An ELT Glossary : Cognates and False Cognates


Cognates


  • Definition : A word that has a similar form and pronunciation, and the same meaning in English and the learner’s L1 and which is therefore easy for the learner to understand and remember.
  • Examples : the Italian word possibile is a cognate of the English possible; The german word Haus is a cognate of the English word house


False cognates

  • Definition : A word that has a similar form in English and the learner’s L1 but which is different in meaning and can therefore cause confusion to the learner. 
  • Example :  libraire means bookshop in French but looks like library in English; simpatico means nice, or pleasant in italian, but looks like sympathetic.