As the OP, I'll say these: first, I have used the word "cognate" sparingly for items such as the prefix "con-" (meaning "with" both morphologically as well as in Spanish). As of yet, I have not run into them so often, or rather, I have not worked out a really good way to address them in a logical manner. In fact, I haven't worked out how to address anything in a logical manner. My curriculum that I am developing is still in an infantile state.

>Likewise, I would use the term etymological meaning, rather than >literal meaning.

How about "essential meaning"? Once I define "essential" I think the kids would have an easier time retaining and relating to the concept. I've been calling it the literal meaning of the word, but I see your point in being more precise in my nomenclature.