False Friends

Language Lover   Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:11 am GMT
Cognates are great-except when they ain't (I mean "aren't). What false friends have you encountered in other languages?

Gift=present in English, "poison" in German.
Poisson=fish in English, not poison.
Sopportare-not support, used more like "Non sopporto"=I cannot stand
(that comedian).
It's okay to include examples that do not contain English. For example, Portuguese-Spanish examples or examples in Slavic languages. Please explain them (and any funny stories) in English.

Let's all learn something today.
wretched   Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:33 am GMT
conveniente (spa) != convenient (eng.)

The Spanish word is more widely used and has wider meanings.
Guest   Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:30 am GMT
embaraçada in port means embarassed, but embarazada in spanish means.....pregnant.

I sometimes wonder how these semantic shifts occur. How could words with the same root come to have such a drastically different meanings?
Prolunar   Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:17 am GMT
Embarazada derives the same root that embraced comes from, not embarrassed.
J.C.   Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:03 am GMT
Ligação means phone call in Portuguese whereas ligación means affair in Spanish. This pair was used along with "embarazada-embaraçada" in a commercial encouraging people to speak REAL spanish and not Portuñol.


p.s I found this link with an article on portuñol:

ASU55RR   Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:20 am GMT
Czech and Polish seem to have been designed to cause awkward situations. here a few...

Pl: szukac - to search for
Cz: Šukat- to fuck

Pl: zachod- west
Cz: zachod- restroom

Pl: zapach- a pleasant smell
Cz: zapach- a foul stench

Pl: laska- love, or a hot chick
Cz: laska- a stick

Pl: droga- direction, way
Cz: droga- drug, narcotic

Pl: stolica- capitol city
Cz: stolice- faeces
(of course if you've ever been to Warszawa... especially compared to Praha.)
Red   Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:27 am GMT
Spanish - red (net)
English - red (the color)
Tirant lo Blanc.   Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:17 pm GMT
Catalan "cama" - leg

Spanish "cama" - bed.
true friend   Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:08 pm GMT
English bald- hairless.German bald-soon.
English well-good or spring (of water).German Welle-wave.
English see- recognize surroundings whith eyes. German See-lake.
English hell- place where someone will suffer for own sins after death.German hell-brightly.
Alessandro   Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:47 pm GMT
There are a lot of false friends between Italian and Spanish:

Sauna   Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:55 pm GMT
Swedish - Rolig =Funny
Norwegian- Rolig = Calm
Klingon   Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:29 pm GMT
1. moment in Spanish
2. rat in Brazilian Portuguese, mouse in Continental Portuguese
guest   Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:45 pm GMT
<<Embarazada derives the same root that embraced comes from, not embarrassed.>>

i was comparing the Port/Spanish word, which do come from the same root.
12345   Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:51 am GMT
German: Hören (also Hoeren) - To hear
Dutch: Hoeren - Whores

German: doof - Stupid
Dutch: doof - Deaf

German: Winkel - Angle
Dutch: Winkel - store

German: Geil - cool, great whatever
Dutch: Geil - Horny

Guest   Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:59 am GMT
<<conveniente (spa) != convenient (eng.)

The Spanish word is more widely used and has wider meanings.

It's not a false friend, both have same meaning in part but as you said in Spanish it has broader meaning.

A nice false friend in Italian and Spanish:
burro: in Spanish it means donkey and in Italian butter
Another one: asilo. In Italian means nursery and in Spanish it's just the contrary: a nursing home for elderly people.