What's the deal with the German word "bekommen"?

False Friend in German: Real lexical frenemies – words that sound similar in two languages but have quite different meanings in each can really trip you up. Today’s false friends are the German “bekommen” and the English “to become”. Confusing these two can lead to particularly hilarious results:

– “bekommen” means “to get” or “to receive”
– “to become” means “to transform into” or “to turn into”

So, “Ich bekomme ein Baby” would NOT mean “I am turning into a baby”! And “I became a thirty-year-old on my birthday” most definitely should not sound like you RECEIVED a thirty-year-old for your birthday!

Rather, Germans use the word “werden” (e.g. “Wir werden Kollegen”) to express what they turn into.

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