Monday, June 20, 2011


False Friend
A word that appears to be the same in two languages, but means two different things

A few examples in English and Spanish would be :

EMBARRASSED : we're tempted to say "embarazada" in Spanish, but "embarazada" means "pregnant" in Spanish, not embarrassed!  What an embarrassing mistake that would be!

CAMP : we're tempted to say "campo," but in Spanish that means "field."

CARPET : shall we say "carpeta?"  But that means "file" or "brief case" in Spanish.

If we are tempted even in English to think the Spanish word for the same thing sounds the same, how much more will we be tempted in Chamorro, which has so much Spanish in it, to do the same.  Yet, we must be careful.  There are a few false friends in Chamorro and Spanish.  Like :


We got that from the Spanish word "querida."  It means "loved one," from the verb "querer," which is "to want, to love."

For us, kerida (female) or kerido (male) is our favored one, the one we love the most, among a group of people.  It is most often used for the favorite child, but it can also be used in a slangy way for the kerido/kerida in the office (the boss' favorite), the parish (the pastor's favorite) or the classroom (the teacher's pet).

But don't tell a Mexican or Spanish friend that so-and-so is somebody's kerida.  To them, it means "mistress."

You can use querido/querida as an adjective.  "Querida Sally," "Dear Sally."  But, in Spanish, never as a noun, unless you do in fact want to call somebody a mistress.

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