Today I will talk about 7 mistakes that gringos or native English speakers make when speaking Spanish. This article will help you avoid these mistakes when speaking Spanish. I have a friend from New York (New York) who is staying with me here in Medellin while he looks for a place to live. He came here to Medellín to study Spanish. He is going to take classes at a local university. He arrived a week ago and has made many mistakes when speaking Spanish. Most of them are common gringo mistakes. So let me tell you about his mistakes so you can avoid them.
Tom (not his real name) and I went to eat at an Italian restaurant on Saturday night. And just by coincidence, the owner is a Bronx guy from what used to be an Italian neighborhood, not far from where I once lived in the Bronx.
When the “waiter” or waiter took our orders, I asked for my favorite “entrée” or appetizer:
Eggplant Parmigiana (Aubergine Parmigiana)
It was then that Tom made his first mistake. Tom asked for “a glass of wine.” You do NOT call a glass of wine a “glass”. “Glass” means drinking glass, but you must use the word “cup” when referring to a glass of wine. For example:
He gives me a glass of wine.
Can I have a glass of wine?
And the second mistake Tom made also involved the wine. It is a common mistake for English speakers to literally translate English words and phrases when speaking Spanish. So I wasn’t surprised when Tom asked for “red wine”. But that’s not how you say “red wine” in Spanish. The phrase is “vino tinto” (red wine).
Then Tom made a third mistake. Well, actually it wasn’t a mistake. Tom is also from the Bronx. And New York-born Puerto Ricans and Dominicans speak much more informal Spanish than Colombian Spanish. So that’s the kind of Spanish Tom is used to hearing.
And when Tom dropped his napkin-wrapped knife and fork to get the waiter’s attention, Tom yelled “Look!” “Look!”
When that didn’t get the “waiter” or waiter’s attention, Tom yelled “Hey!” “Hears!”
In the Bronx or in some Spanish-speaking parts of New York, you can get someone’s attention by yelling “Look!” or “Hey!” but not in columbia In Colombia, shouting “Look!” or “Hey!” “Listen!” drawing the attention of the “waiter” is considered “rude”. By the way, “rude” does NOT mean what you think it means. “Rude” is a “fake friend.” “False friends” or “false friends” are Spanish words that are pronounced and spelled very similar to English words but have very different meanings.
Rude does not mean rude or that one has a bad education. Rude means impolite. So what is the right way to get someone’s attention in Latin America?
In Latin America, to get someone’s attention, you have to say “Perdón” or “Exculpe”. But most Colombians would simply say “señor” or “ma’am” to get someone’s attention. And in Tom’s case, if the waiter (or waitress) was younger than him, words like “boy” or “boy” or “girl” are all acceptable in Colombia.
Finally, Tom caught the waiter’s attention by yelling “Hey!” And when the waiter came to our table Tom said:
The covers fell off.
Tom really surprised me with that sentence. His grammar was perfect. But his choice of vocabulary had another common gringo mistake, which now made 4 mistakes for Tom.
“Cutlery” are eating utensils. But “the covers” means “the covers” or “the covers”. So Tom should have said:
I dropped my cutlery.
I dropped my eating utensils.
Because Tom used the wrong vocabulary words, the waiter didn’t understand and asked Tom “How?”
And Tom responded and made a FIFTH mistake:
I dropped the blade.
“Cuchillo” means knife in Spanish. But “blade” means razor blade. But the waiter apparently understood Tom because he returned with a “napkin” (napkin), a “tensor” (fork), a “cuchara” (spoon), and a “knife” (knife), instead of a “blade” or razor blade. for Tom to shave.
After we finished eating, Tom made mistake number 6. He said to me in Spanish:
Let me pay the bill.
Tom gave me a very puzzled look when I responded by saying “Why? Is the waiter going to tell us a fairy tale?”
“Account” means bill or bill or restaurant check. But “tale” means story or fairy tale. So Tom should have said:
Let me pay the bill.
Let me pay the bill.
As we were leaving, Tom made a seventh and final gringo mistake. There was a couple waiting for a taxi and blocking the restaurant entrance, and this time he said “Sorry”.
The couple didn’t move but looked at Tom as if trying to get his attention. That’s when I said “excuse me,” which is the proper way to say excuse me when you’re trying to get through and someone is blocking your way. You can say “permission” or “with permission.”
So I hope that learning about Tom’s 7 mistakes helps you avoid making these same gringo mistakes when you speak Spanish.
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