Spanish Tutorial Speed Tip -- Learn Cognates
Let's face it. The task of learning the Spanish language is a gigantic undertaking. It's no small, quick thing to do. So it's good to have as many shortcuts and speed tips under your belt as possible. That's why I wrote about learning 'The Spanish you need'. And that's even the central theme of the Learn-Spanish-Faster site.
This tip is especially good when you are just beginning to learn Spanish. It will allow you to learn many, many words very quickly, with little or no effort.
The name of this tip is cognates -- Spanish words that are spelled like the English counterpart. There is an abundance of cognates when learning Spanish and it jump-starts your learning process when you take advantage of them. Coffee is café, sofa is sofa, fruit is fruta.
By focusing on cognates with these materials early on in your learning Spanish journey, you can easily add dozens of words to your vocabulary very quickly.
The Cognate Catagories
Cognates seem to fall roughly into about three categories. Here they are:
First, words that are spelled the same. Like the word menu, for example. These are a slam-dunk. All you have to do is apply the Spanish pronunciation and you have a new word in your arsenal.
Next, are the words that add 1 to 3 letters, usually to the end of the word. These are fairly easy to get. Just learn the common suffixes that are added: o, ar, er, dad, and you get words like defender (to defend), celebrar (to celebrate), and actividad (activity).
Finally, there are the words that look and sound really, really similar. There is usually not a hard and fast rule for how these work but you'll know them when you see 'em. Words like aire (air), contar (to count), flor (flower). This group of words is a little more difficult than the 2 groups above, but you still get a big break when learning them, as they are very similar to the English words.
I have to end this tip without a word of caution. Beware of false cognates. As you can imagine, false cognates are words that look the same in Spanish and English but have different meanings. Examples of false cognates are the word exito, which means success and not exit. The Spanish word largo means long, not large. And the Spanish word sensible means sensitive in English, not sensible.
Anyway, take advantage of the many cognates in Spanish to accelerate your learning process. If you're interested in seeing more cognates, bookstores have many good products to help you.