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https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas_Nelson

My favorite "tricks" for thousands of new Spanish words you'll know instantly:

Hello! I've completed Rosetta Stone, and I LOVE Duolingo and the community! For those who might be newer to Spanish, some of my native-speaking friends clued me in that an English speaker probably knows a few thousand Spanish words already, if you know the pronunciation and spelling differences. Here are some tricks they shared that I found really helpful: #1: Most any word ending with -tion (SHUN) in English is - ción (SEE-ÓHN) in Spanish. Eg. action/acción or investigation/investigación. (Please note: There are exceptions for these rules. This works for a great majority of words, but a notable exception is translation/traducción.) #2: Most any words ending with -ent or -ant in English you can add an e to the end and have -ente (INN-TAY) or -ante (AHN-TAY) words in Spanish. Eg. evident/evidente or expectant/expectante. #3: Most any words that end in -able and -ible are the SAME WORD in Spanish, one just puts the Spanish accent on the vowels. (ie. AH-BLAY and EE-BLAY) Therefore, if you know the "aceptable pronunciación" of the "differente" spelling, you'll find it "possible" that you know a few thousand words that can be "importante" when speaking your new language. :) I hope some find this helpful!

4 years ago

43 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/lolaphilologist
lolaphilologist
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  • 2023

the "-tion" rule works for most romance languages- in Italian it's "-zione", in French it's spelled exactly the same as in English "-tion" but pronounced differently, of course. In Portuguese it's "-ção". And they're all feminine!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas_Nelson

Wow!! Look at you with your 485-day streak and all the level 25's! You've just become one of my heroes. (Also, thank you for this awesome tidbit.)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheGandalf
TheGandalf
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The "-able" and "-ible" thing is true of most Romance languages as well I believe. In Italian you add an "i" to get "-abile" and "ibile" and in French you keep the spelling but don't pronounce the "e". Portuguese changes to "-ível" or "-ável".

Romanian seems to usually copy the Italian, except it sometimes removes the final "e".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MyNameDoesntFi

omg those languages O_O

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jurekcy1

Cognates, yes

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Cognates are so great.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/eggplantbren

A lot of times while speaking with my teacher I just guess a cognate. Hasn't gone wrong so far. She said she uses it for English too.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GlomThompson

Yeah but sometimes it's good to "comprobe" that the words are actually cognates in advance, or you might accidentally say some "tonteries."

(Both of the above are actual attempts I've heard my Spanish-speaking students use while speaking in English)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Thank goodness for the similarities, eh?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gman31

Well, there are a couple of Spanish words that may seem like cognates, but actually are completely different words. Like for example, "embarazado." You may think it means "embarrassing," but it actually mean "pregnant." So if you're embarrassed, don't go out in a Spanish-speaking community and say, "Estoy embarazado."

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas_Nelson

Si. He estado avergonzado cuando era falsamente embarazada.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lolaphilologist
lolaphilologist
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This is only tangentially on-topic, but whenever my husband sees soy milk at a coffee shop, he says to me: That's Spanish for "I am milk".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas_Nelson

@ AlexisLinguist: I am, that's why it false, and particularly embarrassing! (I told people I was pregnant when I was already embarrassed by something - doubly awkward!) :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hejmsdz
hejmsdz
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It's also good to notice that if in the beginning there are more than two consonants, it's impossible to pronounce for the Spanish people, so they add "e" to the beginning:

  • structure - estructura
  • scandal - escándalo
  • sponge - esponja

And if there are three consonants in the middle of the word, remove one, because it's also impossible to pronounce, for example:

  • substitution - sustitución
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/annaannaannaan

languagetransfer.org seems to be based on this. worth a look.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GC1998
GC1998
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There is also 'mente' for 'ly' and 'dad' for 'ty'.
Lentamente and universidad are some examples

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Klgregonis
Klgregonis
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Great post. I find that learning the rules for the changes in pronunciation and spelling for cognates, and then learn the "false friends" as exceptions really can increase both my vocabulary and confidence in speaking and reading Spanish. . I think about 80% (or more) of the time in Spanish at least one of the meanings for the word will be the same as the English cognate. I use this to give my Spanish-speaking beginning English students confidence in their ability to understand a fair amount of written English, and to encourage them to guess meanings when they don't know for sure.

