 Cognates
are words in two languages that
have a common development and thus are
similar or identical in their meanings.
 For example, without knowing any Spanish
you could guess that the word apartamento
means apartment in English.
 This does not mean that you can simply and
an “o” or “a” to the end of any English word
and make it Spanish.
 There
are also false cognates. These are
words that look like words in English, but
have no common meaning.
 For example, the Spanish word carpeta does
not mean carpet in English, instead it means
folder.
On your own paper, write what you think the
following cognates mean:
1. diciembre
11. activo
2. mapa
12. turista
3. tomate
13. artista
4. melón
14. inteligente
5. animales
15. acción
6. diccionario
16. agosto
7. falso
17. música
8. estudiante
18. elefante
9. accidente
19. historia
10. autógrafo
20. pingüino

Check your answers:
1. diciembre - December
11. activo - active
2. mapa - map
12. turista - tourist
3. tomate - tomato
13. artista - artist
4. melón - melon
14. inteligente - intelligent
5. animales - animals
15. acción - action
6. diccionario - dictionary
16. agosto – august
7. falso - false
17. música – music
8. estudiante- student
18. elefante – elephant
9. accidente - accident
19. historia – history
10. autógrafo - autograph
20. pingüino – penguin
 Some
Spanish words look like English
words but they have a very different
meaning. These words are called false
cognates. Here are a few examples :
 actual - current (NOT actual)
 asistir - to attend (NOT to assist)
 largo - long (NOT large)
 embarazada - pregnant (NOT
embarrassed)
 la fábrica - factory (NOT fabric)
 la librería - bookstore (NOT library)
 exito – success (NOT exit)
 Some
Spanish words look exactly the same as
they do in English, but you must pronounce
them differently because you are speaking in
Spanish (obviously).
 For example, the word doctor is the same in
English and in Spanish, but must be
pronounced differently because vowels make
different sounds in Spanish than they do in
English.



Here are more words that are spelled
exactly the same in Spanish and English
but are pronounced differently:
Animal, actor, hotel, color, director,
general, hospital and moral
There are several more, these are just a
few examples.
 If
an English word ends in “ist” the Spanish rule
is to generally add “ista” to the end of it.
 turista – tourist
 socialista – socialist
 egoísta – egoist
 artista – artist
 lista - list
 If
an English word ends in “ty” generally change
it to “dad.”
 electricidad – electricity
 universidad – university
 identidad – identity
 actividad – activity
 curiosidad - curiosity
 If
an English word ends in "tion" generally
change it to "ción".
 acción – action
 instrucción – instruction
 condición – condition
 combinación – combination
 asociación - association
 If
an English word ends in "al" some of the
time the Spanish word is identical.
 criminal – criminal
 natural – natural
 usual – usual
 brutal – brutal
 local - local
 For
adverbs, which end in “ly” you change it
to "mente".
 difícilmente – difficultly
 exactamente – exactly
 naturalmente – naturally
 finalmente – finally
 normalmente – normally
 absolutamente - absolutely
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