How Similar Are Spanish and French: 7 Main Similarities

How Similar Are Spanish and French: 7 Main Similarities

When you start learning Spanish from the beginning, you can’t be fully prepared for what’s waiting for you.

You can read tips and tricks on how to learn the language easily and effectively, seek the right learning materials and resources, but some things may remain unclear until you actually enter that world of Spanish.

One thing that you will notice on your way is that many things in the language may seem familiar to you.

And you’re not going crazy because they do are familiar.

They are familiar because they are similar to English.

Even though they belong to different language families, English and Spanish are two very similar languages.

If you think we have made a mistake, stay with us and keep reading because, in the following lines, we will show you the 7 most apparent similarities between Spanish and English.

How Similar Are Spanish and French?

How are English and Spanish similar when they are two different languages?

And is that even possible?

It is more than possible, and let’s find out how.

Language Families

Spanish belongs to the Romance language family, while English is a Germanic language.

These two languages, however, come from the Indo-European language family, which means that, in ancient times, Indo-European languages were one.

Over time, when the tribes started to wander around, looking for other places to live, the language they were speaking started to change.

Spanish close language siblings that belong to the Romance languages too, are Catalan, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. They all share about 70% of language things between themselves and their speakers can somehow understand one another even if they speak their native languages.

English belongs to the Germanic language family where its close relatives, such as Afrikaans, Dutch, German, or Norwegian have many things in common.

So, how are these two languages similar?

First of all, we have to thank the history and events that took place for both native speakers and get to the point where two cultures and languages mix.

Conquests, battles, allies, even trades have made Spanish and English become and stay connected. As a result, the two languages have a lot in common.

Similar Language Variations And Dialects

By similar dialects and variations we don’t mean that Spanish and English have the same, but the way they work in these languages.

If you look at Spanish, you can see that there are many Spanish-speaking countries across the globe, especially in Latin America, where people speak Spanish a little bit differently than Spaniards from Spain in Europe. For example, Spanish that is spoken in Spain and Mexico, or it differs in some sounds and letters, words, expressions.

Now take a look at English, and you’ll get the same situation. There’s a well-known difference between British English and American English or Australian English vs. British English, for example.

Similarities in Letters And Sounds

The first thing both languages have in common is the alphabet.

Both English and Spanish use Latin letters and both of them use the same letters, as well.

The only letter that exists in Spanish but not in the English alphabet, is the letter ‘ñ’ which is, undoubtedly, the most famous Spanish letter.

All that means that you actually don’t need to spend too much time learning the Spanish alphabet and struggle with the Spanish pronunciation because you already know it.

Of course, there are some sounds you have to master, like some Spanish vowels, the ‘r’ sound, or some diphthongs but all that you can master in no time with Spanish tongue twisters.

Capital Letters And Punctuation

Learning to write grammatically correct sentences is one of the essentials in learning any foreign language, not only Spanish.

Luckily, the capitalization in both languages is almost the same but it can’t hurt to recall the main rules when you should use capital letters.

  • Capitalization is used at the beginning of the first word in a sentence.
  • Personal names, names of countries, cities, mountains, etc are always capitalized.
  • Names of the titles are capitalized, too.

As for the punctuation, the situation is the same as with capitalization.

Punctuation is used in both language in the following situations, is used:

  • At the end of a sentence.
  • In long sentences, commas are used the same way both in Spanish and English.

Similar Words

Spanish and English share many cognates.

In case you don’t know, cognates are words that are spelled almost the same way in two languages that have similar or nearly the same meaning.

The whole learning new words process is simplified when you don’t have to learn completely new words but to use the ones you already know in English and adjust them in Spanish.

The reason why Spanish and English have so many similar words is in the communication between different people during the centuries, conquests, and the fact that native speakers of these languages live close to each other. In this case, France and the French language stays as a connection in some way because the French and British have been connected for centuries and on another side, French and Spanish are language siblings.

For example, here are some words you can easily recognize in both languages.

  • nation (English)- nación(Spanish)
  •  station(English)- estación(Spanish)
  • publication(English)- publicación(Spanish)

Syntax And Sentences

In Spanish, the adjective comes after the noun while in English it comes before.

Apart from this difference, the sentence structure in both Spanish and English is almost the same.

As for the word order, it stays the same in Spanish as well as in English.

Moreover, in Spanish, the word order isn’t hard, especially because even if you use words in a sentence a little bit differently, native Spanish speakers will understand you clearly.

In English, as you already know, that isn’t possible and you have to pay attention to the word order in sentences.

Singular and Plural

Here’s one more similarity you weren’t probably even aware of. Both languages have singular and plural forms. That wouldn’t be so strange unless we tell you that in both Spanish and English, plural forms are formed by adding -s or -es to the end of nouns.

The only difference is that in Spanish, the adjectives that go before nouns, have to get the plural form, too, and in English, the adjective stays singular no matter the noun’s number.

To make it more understandable, take a look at the following  example:

Singular: El negro vestido (Spanish)- The black dress (English)

Plural: Los negros vestidos (Spanish)- The black dresses (English)

Final Thoughts

After learning that English and Spanish have more similarities than differences, what do you say, is Spanish easy to learn?

If if you're looking to learn Spanish, French or both, we recommend you trying out the language learning app Babbel. It has fun, interactive lessons that fit into your day easily.

Can French understand Spanish?

French people can't really understand spoken Spanish because French phonetics are entirely different, which is why it's hard to connect the word in French to a word in Spanish without formation.

Is French more similar to English or Spanish?

French is more similar to Spanish than English because French vowels and Spanish vowels are all the same length while English vowels are more diverse.

What does Spanish and French have in common?

Similar Language Variations And Dialects. Similarities in Letters And Sounds, Capital Letters And Punctuation, Similar Words, Syntax And Sentences

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