Additional. many words ending in y in English end in ia in Spanish (emergency - emergencia, energia, energia) Also some words ending in ce in English - ambulance, ambulancia. Many words add an o in Spanish - moment - momento, minute, minute, traffic, tráfico.

Unfortunately, there are more false friends in French than in Spanish. Not sure why, since English is more heavily influenced vocabulary-wise by French than by English, but it seems to be so. However, often the meanings are related, even if not the same, which can help in learning them.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas_Nelson

Well, leave it to English to be false friends with the French...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ferrobattuto
ferrobattuto
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Thanks for the tip. I really disfrutated it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sigmacharding
sigmacharding
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Very true, I posted something on this early on today. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/3541318 I will repost here if you're interested

.......

Try this for more similarities http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/interactive/2014/jan/15/interactive-european-language-map

I highly recommend this site for tracking the etymology of words http://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Main_Page

I too am fascinated by this subject- it seems that the majority of languages in Europe come from one proto "Indo-European" language

You should listen this podcast- it discusses the Indo European language in great detail- a little slow to start but really excellent

Echa un vistazo a este fantástico podcast: https://itunes.apple.com/ie/podcast/history-english-podcast/id538608536?mt=2

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas_Nelson

This video is awesome! Everyone can just ignore my post and check this out!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/smclemore89

This was so cool. ^_^ Absolutely love it!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/prateeksenapati

great help! Thanks!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CattleRustler

also the spanish words ending in -mente are usualmente (usually) the same in english ending in -ally. Hay excepciones, desde luego :) One tricky one is Actualmente, it doesnt mean Actually, it means Currently.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wazzie
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I think you mean words that end in -mente usually end in -ly. Or, simply, both -mente (in Spanish) and -ly (in English) are adverbs. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CattleRustler

si'

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DreadfulGlory

This is great. One of the best "tricks" I've ever found. This will help a lot.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jessielynn1106

Thank you for sharing! :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Penitence
Penitence
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Excellent point. Though, recently I've seen cognates that I've had to pull out the English dictionary just to figure out what's being said.

One of my words from Metro is "lúgubre", which means "lugubrious". "Calcinado" literally means "Calcined".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/-Katrina.-
-Katrina.-
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Cognates. Thanks, here's a few lingots for your help!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/UnnatiRaj

oh my god ! you are a good learner indeed, 5 languages all at higher levels! #respect

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ilwongy
ilwongy
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wow, what a generous person!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/UnnatiRaj

oh god i feel low! you all are at higher levels! well i am new to duolingo!!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ilwongy
ilwongy
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haha just stick at it bro

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/UnnatiRaj

sanskrit is the mother of all the europeon languages.for ex. brother in english comes from a sanskrit word bhrata. ananas in french means pine apple which is as same we say in sanskrit.and many more words are derived form this sacred language .i am proud to be an indian and i respect my language! dhanyawaad!!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Persikov

That's a serious oversimplification: http://www.linguatics.com/images/indoeuro02c.jpg

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ferrobattuto
ferrobattuto
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Do you know if duo has plans to add Sanskrit? There are many of us who would like to learn it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/UnnatiRaj

i am already learning!!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsouthern
fsouthern
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"Brother" does not come from Sanskrit, but from a shared common ancestor. The word "ananas" is even less "from Sanskrit", since it comes from an indigenous Brazilian language called Tupi, and is a modern borrowing into Sanskrit via European colonial languages. I'm sure that Sanskrit has enough to be proud of without overstating it!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/UnnatiRaj

no dear fsouthern first go and check it out and the say...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kokanekhan

Si, Gracias..:)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas_Nelson

You guys are awesome for all this added information!

You're also awesome for the gift of the lingots in appreciation! You've given me enough to add Flirting to my tree. (I just want you to know that your love is going to good use in a like manner!) ¡Gracias a todos los gentes guapos y preciosas de este comunidad!

4 years ago