This article sponsored by Bueno, entonces…
When learning a language, cognates become your best amigo. What are cognates? Cognates are words that have the same meaning, and look the same in two different languages. Examples: Alcohol = Alcohol, Falso = False, Ofender = Offend… you get the idea. Now, all is good and fun with these cognates until they become your amigo falso (false friend).
Amigos falsos, or what we like to call cog-nots, are words in Spanish that look like an English word, but actually mean something completely different. Example: Carpeta doesn’t mean carpet, it mean’s folder. They’re nasty little words that no one likes, but you’re just going to have to learn to deal with them. Here, we will give you fair warning of a few amigos falsos that you might come across in your Spanish studies.
First and foremost, one of the most common amigos falsos that is notorious for causing embarrassment is… well, embarazada. Estoy embarazada, more specifically. I am embarrassed? Nope. Embarazada actually means pregnant, so when you exclaim that you are ‘so embarazada,’ for something you just did, you’re really just making things worse for yourself.
Secondly, estoy excitado/a does not mean that you are excited. Well, it somewhat does, but in Spanish, excitado/a is typically associated with sexual excitement rather than regular excitement. Instead, you might want to say estoy emocionado/a.
Here are a couple other amigos falsos to be aware of:
Sensible = Sensitive, sensible
Éxito = Success, exit
Actual = Current, actual
Assistir = To Attend, assist
Atender = To Serve/ To Take Care Of, attend
… And the list goes on…
There are loads of amigos falsos in Spanish, but you will learn them as you come across them in your studies. Don’t be too worried about them now, though. Just make sure you’re aware that cognates can also be cog-nots!
To check out David and Jimena’s conversation about amigos falsos, along with the rest of the program, visit the Bueno, entonces…learn Spanish website and become a fan on Facebook to learn useful Spanish phrases. Want to see clips of our Spanish classes to see how they’re set up? Check out our Youtube page!