My Favorite, and Most Common, Gringo Error in Spanish (aka “false friend”)
Embarazada. Ohhh how much you look like “embarrassed”, embarazada. Any English-speaker would look at that word and immediately, and for obvious and perfectly logical reasons, guess that it means “embarrassed”. Most times if a Spanish word looks very similar to an English word that you know, it does, in fact, mean either precisely the same thing as that word or something very similar! Examples abound: alfabeto (alphabet), gracia (grace), huracán (hurricane), chocolate (chocolate), adorar (to adore), dividir (to divide), and on and on and on (see a longer list here).
Why did those Spaniards have to try to trick us poor, helpless gringos with words like these? Was it because they were just in a nasty mood that day? Did they eat some rotten paella? Perhaps they just wanted to ensure endless amusement for their fellow Spanish-speakers for centuries to come at the expense of hapless English-speakers attempting to learn their language.
A quick side note: if you’re interested in teaching yourself Spanish…
I have a short post and video (that are free to read and view of course, won’t cost you more than a few minutes of your time) on how to do precisely that with the system that I put together which allowed me to become fluent in Spanish in just 6 months after years of trial-and-error by watching Spanish-language TV shows (like telenovelas, hence the name of the system) and movies, reading Spanish books and comics, and listening to Spanish music. If this sounds interesting to you, check it out by clicking the link below (the following link should open in a new tab or window for you when you click it so I’m not asking you to leave this article here):
I also include some quick and valuable tips for learning Spanish as well as a couple of the most useful free Spanish-learning websites that I recommend.
You have no idea how entertaining it is for native Spanish-speakers to hear a middle-aged white guy from Texas say “¡Oy! ¡Estoy tan embarazado!” Really??! Well…congratulations! When are you due?? 😀
Embarazada (normally only ever embarazada for reasons that will be obvious to you in a second) means…pregnant! Hey, now you’ve definitely got something to be embarrassed about!
The common way of expressing embarrassment is with the word vergüenza, which means “embarrassment” or, literally, “shame” (it’s a noun). The way this is done is to say that something gives you or someone else shame, for example:
“I’m so embarrassed!” = “¡Me da tanta vergüenza!” which literally translates to “It gives me such shame!”
You could also say that you “feel” embarrassed by using “sentir vergüenza”, or “to feel shame” in the following manner:
“I feel embarrassed to tell you.” = “Me siento vergüenzado al decirtelo.”
That concludes our short Spanish lesson for today, I hope this prevents you from ever accidentally telling someone that you’re going to give birth, and that it leads to endless amusement for you when other English-speakers do 😀
A Quick Note Before We End: If you’re interested in learning Spanish, read this
I’ve got two posts that I’ve put up that I’m recommending everyone interested in learning Spanish go read if they haven’t already (if you have, ignore this, sorry): How to avoid wasting months learning Spanish the wrong way (basically this is my “how to get started right in learning Spanish” post for complete beginners) and The Telenovela Method where I cover how to use popular media like movies, music, and books to learn Spanish. Additionally you can check out the front page for a more complete list of my best and most popular posts.
P.S. I just found this, perhaps the only possible correct use of the word “embarazado” EVER, lol:
Get my list of the internet's top 33 FREE Spanish-learning resources here!I put together a list of the internet’s Top 33 Free Spanish-learning resources, my favorite language exchanges and Spanish chat rooms, and more. I’ve spent a great deal of time putting together a 3-part series of articles for you on the internet’s best free resources for the Spanish-learner that you’ll get when you sign up for my newsletter–in addition to all of what you get below, I’ll be sure to send you any updates about cool new sites, resources, and learning tips and techniques that I come up with (I’m currently putting together a whole series that will teach you in great detail precisely how I go about learning a new language):
Part 1: A very long list of my favorite Top 33 free online Spanish-learning resources (tools, references, sites with free lessons, articles, blogs, forums, etc.) that’s far too long to include here, especially with all the other stuff I’ve got here that’s available just on this site alone, and I’d like to offer it to you (completely free, you don’t have to do anything other than sign up) right now.
Part 2: I explain what language exchanges are (essentially they allow you free access to an unlimited number of native speakers to practice your Spanish with), why they’re absolutely essential if you’re teaching yourself (I’m serious when I say this: it’s impossible to get fluent without them if you’re learning a foreign language on your own), how to use them, and which ones are the best.
Part 3: I cover chat rooms which are specifically devoted to connecting you with native Spanish speakers who want to learn English so you can chat with them in Spanish (and they’ll help and correct you) and then you do the same for them with their English (these are completely free to use, but rather hard to find, but I’ll tell you where the best ones are!). Sign up below!