false friends

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    Russian: сука [ˈsukə] = bitch
    Catalan: suca [ˈsukə] = dip it in
    In Tsakonian (the sole MoGreek dialect deriving from the ancient Doric Greek dialect) σούκα [ˈsuka] (neut. nom. pl.) = figs (σούκο [ˈsuko̞] is fig (neut. nom.)); in Standard Modern Greek after iotacism, the same word is σύκο/σύκα [ˈsiko̞] (neut. nom. sing.)/[ˈsika] (neut. nom pl.) < Classical neuter noun σῦκον sûkŏn = fig, probably a Mediterranean Wanderwort (compare Latin fīcus & Old Armenian թուզ (tʿuz))
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    No lo es. “La boca” significa “рoт”. “Род” significa “la generación” o “el linaje”.

    ¡Ups, errata realmente imperdonable! :oops:

    ¡Gracias! ¡Es pasiva! (<-another false friend :p)

    In Tsakonian (the sole MoGreek dialect deriving from the ancient Doric Greek dialect) σούκα [ˈsuka] (neut. nom. pl.) = figs (σούκο [ˈsuko̞] is fig (neut. nom.)); in Standard Modern Greek after iotacism, the same word is σύκο/σύκα [ˈsiko̞] (neut. nom. sing.)/[ˈsika] (neut. nom pl.) < Classical neuter noun σῦκον sûkŏn = fig, probably a Mediterranean Wanderwort (compare Latin fīcus & Old Armenian թուզ (tʿuz))

    And this is why I always tell people who write ps- in Spanish without the p-, that if they write sicología instead of psicología, they're dealing with figs, not the soul! :)
     
    There's a lot of funny false friends between Polish and Czech .

    Czech : nápad = idea, concept . Pol. (pomysł) but we say: tok myślenia = train of thought
    Polish : napad = assault , attack. Czech (útok) .....:D

    Polish : chudy = thin
    Czech : chudý = poor

    Polish : miłość = love
    Czech : milost = mercy

    Polish : odbyt = anus
    Czech : odbyt = sale , market ...

    Polish : opona = tyre
    Czech : opona = curtain

    Polish : panna = Miss , colleen
    Czech : panna = virgin

    Polish : nieprzytomny = unconscious
    Czech : nepřítomný = absent

    Polish : zachód = sunset
    Czech : záchod = WC
     
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    Cork Irish

    Senior Member
    British English
    Well in Russian шукать is a dialectal word meaning "to look for". And in Ukrainian it is шукати, and in Belarusian шукаць. Apparently these are borrowings from the Polish szukać, which comes from the German söken. But in Czech šukat means "to fuck".
     

    Cork Irish

    Senior Member
    British English
    These are not strictly false friends, but many non-Irish people will have been tripped up by the signs for Ladies and Gents (= toilets) in Ireland. Fir and Mná. Someone who didn't know Irish might think mná was the men's loos and fir the ladies', but fir means "men" and mná "women".
     

    Cork Irish

    Senior Member
    British English
    I’ve never used nor heard it. The only place you could learn the word from is jail.
    Thanks. I think that when the Russian Wiktionary lists words as "dialectal", it often means they are found only in the southern Russian area adjacent to the Ukraine. (In linguistic terms, what the Russians might regard as southern Russian dialects could easily be Ukrainian dialects, or dialects transitional to Ukrainian.)

    Wiktionary has:
    • диал., прост. искать, разыскивать ◆ Теперь и пойдут шукать по всем приискам, кто продавал Синицыну золото… Д. Н. Мамин-Сибиряк, «Золотуха», 1883 г. (цитата из Национального корпуса русского языка, см. Список литературы)
    But Mamin-Sibiryak was from near Perm. There are fairly recent examples in the Russian National Corpus, but I accept your point that this is not standard Russian.
     
    Górnołużycki (szuknyć – ‘szepnąć, podszepnąć’). Czasowniki szepnąć i szukać byłby w świetle takiej teorii ściśle powiązane etymologicznie.

    In Upper Sorbian ( szuknyć – ‘szepnąć, podszepnąć’ = whisper ) The verbs szepnąć i szukać could be strictly related etymologically.
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    Both Greek and Serbian share the forms "kameno, kameni, kamena, kamenu, kamene".
    (Greek spelling: καμένο, καμένη/καμένοι, καμένα, καμένου, καμένε).
    In Greek it's past participle meaning "burnt", in Serbian it's adjective referring to "stone".

