Cheeky chicken

While studying in Spain, my room-mate wanted to use some of the vocabulary she had learned in that day's class. She was excited to find out that lunch that day was chicken and potatoes, as they were on her vocabulary list. So she said to the teacher: Señora, ¿vamos a comer polla con patatas esta tarde? - thinking she was asking "Are we going to eat chicken and potatoes this afternoon?" But everyone at the table began to laugh hysterically except for the señora, who with a straight face said Nunca comemos eso en la mesa. - "We never eat that at the table". She then pointed at me to explain to my room-mate that we were going to eat pollo - chicken - and not polla - which in Spain refers to a male part of the anatomy!

Sent by: Stephanie


CJ 2007-12-31

Ooh chicken ... so many mistakes, so little time. Travelling with a student group in Spain, we were all presented at dinner with a chicken leg quarter, and I really wanted white meat. So, I quickly checked my pocket dictionary and, knowing I only had a fifty-fifty chance of making the right choice, I asked the waiter, Tiene un seno, breast? To which he blinked and asked, ¿Mande, señorita? I tried pecho, chest, and he finally said, Ah, quiere una pechuga, chicken chest. I was so relieved it only got that bad!

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Maria 2007-08-13

Great stories! About the second story, I'd just like to add that the word for rabbit, conejo, is also a mild slang term in Spain meaning the exact same thing (the other word is really rude), so it's easy to confuse.

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Vix 2006-04-03

I made that mistake in my GCSE oral (any pun is entirely unintentional!) exam. Thankfully I learnt it before I attempted ordering food in Spain.

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Mary C. 2005-09-30

An elderly friend of mine, recently retired to Spain, made the same mistake with 'chicken' but I won't enhance on that one. Also one day, trying hard to be independant in the butchers shop, she proudly asked the assistant for a kilo of castillos. Of course she wanted costillas, ribs, not castillos, castles.

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Miguel 2005-10-10

In Latin America polla doesn't mean what it does in Spain. It means young chicken'and also a young girl (usually pollita). It also means 'jackpot' as in la polla millonaria.

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Tony 2005-06-09

This has caused more than its share of hilarity in the local market when one of the British visitors says Quiero una polla grande, por favor - and is usually met with the response ¡Yo también!

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Alex 2005-06-09

Whilst studying abroad in Valencia, I shared a flat with two Spanish boys. One day, José Luis's parents came to visit, ostensibly for lunch, but also to meet me. So, as we sat down to a lovely meal of roast chicken, salad and crusty bread, I was asked what I would like to eat. Nervously, I assured his mum that I loved chicken - me gusta la polla. Unfortunately, what I actually professed a fondness for was rather more rude than that. Let's just say that in Spanish the word polla is used as slang for a certain part of a man's anatomy, and leave it at that!!!! What I should have said was el pollo. Needless to say, his mother was fairly shocked, but fortunately for me this was quickly followed by gales of laughter, so I was off the hook!

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Lisanne 2005-06-09

While on holiday in Spain, I wanted to show off to my fiancé how well I could speak the language. We wanted a traditional Spanish dish so I asked for coño y patatas fritas, thinking I was ordering rabbit and chips. We watched as our waiter fell about laughing, told his two friends at the bar what I wanted and they hid behind the bar! All you could hear was the sound of the three men laughing. Imagine my embarrassment when they explained I'd asked for the female part of the anatomy and chips!

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