Easy Spanish Lesson 8: Suggests Meaning

Easy Spanish Lesson 8: Suggests Meaning:

Previous lessons list words in English and Spanish with similar spellings and similar meanings.

This lesson examines a related topic – a Spanish word that looks similar to an English word that has a different spelling or meaning -- although it is somehow related enough to suggest the correct English cognate.

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TWO TYPES

There are two types of these Spanish words that look similar enough to English words to suggest the correct Spanish cognates:

1. Spanish Cognates with Different But Suggestive Spellings.

2. Spanish Cognates with Different But Suggestive Meanings

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1. SPANISH COGNATES WITH DIFFERENT BUT SUGGESTIVE SPELLINGS

Some Spanish Cognates Look Similar to Two Different English Words

For example, ‘sopa’ in Spanish looks somewhat similar to at least two English words -- ‘soap’ and ‘soup’.

Your first impression might be to think ‘sopa’ means ‘soap’. But the spelling of ‘sopa’ is also close enough to ‘soup’ to suggest the actual meaning and help you remember it: ‘soup’.

It also helps that you will see ‘sopa’ on a Spanish menu -- and immediately understand that they would not be serving a bowl of ‘soap’!

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2. SPANISH COGNATES WITH DIFFERENT BUT SUGGESTIVE MEANINGS

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.

This makes the Spanish meaning easier to remember than if the Spanish word meant something totally unrelated.

So this will make it easy for you to remember that a Spanish ‘librería’ is not a library -- but it is a bookstore.

So this lesson will take you to another level of similarities-with-differences between English and Spanish.

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Below are further examples of both types of Spanish Words that suggest the correct English cognate:

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1. SPANISH COGNATES WITH DIFFERENT BUT SUGGESTIVE SPELLINGS

Some Spanish cognates present ambiguous spelling differences.

So sometimes a Spanish word might be spelled somewhat like its English equivalent, but also might look somewhat like another English word with a different meaning.

Make Sure It’s The Right Cognate:

Sometimes a Spanish cognate looks as if it has a different meaning from the English word it resembles because it has less letters (or more) and as a result looks like a different word:

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Spanish Words Spelled Somewhat Like Two English Words

Some Spanish words look somewhat like two English words, one which has a similar meaning, and the other which means something different.

Spanish words that look like two English words can be either helpful or misleading. For example:

los DEPORTES looks most like the English word ‘DEPORT’, which is not what it means.

los DEPORTES looks less like the English word ‘SPORTS’, which is what it means.

So when seeing this Spanish word, the natural first reaction of an English-speaker who does not know Spanish is to mistakenly think it is related to ‘DEPORT’ in English.

With Spanish words that are ambiguous in this way, the resemblance to English can work against you -- or help you understand and remember the Spanish word more easily (as is true of other Spanish words that resemble English words).

So when you see any Spanish word that looks like two English words, it will help if you associate it with the correct English word.

The “interference” from your first language English while learning Spanish can be seen in Spanish words like ‘deportes’ or ‘sopa’. Whenever you might happen to see or hear the Spanish word ‘DEPORTES’ used on the ESPN television sports channels, notice how many repititions it takes before you stop wondering what it means or thinking it means ‘deports’ -- to finally when you instantly recognize that it means ‘sports’ in Spanish.

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Spelled at Start Like English Word But Differently at End

Sometimes the Spanish cognate starts out spelled with the first few letters of its English equivalent, but then the spelling veers off in a way that spells a different English word:

Spanish Spelled Exactly Like a Different English Word

ENGLISH -- SPANISH -- [SAY]

pair -- par -- [“par”]

pole -- polo -- [“polo”]

paste -- pasta -- [“pasta”]

pastry -- pastel -- [“pastel”]

pay (v) -- pagan -- [pah-GAHN]

cost -- costar (cost not co-star) -- [kohs-TAHR]

condoms -- condónes (condoms not condones) -- [kohn-DOH-nehs]

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Spanish Spelled Somewhat Like a Different English Word

