Spanish and French Similarities

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Spanish and French Similarities

In our last language similarities article, we explored the world of Spanish and Italian similarities.

Today, we’ll be exploring the world of Spanish and French similarities!

Spain and France not only share a border, but they also share a major commonality in the origin of their languages.

Not to mention, both languages are some of the most popular in the world.

Spanish is spoken in countless countries across the globe such as Spain, Argentina, Peru, Chile, and more, while French is spoken in countries such as France, Belgium, Canada, Senegal, and beyond.  

Spanish and French Similarities

With millions of people around the globe speaking these languages, it’s helpful when there are similarities between each.

Being able to understand Spanish will generally help you to understand French and vice versa.

Let’s take a quick look at how this is possible!

Language Origin

You may remember reading that Spanish is a romance language, alongside other languages like Italian, Portuguese, and French.

Many of the romance languages all descend from colloquial Latin.

Today, these languages continue to be some of the most widely spoken languages across the Western world.

What ties romance languages together are their lexical similarities.

This means that many vocabulary words tend to overlap between each language.

These overlaps help those who are fluent in one language understand the other (to a degree!)

Spanish and French Similarities

Spanish and French: Grammar and Alphabet

Because both languages descend from Latin, both use the same 26 letter alphabet.

This means that each language uses a similar writing system and similar grammar rules.

For example, each language uses gendered nouns, some similar verb conjugations, and word order in sentences.

One of the most apparent Spanish French similarities are the accent marks used by each language!

These accents help signify certain functions like which syllables should be stressed when spoken.

Some examples might be something like “está” or “café” in Spanish and “école” or “hôtel” in French.

However, while accents are used by each language, pronunciations are fairly distinct.

French typically puts emphasis on final syllables and leans more heavily on certain vowels.

Conversely, Spanish tends to use a more straightforward accent that puts emphasis on vowels.

Overall, French pronunciation can be more difficult than Spanish, as the Spanish phonetic system is a bit more straightforward.

Spanish and French Similarities: Vocabulary Examples

While there are small discrepancies between words, some Spanish and French language similarities are hard to miss!

For example, the word for ‘friend’ in Spanish is “amigo” and “ami” in French.

Similarly, the word for ‘book’ in French is “livre” and “libro” in Spanish.

You can also see echoes of Latin in both languages through words like ‘truth’ or ‘love’.

‘Truth’ in Latin is “veritas”.  In Spanish, it is “verdad” and in French it is “verité”.

‘Love’ in Latin is “amor”. In Spanish, the word doesn’t change, but French adds an additional vowel to make it “amour”.

There are numerous examples of this, but one thing to remember when learning either Spanish or French is that both languages contain similar vocabulary words.

You may be able to pick up on certain words and phrases as you become more comfortable in either language.

¡Hasta luego! – À bientôt!

Spanish and French are both beautiful languages, with many similarities.

Luckily, there are plenty of helpful resources online to help you fully immerse yourself in these Romance languages.

If you’re curious to learn more about the similarities between them, why not dive in to a French language class or brush up on some Spanish slang words?

Keen to learn how to roll your R’s in Madrid or Paris?

Whether you’re interested in a study trip or a full year abroad, our team is standing by ready to help you with your language goals!

Do Spanish and French languages roll their R’s?

Yes, however, the French “R” is more of a guttural sound than a trilled sound. A French R comes from the back of the mouth, whereas the Spanish R is rolled against the roof of the mouth. However, this is a very broad explanation of both sounds.

Will it be easier to learn French if I’m already fluent in Spanish?

Potentially, yes! Both Spanish and French share a high lexical similarity, which means many vocabulary words tend to overlap. This makes it easier for speakers of either language to get a general grasp when learning the other.

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