Over 100 Useful Correspondences between Spanish and English Words

As you might have noticed if you study Spanish, most of the words that we encounter in this language have some sort of “related word” in English: beber (to drink) has beverage, sentir (to feel) has sentiment, etc.     
English is so vast, that it has words coming from all over the world, and being aware of this feature can help you to rapidly improve your level when studying almost any foreign language… certainly, Spanish.        
Sometimes, the related word we look for is evident; other times, it is more hidden (“hecho” is related to “fact”); sometimes, the meaning of the related word is more close to the original, in other cases, it is more distant. In some occasions, similar words are not related at all (in meaning or origin… nor both), and we call them “false friends” (Spanish “sin”-without- is not related to the English concept of “sin”, Spanish “red” is not a color, as “pie” is not related to cakes, etc.) It is also wise to be aware of them and spare ourselves an embarrassing situation; as it could happen if you ignored that “embarazada”, the most famous example, in Spanish, does mean “pregnant”, not “embarrassed”.   
In any case, the important thing is to make observations and connections that can help us to remember and retain vocabulary and, in some cases, even enhance the one we use in our own language.

Here, from my years of teaching in a US High-School, I selected 100 cases where a word in Spanish has a more or less evident correlation to one or more in English.    
In order to help fast visualization, in bold red color the Spanish word, next to it is its meaning, and in the next line a more or less detailed explanation and the word (sometimes the group of words) that are related to it in English. When there is more than one option I selected the one that I consider more closely related to the Spanish original. Where I did not use colors the subject is more general than referred to one single word.

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La Spettacolare Carta Geografica di Pegnalverte

Non tutti conoscono la strana figura, pare realmente esistita, del Principe di Pegnalverte, un eccentrico e ricchissimo nobiluomo di origini francesi (da non confondersi con i quasi omonimi spagnoli) del diciottesimo secolo. Sfuggente persino nel nome, sconosciuto nella sua interezza, si dice fu di famiglia scampata immune al giacobinismo del secolo precedente, in modo quasi miracoloso; optò per un cognome maldestramente italianizzato con l’aggiunta della “e” finale, per ragioni sconosciute e lasciò tracce ancora visibili della sua esistenza qua e là, tra targhe e libri rari. Continue reading “La Spettacolare Carta Geografica di Pegnalverte”

A Few Greek Origin Words in English for High-School Students

Knowing the Greek (and Latin) provenance of words we still use is very helpful when it comes to improving language skills and studying other languages because they are shared all over Western Culture and even inside the entire Indo-European family. It is also a wise idea to know them since all their numerous compounds become immediately understandable.              
On this subject, I decided to create my own file, since the options I saw here and there were never really satisfactory. So, here are some Greek origin words we use in English, grouped by initial root.               
This list is loosely organized in alphabetical order.             
The word listed in brackets () contains the same Greek element but not at the beginning of the term.              
The specific meaning of each singular word is for the reader to find out; it will be a fine and fun game, all the necessary knowledge is provided hereafter but inside the [ ] sometimes I provided the literal translation of an original composite word.          
The three periods (…) mean that there are significantly more English words that share that particularly prolific Greek root (such as “cata”, “bio”, “auto”, “psycho”…) you can try to find the missing ones.                
Of course, this list is NOT exhaustive, on the contrary, is very laconic and terribly incomplete, but it was conceived as an introduction to the study and analysis of language for high-school students. Furthermore, I decided to realize it only recalling words by means of memory; this, in order to prove how embedded the Greek language, is in our minds and speaking skills. I limited anatomy, numbers, chemistry, botany, medical terms, and any specialized vocabulary that relies almost exclusively on Greek, to the essential. Which left out interesting roots such as: telos “the end, fulfillment, completion”, phyll-, word-forming element meaning “leaf,” from Greek phyllo-, etc. but we cannot have it all, I guess.
Who is interested in the topic can easily enhance the list with a simple search on the web; while collecting more items, the knowledge, and understanding of English will definitely increase significantly.     
The abbreviation PIE stands for: Proto-Indo-European. All the red text explanations come from Etymological Online Dictionary. When I considered it opportune I simplified the text or interpolated new data.

At the moment, there are 153 clusters and 400 different Greek-origin words.

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La Fantastica Lingua di Ur

Si dice che l’inglese possieda oltre un milione di vocaboli; non si può esserne del tutto certi, ma si è quasi rinunciato ad avere un dizionario esaustivo. Il coreano pare ne abbia un numero ancora maggiore e di sicuro ha il dizionario più vasto al mondo, on-line, perché stamparlo sarebbe un crimine contro l’ambiente. Il tedesco si attesta sui trecentocinquantamila lemmi del dizionario dei Grimm, che raccoglie tutte le parlate municipali e frazionate delle centinaia di zone e regni che poi divennero la Germania di oggi. Continue reading “La Fantastica Lingua di Ur”

Tre Terne di Animali Chiamati in Modi Diversi in Italiano, Spagnolo e Inglese

Alcune considerazioni generali

Le lingue indoeuropee, il gruppo di gran lunga più vasto al mondo, e tra esse a maggior ragione quelle romanze, più direttamente imparentate, condividono una percentuale enorme di lemmi di comune origine e per lo più essi indicano oggetti analoghi o connessi.
A volte, va detto, per interessanti avventure, parole simili e di comune origine arrivano ad avere persino significati opposti, come avviene con “black” e “blanco” (forse perché entrambi sono colori comuni al risultato della combustione, la cenere).
Realizzare percorsi e relazioni è interessantissimo e aiuta la consapevolezza linguistica dello studioso. Probabilmente è più facile trovare corrispondenze che non trovarne e anche tra lingue oggi completamente prive di mutua intelligibilità. Tra gli animali, i felini, il gatto, il leone, la tigre, possono essere presi ad esempio di omogeneità lessicale praticamente senza increspature. Continue reading “Tre Terne di Animali Chiamati in Modi Diversi in Italiano, Spagnolo e Inglese”