|home||english | spanish|
for Future Missionaries
Below is a collection of our common mistakes in learning Spanish. The transition to Spanish is a slow and often embarrassing experience. Here we can laugh about our mistakes and suggest some pitfalls to avoid.
Disclaimer: The information presented is not intended to replace any official information you receive by the church regarding your mission or the mission field. We provide this information simply as a public service.
A cognate is a word in one language whose counterpart in another language is almost the same. A few common examples of true cognates in Spanish and English are: información - information; teléfono - telephone; policía - police; comprender - comprehend.
The danger for a person learning Spanish is to assume that similarity in spelling means similarity in meaning. These misleading similarities are known as false cognates.
Here's some fun false cognates commonly used by missionaries:
Actual - This means "present", current", or "contemporary" in Spanish. Efectivo or en realidad renders the English word "actual."
Asistir - Means "to attend" in Spanish. Assist in Spanish is ayudar, atender, etc.
Congradulaciones - this word does not exist in Spanish. The correct word of congratulation in Spanish is felicidades.
Constipado - sounds like constipated but, in Spanish it means "congested (in the nose)." "Constipated" in Spanish is estreñido.
Decepción - Means "disappointment"; "deception" in Spanish is engaño.
Desgracia - Means "misfortune"; "disgrace" in Spanish is deshonra.
Embarazada - The most common false cognate (See below). In Spanish it means "Pregnant", not "embarrassed"; "embarrassed" is avergonzado.
Éxito - "Success", not "exit"; salida is "exit."
Introducir - "To enter into" or "to introduce into", not "to introduce (one person to another)." The introduction of one person to another is represented by presentar.
Preservativo - Means "birth control"; "preservative" in Spanish is conservante.
Suceso - Means "event" in Spanish, not success.
Quieto - Means "still" or "calm" in Spanish. "Quiet" is callado.
Realizar - Means "to fulfill" or "to achieve" (an ambition or goal); "realize" is usually rendered in Spanish by darse cuanta de.
Verso - Means "line of poetry" in Spanish. A verse of a song is estrofa and a verse of scripture is versículo.
Some words in Spanish are similar enough to other words that they can easily be confused - often with disastrous results! The most dangerous mistakes are ones that confuse a common word with a profane or vulgar one.
Bellow is a list of common goofs with examples taken from real situations in the mission:
Pecho (breast) for Techo (ceiling)
Two Elders enter the home of a housewife. After sitting down, one Elder notices the ceiling has a beautiful gold trim. He looks at the woman and says, "Que pecho mas bonito tienes."
Tontería (stupidity) for Tintorería (dry cleaners)
One missionary explaining to a member where they are going says, "Vamos a la tontería."
Verde (sexually in heat) for Nuevo (greenie)
At a street display, two new (greenie) Elders are struggling to talk with some young women. One tries to apologize by saying, "Lo siento, pero somos muy verdes."
Emberazada (pregnant) for Avergonzada (embarrassed)
This one happens all the time. The famous one is an Hermana giving a talk in church. The Bishop had just asked her to speak just moments before the meeting started. She begins her talk by saying, "Estoy emberazada y El Obispo tiene la culpa."
Antiguo (ancient) for Viejo (old)
In referring to a member who has been in the church a long time, an Elder points and says, "Elder, mira ese antiguo."
Estoy Bueno (sexually pleasing) for Soy Bueno (good person)
In trying to convince a contact to listen, an Elder says, "No estoy malo, estoy muy bueno."
Sensible (sensitive) for Sencillo (simple)
Two missionaries knocking doors try to explain that they have a simple message to share. One says, "Tenemos un mensaje muy sensible." The person at the door responds, "Pues, no tengo ganas de llorar" and slams the door.
Mujeres (wives) for Maletas (luggage)
An investigator asks an Elder how he travels from city to city. He calmly answers, "Por eso tengo dos mujeres que siempre llevo conmigo."
Caliente (sexually in heat) for Calor (hot)
It's a hot day and two sweating Elders get on a bus and sit next to a young woman. To start a conversation, one Elder looks at her and says, "Estoy muy caliente." She immediately gets up and moves.
Putear (to prostitute) for Poner (to put)
An Hermana in the park stops a man and suggests they sit down on a bench and talk: "Vamos a putearnos aquí y hablar.
Monos (monkeys) for Manos (hands)
An Elder explaining what happens after baptism says, "Pondremos nuestros monos sobre tu cabeza..."
|This alumni site has no legal
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
or its associated entities
© 1994-2013 : Spain Madrid Mission Alumni
|Links of our Sponsors: t1 ~ pbx phone system ~ cisco call manager ~ t1 chino hills ~ cisco partner ~ t1 line ~ t1 connection ~ t1 quote ~ t1 line ~ t1 price ~ t1 quote ~ t1 service ~ t1 price quote ~ t1 providers ~ t1 provider ~ t1 availability ~ t1 line price ~ t1 price quote ~ cheap long distance rates ~ low mortgage rates ~ cheap long distance ~ cheap hotel rates ~ cheap travel rates ~ Thank you for patronizing the businesses that support this site financially.|