Food for Thought

Who knew that the words for raw meat were Germanic while the words for cooked meat were French?

Assorted meats cooking on a two barbeque grills.

Source: Barbacoa, Hedwig Storch, Wikimedia Commons









The Italians have given us spaghetti, pasta, macaroni, ravioli, Parmesan, cappuccino, and pizza, along with the words that name them. Food words seem to bridge languages easily. A more Texan word pair for cooked meat is the English word barbecue and its Spanish cognate barbacoa. Other Spanish words that have made their way into the English language through our stomach are guacamole, tortilla, taco, tamale, nacho, burrito and chili con carne. That’s not the whole enchilada, but you get the idea.

Cognate Pre-Quiz

An estimated 30–40 percent of all words in English have a related word in Spanish, so it’s pretty certain that your Spanish vocabulary will be useful in determining the meaning of many English words. We’ll begin by showing you how much you already know. You’ll assess your awareness of Spanish cognates by matching them with their English definitions. Even if you’re not familiar with Spanish, you’ll be able to use your knowledge of English words to figure out the meaning of these cognates.