I recently taught junior high students English as a Second Language (ESL) for a month. It was one of the very best teaching experiences I have had (it’s hard to beat Buenos Aires)! We started a cognate list immediately. All of the romance languages have obvioius cognates with English, especially academic terms. As we delved into extending our cognate list and as we received new students from Nigeria and Iran, whose native languages aren’t romance languages; I began to do some more research into what exactly is a cognate.
Essentially, cogantes are words that share the same origin. They’re helpful in the different content areas and with academic terms when students speak a language that share the Roman Alphabet like English and Spanish, although Farsi has English cognates, too.
Because most all of my students have been here from 2 months to 3 years I didn’t get into all the intricracies of what it means to have a cognate. I left it simply as “In our class cognates are words that have a similar spelling and the same exact meaning.” Whereas, the real definition includes words that have the same origin and meaning. In other words, their spellings may have changed in one language and even if they aren’t spelled similarly, they are in fact still cognates.
Here’s a list of some of the cognates we discussed: