False friends in different languagesLast week we wrote about slang phrases with animals, those man’s best friends, especially dogs. When we study a new language, we also have our own best friends, such as teachers, dictionaries, podcasts… and, www.spanishviaskype.com, of course.

However, there are many others that are our enemies, stones in our way. Today, we are going to talk about one of this kind: los falsos amigos (false friends). Those words, that promise heaven to us, but they just take us to hell.

Our readers can remember other articles where we analyzed this topic. The novelty for today is the source of those terms. We usually show false friends between English and Spanish. Today, we’ll realize that other languages suffer from this, too.

Francés (French)

  • Cuando se pone el sol, no puedo ver tu hombre: of course, the French student meant sombrainstead of ‘hombre’. In French, shadow is ‘ombre’.
  • Quiero comer un gato: definitely, French people don’t eat cats. He or she maybe wants a biscuit, ‘galleta’ in Spanish, ‘gâteau’ in French.
  • He estudiado para el examen por una década: we can think that this French student will pass his or her exam with no doubt. However, ‘década’, in French is not ten years, but ten days!

Italiano (Italian)

  • Me duele la gamba: if this sentence is pronounced at a restaurant, your mates can look at your ‘gambas’ prawns astonishingly. You actually mean your ‘pierna’ (leg), but false friends have no mercy.
  • Pásame el aceite: if your Italian friend is dressing his salad, he might be surprised if you pass him ‘el aceite’ (olive oil). In Italian, ‘aceto’ means ‘vinagre’ (vinegar).
  • Tengo una caña, se llama Laika: Laika is a good name for a beer or a rod, isn’t it? Your Italian friend is not so crazy. ‘Cagna’ means female dog.

Portugués (Portuguese)

  • Eres exquisito: It might seem that your Portuguese friend likes compliments, but nothing further from the truth, he’s describing you as a strange person (‘esquisito’ in Portuguese).
  • Quiero un polvo: if you hear this, you don’t know what to think: is he or she asking you for sex (‘echar un polvo’) or maybe for dust? Actually, he or she wants an octopus, ‘pulpo’ in Spanish.
  • No necesito una borracha para hacer el examen: this Portuguese speaker doesn’t need what? A drunk girl or woman for the exam? Not really, he or she means a ‘rubber’ for the exam.

Alemán (German)

  • Todos los días debo ir al gimnasio: wow! These German teenagers are very keen on workout. Of course, not. They need to go to high school (‘Gymnasium’ in German, ‘institutoin Spanish).
  • Mi gato es ingeniero: don’t phone the asylum yet! This German woman means her husband is an engineer. ‘Gatte’ is husband in German, very similar phoneticly to ‘gato’ (cat in English).
  • Quiero terminar contigo: don’t feel so bad, this German guy or girl doesn’t want to break up with you. He or she wanted another date, that’s all! ‘Termin’ means ‘date’, not ‘finish’.

Of course, we were exaggerating before, but we’re sure that students of Spanish might suffer one of these situations sooner or later. If you don’t want to be avergonzado (embarrassed), that is not embarazada (pregnant), try a free trial lesson via Skype here: our teachers at www.spanishviaskype.com will help you recognize true friends in Spanish.