Category Archives: False cognate

  • False cognates 10: “I don’t want to bother you…”

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    “No quiero molestarte…”  My friend, Patricia, uses the word “molestar” a lot.  At first it sounded very weird because it sounds very much like the word “to molest” in English.  This Spanish word “molestar”, however, doesn’t have a lewd connotation.  It simply means “to bother”.   molesto, molesta = bothersome, annoying Estaban muy molestas cuando […]

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  • False cognates 9: “¿Fútbol? ¡¿Soccer?!”

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    “¿Su hijo también juega fútbol? (Does your son play ‘football’, too?)”, my friend, Rocio, asked me.  I answered, “Oh, no… he is not a football type (my son is very skinny), but he plays soccer.”  She looked at me funny (again!) then smiled.  “Fútbol and soccer are the same thing!” so I learned.  You say […]

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  • False cognates 8: “Where is the exit??”

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    When I was taking a Spanish class, my teacher said to me, “¡Tendremos éxito!”  “What?!  Earthquake?  Do we have to leave the classroom?”  I thought that the teacher was asking me to “exit” the room.  The Spanish word “éxito” means “success”.  How funny!  If you want to say, “Take the exit.”, you would say, “Toma […]

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  • False cognates 7: “I am pregnant?!”

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    I think everyone who has attempted to learn Spanish has heard a funny story about the Spanish word “embarazada”.  As a female, I was a little offended when I learned “embarazada” means “to be pregnant”.  Being pregnant is nothing about which to be embarrassed (well, I guess most of time).  For some reason “embarazada” and […]

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  • False cognates 6: “I am constipated…”

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    Oh my, I didn’t know Latin people were so open to sharing the status of their bowels.  When I asked my dear friend, Patricia, how she was doing, she told me, “Tengo un poco de constipación”, without hesitation (I thought this meant ‘I am a little constipated.’).  So I teased her, “you must feel very […]

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  • False cognates 5: “El compromiso = a compromise?!”

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    Let’s examine the English word “a compromise” vs. the Spanish word “el compromiso”.  They look alike but have some different meanings.  “A compromise” has a somewhat negative connotation as in “to give in to someone elses demands”.   “I had to strike a compromise with my boss in order to get more time off”, for example. […]

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  • False cognates 4: “I am looking for a summer camp…”

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    “¿Sabe ud. sobre algún campos de verano para mis niños?  (Do you know any summer camps for my children?)”  I asked my friend, Rocio.  She looked at me puzzled.  “¿Campos de verano para sus niños?  ¿Para qué? ¿Para correr? (For what? To run around?)”  It was my turn to be confused.  Then, she realized I […]

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  • False cognates 3: “Actually I don’t think that is true…”

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    When I wanted say “actually..” in Spanish, I simply translated to “actualmente..”  Easy enough and it sounded just right.  Well, wrong!  When I asked my friend, Patricia, to go to the store with me, she responded, “No, actualmente no puedo ir contigo.”  Hmm, why did she use “actualmente” here?  “Actualmente” in Spanish means “currently, right […]

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  • False cognates 2: “Oh, are you assisting the class today?”

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    I used to say, “Mis niños atienden a las clases hoy. (My children attend the class today.)”  My daughter’s very kind Spanish teacher, Niña Laura (The word “Niña” also means “female elementary teacher” in Costa Rica.  It is funny that they use the word means “child” to address teachers.  On top of that they don’t […]

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  • False cognates 1: “Why are you so emotional?”

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    We decided to start this new series of articles to discuss the use of cognates as they are a great way to quickly expand your Spanish vocabulary. Cognates are words that are the same or nearly the same in two different languages. Words like “mapa” for map are easy to remember for English speakers but […]

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