Old Friends Are the Best Friends, But Watch Out For False Friends

Cognates are a great shortcut to learning Spanish, as Spanish and English have thousands of these words that are basically the same in both languages.

Most words that end in English in tion can be changed to Spanish by ción.  An example is the solution to la solución.  (And we laughingly add that an easy way to remember these are all feminine words is to remember that solutions are feminine, and problems are masculine.  El problema is one of those words ending in ma, pa, ta, which entered Spanish through Greek.)

But beware of these common false friends.  They look and sound like an English words, but have a completely different meaning.

Actual – means current, at the present time, as in actualmente.

Use real or verdadero for real or actual.

Asistir – means to attend.  Asisto a la escuela.

Use ayudar for to help or to assist.

Carpeta – means a file folder.  Use alfombra for carpet or rug.

Constipado – refers to cold congestion, doesn’t mean the obvious.

Use estreñido for constipated.

Decepcion, decepcionar – means disappointed.  Estoy muy decepcionada.

Use engañoso for deceptive.             Delito – means a minor crime.

Use un encanto for something very nice.             Desgracia – means a misfortune.

For a real disgrace use una vergüenza.

Embarazada – means pregnant, not embarrassing.  (This is a common mistake, and I once overheard a priest state Estoy embarazado.  Very amusing!)

Use tener vergüenza or sentirse avergonzado.

Emocionado (a)  – means thrilling or exciting, not just emotional as in a mood.  Estoy muy emocionada.

Exito – means a success, as in tener éxito.  Use la salida for the exit.

Largo – means long.  Use grande for large.

Molestar – means to bother without any sexual meaning.  Me molesta mucho el humo (smoke).

Pretender – means to try.  For pretense use fingir.

Recordar – means to remind or remember.  Use grabar to make a recording.

Sano – means healthy.  Use en su juicio for sane.

Suceso – means the event.  Use éxito for success.

Tuna – means either a cactus fruit or a university choral group.  Use atun for the fish.

And don’t forget those basic words of ropa – meaning clothes, not rope, and sopa – meaning soup (jabón is soap).

Advertisements

Author: language_link

Language Link is a leader in Spanish language immersion programs in countries throughout Latin America and Spain. Learn the language, live the culture! Travel to our school locations and experience the language and culture around the clock. From international executives to students of all ages, allow Language Link to assist you in making the right choice for learning Spanish through an in-country immersion program. We will help you plan your study trip from a one week stay up to six months. Our 25+ years of experience have placed thousands of delighted Spanish language students, and our knowledgeable staff will help you take the guess work out of finding the program best suited for you. Language Link gives you a safe and reliable way to arrange your Spanish study adventure. Through us you have the security of a professionally recognized U.S. contact.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s