ENGLISH -- SPANISH -- [SAY]

soup (thick) -- sopa (soup not soap) -- (SOH-pah]

salty -- salado (salty not salad) -- [sah-LAH-doh]

sautéed -- salteada/o (sautéed not salted) -- [sahl-teh-AH-dah/doh]

juice -- jugo (juice not jug) -- [HOO-goh]

bath -- baño (bath not ban) -- [BAHN-yoh]

gray -- gris (gray not grease) -- [“grease”]

price -- precio (price not precious) -- [PREH-see-oh]

pieces -- piezas (pieces not pizzas) -- [pee-EH-sahs]

lens -- lente (lens not lent) -- [LEHN-teh]

linen -- lino (linen not line) -- [LEE-noh]

March -- marzo (March not Mars) -- [MAHR-soh]

robbery -- robo (rob not robot) -- [ROH-boh]

liquor -- licores (liquor not licorice) -- [lee-KOH-rehs]

cologne -- colonia (cologne not colony) -- [koh-loh-NEE-ah]

policy (insurance) -- póliza (policy not police) -- [POH-lee-sah]

laundry (room) -- lavandería (laundry not lavender) -- [lah-bahn-deh-REE-ah]

fire extinguisher -- extintor (extinguish not extinct) -- [ehs-TEEN-tohr]

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Spelled at End Like English Word But Differently at Start

Other times the Spanish cognate starts out with the first few letters spelled differently than its English equivalent, in a way that more strongly suggests a different English word:

ENGLISH -- SPANISH -- [SAY]

pharmacy -- farmacia (pharmacy not farm) -- [fahr-mah-SEE-ah]

cat -- gato (cat not gate) -- [GAH-toh]

story -- historia (story not history) -- [ees-toh-REE-ah]

tuna -- atún (tuna not atune) -- [“attune”]

specials (restaurant) -- especiales (specials not especially) -- [ehs-peh-see-AH-lehs]

sports -- deportes (sports not deports or deportees) -- [deh-POHR-tehs]

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Ambiguous Plurals Of Some Spanish Words

[As in English, Spanish forms plurals by adding only –s to some singular nouns -- but only to ones that end in a vowel]

But because other plurals are formed in Spanish by adding –es -- to singular nouns that end in a consonant -- it can make some of these Spanish ones look like the plural of a different English word.

ENGLISH -- SPANISH -- [SAY]

plan -- plan -- [plahn]

plans -- planes -- [PLAH-nehs]

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If only the first two letters are like the English word, is that enough to remember the Spanish word?

You be the judge.

ENGLISH -- SPANISH -- [SAY]

river -- rio -- [RREE-oh]

lake -- lago -- [LAH-goh]

cash register -- caja -- [KAH-hah]

cashier -- cajera[o] -- [kah-HEH-rah/roh]

sausage -- salchicha -- [sahl-CHEE-chah]

beverage -- bebida -- [beh-BEE-dah]

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Is only the right first letter enough to remember the Spanish word?

The answer is whether or not the first letter helps you remember the word’s meaning. One letter similar is better than nothing (‘nada’), especially the first letter, for some reason.

ENGLISH -- SPANISH -- [SAY]

nothing -- nada -- [NAH-dah]

glasses (for vision) -- gafas -- [GAH-fahs]

gloves -- guantes -- [GWAHN-tehs]

south -- sur -- [soor]

pill -- pastilla -- [pahs-TEE-yah]

bag -- bolsa -- [BOHL-sah]

boat -- barco -- [BAHR-koh]

fire -- fuego -- [FWEH-goh]

light -- luce -- [LOO-seh]

nose -- nariz -- [nah-REES]

red -- rojo -- [RROH-hoh]

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2. SPANISH COGNATES WITH DIFFERENT BUT SUGGESTIVE MEANINGS

As in the example mentioned earlier, ‘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.

This makes the Spanish meaning easier to remember than if the Spanish word meant something totally unrelated.

So this will make it easy for you to remember that a Spanish ‘librería’ is not a library -- but it is a bookstore.

