false friends

涼宮

Senior Member
Sbaeneg/Castellano (Venezuela)
Although I don't think it belongs to the false friends category but to add another word to your list: szuka (sz pronounced as the s in English) means a female dog in Hungarian and also used as a derogatory term for a woman ("a lower value female thing"..., there are several different shades to its usage).
Thanks for the addition! Yes, it does belong to the false friends category :). Because it's pronounced the same and it's written similarly and it does differ in meaning from the other languages.
 
  • Riverplatense

    Senior Member
    German — Austria
    I have not read the entire thread, but I think that since there's only a limited inventory of sounds and a limited inventory of possible syllables and a practical limit of the words' length there's a lot of false friends. Two further examples which came immediately into my mind:

    • igel (Basque, ‹frog›) vs. Igel (German, ‹hedgehog›)
    • regnat (Latin, ‹reigns›) vs. regnat (Swedish, ‹rained›, supinum)
     

    ilocas2

    Banned
    Czech
    from other thread:

    Czech: Česko - Czech Republic

    Hungarian: Cseszkó (same pronunciation except long o in the end) - Czechoslovakia
    maybe they use it as nickname for Czech Republic too, I don't know

    perhaps it's rather coincidence than false friend
     
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    Self-taught

    Member
    Catalan, spanish and english
    Fart in english and Fahrt (trip) in german= Guten Fahrt! Have a nice trip.
    Marieke (dutch female name)= marica in spanish (gay). Both sound very similar. Long ago I was introduced to a girl in Holland who's name was Marieke and my eyes went open that she could realize about my surprise. Luckily I could avoid any explanation.
    Curva in spanish means curve= Kurva in some slavic languages means whore.

    Ondulat in catalan means ondulated= undulat in swedish means budgerigar. They nearly have the same pronunciation.
    Cadeira in portuguese means chair= cadera in spanish means hip (part of the body).
     

    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    from other thread:
    ... Hungarian: Cseszkó (same pronunciation except long o in the end) - Czechoslovakia
    maybe they use it as nickname for Czech Republic too, I don't know
    It is a term we used before the changes (90s), as a nickname for Czechoslovakia but I don't know whether the Czech word influenced us in its formation (don't think really).
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    -
    Swedish
    English - Swedish:
    Not - note, or annotation
    Tar - takes
    Barn - child
    Bog - bow (on a boat), or shoulder (anatomy)
    Log - smiles
    Spanish (and other Romance langs.) "you" (singular), tu "your"
    Slovenian tu "here"
    Welsh tu "side"
    Swedish: two, used in for example de unga tu (the young two)
     

    Gavril

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Irish trichae "30" < *trikonta
    Welsh trigain "60" < *tri-wikmti "3 x 20"

    Although the two words don't look hugely alike now, all their sounds seem to be cognate with one another, apart from the second -i- in trigain.
     

    ger4

    Senior Member
    German
    hallitus
    Finnish: government
    Estonian: mould

    bauda
    Latvian: delight, pleasure, treat
    Lithuanian: penalization, sanction, fine

    vale
    Estonian: false, falseness (noun=adj.)
    Spanish: okay, right, alright
    Even though v- sounds a bit different...
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    -
    Swedish
    English - Swedish:
    Egg - edge
    Lam - a person who is paraplegic
    Vast - a kind of fence on the island of Gotland
    From - devout, pious
    Asp (snake) - aspen (tree)

    German - Swedish:
    Igel (hedgehog) - leech

    French - Swedish:
    Par (through, by) - pair
     
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    涼宮

    Senior Member
    Sbaeneg/Castellano (Venezuela)
    Reddast

    Icelandic: to turn out well, to be alright.
    Norwegian Nynorsk: to be afraid, to worry.
     

    Sardokan1.0

    Senior Member
    Sardu / Italianu
    between Italian and Sardinian there are many false friends

    Brutto (ugly) Bruttu (dirty)
    Buttare (to throw away) Buttare (to puke)
    Cocomero (watermelon) Cucùmere (cucumber)
    Prendere (to take) Prendere (to immobilize, to tie) - just referred to animals
    Lato (side) Ladu (flat)
    Levare (to remove) Levare, Leare (to take) - both of them come from Latin "Levare" (to lift, to grab)
    Segare (to saw) Segare (to break, to cut)
    Stampare (to print) Istampare (to pierce)
    Mancante (missing) Mancante (idiot)
    Arreso (surrended) Arressu (immobilized in bed)
    Ciminiera (chimney) Tziminera, Tziminea (fireplace)
    Rutto (burp) Ruttu (burp) - but also past participle of Rùere (to fall)
    Salire (to go up, to climb) Salire (to add salt)
    Soldi (money) Solde (worm, maggot)
    Minuto (minute) Minudu (small change, little)
    Manta (manta ray) Manta (blanket)
    Mura (walls) Mura (blackberry)
    Matta (crazy) Matta (bush, belly, abdomen)
    Cancro (cancer) Càncaru (idiot, lazybones) - literally means "hinge"
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    Some Dutchmen pronounce ''hoor'' almost exactly the same as the English word ''whore''.

