Let's start by dispelling a myth about speaking Spanish. Many English speakers mistakenly think you can just add the letter "o" to English words and they'll instantly become Spanish words. Although this does work very occasionally, most of the time it doesn't work at all and just causes confusion. We have heard many English speakers in Spain use this flawed approach and suffer from a large communication gap.
Here are a few techniques you can use that will work most of the time (keep in mind there are always exceptions and these won't work 100% of the time). These techniques all involve suffixes or word endings:
- 1. "-ty" = "-dad": university (universidad), activity (actividad), intensity (intensidad), ability (abilidad)
- 2. "-tion" = "-ción": activation (activación), penetration (penetración), station (estación), vacation (vacación)
- 3. "-ssion" = "-sión": session (sesión), passion (pasión), depression (depresión), aggression (agresión)
- 4. "-ction" = "-cción": action (acción), attraction (attracción), fiction (ficción), reaction (reacción)
- 5. "-ive" = "-ivo": active (activo), passive (pasivo), relative (relativo), intensive (intensivo), massive (masivo). Partly because of this "ivo/ive" technique, people try to ineffectively put an "o" on the end of any English word to turn it into Spanish
- 6. "-ly" = "-mente": recently (recientemente), actively (activamente), relatively (relativamente), effectively (efectivamente). This technique ("ly/mente") isn't as reliable for changing English words into Spanish but can help you better understand the meaning of written Spanish words.
Moral of the Story: When you really need to guess a Spanish word, these techniques can come in handy. They can also be very useful in helping you understand written messages. However, you must remember that that are many exceptions to these techniques. Unfortunately, they aren't fool-proof, so if you really want to learn and communicate in Spanish successfully, for work, your language studies, or simply to improve your next holiday experience, we recommend you take a Spanish course at our Spanish School in Malaga.