero -- [sohm-BREH-roh]

tango -- [TAHN-goh]

telenovela / telenovella -- [teh-leh-noh-VEH-lah]

tobacco (Sp. tobaco) -- [toh-BAH-koh]

toro -- [TOH-rroh]

turista -- [too-REES-tah]

vamoose (Sp. vamos) -- [vah-MOHS]

vaquero -- [vah-KEH-roh]

vigilante -- [vee-gee-LAHN-teh]

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SPANISH PHRASES YOU MAY KNOW

SPANISH -- [SAY]

buenos dias -- [BWEH-nohs DEE-ahs]

chile rellenos -- [CHEE-lee rreh-YEH-nohs]

chile verde -- [CHEE-leh VEHR-deh]

cinco de mayo -- [SEEN-koh deh MAH-yoh]

cuba libre -- [KOO-bah LEE-brah]

de nada -- [deh NAH-deh]

Feliz Navidad -- [feh-LEEZ nah-vee-DAHD]

Habla español? -- [AH-blah ehs-pahn-YOHL]

hasta luego -- [AH-stah lweh-gah]

hecho en méxico -- [EH-choh ehn MEH-hee-koh]

huevos rancheros -- [WEH-vohs rahn-CHEH-rohs]

Mi cassa (es) su cassa -- [mee KAH-sah (ehs) soo KAH-sah]

muchas gracias -- [MOO-chahs GRAH-see-ahs]

palo verde -- [PAH-loh VEHR-deh]

piña colada -- [PEE-nyah koh-LAH-dah]

por favor -- [pohr fah-VOHR]

Que passe? -- keh PAH-seh]

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SPANISH PLACE NAMES IN AMERICAN ENGLISH are common words in Spanish.

colorado means red

sierra means saw (tool)

nevada means snowy

montana (Sp. montaña) means mountain

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LEARNING ABOUT ENGLISH WHILE LEARNING SPANISH

Knowing how Spanish words in English are pronounced 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 pronounced the way they are because of their Spanish origin.

You 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 have found some useful new words in English.

So while using this lesson 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.

Below is a link to a list of Spanish words in English, with definitions, many of which still sound Spanish. From this list you could also learn more about English as a side benefit

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List of Spanish Words in English


List of Spanish Place Names in English



EASY SPANISH -- LESSON 5 -- SPANISH SPELLED LIKE ENGLISH



Return to Easy Spanish Lessons



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