Top 7 similarities between English and Spanish
Spanish and English have many similarities such as both languages use the Roman alphabet. That knowledge helps build a phonemic and phonological foundation. 30% to 40% of all words in English have a related word in Spanish, with a similar sound, appearance, and meaning. These help students transition over to new other languages seamlessly. Except for a couple of word order exceptions also discussed in detail below, (adjective before a noun in English and noun before an adjective in Spanish), sentences in both languages have the same basic structures (as compared to English and Chinese or other non-Latin derived languages). Besides learning Spanish or English to read and write uses the same basic processes (phonemic awareness, decoding, fluency, comprehension, writing mechanics).
Because of these similarities between modern Spanish and English, Spanish is one of the most closely related languages to English.
Not so new Wor(l)d Order
When compared to other languages, the syntax of Spanish and English are very similar, even though the syntax is a little strict in Spanish. One of the first things you will learn in Spanish is that in a sentence the adjective comes after the noun instead of before as in English. Yes, it is not an easy thing to get used to, but other than that most of the word order in a sentence in Spanish stays the same as in English.
The order of words in a sentence is very important in English as it carries and implies its correct meaning, however, a slight change can cause the same sentence to mean something completely different. It would not only sound strange and but is also likely to be noticed or even misunderstood. Spanish, on the contrary, is easy on its users. Allowing Spanish speakers to use multiple ways to put together a sentence.
Spanish, relieves you from worrying over using extra words in the sentence. Such as – does, is, are etc. Its do convenient to omit these in Spanish versus English where these tricky auxiliary verbs make a sentence proper.
Usually, the subject is omitted in a question since the conjugation of the verb already states the doer of the action, and as long as you follow the few basic rules of Spanish syntax, you’re good.
For example, here are a couple of different ways to ask the same questions in Spanish:
¿Vas conmigo? / ¿Conmigo vas? (Are you coming with me?)
¿Habla español Joel? / ¿Habla Joel español? (Does Joel speak Spanish?)
Similarity in letters
While learning a new language it’s always a relief when you essentially are using the same script instead of learning a completely new one. It makes your job simpler and the road to learning shorter. Even though the Spanish alphabet has an extra letter and symbol to learn on top of the English alphabet both Spanish and English use mostly all of the same letters, which gives a Spanish learner an edge over other language learners and makes Spanish more attractive for English speakers.
In 2010 The Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) determined that only the ñ constitutes a separate letter of the Spanish alphabet, making it 27 letters versus 26 of English!
Apart from if this, the specific sounds of the Spanish alphabet are extremely easy to learn, even easier than English!
Different studies propose different numbers of vowel sounds in English, however, experts do agree that there are more than the five symbols used to represent them. With the exception of diphthongs (two vowels in a single syllable), Spanish vowels have one sound and will always make that sound, no matter where they are placed in a word! I love Spanish!
Once the basic formula is learned, speaking and spelling with confidence are not far away, making getting started with the Spanish language a lot less overwhelming than with most other languages.
Both languages pluralize their words by adding -s or -es to the end of words.
However, in addition to the noun changing in its plural form, the article before the noun and any accompanying adjectives need to be changed as well.
In Spanish pluralizing articles goes like this:
El is the masculine singular form of “the,” and when used with a plural noun, it will become Los.
La is the feminine singular form of “the” and las is the plural. (These are just two of the articles that change when pluralized. To see more of them, take a look here.)
Similarly, adjectives in front of the noun must also be pluralized in Spanish which according to grammar rules must be pluralized so noun pluralizing can take effect. How do we achieve that?
In most cases, just add –s to the end of the adjective. Here are some examples to tie this all together:
El Gato negro (the black cat) — Los Gatos negros (the black cats)
La rosa roja (the red rose) — Las rosas rojas (the red roses)
Bundle of similarities!
Spanish and English have thousands of cognates( Words that are spelled nearly the same in two different languages, and more often than not, they have nearly the same meaning)
You will be amazed by how much Spanish and English have in common when it comes to cognates and borrowed words, and how much you can learn overnight with these.
There are certain word endings that will almost always translate to the same word from Spanish to English, such as the Spanish ending -ción to the English -tion.
In English, we have dozens of contractions, Spanish on the contrary is easy on its learner with just a handful, but they do still exist!
There may be more contractions, depending on which region, but almost all Spanish speakers know and use the following two: del and al.
They may not be easy to recognize as contractions at first, because Spanish does not use apostrophes, but it is still the same concept.
The contraction del comes from the two extremely common words ‘de + el’, that are very often next to each other in a sentence. ‘De’ is the preposition meaning “of” or “from” and ‘el’ is the article meaning “the.”
Here is an example of this contraction being used in a sentence:
Este cuarto es del profesor. (This is the professor’s room.) (Literally: This room is of the professor.)
The contraction ‘al’ comes from ‘a + el’. The preposition ‘a’ is used in a large variety of ways, but most often in this case as “to.” The contraction is used when wanting to say “to the,” if “the” precedes a masculine noun.
Here is an example of it in a sentence:
Vamos al mercado is used instead of Vamos a el mercado. (We are going to the market.)
Both languages capitalize many of the same words. Spanish capitalization rules are the same as in English in the first word of a sentence, Proper nouns, Titles. when writing knowing how to capitalize like Spanish speakers is always an advantage
Spanish will capitalize many of the same words and use much of the same punctuation that we are used to, they just use less of it and sometimes in a different way.
Here are a few instances when Spanish capitalization rules are the same as in English:
- The first word of a sentence.
- Proper nouns (names of people, countries).
- Titles, but in most cases, it is just the first word. (For example: “Cien años de soledad” [One Hundred Years of Solitude])
And here are some instances when it is not:
- Languages, nationalities, religions.
- Days, months or seasons.
- Yo (I).
Here are a few instances when Spanish punctuation works the same as in English:
- Periods are placed at the end of a sentence.
- Commas are used within sentences using mostly all of the same rules.
And here are some instances when it is not:
- Question marks and exclamation points are placed at the beginning of a sentence, as well as at the end. (¿Cómo estás? [How are you?])
- When using numbers, the period and comma actually denote the opposite of that in English. (1,000 is written as 1.000 in Spanish, and 1.5 is written as 1,5, though many sources have started to adopt the English system, especially in Mexico and Central America.)
Luckily, this part of the Spanish language is so similar to English that it would be very rare that mistakes in any of the above would cause misunderstanding.
I am hopeful that these similarities between Spanish and English will help you to gather courage and spark your interest to learn Spanish.