    Dutchmen add the word ''hoor'' at the end of a sentence to sound friendlier, or to emphasize something :D
     
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    Rani_Author

    Senior Member
    Indonesia - Indonesian
    the word - Hungarian meaning - Turkish meaning
    Kamu - Unreal thing - Public
    Baba - baby - father
    Emel - to lift - Scope, goal
    Harap - to bite - ruined, destroyed
    Hal - fish - situation
    Dal - song - a tree branch
    Kan - male boar - blood
    Wooowww!!! That's interesting. :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup: I have no idea to answer this thread until I saw this comment. :D

    Indonesian -- Malay:
    Kamu: you (informal general singular) -- you (very impolite singular).
    Emel: tooth enamel -- e-mail.
    Harap: hope, promise, dream -- hope.
    Hal: page, thing, matter -- case.

    Bengali -- Hindi -- Urdu:
    Dal: gravy made from vegetables and spices -- team -- lentil.
    Kan: eyes, ears -- ears -- mine, quarry.

    Hmmm... I just want to share that "baba" in bengali also means "father". But, it also could be used for father in law (because of marriage or because of adoption).

    Because you are a Turk and I'm falling in love with Turkish, would you please to give me examples of false friends between Turkish and Azerbaijani? Hmmm... how about "öykü"? Based on what I understood from any resources, in Turkish means "all of works except novel", in Azerbaijani it's just for "short story". Is it right?

    Indonesian and Malay have a lot of false friends. But, I would mention some fundamental ones because having the contradictory meanings that make Indonesians and Malayans don't understand are often upset.
    Belia: young -- young man.
    Bercinta: to make love -- to express love.
    Bual: to talk nonsense, to boast -- to chat, to talk each other.
    Budak: slave -- children, kids.
    Butuh: to need -- male sex.
    Comel: to mutter, to grumble -- pretty, interesting.
    Kaki tangan: accomplice, henchman -- employee, worker.
    Pokok: point, topic -- tree.
    Pusing: dizzy -- to go around.
    Seronok: hot (in negative meaning for a person) -- glad, happy.:rolleyes:
     
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    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    English: actual
    Dutch: actueel
    French: actuel
    Swedish/German: aktuell

    The Dutch, French, Swedish and German words mean current/topical.
     

    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    Bengali -- Hindi -- Urdu:
    Dal: gravy made from vegetables and spices -- team -- lentil.
    Kan: eyes, ears -- ears -- mine, quarry.
    These are not quite accurate.
    daal = lentils (cooked or uncooked) in both Bengali and Hindi/Urdu. However the Bengali word has a retroflex D, while Hindi-Urdu has a dental d, and hence differs in pronunciation as well as native spelling.
    daal means "branch of a tree" when pronounced with a retroflex D in both Hindi-Urdu and Bengali (so, in Bengali, the "lentil" and "branch" words are homonyms, in Hindi-Urdu they are not).
    dal = team in both Bengali and Hindi, with a dental d in both languages, but the pronunciation of the "a" differs. And "a" differs in pronunciation (and native spelling) from "aa" in Bengali, Hindi and Urdu - all of them.
    There is no false friend here.

    kaan = ear, again in Bengali, Hindi and Urdu - all of them. However, in Urdu it has the additional meaning of "mine/quarry" (but the "ear" meaning and "mine" meaning have different genders). Hindi also has the same word, but with an aspirated "k" (i.e. khaan). Bengali indeed lacks this meaning. So, there may be a false friend here, but rather marginally.

    =======

    A few Bengali vs Hindi-Urdu false friends that came to my mind:
    maathaa : B. head, HU. forehead
    shesh : B. end, H. remainder
    ghum- (verb) : B. sleep, HU. rotate, etc.
    so- (verb) : B. lie down, HU. sleep
    ghur- (verb): B. rotate, etc., HU. stare
     
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    Toddy96

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Argentina
    "English word - Spanish similar word and its (meaning in English)".

