For anyone who's never taught English or taken an advanced English course, you could be forgiven for assuming that a 'false friend' is someone who pretends to like you when they don't. However, a false friend is in fact a word or phrase in two languages or dialects (or letters in two alphabets) that look or sound similar, but differ significantly in meaning. I've listed below some of the most common ones in the English and Spanish dictionaries.
Unless the father is a close family member, there's nothing really embarrassing about being pregnant. English and Spanish people sometimes mistake embarazo (pregnancy) or embarazada (pregnant) with embarrassment and embarrassing because they sound so similar.
If you've ever taught English to Spanish kids you will probably be familiar with this one. It's almost the Spanish equivalent of 'the dog ate my homework' as kids just assume that folder in English is carpet, like carpeta in Spanish...."Miss, I left my homework in my carpet"
Even though the Spanish are fairly straight-talking people, I don't think they would speak up about their blocked bowels. Constipado is nothing but a common cold in Spanish.
Even though they wear their hearts on their sleeves, Spaniards rarely tear up when they find something exciting. This false friend arises from the double meaning of emocionado in Spanish, which can mean both excited and moved.
"I can't see anything without my lentils" Erm...that's got to hurt! Well, I think they mean to say lenses (lentillas) rather than lentils (lentejas).
Everybody in Spain has been 'molested' at some point in time. Some people are even molested several times a day! Jokes aside, molestar is to bother in Spanish and not to sexually harrass as it is in English.
Even if you find the ER department fascinating, it's not advisable to shout it out in public. Casualidad is coincidence in Spanish, although the word sounds a lot more like casualty.
It's always useful to have an escape route handy, but it still sounds pretty weird to wish someone all the exits they deserve. Exito is the Spanish word for success.
Where there's smoke there's fire, and it's best to call the firemen and not the air force. A bombero is a firefighter in Spanish.
There's no denying you need chemistry in love, but we're not too sure where preservatives fit in to the whole equation. Spanish speakers sometimes assume preservativo (condom) is translated into English as preservative.
Who says teaching isn't fun! So, if you think you are an 'emocionado' person who isn't easily 'embarazada' and doesn't mind being 'molested' by students wanting to learn, click here for a no obligation interview with Oxbridge TEFL and work your way to 'exitoso' teaching English.