Use Spanish Cognates to Learn (or Teach) English 

Spanish cognates can help Spanish-speakers learn a great deal of English vocabulary. You just need to know a few simple rules for converting from Spanish to English or back.

For example, many English verbs ending in -ate are very similar in form to -AR verbs in Spanish, usually with similar meanings as well, and their noun forms are close as well:

  • concentrate/concentration- concentrar/concentración
  • eliminate/elimination- eliminar/eliminación

Other verbs ending -ificar in Spanish (clarficar, justificar, notificar, or verificar) change to -ify in English (clarify, justify, verify), and their nouns follow the same pattern as the first verbs mentioned above (clarification, etc.)

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Teach English with Spanish-English Cognates

Picture of the cover of the pdf

According to research, English Language Learners need help learning to recognize and work with cognates. 

Since both Spanish and a majority of English academic vocabulary are Latin-based, Spanish-speaking students of English have a huge head start on CALP (academic) vocabulary if they can learn some simple rules for these cognates. 

These task cards, worksheets, and games (including a crossword puzzle and an adaptation of bingo for review) introduce some important English academic words that have clear Spanish cognates.

By studying and practicing with them, students will become familiar with common patterns of the differences between the English and Spanish for these words.

The patterns they learn will transfer, giving students the skills they need to recognize and understand many more words.

It’s important that students not only recognize similarities in word meaning, but also the times when apparent similarities mask differences in connotation or meaning.

This packet has a worksheet on false cognates, asking students to verify meanings with a dictionary and helping them understand that they should not rely on apparent similarities for words they want to use or need to understand accurately.

There are two task cards for each of 16 important academic word ‘families.’ The first card gives the most common verb, noun, adjective, and adverb (if used) forms of each word and practice choosing the correct form to complete sample sentences.

The second card gives one more example of use, but then asks students to determine which of four alternate sentences (not using the target word) accurately reflect its meaning.

By practicing with both kinds of cards, students get to work with multiple examples of each word’s use. They should become familiar with the common suffixes like –tion, -able, -ed, -ive, and –ly, the ways they correspond with Spanish suffixes (-ción, -sión, -able—pronounced differently--  -ado, -ido, -ivo, -mente, etc.) and where words with those endings fit into sentences. 

There is also a page teaching the English stress and pronunciation of each word form- designed for teachers to go over with the class, so all can hear and repeat the correct forms and notice the changes in stress as verbs convert to nouns or adjectives.

Contents:

•  Notes for Teachers: cognates, the worksheets, task cards, & pronunciation- pages 3-5

•   Bingo for extra practice & links to cognate research & task card uses & games- 6

•   Sample vocabulary notebook page template- 7

•   Cognates for Spanish (2 pg. worksheet)- pages 8-9 

•   False Cognates (worksheet)- 10 

•   Pronouncing Task Card Vocabulary handout- 11

•   Academic Vocabulary: Cognates Crossword- 12

•   Task Cards (1-32; 2 per academic word/ word family)- pages 13-20 

•   5 page Task Card Answer key- 21-25 

•   Cognate Review (or Quiz)- 26

Teacher Answer Sheets: 

(moved to the bottom so the pages to print will be together in the middle)

•   Cognate Review/Quiz Answer key- page 27

•   Answer key for Cognates and False Cognates Worksheets (pages 8-10)- 28

•   Crossword (page 12) Answer key- 29 

•   Credits & similar packets- 30

 Click the button below to download the Spanish-English Cognates packet for 6.00.



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