“Falsos amigos”, or literally, “false friends” (also referred to as “false cognates”), are words which sound like they mean the same thing in English as in Spanish. This is the case with true cognates, such as horrible, which does in fact mean “horrible”. However, does carpeta really mean “carpet”, and is it a good idea to say that you are “embarazada” if you feel embarrassed? Read on to find out the top “falsos” amigos that you should avoid like the plague!
Spanish phrases and vocabulary
Phrases and vocabulary are really the bread and butter of language learning, and learning your vocabulary in phrase form is an efficient and useful way to learn the language.
Why learn Spanish phrases?
Learning Spanish phrases is a quick route to Spanish domination. When you learn Spanish in phrases (instead of picking apart words and grammar), you’re treating Spanish as a system, and learning it in large chunks. It’s like taking a big bird’s eye view of it, rather than getting down and dirty with words and grammar. As natural language learning machines, we can trust it to our subconscious to pick apart the grammar, so learning Spanish phrases in this way is a great way of giving ourselves a dose of both grammar and vocabulary, packaged up into something useful. Learning phrases is something that is useful for all levels, and as you become advanced, is one of the most useful things you can actually do.
Improving your Spanish vocabulary
One of the major differences between someone who gets by in Spanish and someone who can really express themselves is the range of their vocabulary. Learning more Spanish words, and expanding your vocabulary, is the one true ongoing task of a language learner. As you increase your Spanish vocabulary beyond the basics, you’ll have access to deeper shades of nuance and refinement, and will be able to communicate yourself as you really want to. I truly believe that by getting inside a language’s vocabulary, you learn more about that country’s culture and way of thinking, and open up a new world to yourself.