I'm making a list of Cognate words within the Indo-European/Romance Languages looking for sources
September 19, 2007 12:50 AM   Subscribe

I'm making a list of Cognate words within the Indo-European/Romance Languages and am looking for words to add to it.

Im making a list of different cognate's (i.e:- words that are the same within multiple languages) within the indo-european/romance languages of English/French/Italian/Spanish/Portuguese

Below is a link to my list so far, If you know of any good words that I could add to it, please post them.

I would also love any sources of information about cognates, inparticular why cognate words exist within multiple different languages and others do not.

posted by complience to Writing & Language (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How loose a definition of cognate are you using, and are you really looking for cognates at all? From your example list, too, it looks like you're looking at predictable sound changes from proto-languages and not perfect cognates, perse. Are you looking only for those specific languages you listed, all Romance languages, or I-E as a total family?

All of that will affect how you go about looking for these words and how "complete" a list you can compile, and it will also make a difference in answering your follow-up questions.
posted by rhoticity at 1:00 AM on September 19, 2007

yes im looking for all words that could be loosely described as cognative, its just really to help in terms of conversational usage of the languages.

Im mainly just looking at English/French/Italian/Spanish/Portuguese

because of the large number of cognates within the group, if other languages hold a large number of cognates let me know.
posted by complience at 1:16 AM on September 19, 2007

"cognate" is a technical term in linguistics for words that are genuinely derived from a common origin. Cognates don't have to have the same meaning, eg German Knecht and English knight mean different things these days.

Some of the words in your list aren't cognate at all - eg English "sky" probably isn't related to the Latin "caelum" that's the source of "cielo" and friends.

I don't think there's a term for "words that sound the same and mean the same", but that's what you're looking for, yes?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:36 AM on September 19, 2007

Off the top of my head -- orange and soap.
posted by hariya at 1:39 AM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

At least for Spanish, here's a list.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:28 AM on September 19, 2007

yup sound the same and mean the same is what im looking for.

If technically thats not a congative word I think sometimes they are called harmonous.
posted by complience at 2:29 AM on September 19, 2007

Ditto on "sky," which like most short words in English beginning with "sk-" actually comes from a Germanic (Scandinavian) source, I believe.

"Castigar" is not in my French dictionary and is in none of the eleven online dictionaries I searched.

I would include Romanian on your list, since it's also a Romance language, but has a very different history than French, Spanish (et al). The other Romance languages borrowed words from each other to a different extent than Romanian did (or could have, due to relative isolation geographically.) Romanian also has very different meanings for some "common" Romance words, like the verb "a castiga," which mean "to earn" or "to win," and nothing like "castigate."
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 4:52 AM on September 19, 2007

Several of the words on the Italian list were not Italian words at all, or are incorrectly used. For example, enter is "entrare" in Italian, which closer than "iniziare" (which means begin). Commence, embrace, plumage, and orthography on your list all have non-Italian orthography (heh).
But for starters I would just google "cognate Italian" and so forth. Be sure to watch out for false friends, which sound like they should be cognates but aren't. (E.g., Maleducato in Italian doesn't mean badly educated, but rather ill-mannered. Parente isn't parent, it's relative.)
posted by katemonster at 5:39 AM on September 19, 2007

The list for spanish works fine with french. Minor adjustments only.
posted by nicolin at 5:44 AM on September 19, 2007

Interlingua is an international auxiliary language made entirely of words and grammatical constructs with common sources in at least three of Italian, Spanish/Portuguese, French, and English (and also German and Russian when possible).

The Interlingua wiktionary has a lot of words that might be suitable for your list. Interlingua.us has some more basic sample word lists.
posted by mbrubeck at 6:08 AM on September 19, 2007

Maybe the term would be "true cognate", as opposed to "false cognate"?
posted by smackfu at 7:10 AM on September 19, 2007

How about the word translate = traduzca=traduisez=traduza=traduca?
posted by Neiltupper at 7:33 AM on September 19, 2007

Wheelock's Latin has a lot of cognates listed in it.
posted by strangeguitars at 8:46 PM on September 19, 2007

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