False friends are all over the place and jump up and bite you when you least expect it.
I’ve been reminded of an old classic this week – the Spanish word for “success” which is “éxito”. It’s good to be bold and take a guess at words sometimes, but if you were ever tempted to try “suceso” for “success”, you would in fact being talking about an “event”. Actually “sucesos” are the bits of news referring to accidents, murders, robberies and such like, which newspapers often print on a separate “sucesos” page after all the political stuff.
If on the other hand you try to use “éxito” to mean “exit” you’re also in trouble. As any regular Spanish car park user knows, the word for “exit” is “salida” – that sign that takes you round in several circles before finally releasing you back into big wide world. So, have you got that? “Success” is “éxito”, “suceso” is “event”, “exit” is “salida”, but guess what, the word for an organised event is “evento”. You see you just can’t win!