Published: Tue, August 15, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

Capitalize the similarities and differences between Spanish and English | Colorin Colorado

Capitalize the similarities and differences between Spanish and English | Colorin Colorado

Fortunately for Spanish-speaking English Learners (ELLs), there are many similarities between English and Spanish.

First, both are alphabetic languages, which means That use symbols (letters) to represent the sounds, in front of the logographic systems like the Chinese, that use symbols to represent complete words. Also, both languages ​​use the Roman alphabet, reason why the sounds of the letters are similar so much in Spanish as in English. This provides the basis for similarities between the two languages.

Second, 30% to 40% of all words in English have a related word in Spanish. With similar sound, appearance and meaning, these cognates help students transfer their word knowledge in Spanish to English. Third, except for a couple of exceptions in the order of the words (adjective before the noun in English and noun before the adjective in Spanish), the sentences in both Languages ​​have the same basic structures (compared to English and Chinese or other languages ​​not derived from Latin).

And fourth, the same basic components participate in learning to read in both languages: recognition Phonics, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary.

When teachers and students know these basic similarities between the two languages, time and effort of divination is saved as students transfer their literacy skills into Spanish to English literacy

Phonemic and orthographic differences between Spanish and English

There are also some differences between the two languages ​​that could interfere with pronunciation N, reading or spelling in English.

The following are other differences between Spanish and English:

  • The consonants v , j , r , rr , z , and x Have very different pronunciations in both languages. The consonant ñ does not exist in English; On the other hand, the sound it represents is written with two letters, n .
  • Some combinations are pronounced differently. For example, in Spanish the u is not pronounced when it appears in combination with q ; Therefore, students may not be sure how to pronounce words such as queen , quiet or quick .
  • In Spanish, the hyphens are used instead of quotation marks as a dialogue mark: "Come here," he said.

Spanish does not have the following combinations (listed by category):

  • Verbal contractions:
  • > Certain vowel diodes: ou, ow, eigh, aw, oo
  • Certain consonant diagrams: sh, th, wh, ph, kn, wr
  • Consonant mergers with s: sl, sm, sts, scr, spr, str
  • There are no mergers or Spanish-language diagrams in the final position, which may make it particularly difficult for Spanish-speaking students to learn this pattern when they learn to read in English.
  • English suffixes and prefixes

For example, tell the students:

"To produce the sound / sh / en ship, you should pronounce it as / ch / in Spanish, but letting the air out between your teeth. To produce the sound / ch / on a chip, you have to touch the top of the mouth with your tongue and let the air out with a soft explosion. Can not be stretched. "

Spanish speakers find it difficult to distinguish ways of pronouncing the final -s in plurals and the third person.

Provide examples like this to students for each case:

"We pronounce / s / when the word ends with ..."

"We pronounce / iz / o / Is / when the word ends with ... "

Spanish speakers have difficulty distinguishing ways to pronounce ending -ed in past tense verbs. Provide examples like these to students for each case:

"We pronounce / d / when the word ends with ..."

When the word ends with t, it is pronounced / tid / as in patted.

Spanish speakers often omit word endings when pronouncing them or Write them down. For example: restaurant instead of restaurant; End instead of ended. You may also have trouble writing words that contain consonant fusions, initial sounds, and final sounds included in the preceding box.

There are also some differences in the structures of the questions and sentences between the two languages.

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Question marks

Do you want to Go to the movies tonight?
Do you want to go to the movies tonight?
(Probably Spanish speakers will omit do .)

White horse
horse white (Spanish speakers will often use the adjective after the noun.)

Given these similarities and differences, Special attention to the "errors" of spelling and pronunciation of their Spanish speakers ELL. When you recognize that a student says horse white , for example, point out that in English the noun and adjective are used in the reverse order: white horse , brown cow , etc. Once ELL students understand these patterns, they will begin to apply them to new situations themselves.


Follow the link 'References 'Above to hide the references.

August, D., Calderón M., & amp; Calderón, M., August, 2002, pp. 21-22. [Full text - PDF] The Transfer of Skills from Spanish to English: A Study of Young Learners. D., Duran, D., Madden, N., R. Slavin & amp; M. Gil (2003 and in press). Baltimore, MD: The Success for All Foundation.

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