How is Spanish Different from English?

By | December 13, 2011

Though Latin and Spanish have evolved from the same Latin family, they differ from each other in many aspects. Especially, they differ in terms of alphabets, grammar, phonology, vocabulary and sound and word coordination.

Some of the basic differences between Spanish and English are as follows:

  • Though most of the Spanish alphabets look similar like English but differ in their accent. Spanish has an additional letter and the vowels of English take an acute accent in Spanish. Apart from that consonants such as h, j, r and y also cause problem while wrting.
  • Spanish uses special characters that are different from English. Characters such as ?, ! are written differently in Spanish.
  • Unlike English, all the nouns in the Spanish have gender (masculine or feminine). The nouns and adjectives should agree in gender (masculine or feminine) and in number (singular or plural).
  • The sentence and word structure differ in these languages. It is not correct to translate sentences or idioms word to word from English to Spanish or vice versa.
  • The sounds of alphabets differ in English and Spanish. Spanish has 5 vowels sounds and five diphthongs, whereas English has 12 pure vowels and 8 diphthongs. The length of the vowel sound too varies in both the languages. The stress in the sentence too differ in each of these languages.
  • There are also some slight variations in verb/tense word order in English and Spanish.
  • As Spanish and English are evolved from Latin, they have some similarities in terms of vocabulary. These similar words which are same in terms of structure and meaning are called cognates (Eg:Chocolate). But there are many exceptions. English and Spanish also share most of the words which are similar in form but differ in their meaning, these are called false cognates (assister in Spanish does not mean to assist but to attend).
  • Spanish has 3 double letter combinations cc, ll, rr, whereas English has many.
  • Apart from these difference, Spanish has great word and sound coordination. Whatever is written is spoken as it is, whereas in English there are some irregularities.

The above are the basic differences between Spanish and English which a learner of Spanish is required to remember.