    Embarassed - Embarazada (pregnant)
    Dinner - Dinero (money)
    Exit - Éxito (succes) There's a meme about this.
    Once - Once (eleven)
    Rope - Ropa (clothes)
    Realize - Realizar (make/do)
    Bomber - Bombero (firefighter)
    Cartoon - Cartón (cardboard)
    Dice - Dice (he/she/it says)
    Recollection - Recolección (to collect/gather/harvest)
    Salad - Salado (salty)
    Record - Recordar (to remember)
    Fabric - Fábrica (factory)
    Arena - Arena (sand) Sandy Cheeks is "Arenita Mejillas" in Spanish :D
    Actually - Actualmente ("nowadays", this is one of the most common mistakes in english students here)
    Terrific - Terrorífico (terryfing)
    Luxury - Lujuria (lust:eek:)
    Crude - Crudo (raw)
    Bigot - Bigote (mustache)
    Balloon - Balón (ball)
    Pan - Pan (bread)
    Sunrise - Sonrisa (smile)
     

    apmoy70

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Spanish vida (fem.), life < Lat. vīta (fem.) < PIE *gʷeih₃w- to live cf Skt. जीव (jivah), life, Gr. βίος (bíŏs), life
    MoGr βίδα [ˈviða] (fem.), screw < Ven. vida (fem.), vine < Lat. vītis (fem.), vine < PIE *ueh₁y- to twist, weave cf Proto-Slavic *viti, to wind, twist
     

    Sardokan1.0

    Senior Member
    Sardu / Italianu
    English : to speak
    German : sprechen

    vs

    Sardinian : ispricare, isplicare (the action of talking, the mouth's movement) from Latin "explicare" (to explain)

    while the verb "to speak" is translated in Sardinian as "faveddare, faeddare", from vulgar Latin "fabellare, favellare"
     

    ilocas2

    Banned
    Czech
    Tenfold false friends. As easy as pie! ;)

    far
    1. English = remote in place
    2. Albanian = lighthouse
    3. Danish = father
    4. Esperanto = by
    5. Faroese = drive, tour
    6. Hungarian = buttocks
    7. Italian = short form of fare
    8. Maltese = mouse
    9. Scottisch Gaelic = where
    10.Turkish = headlight; eye shadow
    11. Czech = genitive plural of fara (= clergy house)
     

    Doraemon-

    Senior Member
    "Spanish - Spain" "Catalan - Valencia"
    There are even false friends on words directly taken from another language.
    "Macho" in French and English means "sexist, arrogant male", while in Spanish (where they've taken it from) it simply means "male"
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    There are even false friends on words directly taken from another language.
    "Macho" in French and English means "sexist, arrogant male", while in Spanish (where they've taken it from) it simply means "male"
    I think this happens very often, in the original language the word has a very general usage, while in the borrowing languages it has a more strict meaning, which usually includes its origin. For example, manga (= Japanese comic) simply means "comic" in Japanese, cosmonaut (= Soviet astronaut) simply means "astronaut" in Russian, or führer (= Hitler, or authoritarian leader by extension), simply means "leader" or "guide" in German, without negative connotations afaik.
     

    Gavril

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    There are some terms that have one meaning in English, and another meaning in most continental European languages.

    For example,

    control
    English: "to direct"
    rest of Europe: "to inspect, check" (French contrôler, German kontrollieren, Polish kontrolować, etc.)

    eventual
    English: "ultimate, occurring in the end"
    rest of Europe: "possible, hypothetical" (French éventuel, Swedish eventuell, Russian eventual'nyi, etc.)

    rubric
    English: not a very common term, but has a tendency to mean “standards, framework”
    rest of Europe: "heading, title" (Spanish rúbrica, Fr. rubrique, Dutch rubriek, Russian rubrika, etc.)

    NB – in many cases, it may be possible to the English and continental terms synonymously; this comparison is just about the most common meanings of each term.
     

    apmoy70

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Greek «θήτα» [ˈθi.ta] (neut.) --> letter Θ,θ
    Spanish (Castillian pron.) cita [ˈθi.ta] (fem.) --> date, appointment

    Greek «πέλος» [ˈpe.lɔs] (masc.) --> pile, nap
    Spanish pelos [pe.lɔ̝s] (masc. pl.) --> hair

    Greek «μύγα» [ˈmi.ɣa] (fem.) --> fly (insect)
    Spanish miga [ˈmi.ɣa] (fem.) --> crumb, bit

    Greek «κουράδα» [kuˈɾa.ða] (fem.) --> turd, flop (slang)
    Spanish curada [kuˈra.ða] (fem.) --> drunken, intoxicated (slang)

    Greek «δέντρο» [ˈðen.drɔ] (neut.), colloquialism of «δένδρο» [ˈðen.ðrɔ] (neut.) --> tree
    Spanish dentro [ˈden.trɔ̝] (adv.) --> inside

    Greek «αστείο» [asˈti.ɔ] (neut.) --> joke
    Spanish hastío [asˈti.ɔ̝] (masc.) --> boredom

