Sentences which are true and false in different languages

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Senior Member
Hi, can anyone think of any such example? The sentences should be "the same" as in, written with the same characters or pronounced with close enough phonemes. It would have to be unmistakably true in one language but unmistakably false in another. And by "language" I mean any existing code of communication (i.e. dialects, sociolects, different registers are valid too).

For example, /ne/ means "yes" in Greek (ναι) but "no" in colloquial German (nee), something among the lines of the following could be an example:

Greek: "2+2=4? /ne/" :tick:
German: "2+2=4? /ne/" :cross:

But it's too far-fetched, mixing up mathematical notation and spoken words, and not being a sentence but a dialogue.

I know it's a weird thread, feel free to move it to another forum because I'm not sure where it should belong.

Thank you
  • Awwal12

    Senior Member
    To find two actual sentences which would be homophonous (but basically unrelated) in two languages is already an achievement. :)

    I only know random and extremely rough coincidences in that regard, e.g. Biblical Hebrew "nōŝē mɛšɛḵ ɦazzɛraʕ" vs. Russian "nesúschiy (cf. nósha, nosít') meshók zerná" - "(the one) carrying a sack of grain".


    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Czech, Polish, Slovak: "2+2=4? /no/" :tick:
    Spanish, Italian, Catalan, English, etc. "2+3=4? /no/" :cross:


    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    English and French share about 60% of the same vocabulary, but there are a number of words that are considered false friends (faux amis) and can lead to confusion--and sometimes embarrassment:

    Sound the same:
    EN peep (sound of a baby bird) - FR pipe (a blowjob) -- peep/pipe are pronounced the same way

    EN coo-coo (crazy) - FR coucou (informal way to say hello) -- coo-coo/coucou are pronounced the same way

    Spelled the same but different pronunciations:
    EN grosse (disgusting) - FR grosse (fat)

    EN sale (reduced price) - FR sale (dirty)

    I'm sure others can add more...
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