So this lesson will take you to another level of similarities-with-differences between English and Spanish.

Below are further examples of this type of Spanish word that suggests the correct English cognate:

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Spanish Word Like Less-Used Synonym In English

Spanish spelled like English word:

ENGLISH -- SPANISH -- [SAY]

wire (electric) -- cable -- [KAH-bleh]

free -- gratis -- [GRAH-tees]

view -- vista -- [BEES-tah]

black -- negro -- [NEH-groh]

lounge -- salón -- [sah-LOHN]

dizziness -- vértigo -- [BEHR-tee-goh]

drinkable (water) -- potable -- [poh-TAHB-leh]

fan (sport) -- aficionado/a -- [ah-fee-see-oh-nah-doh/dah]

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Spanish Cognate Suggests English Word

ENGLISH -- SPANISH -- [SAY]

badge -- pin -- [peen]

coffee -- café -- [‘café’]

cafe -- cafetería -- [kah-feh-teh-REE-ah]

Pope -- Papa -- [‘papa’]

breast [female] -- mama -- [‘mama’]

table -- mesa -- [‘mesa’]

necklace -- collar -- [‘collar’]

postcard -- postal -- [pohs-TAHL]

raincoat -- impermeable -- [eem-pehr-meh-AH-bleh]

condom -- impermeable -- [eem-pehr-meh-AH-bleh]

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Spanish Spelled Differently Than English Word

In many cases, a cognate in Spanish is spelled somewhat differently than an English word. But the Spanish word looks similar to an English word -- which is somehow related enough to suggest the correct meaning of the Spanish cognate.

ENGLISH -- SPANISH -- [SAY]

big -- grande (grand) -- [GRAHN-deh]

late -- tarde (tardy) -- [TAHR-deh]

white -- blanco (blank) -- [BLAHN-koh]

cold -- frio (frigid) -- [FREE-oh]

blue -- azul (azure) -- [ah-SOOL]

twelve -- doce (dozen) -- [DOH-seh]

young -- joven (juvenile) -- [HOH-behn]

people -- personas (persons) -- [pehr-SOH-nahs]

first -- primero (primary) -- [pree-MEH-roh]

holiday -- festivo (festival, festive) -- [fehs-TEE-boh]

free -- gratuito (gratuitous) -- [grah-TWEE-toh]

warning -- aviso (advisory) -- [ah-BEE-soh]

pink -- rosado (rose) -- [roh-SAH-doh]

restrooms -- lavabos (lavatories) -- [lah-BAH-bohs]

trip (voyage) -- viaje (voyage) -- [bee-AH-heh]

package -- paquete (packet) -- [pah-KEH-teh]

flirt (f) -- coqueta (coquette) -- [koh-KEH-tah]

building -- edificio (edifice) -- [eh-dee-FEE-syoh]

diving board -- trampolín -- [‘trampoline’]

enough -- suficiente (sufficient) -- [soo-fee-see-EHN-teh]

sale (clearance) -- liquidación (liquidation) -- [lee-kee-dah-see-OHN]

faded -- descolorido (discolored) -- [dehs-koh-loh-REE-doh]

quickly -- rápidimente (rapidly) -- [rah-pee-dee-MEHN-teh]

mail -- correspondencia (correspondence) -- [koh-rrehs-pohn-DEHN-syah]

nightclub -- club nocturno (nocturnal) -- [kloob nohk-TOOR-noh]

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jog (v) -- trotar (trot) -- [troh-TAHR]

introduce (v) -- presentar (present) -- [preh-sehn-TAHR]

begin (v) -- comenzar (commence) -- [koh-mehn-SAHR]

end (v) -- concluir (conclude) -- [kohn-kloo-EER]

travel (v) -- viajar (voyage) -- [bee-ah-HAHR]

understand (v) -- comprender (comprehend) -- [kohm-prehn-DEHR]

work (machine) (v) -- funcionar (function) -- [foon-see-oh-NAHR]

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NEXT EASY SPANISH -- LESSON 9 -- FALSE COGNATES



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