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Words that mean something else in another language

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cordelia0507
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3243 days ago

1473 posts - 760 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*
Studies: German, Russian

 
 Message 1 of 32
02 June 2009 at 3:49pm | IP Logged 
Just for a laugh and to warn new learners.. ! We've all come across the "totally false friends" -- words that look or sound the same, but mean something entirely different.

For example the word "sex" in Swedish means six! So if you hear it a lot when two Swedish friends are talking, they are probably just planning to meet at six-thirty or exchanging phone numbers with lots of sixes... :-)

Have you got any examples from your language or a language you are learning?



LanguageSponge
Triglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3171 days ago

1197 posts - 292 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, French
Studies: Welsh, Russian, Japanese, Slovenian, Greek, Italian

 
 Message 2 of 32
02 June 2009 at 4:15pm | IP Logged 
German

das Gift = poison
eventuell - possibly
hell - bright
der Stab - a rod, batton etc..
wanken - to stagger, waver
winken - to wave
die Wand - a wall
der Roman - a novel
der Page - a page boy (weddings etc)

EDIT:

der Igel - hedgehog
dick - fat
das Bild - a picture
der Band - volume (of a book series)
das Band - tape, ribbon
bitte - please
fast - almost
bald - soon
rot - red
war - was (past tense of "to be")
der Mist - dung, rubbish
locker - loose
das Lager - a camp, warehouse
das Kissen - a pillow
der Chef - boss


NB - die Band means a music band.

French

La lecture - reading
Ignorer - to be ignorant of, to not know about - Is there any case where this can mean "to ignore"? It may be, but I've never found one?
La fin - the end

Russian

шить (transliterated "shit' ") - to sew
спина (spina) - your back (part of the body)
глаз - (glaz) - an eye.
фамилия (familija) - surname
первый (pervij) - first
брат (brat) - brother
сок (sok) - juice
друг (droog) - friend
погода (pagoda) - weather
мат (mat) - bad language
вокзал (vokzal) - railway station


Jack




Edited by LanguageSponge on 02 June 2009 at 6:56pm



Kyrie
Senior Member
United States
clandestein.deviantaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3134 days ago

208 posts - 24 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Portuguese

 
 Message 3 of 32
02 June 2009 at 4:49pm | IP Logged 
Spanish

molestar = to bother



evandempsey
Diglot
Newbie
Ireland
Joined 3089 days ago

27 posts - 26 votes
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German, Italian, Russian

 
 Message 4 of 32
02 June 2009 at 5:36pm | IP Logged 
In English 'to molest' used to mean 'to bother', 'to annoy'.

In French 'une douche' just means a shower...



Yukamina
Senior Member
Canada
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281 posts - 52 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese, Korean, French

 
 Message 5 of 32
02 June 2009 at 6:09pm | IP Logged 
In Japanese a "mansion/マンション
" is an apartment.



Dark_Sunshine
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3170 days ago

340 posts - 20 votes
Speaks: English*, French

 
 Message 6 of 32
02 June 2009 at 7:12pm | IP Logged 
I was discussing my feelings about a political matter in French with my language exchange partner, and I was trying to say that I felt ambivalent on the issue. I said something along the lines of "Je ne sais pas... je suis ambivalente..."
But apparently in doing so I'd implied that I was bisexual!



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
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20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 7 of 32
02 June 2009 at 7:24pm | IP Logged 
These are legion and sometimes a funny distraction. Here are some off the top of my head.

1) False friends that have the same form but different pronunciation in each language.

English - Hungarian

arc - arc ("face")
bolt - bolt ("shop")
ember - ember ("person")
here - here ("testicle")
lap - lap ("page")
most - most ("now")
pad - pad ("bench")
van - van ("is")

English - Polish, Slovenian
lice - lice ("face", "cheek")

English - Polish
cholera - cholera! ("damn it!")

2) False friends that have different meanings but varying degrees of similarity in form and/or pronunciation which may be enough to trip up outsiders or beginners in the relevant languages.

ale "but" (Czech, Polish, Slovak)
ale "sale" (Finnish)

frajer "sucker", "gullible man", "oaf" (Polish)
frajer "dandy" (a more modern translation could be "metrosexual") (Czech)
frajer "boyfriend"; "dandy" (Slovak)

godina / година "year" (BCS / Serbo-Croatian, Bulgarian, Macedonian)
hodina "hour" (Czech, Slovak)
godzina "hour" (Polish)

kurva "whore" (Czech, Hungarian, Slovak)
kurwa "whore" (Polish)
kurva "curve" (Swedish)

olovo "lead" (BCS / Serbo-Croatian, Czech, Slovak)
ołów "lead" (Polish)
олово "tin" (Russian, Ukrainian)

pas "dog" (BCS / Serbo-Croatian)
pas "pass", "permit" (as in "zbrojný pas" meaning something like "gun permit") (Slovak)

sklep "cellar" (Czech)
sklep "shop" (Polish)
sklep "(skeletal) joint" (Slovenian)

szukać "to look for" (Polish)
šukať "to f***" (Slovak)

záchod "toilet" (Czech)
zachód "west" (Polish)



Kyrie
Senior Member
United States
clandestein.deviantaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3134 days ago

208 posts - 24 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Portuguese

 
 Message 8 of 32
02 June 2009 at 11:08pm | IP Logged 
evandempsey wrote:
In English 'to molest' used to mean 'to bother', 'to annoy'.


Not anymore..



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