    Greek «βρώμα» [ˈvrɔ.ma] (fem.) --> stench
    Spanish broma [ˈbrɔ̝.ma] (fem.) --> joke
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    Jamaican Patois - nyam = to eat (loanword from a West African language)

    Dutch - njam = what you say when you're eating something delicious, like "om nom nom" or "yummy" in English
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    control
    English: "to direct"
    rest of Europe: "to inspect, check" (French contrôler, German kontrollieren, Polish kontrolować, etc.)
    I've never thought of any meaningful difference between "to control" and Spanish "controlar", but I may be wrong.

    rubric
    English: not a very common term, but has a tendency to mean “standards, framework”
    rest of Europe: "heading, title" (Spanish rúbrica, Fr. rubrique, Dutch rubriek, Russian rubrika, etc.)
    "Rúbrica" isn't a very common word in Spanish either, and the first thing that comes to mind when I hear it is one of these evaluation tables (for example to assess a school project).
     

    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    In Czech, rubrika (< rubrum) means mostly a column (writen by a columnist) in a newspaper or magazine, the Czech term is sloupek (= little column), sloupkař (= columnist).
     

    Zareza

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Romanian
    matka (Pol.) = mother
    matcă = queen bee; lode
    far (many languages)
    far = lighthouse
    bol (Turk.) = plenty of
    bol = bowl
    baba - baby (Hung.) - father (Turk.)
    babă (pejorative) = old woman
    harap - to bite (Hung.) - ruined, destroyed (Turk.)
    harap - hope, promise, dream (Indonesian) - hope (Malay)
    harap = Arab
    bal - left direction (Hung.) - honey (Turk.)
    bal = prom, dance, ballroom
    el - away (Hung.) - hand (Turk.)
    el = he
    csók - kiss (Hung.) - çok - very / many (Turk.)
    cioc = beak; knock-knock / tap, tap; goatee (pronunced the same in all three languages)
    sok (Hung.) = many, much
    soc = elderberry
    pas
    Lithuanian: at, to (būti pas draugą - to be at friend's [place], eiti pas draugą - to go to friend's [place])
    Polish: belt
    Croatian: dog
    pas = step
    prima CAT: lean woman; ES: cousin (fem.)
    prima (fem.)= first
    Some more between Swedish and English
    kock (chef)
    fack (compartment)
    gem (paperclip)
    glass (ice cream)
    coc = bun, chignon
    (eu) fac = I do / make
    gem = jam
    glas = voice
     
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    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Tenfold false friends. As easy as pie! ;)

    far
    1. English = remote in place
    2. Albanian = lighthouse
    3. Danish = father
    4. Esperanto = by
    5. Faroese = drive, tour
    6. Hungarian = buttocks
    7. Italian = short form of fare
    8. Maltese = mouse
    9. Scottisch Gaelic = where
    10.Turkish = headlight; eye shadow
    11. Czech = genitive plural of fara (= clergy house)
    Romanian
    far
    = lighthouse
    13. far = lighthouse in Catalan too.
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    In Czech, rubrika (< rubrum) means mostly a column (writen by a columnist) in a newspaper or magazine, the Czech term is sloupek (= little column), sloupkař (= columnist).
    In modern Dutch, a rubriek is something that is always on the same page in a newspaper or magazine.

    f.i. de sportrubriek
     

    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    Yes.

    sportovní rubrika, rubrika pro ženy (for women), etc.

    However, in "normal" newspapers there is a whole page (or several :)) dedicated to sport (sportovní stránka).
     
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    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Some between Catalan and French:

    Catalan: brut (dirty)
    French: brut (raw, crude)

    Catalan: fracàs (failure)
    French: fracas (loud noise)

    Catalan: oratge (land breeze)(weather in Valencian)
    French: orage (storm)

    Catalan: pastís (cake)
    French: pastis (pastis, anise-flavoured liqueur)

    Catalan: sot (hole on the ground)
    French: sot (fool, dumb)

    And very important. The Catalan
    fricandó is different from the Southern French and Swiss fricandeau.
     

    Gavril

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    I've never thought of any meaningful difference between "to control" and Spanish "controlar", but I may be wrong.
    controlar/control may be closer semantically to Eng. control than most of its counterparts, but the "inspect" meaning still seems noticeably more prominent than in English.

    E.g. a phrase like control médico ("check-up" according to the WR dictionary) would be misunderstood if one simply assumed that meaning of control in this phrase matched that of Eng. control.
     

    Gavril

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    There are some terms that have one meaning in English, and another meaning in most continental European languages.
    Another item to add to this list:
    redaction

    English:
    "edition", "deletion/censoring of text", etc.
    Many/most other European languages:
    "editorial staff/department (at a newspaper, etc.)", and in many/most Romance languages, "written composition"
     
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