Sometimes James and I feel like we are the victims of a vast language conspiracy. Just when we start to think we’re getting the hang of Spanish, a new grammar or vocabulary challenge reveals itself, and we realize we’ve been saying something incorrectly for weeks. Here are some of our latest blunders:

1. La Jubilación

Jubilación looks like the English word “jubilation,” right? Guess again: it actually means “retirement.” No wonder people were looking at me funny during last week’s Bible study, when I referred to Easter as a season of retirement. (The correct word is júbilo.)

2. Los Ananás

If you’re a fan of tropical frozen beverages, you might remember that the word for “pineapple” is piña, as in piña colada. In Argentina, however, the word for “pineapple” is ananá, or, if you have more than one pineapple, ananás. For me, this leads to some confusion with the Spanish word for Satan, Satanás.

I have yet to muddle the two words in public, but I know it won’t be long before I have Jesus saying to Peter in Matthew 16:23, “Get behind me, Pineapples!”

Canasta de basura

Sanitation, Argentina-style. Household garbage goes in metal baskets on 4-foot-tall poles, out of the reach of dogs. The garbage truck comes by every evening.

3. El Saneamiento

James was working on a sermon and wanted to talk about “Jesus, who brings healing.” The word for “to heal” is sanar, so he deduced that “healing” must be saneamiento.

Fortunately he thought to check the dictionary, because it turned out that he was about to preach on “Jesus, who brings sanitation.” (The correct word is curación.)

4 Responses to “Miscommunication”

  1. 1 Thandiwe

    These are wonderful! I’ve definitely had my share of language bungles. Unfortunately, my mispronunciations have not only been slightly funny but often words that no one would EVER teach me (whoops!).

  2. thanks for the laughs! one word that always trips up my husband is – pero vs. perro, we can relate!

  1. 1 In on the Joke « resistanceandacceptance

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