Learning languages is not always easy, especially if you are trying to master one that’s very different from your native language. Luckily, some languages have similarities that can help you create an easier learning path for yourself. English language and Spanish language are an example of this. Hence, here are four unexpected similarities between Spanish and English for easy learning.
#1 Similar Words
Along with sharing the same letters (except for the additional ñ that Spanish has, and English doesn’t), the two languages share many words. Words that are spelled almost the same in two different languages and have nearly the same meaning are called cognates. Luckily, English and Spanish have plenty of them which is why it will make your vocabulary learning much smoother as it will be easier to remember these new words.
Most of the time, identifying cognates is fairly systematic. Many of these words that end with -tion in English end with -ción in Spanish. Moreover, Spanish is also rich with borrowed words which can make it even easier for you to learn. The best part about having so many similar words between the two languages is that you will be able to advance your vocabulary faster and get to the next level of language knowledge.
Of course, there are also some challenges you can encounter while learning Spanish. For instance, there are the so-called false cognates that you need to watch out for if you don’t want to end up learning the wrong meanings for these words. In addition to that, Spanish nouns have a gender which can make the process of learning new vocabulary slightly harder.
#2 Capitalization and Punctuation
Another interesting aspect of Spanish are its capitalization and punctuation rules. On one hand, they are very different from English. But on the other hand, they have way more similarities with their English counterparts than you may think. Most of the time, the capitalization is the same as in English – and so is the punctuation. But there are still some notable differences to keep in mind if you want to master Spanish.
The first word in a sentence and proper nouns are always capitalized. Titles are also capitalized, but it’s usually just the first word instead of every or most words as in English. Some commonly capitalized words in English don’t get capitalized in Spanish. For example, languages, nationalities, religions, days, months, and seasons are all written with a lowercase first letter. “I” isn’t capitalized either.
When it comes to punctuation, periods are always placed at the end of the sentence while commas have pretty much the same rules for usage as in English. However, question marks and exclamation marks are placed both at the beginning and at the end of the sentence. When used with numbers, commas and periods usually have the opposite meaning (i.e. 1,000 will be written as 1.000 in Spanish while 0.1 will be written as 0,1).
#3 Similarities in Syntax
The syntax is a very broad topic and an important part of any language, so it’s not easy to just say that English and Spanish syntax is the same. That being said, there are clear similarities between the two (as well as differences). Besides, Spanish syntax is less strict than English. Here are just several examples of these:
- Adjectives in Spanish are placed after the noun instead of before it as in English.
- Spanish is similar to Latin in one particular way: you can usually change the word order in a sentence without making it sound weird or lose its meaning. In English, this is pretty much impossible.
- Spanish doesn’t use auxiliary verbs such as does, is, or are which is why making sentences in Spanish can be somewhat easier. Moreover, the subject is usually omitted in questions because the conjugation of the verb already states who is performing the action.
- Negation in Spanish is way simpler than in English. Instead of using many different prefixes that can confuse use quite a bit, you usually just put “no” before the noun which will negate it. There are still some prefixes you will need to learn how to use, but they are not as confusing.
- Possessive nouns don’t exist in Spanish – but possessive adjectives and pronouns are very similar to those in English and follow very similar rules.
- As mentioned above, Spanish questions often omit the subject, but this is also true for other sentences too. Using the proper conjugation provides you with all the information you need.
- There are fewer prepositions in Spanish with “en” used for on, in, and at and “de” used for from, in, and of.
#4 Pluralization and Contractions
Last but not least, it’s worth mentioning that pluralization and contractions are also somewhat similar in Spanish. Both languages use -s or -es at the end of the word to make it plural, but in Spanish, you will also have to change the article before the noun and any adjectives accompanying it.
The Spanish article “the” can be either masculine (el) or feminine (la). These articles also have a plural version – los for masculine plural and las for feminine plural. The Spanish “a/an” can also either be masculine (un) or feminine (una). And they too have plural versions of unos for masculine plural and unas for feminine plural.
In English, there are quite a few contractions, but in Spanish, there are only several of them. The contractions del and al are used by all Spanish speakers, but depending on the region you are in, you may encounter more contractions. Del is the combination of “de” and “el” which means either of the or from the. Al is the combination of “a” and “el” which means to the.
To sum up, learning a new language can be challenging in many ways, but once you get started, it is much easier to proceed. If you are trying to learn Spanish, you can use the similarities between English and Spanish to your advantage and learn the language faster.
Dominic Beaulieu is an expert writer who specializes in creating various training and professional upgrade courses, materials, and manuals. He mainly writes on development, digital marketing, design, business strategies, etc. This breadth of specialization allows him to write expert columns on the most pressing topics in today’s society and to specialize in creating writing reviews in Pick The Writer and Writing Judge.