Ducha, Spanish for “shower”, sounds unrelated to the English for the same. But it does have a less obvious cousin in English: duct; both do conduct water, towards a particular direction!
And yes, from the same root we also get, via French, douche, as in, douchebag.
Duct and Ducha both come the same Latin root, ductus, “leading”. More on that one another day.
The transformation happened due to the always-fun pattern of the ‑ct- words in Latin turning into ‑ch- words in Spanish. Thus, the d‑ct in Latin and English maps almost exactly to the d‑ch in Spanish.
The English fact comes from the Latin factum, meaning “something that happened.” It is thus an exact cognate to the Spanish hacer, meaning “to make.” How?
The root of both is the Latin facere, meaning “to do.” Fact, and the Latin factum, is just the same word in a different tense.
The Latin facere turned into the Spanish hacer, although they superficially sound different. Their relation becomes obvious once we remember that Latin words that began with an initial f- almost always turned into an initial h- when Latin evolved into Spanish.
Therefore the f‑c-r of facere maps exactly to the h‑c-r of hacer.
This pattern explains many words such as hierro/ferrari, hervir/fever, huir/fugitive, hoja/foliage!
The Spanish for “shirt”, Camisa, is a distant cousin of the English Heaven. How?
Both come from the same common ancestor, the Proto-Indo-European root *kem, meaning, “to cover.” This root evolved, via German, to the English heaven (that which covers us above) and it evolved, via Latin (and even the French chemise), to the Spanish camisa (that which covers our torso!).
But they sound so different. How can that be?
The answer is that the Indo-European sound k- transformed over time into the German and then English h- sound — which remaining the same (albeit with a c- spelling) in Latin and then Spanish. Thus the c- of camisa maps to the h- of heaven.
Other examples of this pattern include cornudo/horn and horse/correr.
Llenar — Spanish meaning “to fill” — comes from the Latin plenus, meaning “full”.
This, therefore, connects it to the English for the same, from the same root: Plenty. Not to mention, the less common English word plenary.
These words sound so different yet they’re so similar. Here’s how: Latin words that began with pl- usually turned into ll- when Latin evolved into Spanish. But as these words moved into English via French, they remained unchanged.
This explains not just llenar/plenty but explains a bunch of other words, including llama/flame.
Ah, one of our all-time favorite patterns and examples: leche, the common Spanish word meaning, “milk.”
Leche is a first cousin of the English lactose via a very interesting pattern: the ‑ct- to ‑ch- pattern.
Both come from the same Latin root, lactatio (literally, “suckling.”) The ‑ct- in that root remained unchanged as it entered English (because it entered via the sophisticated French) but that sound almost always turned into a ‑ch- sound as Latin evolved into Spanish. Thus the l‑ct maps to the l‑ch almost exactly.
Many other awesome words follow the same pattern: think octagon/ocho, for example. Some more coming up soon (or see the pattern page linked below).