Friday, June 1, 2012

Lost in translation

Being lost in translation happens every now and then… Like when I saw the sign in Málaga with boyfriends for rent, or how the English Royal Family has crazy strange names in Spanish

Spanish is a complex language and many times have I thought about how it seems to get more difficult the more I learn. The more verbal tenses I learn, the most chaos inside my head. 
There are a couple words though, that I think hope I won’t use the wrong way again.

A classic mistake, one I believe most foreigners commits at one point (at least everyone I have talked to about it), is the mix-up of the words calor-caliente (hot).  Spain is a hot country, these days we are ‘enjoying’ around 35 degrees celcius in the shadow. Hot! When walking in the sun then, you get hot. When dancing salsa or doing any other sort of exercise you get hot and sweaty.  

This word is used in many contexts, such as “This cup of coffee is very caliente.”  “I had a caliente shower.” “The air from the hairdryer is caliente.” You get the picture, right? It's a useful word for hot.

Well, when you’re simply just hot and sweaty cause the sun is burning, and you say “I am caliente” it means you are turned on!! What??? I learned the hard way... You have to say tengo calor and not estoy caliente

Another one, which is also a bit awkward...is the word correr which means to run. So if you want to say you run marathons you’d say Corro maratones. Fine, perfect! But if you say Me corro …marathons or whatever, you’re saying you’re coming!! And not coming, by running on your feet, if you know what I mean… That little "me" before the verb for running, changes the whole meaning!

The dangerous pitfalls of language learning! Anyone have any similar fun/embarrassing stories to share? 
Whatever language, I would love to hear it!

14 comments:

  1. Ha ha, det er jammen ikke lett med fremmedspråk. Jeg husker en skoletur til Tyskland på videregående skole der jeg fortalte vertsfamilien at jeg bodde i et rådhus (skulle være rekkehus) og at jeg var veldig full (skulle være mett). Årsaken var nok bare at jeg var veldig dårlig i tysk, ikke at ordene hadde ulik betydning...;-)

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    1. Hihi, bodde du i et rådhus du da! Er ikke så lett med nye språk ;)

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  2. Oh yes I've done the hot one! But I hadn't heard of correrse....will try that out and see what reaction I get:)
    My favourites are 1/ pollo and polla - one means chicken and the other is the male sexual organ 2/ I get my cushions and my balls muddled up - one is cojines and the other cojones. Embarrassing when you are asking for some!

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    1. Oh Kate you just mentioned the two last ones on my list that I saved for a future post :) They are good ones!!! Haha imagine going into Zara home asking for a couple of nice cojones!

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  3. No te preocupes guapa, veras como acabas controlando y dominando perfectamente el idioma. Ese problema lo hemos tenido todos los que hemos intentado aprender un idioma que no es el materno...¡dale caña! que lo conseguiras.

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    1. Gracias por los animos!! Me gusta tu expresion "dale caña"!! :)

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  4. Haha, the first one is the same in french ! I know a guy who said "Je suis chaud" (I'm turned on) instead of "J'ai chaud" (I'm warm) to the host-grandmother...

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    1. Hihi, great line for the host-grandmother :D Funny that it works exactly the same way in French! Why do they do this to us poor foreigners? ;)

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    1. Thank you for stopping by! It's not always easy to navigate a new language! :)

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  6. about correr and me corro. I don't know if you know that you can say "me corro una juerga" and it means that you go out for partying. as you can see, Spanish has many of these funny sentences. there are some more with cojones... animo con el Espanyol!

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    1. Hola Jesus! Muchas gracias por tu comentario. And thank you for teaching me this phrase, I have never heard it but now- if I hear it I will know what it means! There are indeed a lot of funny sentences in Spanish... Gracias por los animos!!

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  7. Haha yeah I learned about not using 'caliente' for 'I'm hot' when I lived in Florida, although fortunately not from conversation. I did not know about "Me corro" however. I am not a runner anyhow, so I'm unlikely to ever say that, but good to know lol. I don't really have any embarrassing language stories except that I am sometimes embarrassed that I do not know how to respond to people sometimes in German.

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    1. I think 'caliente' is the most classical mistake! Good for you that you learned it before using it (wrongly?haha) in conversation. (I didn't...) It can be really hard (and take long?) to feel to feel 100% comfortable in a foreign language! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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