When you are learning a language, it is easy to brush off certain things as unimportant. You simply want to get your point across, so you can’t waste time trying to perfect every aspect of your speech when you need to communicate. Usually, this is fine and with enough context, you will be understood, more or less. However, it can lead to some embarrassing situations.
Cargar and cagar: When a little R makes a big difference
This story happened to someone we can refer to as Katie.
Katie was in a study abroad program in Argentina, living with a Spanish speaking family. Her Spanish was quite good, but she still had a notable accent. One of Katie’s best traits is that she spoke with confidence – whether she was right or not.
One day she walked into the kitchen where her host mother and 4 year old host sister were having a snack. Katie needed to charge her camera battery and couldn’t find an open outlet so she walked right up to her host mom, held out the camera battery and said: ¿Puedo cagar?
Her little sister immediately burst out laughing and began repeating what she had said. Katie was confused at first, until her host mom corrected her, saying the word she was looking for must be cargar.
So what´s the big deal?
¿Puedo cargar? means Can I charge?
¿Puedo cagar? menas Can I shit?
You can imagine why the 4 year old was so amused. Wouldn’t you be?
Can you think of any other one letter mistakes that could be disastrous?
Check out these other articles about Spanish Lessons.
Featured photo credit: Toilet.CapitolHill.SE.WDC.22sep05 by ElvertBarnes via flickr