Wednesday, January 20, 2016

False Cognates in Language Learning

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For those of you who aren't familiar with what I do I run an in-home business teaching Spanish to mostly kids (and some adults). Each month I decorate a door that my students have to use to get in for their lessons. I put up comics in Spanish, fun language facts, and sometimes these little posters I created of some of the "false friends" or cognates in Spanish.

Also, I sprinkle throughout my teaching information on words that look like a word in English, but have a totally different meaning in Spanish. I figure it is my duty to keep students out of embarrassing situations by knowing the real meanings of the Spanish words. Working with cognates also increases vocabulary for a language learner. Not only does a student get familiar with the cognate, but he or she can learn the "real" word. For example, a student learns the word "vaso" and that it really means "glass". In the process he or she can be introduced to the word "florero", the real word for vase in Spanish.

Here are some resources for cognates and false friends:

Dictionary of Spanish False Cognates- What an awesome book!! I had no idea this existed! An excellent resource for teachers and students.

An Infographic on Spanish Cognates

Playing Loteria /El juego de la loteria - This bilingual book shows the special bond between a grandma and her grandson. The concepts of cognates comes up in the story.

Free Cognates List (Spanish and English)


  1. Hi Debbie! Been following your blog for a while now -- love hearing your tips for teachers! Great minds must think alike, because we recently put together an infographic about cognates over on the TakeLessons Blog. Here's the link: Would that be a good fit for adding as a resource for your readers? Let me know!

  2. I am adding it to the post! Thanks!

  3. Hello Debbie thanks for sharing this information.