Weekly Worksheet

Avoiding the False Cognate Trap

Have you ever tried to figure out a word in another language because you recognized part of the word from your home language, and then you found out you were on the wrong track? Sounds like you might have been caught in a false cognate trap, the subject of this week's worksheet.

There are many words in Spanish and English that share the same roots and therefore may appear or sound very similar in the two languages (cognates). Usually, these words have similar meanings and are therefore considered "true cognates." However, as you may have discovered, some words that appear to be similar in the two languages may have different meanings (i.e., "false friends" or "false cognates").

This week's worksheet helps students distinguish between true and false cognates by using the English and Spanish database on the Visual Thesaurus. Click here to access the "Cognates: true or false?" worksheet, and here to read the related lesson plan: "Spanish-English Cognates in the ELL Classroom: Friends or Foes?"

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Helping Spanish-speaking ELL students differentiate between true and false cognates.