Cognates value

How much Spanish do you think you know?

By Georgina Palencia.

Lee este artículo en español.

I don’t know any Spanish!
That is the first expression of some students who are going to start our level 1 course.

I’m level 0!
That is the second expression.

But this is not the case, they are not level 0, and they do not know anything.
I immediately ask him: How do you say important in Spanish?
I do not know!
Importante, is my answer.

How do you say extraordinary?
I don’t know! He repeats.
Extraordinario, is my answer.

And how do you say artistic?
Mmmm… artistique? It is his possible answer with face of doubt, and at the same time of imaginary challenge.
And my answer: Almost … artistico!

Finally, I can ask him: And how do you think is said excellent?
And almost always the answer is: Excelente!
Yes, it is excelente, the word is excelente and the answer is excelente!

By now you know that learning Spanish will be easier than you imagined. And perhaps it is not true, perhaps it has the same difficulty as he imagined, but what is true is that he realized that it is not true he knows nothing.

When you think you don’t know anything you know much more than 100 words.

This does not only apply to those who speak English, but also to those who speak Arabic, French, German, and Portuguese.

Many languages share the same origins as others, they can even share origins or different sources of nutrition.

Spanish is nothing more than a variety of Latin, which has evolved over 1500 years. However, throughout that time, it has suffered the most varied influences, from the Germanic peoples, from the Arabs and even from the native American languages.

And further behind this language is another linguistic history.

The same Latin, along with the Osco and the Umbrian, belong to the Italic branch of the Indo-European, a hypothetical prehistoric language spoken four thousand years ago. Two thousand years later, through migrations, this language reached Brittany and Hispania on one hand and, on the other, India, for what they were called Indo-Europeans. All Indo-European languages are related.

Language is that, a relationship of kinship. And the word kinship has two uses: family relationships and common characteristics.

It is like our family tree. Without knowing it, we can look very similar to some of our grandparents’ aunt.

In linguistics, we use the term cognate to name a kindship word in its structure and origin, but in language teaching we speak of friends.

Of course, there are also false cognates or friends. Those who mask themselves to complicate us, but that’s a separate topic, let’s focus on the true friends.

Let’s see the specific case between Spanish and English.

I dare you.

Here you have 100 Spanish words here that are cognate between English and Spanish. How many of them do you recognize?

1 actor
2 analizar
3 ángel
4 arte
5 artístico
6 banano
7 banco
8 balance
9 autobús
10 coche
11 canal
12 colección
13 combinar
14 concierto
15 cultura
16 curioso
17 delicado
18 detalle
19 distancia
20 dividir
21 enorme
22 esencial
23 excelente
24 expreso
25 extremo
26 familia
27 fantástico
28 general
29 guía
30 hospital
31 hotel
32 importante
33 individual
34 infinito
35 interactivo
36 invención
37 ilusión
38 isla
39 letra
40 león
41 máquina
42 material
43 melodía
44 memoria
45 miserable
46 momento
47 música
48 nación
49 necesidad
50 nota
51 objetivo
52 océano
53 opinión
54 opción
55 orden
56 original
57 papel
58 parque
59 personal
60 foto
61 pino
62 planta
63 posibilidad
64 posible
65 presidente
66 problema
67 proyecto
68 promover
69 público
70 radio
71 real
72 razón
73 recibir
74 reducir
75 relación
76 repetir
77 reservación
78 restaurante
79 romántico
80 rosa
81 ruta
82 ciencia
83 secreto
84 sensación
85 silencio
86 especial
87 estructura
88 teléfono
89 terrible
90 tráfico
91 unido
92 urgente
93 usual
94 vacación
95 verbo
96 violencia
97 violento
98 visitar
99 victoria
100 vocabulario

You see it? You know much more than you thought. And if today you do not consider that you are in that dreaded level 0 but in any other basic, intermediate or advanced, I assure you that you know more than you think.

Sometimes we ignore what we know.

Support on your own language to learn another. Just as an aunt or a cousin can help you in difficult times. Remember Spanish and English, or even another language you speak, are relatives and relatives are there to help each other.

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