Differences and Similarities Between English and Spanish

Differences and similarities between English and Spanish

Spanish and English are two of the most widely spoken and taught languages in the world. Both languages   belong to the Indo-European language family, although Spanish is a Romance language and English is Germanic.   These two languages share similarities and differences in regards to semantics, phonology and syntax.

One similarity between English and Spanish is that both languages utilize the Roman alphabet. However, Spanish has also added "ch," "ll," "ñ" and "rr." In addition to sharing a common alphabet, Spanish and English share many of the same root words due to the fact that Spanish is a Latin based language and English borrowed heavily from Latin and French in its earlier days. A significant number of English words are cognates, which means they have a related word that has a similar meaning, spelling and pronunciation in Spanish. Even though many genuine cognates exist, there are also many unreliable or false cognates. One type of unreliable cognates is Spanish words that include the meanings of their English counterparts but also have meanings that only apply to the Spanish form. Examples of unreliable cognates are the Spanish verbs asistir and admirar. Asistir is similar to the English verb “assist,” but depending on context, it can also mean “to attend.” Other examples of unreliable cognates are the Spanish words historia and discusión. Historia has the additional meaning of “story” and discusión can mean “argument” as well. While some cognates are unreliable, other cognates are completely false. One example of a false cognate is the English word “exit” which means “a way out.”   Although the Spanish word éxito could easily be mistaken to have the same meaning, it actually means “a result, success.”          

There are also some phonemic and phonological differences between English and Spanish. The phonological system of Spanish is significantly different from that of English, particularly...