    Also, in Esperanto "kameno" is "fireplace".

    P.S. Presumably this word exists in other Slavic languages too.
     
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    Both Greek and Serbian share the forms "kameno, kameni, kamena, kamenu, kamene".
    (Greek spelling: καμένο, καμένη/καμένοι, καμένα, καμένου, καμένε).
    In Greek it's past participle meaning "burnt", in Serbian it's adjective referring to "stone".

    Also, in Esperanto "kameno" is "fireplace".

    P.S. Presumably this word exists in other Slavic languages too.
    Yes that's right : камень, камък , kámen , kamień , kameň, камінь etc.
    In Greek : πέτρα, Italian : pietra , Romanian : piatră , French : pierre , Spanish: piedra , Catalan: pedra. etc
     

    Gavril

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Some more cases where English routinely has false friends with continental European languages:


    1.
    English politics

    French politique, Spanish política, German Politik, Polish polytyka, etc.

    The continental words mean both "politics" and "policy", whereas the English term only has the first of these meanings.


    2.
    English society

    Romance societé, sociedad, sociedade, società

    The English and Romance terms overlap in some of their meanings, but the Romance words also have the meaning of "company, firm, business organization", which isn't normally conveyed by English society.

    (NB: I'm not sure if the meaning of "company"/"business" is present in Romanian societate or Catalan societat, but all the other main Romance languages seem to have it.

    I'm also not sure if Portuguese sociedade refers to any business whatsoever – so far, I've only found the meanings "joint venture, partnership".)
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    This also used to trip me up in French. Dutch has politiek (politics) and beleid (policy).

    English has the word "president" which can be the leader of a country or a company. Dutch and French don't have that.
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    One thing I can't seem to learn naturally is writing implements! I think I know these words, but every time I have to use them, I get confused due to all of the false friends.

    The English word PENCIL looks like the word for brush in other languages.
    The English word CRAYON looks like French crayon.
    The Swedish word PENNA is used for both pens and pencils.

    EnglishFrenchSwedishDutch
    penun styloen (bläck)pennade pen
    fountain penune penne, un stylo-plumeen reservoarpennade vulpen
    ballpoint pen, biroun stylo à bille, un stylo-bille, un bicen kulspetspennade balpen, de stylo, de bic
    pencilun crayonen (blyerts)pennahet potlood
    colo(u)red pencilun crayon de couleuren färgpennahet kleurpotlood
    chalkune craieen kritahet krijt
    crayon, (wax) pastelune craie de cire, une craie grasseen färgkritahet waskrijt, de wasco
    (paint)brushun pinceauen penselhet penseel, de kwast, de verfborstel

    Furthermore, Dutch distinguishes between a big brush like this (verfborstel, kwast) and a thin brush (penseel), but English and French don't make such a distinction, and I don't think Swedish does either.

    So Dutch speakers use four words (pen, potlood, kwast/verfborstel, penseel) whereas Swedes only use two words (penna, pensel)!
     
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    clamor

    Senior Member
    French - France
    EnglishFrenchSwedishDutch
    penun styloen (bläck)pennade pen
    fountain penune penne, un stylo-plumeen reservoarpennade vulpen
    ballpoint pen, biroun stylo à bille, un stylo-bille, un bicen kulspetspennade balpen, de stylo, de bic
    pencilun crayonen (blyerts)pennahet potlood
    colo(u)red pencilun crayon de couleuren färgpennahet kleurpotlood
    chalkune craieen kritahet krijt
    crayon, (wax) pastelune craie de cire, une craie grasseen färgkritahet waskrijt, de wasco
    (paint)brushun pinceauen penselhet penseel, de kwast, de verfborstel
    I never heard ''une penne'' in French :confused:
     

    Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    "Penne" in French in this context refers to the tail or wing feather of a bird (probably something like a goose) used as 'a quill' - another old-fashioned English word.

    penne


    nf
    1 (zoologie) grande plume de l'aile ou de la queue, chez les oiseaux

    Source: penne definition | French definition dictionary | Reverso

    You could at a stretch call it 'a pen' in English, I suppose, but most people associate the word today with 'Parker's' or 'biros'.
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    Penne is Latin for feather.

