Study Cognates & False Cognates

CognatesLearning a new language can be difficult and very time consuming. We can study lists upon lists of vocabulary and still not know a lot of words. Memorizing is tedious, so what can we do to supercharge our vocabulary? Learn cognates! Cognates are words with the same etymological origin, they sound the same or very similar in both languages and have similar meanings. If two languages share similar roots like English and Spanish there will be many cognates. Approximately, 30- 40% of all words in English have a cognate in Spanish. Chinese and English share very few cognates because they don’t share the same roots. It is extremely important to note that not all words that look alike are cognates. There are words that look alike, but have different meanings these are referred to as false cognates or false friends. Learning cognates are a great way to learn a second language. In order to get a list of cognates you can do a Google search “[language] –English cognates. There are also many words that have been loaned to other languages from English with only a change in the pronunciation.


The following is a sentence of cognates from various languages from

Lesson created by Emilia Carrillo.


It is crucial to lernen from one another and to aceptar las differences

(En-Sp)        (En-Gr)                                            (En-Sp)         (En-Fr)

culturale we should be capable of engaging in enerugisshu atividades

(En-It)                                (En-Fr)                              (En-Jp)             ((En-Pr)

such as musika, esportes and cooperacion

(En-Rs)     (En-Pr)             (En-Sp)


En – English

Sp – Spanish

Gr – German

Fr – French

It – Italian

Pr –Portuguese

Jp – Japanese

Rs – Russian



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