While ordering meals and drinks, getting around town and shopping for groceries, you can probably get by speaking English in Puerto Vallarta, yet Mexicans love when you try to speak Spanish. They consider it respectful and it makes it seem like you really want to be here.
It’s good to know a few words but the best efforts can sometimes get one in trouble, or in some cases, cause an uncomfortable situation. One of the most commonly misunderstood words in the Spanish language is embarazada. Though it sounds like the English word for ’embarrassed,’ it actually means pregnant!
Estoy embarazada means I am pregnant, not I am embarrassed, and when spoken by a male can be even more awkward. No worries however, since Mexicans have a great sense of humor, will laugh with people rather than at them… and you have opened the opportunity for a valuable language lesson.
People in Puerto Vallarta love to share their language with foreigners and you will find many language schools for those willing to communicate in the area they’ve decided to visit… or live. Lessons are intensive or as brief as eager students are willing to endeavor.
Back in the Mad Men days, some brilliant Don-Draper-type came up with an ad campaign clever enough to make any Adman very proud… all but for the exception it was potentially disastrous for the company represented, once it was translated from its native English.
It took Parker Pen months to pull the ads from the Mexican market. While advertising their product in Mexico, Parker Pen made the same claim they did in their English worded ads: “Won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you.” Translated that was “No te embarazara chorreandose en tu bolsillo” which means “Won’t leak in your pocket and impregnate you.”
We have found it best to consult our friends in Puerto Vallarta when we have a question about language. We find that relying on travel sites is not always the best idea for advice when it comes to matters that may just get a little too personal.
Mexico Daily Post