    Still, the dictionary mentions penne under vulpen/biro, not under veer/feather (= plume).

    Maybe the dictionary Mijnwoordenboek is wrong?
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    But Mamin-Sibiryak was from near Perm. There are fairly recent examples in the Russian National Corpus, but I accept your point that this is not standard Russian.
    According to dictionaries it's present in south-western Russian dialects, but it's not standard Russian indeed. I've actually heard it in Russian only from ethnic Ukrainians or in regional communities of Ukrainian descent (recognizing themselves as ethnic Russians but speaking what's essentially an Ukrainian dialect heavily influenced by Standard Russian).
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    Another actual false friend:

    Icelandic flana = to rush (the original meaning)
    French flâner = to stroll, to walk slowly :eek:

    And another false friend?

    Dutch file = traffic jam (so driving very slowly)
    French filer = to go fast :eek:

    Penne is Latin for feather.
    I should have said penna.
     

    Gavril

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    I've collected some good ones in the last several months:

    1.
    US/Canadian English mail "postal service" (or letters/packages/etc. delivered through this service)

    In numerous other languages, mail (or a similar-sounding word) refers specifically to e-mail: for example, German Mail, French mail/mél, Swedish mejl, and Polish mail/mejl, refer to e-mail (as a service), or to an individual e-mail message, but never (as far as I know) to traditional postal delivery.

    --------------------


    2.
    English to pack up is semantically similar to the more basic verb to pack (albeit not quite synonymous): it means to place something in a pack, bag or similar, for the purpose of transporting it. (For example, ”It's time to pack up our sleeping bags and set off.”)

    By contrast, Swedish packa upp means "to unpack" – i.e., to remove the contents of a pack/package.

    (I'm not sure if the object of packa upp is normally the pack/bag itself, or the object(s) inside it. English unpack can take either.)


    -----------------------

    3.
    French abonner "to subscribe (to a service, etc.)", German abonnieren "to subscribe", Scandinavian abonnere/abonnera "to subscribe", Russian abonirovat'sja "to subscribe"

    vs.

    Spanish abonar "to subscribe", but also "to pay, settle" and "to fertilize" (cf. abono "fertilizer, compost, installment (of a payment)", etc.)

    vs.

    Portuguese abonar "to endorse", "to attest", "to provide (money) in advance", etc. (abono: "allowance", "advance", "bonus")


    (NB: I don't know about the semantic nuances of all the words that I translated "subscribe" above – e.g. not all of them are necessarily the main word for "subscribe" in their respective languages – but I have at least found "subscribe" as a translation of these terms in somewhat reliable sources.)
     
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    Kaoss

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Spain
    I've collected some good ones in the last several months:

    1.
    US/Canadian English mail "postal service" (or letters/packages/etc. delivered through this service)

    In numerous other languages, mail (or a similar-sounding word) refers specifically to e-mail: for example, German Mail, French mail/mél, Swedish mejl, and Polish mail/mejl, refer to e-mail (as a service), or to an individual e-mail message, but never (as far as I know) to traditional postal delivery.

    --------------------


    2.
    English to pack up is semantically similar to the more basic verb to pack (albeit not quite synonymous): it means to place something in a pack, bag or similar, for the purpose of transporting it. (For example, ”It's time to pack up our sleeping bags and set off.”)

    By contrast, Swedish packa upp means "to unpack" – i.e., to remove the contents of a pack/package.

    (I'm not sure if the object of packa upp is normally the pack/bag itself, or the object(s) inside it. English unpack can take either.)


    -----------------------

    3.
    French abonner "to subscribe (to a service, etc.)", German abonnieren "to subscribe", Scandinavian abonnere/abonnera "to subscribe", Russian abonirovat'sja "to subscribe"

    vs.

    Spanish abonar "to subscribe", but also "to pay, settle" and "to fertilize" (cf. abono "fertilizer, compost, installment (of a payment)", etc.)

    vs.

    Portuguese abonar "to endorse", "to attest", "to provide (money) in advance", etc. (abono: "allowance", "advance", "bonus")


    (NB: I don't know about the semantic nuances of all the words that I translated "subscribe" above – e.g. not all of them are necessarily the main word for "subscribe" in their respective languages – but I have at least found "subscribe" as a translation of these terms in somewhat reliable sources.)
    In Spanish can have both the French and the Portuguese meaning. Plus to fertilize...
     
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