Spanish Made Easy - Unlocking Your Hidden Knowledge. Part 2

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 27th, 2010

You might not realize it but you already know hundreds, if not thousands, of Spanish words? In these articles we will highlight all the ways in which the English and Spanish languages share hundreds of words, words that you will be able to use every day.

In the last article we looked at the words that have identical spellings in both languages,and identical meaning, in this article we will look at words which are spelled slightly differently but are so close as to be easily understandable and usable.

There Is No ?TH? In Spanish.

There are many Spanish words that looks familiar but are subtly different. This is because you will hardly ever see T and H together in Spanish, so words in Spanish that look unfamiliar may become more obvious when an H is added . Examples of this include; Cathedral comes from catedral, thesis from tesis, marathon from maraton, thermal from termal and autor is author, I bet you can guess what matematico is?
The th sound is replaced by a flat t sound as in hat.

There Is No ?TION? In Spanish.

Not only are there no TH words, but the Spanish language has no words that end in TION. This means that instead of edition we have edicion, the T is replaced by a C. when we know this its makes it easy to work out what these words mean; atencion, asociacion, coleccion, adicion, and combinacion.
There are obvious but slight changes in some of the spellings but knowing what to look for will help you identify words.
The sound of the word changes as well as the spelling, the sh sound of a word like edition, changes to a thee sound in edicion.

Adding A Vowel.

Many Spanish words differ from the English version by only one letter, that letter is usually a vowel and it comes at the end of a word. This is because the Spanish language (like many others) assigns a gender to lots of its words, if the gender is male the word ends in an O, if the gender is female it ends in an A.
A Spanish word like apartamento, is obviously apartment, it has been given the masculine ending. Other similar words are; busto (bust, as in sculpture), bulbo (bulb), cataclismo (cataclysm), concepto (concept), candidato (male candidate) and producto (product).
This means that words ending in A have been given the feminine ending, words like; acrobata (acrobat), candidata (female candidate), diagrama (diagram), epica (epic), ilusionista (illusionist) and planeta (planet).
As shown above words like candidate when Spanish can end in either O or A depending on the person being described, but that should not stop you realizing what the word is.

Spanish is a well defined, which means that the rules guiding its use are quite simple, but no language rule is ever water tight, though armed with the knowledge from these articles you should, hopefully, have expanded your Spanish vocabulary.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
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