The Spanish ayudar, for “to help” is a close cousin of the English, aid. You can see that if we remember that the -y- sound is very similar to the -i- and thus the a-y-d of ayudar maps to the a-i-d of aid.
Both come from the same root: the Latin prefix ad- (“to”) and the verb juvare (“to help”). We can see the j to y transition here as well. Thus, both words are related to adjutant as well.
The c-(p)t root is visible in all, although the -p- in the -pt- has been lost in a few variations.
Cadena (Spanish for “chain”) is a cousin of chain itself. Both come from the Latin for the same: catena.
The English chain is disfigured from the original for a few reasons. Since the English came to our language via the French, the initial c- changed into a ch-, as so often French does. French additionally has a tendency to drop letters: the middle -d- in this case. Thus, the c-(d)-n of cadena maps to the ch-n of chain!
From the same root, we have a more obvious connection–but a more obscure word. Concatenate, a nerdy word meaning “to add together” that really only software developers remember these days, comes from the same root. We can thus see the c-d-n of cadena very easily in the c-t-n of concatenate, remembering the very common -d- and -t- swapping. Concatenate begins with the con- prefix (“together” in Latin, like the Spanish “con”) — and what is a concatenation, if not just adding together a bunch of nodes in a chain?
Alegre, Spanish for happiness, has a close English cousin in alacrity (a SAT word meaning “eagerness” or “cheerful readiness”).
Both come from the Latin alacritas meaning the same as the English.
It’s funny, to me at least, how the word for eagerness turned into the word for happy in Spanish: there is a strong and ancient correlation between being willing to do things, and excited about them — and being happy.
There are, however, a few interesting other descendants of clavis, and thus distant relatives of llave. They include:
The English foot comes from the Indo-European root *ped. Think pedal.
Interestingly, the “p” sound consistently transformed into an “f” in the Germanic languages — but remained a “p” in the Latinate languages.
This is why, foot is equivalent to pie.
País (Spanish for “country”) comes from the Latin pagus meaning “countryside”. From that same root, we also get the English… pagan.
Only the initial p– sound has been retained in both.
Siglo, Spanish for “century”, closely related to the English secular.
How? The connection seems surprising.
Both come from the Latin saeculum, meaning, “age, span of time, generation”.
The evolution from saeculum to siglo is obvious: a century is just a unit or breakdown of time.
But in English, it evolved into the sense to mean “worldly.” While the religious concerns itself with the spirit and the “other-worldly,” it is the characteristics of time — growing, aging — that are are the most fundamental characteristics of this world.
Life in the real world, in other words, is defined by getting old.
The English for eager-to-fight, pugnacious, contains the -gn- pattern inside it: a give-away to the pattern that -gn- words in Latin turned the -gn- into a -ñ- in Spanish yet remained the same into English.
Therefore, pugnacious maps perfectly to puñal, the Spanish for… “dagger.” It makes sense that “dagger” and “eager to fight” come from the same root, after all. And that root, in this case, is the Latin pugnare, meaning, “to fight.”
Quedar (Spanish for “to remain”) comes from the Latin quietare (meaning, “to rest”), from which we also get the English… quiet.
It is clear how a word meaning “to rest” becomes quiet — it’s hard to rest when there are jackhammers outside, as there coincidentally are right now! — but how does a word meaning “to rest” become “to remain”?
The answer has to do with the notion of, what remains after everything else leaves. The food is sizzling hot — but it’s the quiet, sad pieces just sitting there, that no one wants, that remain. There’s a lot of noise and ruckus — and when all is said and done, only silence remains. Life is tale, full of sound and fury… and nothing remains (the Bard almost wrote!).
We can clearly see the qu-d of quedar map to the qu-t of quiet.