Spanish / English words you already know

Crisis, is that a Spanish or English word?

Actually is both.

Spanish and English shares hundreds of words that are the same and you already know them.  These words are called COGNATES and they sound similar, have similar spelling and have the same meaning in the two languages.

Take a look at these words:

English     |  Spanish

Telephone   |  Teléfono

Actor            |    Actor

Person         |  Persona

Culture        |   Cultura

Invite           |   Invitar

Some words are exactly the same and some aren’t but the difference is little, and there you have, 5 easy words you already know and that you won´t forget.

Yes, of course, it’s easier to remember the ones that are exactly the same, like panorama, natural, radical, among others (don’t forget that the pronunciation changes).  But the rest of them are not that difficult to remember, you just need some practice in front of the mirror or with a partner.

In this video, you will find more words, will learn the rules that apply and will listen to their pronunciation (pronunciación).

Find a longer list of words here: The most useful Spanish cognates.


Is the Spanish language the same in all Latin America?

Probably, you have wondered, if in Mexico, Argentina or Colombia people speak the same Spanish.

Well, as a “latina”, who has lived and traveled in several Latin American countries, I can tell you that we speak the same Spanish.

The Real Academia Española, generally abbreviated as RAE, is the official royal institution responsible for overseeing the Spanish language. This Spanish is considered the correct, traditional and most pure variety of Spanish.  You can find Spanish vocabulary meaning and grammar in the Dictionary of Spanish Language of the Royal Spanish Academy or DRAE.

Most people from North America, Europe or Asia who want to learn Spanish or get immersed in the Latino culture to practice it, don’t know or are not aware of the different accents, pronunciations and use of different expressions and words among all Latino countries as well as its cities.  After spending several months living in Chile and then upon traveling to another Latino country one may realize that the Spanish accent, words and expressions they have learned aren’t used where they are now.

Think about English spoken in United States, England, Canada, and other countries.  The accents all sound pretty different and different expressions and words are used as well, but it’s still the same language.

There is also Colloquial Peruvian Spanish, colloquial Mexican Spanish, colloquial Chilean Spanish, etc.  Even for myself, who was born and raised talking Spanish, had to learn to “speak” Argentinian Spanish and Colombian Spanish when I was living in those countries – not because it is a different language, but because you want to understand and use the “everyday words and expressions” as you immersed yourself in their respective cultures.

And don’t forget about slang as those words and expressions are hard to learn and mostly use among different groups, such as teenagers or people in different social classes.   Slang expressions are different in each country as well.

Language is especially important in marketing when referring to marketing materials as those are creative, culture-based and focused on targeted, highly relevant communication.

You may hardly notice the use of “different” Spanish when reading or watching the news.  The vocabulary used in the news is highly formal Spanish and the accent most newsmen use to read the news is “standard” among all Spanish accents.  What does this mean?   That the accent, pronunciation, and vocabulary used is appropriate and understandable for most speakers.

Are there some ways to “categorize” certain types of Spanish speakers?  I can tell you what I’ve heard: Peruvians and Colombians have the slower, clearer, and more “standard” or neutral Spanish, while some people feel Argentinians speak a faster form of the language.

So the question: Is the formal Spanish language the same in all Latin America?

The answer is yes.  Formal Spanish is the same for all Latin American countries; It has the same structure and grammar.  But people from every country have different accents, pronunciation and use a very wide range of vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, and slangs.

Watch this video to listen to some funny Spanish accents.

Spanish / English false friends

How come Spanish and English became false friends?

Actually they didn’t.  But some words did.

Spanish and English share words that look similar (are written almost the same), but pronounce different and have a different meaning.

It is common, for people learning Spanish, to make mistakes when they find these words:

  • Once (Español) / once (English)
  • Carpeta (Español) / carpet (English)

In this video you will find several words, and their meaning, to help you remember them forever!

You can also find more Spanish false friends here: Spanish false cognates and false friends


It is your turn now; which other “false friends” words did you find confuse?