Identifying Words from Other Languages You Know

Another vocabulary strategy is identifying words from other languages you know, and thinking about the connections between them. You can do this because if you are taking French, Spanish, or Italian, these languages all derive from Latin roots, and you may not know a root on its own, but you may recognize it when it’s attached to a French, Spanish, or Italian word that you do know.

Identifying wordsFor example, “amigo” means friend in Spanish, and  “ami” means friend in French, so “amicable” means friend and comes from the root “ami.” For another example, “feliz” means “happy” in Spanish, so you can figure out that “felicity” means happiness.

In the table below, notice how you can guess what these Spanish, French, or Italian words, derived from Latin roots, might mean. We have labeled the Spanish words with (Sp), the French words with (Fr) and the Italian words with (It).

Latin Root Word With That Root Could Mean
scrib escribir (Sp), ecrire (Fr), scrivere (It)


Related to writing
salu saludo (Sp), salut (Fr), salute (It) Related to health
liber libro (Sp), livre (Fr), libro (It) Related to writing/books
tocc tocar (Sp), toucher (Fr), toccare (It) Related to physical touch
aqua agua (Sp), acqua (It) Related to water
vid ver (Sp), voir (Fr), vedere


Related to vision
luc luz (Sp), lumiere (Fr), luce (It) Related to light


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