Stupid Things I’ve Said In Spanish This Week (a.k.a. Honduras Day 4)

Erik Cooper —  June 16, 2010 — 6 Comments

I know just enough Spanish to be dangerous. And the longer I spend here in Honduras, the more confident I get.  That is, until I say something stupid.  Really stupid.

For the last two days, I’ve asked countless children to smile for the camera. The Spanish word is sonrisa, however somewhere in the (evidently small) portion of my brain that stores Hispanic vocabulary, I pulled the word sangria from the filing cabinet. Innocent enough, right?

Except sangria just happens to be the Spanish word for bleeding. I must have sounded like some kind of horror-flick-loving American psychopath.  “Look at the camera kids.  OK, now bleed!”  Oops.

Glad I didn’t say that to the crazy guy carrying the machete.

But the ultimate slip of the Spanish tongue came while visiting our sponsor child Jorge yesterday morning.  When we first arrived, he was incredibly quiet.  Shy.  You might even say embarrassed.

And in my attempt to address the issue, I did what all intelligent Americans do when butchering the Spanish language:  I added an “o” to the end of the word.

That usually works, right?  Hungry-o.  Tired-o.  Bathroom-o.

“Jorge, tu estas embarazado.”

Thinking I had so smoothly told young Jorge he was acting embarassed, I was a little surprised when he and his brothers couldn’t stop laughing.

Embarazado = Pregnant

Gringo estupido.

6 responses to Stupid Things I’ve Said In Spanish This Week (a.k.a. Honduras Day 4)

  1. Erik – Don’t feel bad 🙂 I once told a Guatemalan clerk that “Yo necessito aqua para mi caballa” …. I said MEANT to say “I need water for my face” what I said was “I need water for my horse.”. giggle

    Jim was/is INFAMOUS for just putting an “o” at the end of English words to communicate in Spanish. It led to much giggling and smirking by our friends (and strangers) in Guatemala.

    In fact, while ordering food once was asked “el gringo estupidio?” to his face! snort That will forever be a family joke.

    We have nicknames after our Guatemalan adverntures: Jim is”Diego” and I am “Dora” .

    Enjoy the journey my friend!


    PS Our family is headed back to Guatemala soon to help with the creation of a new orphanage near where Aven was born! Kewl yeh?! Any City Comm people are welcome to come! Central America is addicting!!

  2. Don’t feel bad! When I was translating in front of a church in Hungary for an American pastor I accidentally said the F word instead of bass guitar – the words are identical but there is an accent on the a for bass and i accidentally pronounced it without it and had no idea that I had said the F word. The whole church was laughing and laughing and someone had to come tell me what I said…

  3. That’s alright, Erik, one of our docs this week slipped up on his Maa (language of the Maasai) and told one of his patients that he would cut his ear off. So much for bedside manners!

  4. Now that’s hilarious!

  5. I did the same thing in El Salvador years ago. I was giving my testimony in front of a good sized crowd. Only difference was that I told the crowd I was embarazado (pregnant!)

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