domingo, 22 de mayo de 2011

False cognates

Actually

Actually is similar to Spanish actualmente; however, actualmente is better translated with e.g. currently, as actually actually means in reality. Confusing, eh?
embarrassed is not the same as embarazada. A translation for embarrassed could be apenado. In some situations it can be embarrassing to be embarazada, i.e. pregnant!
realize should not be confused with Spanish realisar. When Mexican students use the English word realize, they normally use it meaning to say something like: to give an idea physical form. They mostly don't realize that realize also means that you become aware of something.
approve is sometimes confused with aprobar:"Teacher, did I approve the exam?" aprobar means pass as in 'pass an exam', whereas approve means to agree to something.
eventually is not the same as eventual(mente). Eventually could be translated with finalmente, as it means: in the end, in the long run. The Spanish cognate eventual is in meaning similar to English temporary or conditional.
Mexican students often use the word career to refer to their studies (Spanish carrera):"When I finish my career, I want to go to United States (sic)". Career, refers to professional work. When you finish your career you'll be an old person!
lecture is not the same as lectura. A lecture is a talk about a particular topic. A translation for lectura could be reading or simply text.
apartment in Spanish is departamento; department is also departamento. Therefore it is understandable that speakers of Spanish frequently use department when referring to an apartment.
Spanish speakers often confuse by and for in passive voice. The reason is that they use por and that looks and sounds like for.
another 'false friend' is try with Spanish tratar, as in this sentence:"the movies tries with the problems of a strange man," or:"in business, you have to try with people." Again, the confusion is understandable. In Spanish you would use tratar in both cases; however, in English you might consider using is about and deal with respectively.
Speakers of Spanish also tend to confuse win with ganar. Teachers frequently read or here things like:"They win a lot of money," instead of "They make/earn a lot of money." You win money in the lottery. Making or earning money refers to your salary/ income.
Now that we're talking about win, we should also mention the difference between win and beat. Here's how they should be used:
América beat Guadalajara 9-0! (beat the opponent)
América won the game (win the game)

Politics/ Politician: When referring to the authorities, speakers of Spanish normally confuse Spanish politico(s) with English politics. A politician is a person who has a job in politics. Politician = politico. Politics refer to, say, the regulation of a country.

Here's another good one: the other day I bought a bookcase and on the box it said: library with three shelves. Now, where's the mistake?
The problem is that library is not the same as librero. Look:

library = biblioteca
bookstore = libreria
bookcase = librero


Compromise and compromiso aren't equivalents either. Compromiso should be translated with commitment. Compromise refers to making concessions to come to an agreement, a settlement.

The word familiar exists both in English and Spanish; however, the meaning is completely different. Familiar in Spanish refers to a member of your family (in English you would use the word relative(s)). It's a noun. Familiar in English is an adjective and it means that you know something about something eg:
- Are you familiar with Shakespeare's work?

The Spanish word cientifico is both noun (profession) and adjective. Therefore students often use the word scientific to refer to the person:
He is a famous scientific.
However, scientist should be used to refer to the person:
He is a famous scientist.

Parents only refers to your father and mother.
parientes, on the other hand, refers to your extended family, cousins, uncles, aunts etc. Therefore, parientes is relatives in English.




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