SPANISH Words In English

SPANISH Words In English
Spanish language learning concept image. Teacher or student writing "habla espanol" on blackboard during spanish language course class.


Last week I wrote about the importance of learning the Spanish language when you live here but did you know that quite a number of words in the English language actually come from Spanish.

Joseph Williams was an expert on the origins of the English language. He studied it for years and wrote books on the subject. He found that our native tongue is a bit of a mongrel language. He surmised that about 40 percent of our words comes from French and that only about a third is actually native to Britain and that 15 percent comes from Latin.


All other languages combined contribute just 5 per cent of our words. One of those ‘other’ languages is Spanish. Whilst the impact of Spanish on English is lower than French and Latin, there’s certainly enough of it in our language to have had quite an effect on it. From a canyon to a caldera and a tornado to a tango, let’s take a mini tour through the influence of Spanish on English.

Here goes…

Some of the Spanish words in our language are quite obvious like patio, pronto, cafeteria, fiesta and siesta but many words have derived from Spanish over the years and are not quite so obvious at first. The words vanilla and oregano are direct steals from it.The Spanish verb saber means “to know”. This is where we get the slang word savvy from. The word cargo comes from the verb cargar which means to load. Without the Spanish language there would be no such thing as a “macho” man.

Then there are words that are obviously Spanish like paella, bodega and matador as well as plaza, which is a public square. In the animal kingdom a number of animals have Spanish names that have crossed over into English. The puma, for example and the armadillo are direct steals along with mosquito, coyote and iguana. The barracuda and mustang are also from Spanish.

Breeze comes from the word brisa, which means a light wind and chaps, that cowboys wear on their legs comes from the Mexican Spanish word chaparreras. The word lazo in Spanish is knot and has developed into the lasso that cowboys use to catch a horse.They would probably use that lasso on a ranch which comes from the word rancho.

There are a number of words that are quite obviously Spanish that we might use like, nacho, sombrero, samba, tequila and tortilla.On top of all that, most words that end in “tion” in English end in “cion” in Spanish. So! Maybe Spanish wouldn’t be that hard to learn after all!

Thank you for reading this article, ¨SPANISH Words In English¨. For more columns like this, visit The Euro Weekly News website.


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