Angela's English classes

Exercises, resources, tips, ideas and a dose of fun

How do you say ___ in English?

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Students are usually filled with questions and they always enjoy discoverying vocabulary that relates to their daily lives, especially slang. There are some words I have been asked about many a time. Below I have listed them with their meaning and an example sentence.

namesake (tocayo/a)

someone or something that has the same name as another person or thing.

One of my school teachers’ first name was Graciela which is my middle name. Sadly, we didn’t get along and I didn’t want people to know she was my namesake.

craving (antojo)

a very strong desire for something.

Honestly, I am unable to recollect if I had cravings during my pregnancy. It is said that pregnant women have  intense and unpredictable cravings.

sore loser, informal (Perú: picón/a)

someone who doesn’t take defeat well, especially one who complains. 

Several people dislike losing. Problems arise when some do not want to accept they have  lost. If you lose, don’t become a sore loser . Try to have fun!

hit man/ contract killer (sicario/a)

a person who is paid to kill someone.

It a pity this term is here. Some months ago there was news about contract killers or hit men murdering politicians or diverse victims of mafias.

henpecked, informal (pisado)

a man dominated by a woman, especially his wife

I believe that the use of this term is more than often unfair. When in a relationship,  both parts must make some sacrifices and spend quality time together. Agreeing with your wife’s or girlfriend’s requests isn’t a manifestation of domination. A henpecked man is dependent and easily controlled by his wife.

To my mind, people should stop using sexist terms as this one. Wives who are victims of violence or psychological abuse by their husbands can even put their lives in risk. It is a serious issue to bring under discussion. On the contrary, when the opposite happens –  a man being harassed by his spouse – it isn’t taken seriously.

capricious (caprichoso/a)

not logical or reasonable : based on an idea, desire, etc., that is not possible to predict.

As a teen I could be very capricious and change my mind suddenly. Like small children who might want something even if it’s bad for them, such as lots of candy.

Tupperware ® container

containers from a brand of plastic containers used for storing food.

I have just started taking my lunch to work in a plastic container. In Spanish we call this type of food storage boxes tappers. The name comes from Earl Tupper’s plastic products. Nowadays Tupperware is a brand name people use as a generic name for food storage boxes.

Notice that Rubbermaid doesn’t address its products as Tupperware ones.

http://www.rubbermaid.com/Category/Pages/Category.aspx?CatName=FoodStorage

Mischief, uncountable noun  (travesura)

All Children make mischief without bad intentions. My daughter draws on the wall or uses the shampoo to blow bubbles and makes mischief out of curiosity and fun.

Since my students are Spanish speakers it’s inevitable they notice similarities between both languages. At times they just opt for constructing nouns, adjectives or verbs as if they were cognates -words that have  the same origin or roots and the same meaning. For instance, the word animal which differs in pronunciation or invitation which is written similar to invitación. It’s so common for beginners to substitute the  -ción ending for –tion in an attempt to speak more fluently but then they get some funny words or words that actually exist but with a different meaning from one language to another. In other words, false cognates or false friends.

The most recurrent in my classes are:

Question, verb (cuestionar)

to express doubt about.

A number of learners ask whether they can question me when they mean ask.  

Actually  (en realidad)

Numerous people believe I am Chinese. Actually, I am Peruvian with a Japanese background.

You will find tons of information on false friends online. Therefore, my main interest was writing in regard to other frequently asked vocabulary.

A simplet quizlet set to review and check pronunciation:

http://quizlet.com/_u71dc

Related links:

http://spanishcognates.org/

http://spanish.about.com/cs/vocabulary/a/obviouswrong.htm

http://mentalfloss.com/article/57195/50-spanish-english-false-friend-words

It’s enjoyable to learn some new words, but you must be careful how you use them.

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Autor: satoangela

English teacher at a language institute in LIma, Peru. Interested in sharing, learning. Looking for more communication, innovation, motivation and other -tions :)

2 pensamientos en “How do you say ___ in English?

  1. EXCELLENT TEACHER

    Le gusta a 1 persona

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