The Blog

Five Hilarious Blunders NOT to Make When You Learn Spanish!


5 Horrid yet Hilarious Blunders NOT to Make When You are Learning Spanish!

(WARNING: If you actually SPEAK SPANISH, this article may contain offensive language!)

Moving to a foreign can be exciting and challenging. One thing it's not, is - BORING!

When I decided to move to Barcelona, Spain 15 years ago, I was expecting some interesting adventures and challenges. Over the years, that certainly became a reality with many funny, frustrating and/or fulfilling experiences.

However, one thing I had severely under-estimated, was my linguistic ability.

I certainly didn't realise how difficult it would be for an Anglo Mono-linguist like myself to learn Spanish. Afterall, I had studied Spanish at high school and I had managed to backpack my way through South America. Many people told me that Spanish was one of the easiest foreign languages to learn, due to the fact that it shares the same alphabet with English.

Well, I was in for a big surprise!

However, I was committed to overcoming this massive communication barrier and I tortured myself with 4 hours of Spanish classes per day. Additionally, I immersed myself in local life and sought out local friendships. However, linguistically I struggled through the first few years in Spain and I managed to make some pretty HORRID errors.

Now that the time has passed, and eased that terrible sting of embarrassment, I thought it was time to share the top 5 Spanish blunders in hopes to either:

a) Save some other poor soul from making these same mistakes.


b) Allow my blunders to add a bit of a laughter to somebody's mundane day.

So here they are:

Top 5 Horrid Blunders NOT to Make When You are Learning Spanish:


It was the early days in my clinic as I politely "listened" to my patient describe his problems and symptoms.

After a his lengthly spiel, I handed him a gown and THOUGHT that I kindly asked him to change so that I could examine his spine and discover the root of his problem.

However, upon my return I was quite surprised to find him naked on the floor, using the gown as a mat and moving his legs in the air as if he were riding a bicycle!

Oops! I don't know WHAT I told him, but I calmly said.

"Well, now that you have passed that test, let's move on shall we."


You have probably noticed that in the Spanish language that there is a cute little "squiggle" above one of the N's. Apparently it can be quite important!

In the first year of practice in Barcelona, I decided to send all of my clients a nice Christmas card in the mail.

My Spanish teacher had recently told us that when you CAPITILIZE all the letters in a word, that you don't need to worry about adding the accent.

Unfortunately, I thought that applied to the squiggle on the "N" as well.


So, I had 500 cards printed and mailed out to my clients that said:


TRANSLATION: "Merry Christmas and a Happy (Arse)-hole!"



If you have studied any Latin language, you have probably also been confused at times with the need to memorize if a word ends in an "a" or and "o" (depending on whether it is masculine of feminine).

Well, apparently that is quite important as well! I discovered this whilst dining with my new Spanish friends.

After, the waiter explained the specials, I thought I would show off my linguistic mastery and proudly ordered:

"La polla a la plancha"

TRANSLATION: "I will have your grilled male genitalia please!"

RESULT: Big grin from the waiter, laughter from my friends, and a bright red face for me!


One day I was asked to substitute for a doctor who fell suddenly ill and couldn't make it to his office.

There is not a huge variety of names in Spain, like we are used to in Anglo-countries. During the day you can see 4 Maria's, 3 Pablos and 2 Annas for example.

So, I spent a good portion of the day greeting various males with a hearty,

"Nice to see you, Joder, how can I help you?"

(Apparently, I was confusing confusing the NAME Jordi with the SWEARWORD Joder.)

Translation: "Nice to see you, F*#¿-er, how may I help you?"



(Saving the best for last, this one is compliments of my husband):

On a pleasant summer evening my husband and I went for a lovely walk on the beach and stopped at a busy ice cream shop for a break. After waiting in line for ten minutes, we finally reached to the counter to order:

The young girl behind the counter smiled and greeted us as my husband said:

"Quiero el conyo con nata y fresa, por favor"

The poor girl's face turned bright red, and the crowd in line burst out laughing:

Translation: "I would like a vagina with strawberries and cream please."


If you have never attempted a foreign language, I hope you are laughing WITH us and not AT us.

Thank you for NOT sharing!


Before You Go