Cognates are words that are spelled or pronounced similarly across different languages. They help language learners find a common ground between English and their first language, which speeds up the learning process. Below are common examples of popular cognates:

SpanishPortugueseFrenchItalianGerman
Coffeecafécafécafécaffèkaffee
Mothermadre mãemèremadremutter
Nosenariznarizneznasonase
Princessprincesaprincesaprincesseprincipessaprinzessin
Schoolescuelaescolaécolescuolaschule

Similarity between languages can occur for many reasons, including shared origins, proximity among speakers, cultural exchange, and conquest. This article from Vox illustrates such phenomena.

While cognates are certainly helpful, their benefits are offset by false cognates, or words and expressions that look and sound similar despite having different meanings. Read this Language Snaps article to learn more.

Practice

  • List cognates between English and your primary language.
Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments