Parola, palabra, word, palavra, ord

The word is the instrument of speech or writing we use to express our thoughts or feelings. It can also be a password, a command or a signal. It is always something that comes out!

In each language there are billions and billions of words but it is impossible to learn them all!

There are words, which, being the same, are used in different contexts having a different meaning and words that are “false friends”.

As we know a false friend is a word which is similar in two or more languages by spelling or pronunciation.

For example, as you can see I speak three neo-Latin languages and two Germanic ones, so it is very easy to be confused on which meaning has the same word I speak according to the language, such as:

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1) PEGAR in Spanish means “ to hit, to strike or to stick”,

in Portuguese it means “ to take”.

In both languages, you write and pronounce this word in the same way but with completely different meaning!

2) TIRAR in Spanish means “to pull”,

in Portuguese it means “ to take, to remove”.

In both languages, you write this word in the same way but with completely different meaning!

There is a little difference in the pronunciation, which is in Portuguese the phonetic [ʈʃi’ɾaR].

3) FULL in Norwegian means “drunk”,

in English it means “full, filled up”.

In both languages, you write this word in the same way but with completely different meaning! The pronunciation, here, is similar: just consider a close “u” when you pronounce it in Norwegian.

4) GRIS in Spanish means “grey”,

in Norwegian it means “pig”.

In both languages you write this word in the same way but even here it has a completely different meaning!

And so on… I am not saying something new, because many of you who speak different languages like me know that, but what I am trying to say is that you need to practice each language to arrive to a phase where you distinguish each word/false friend in each language to not get confused anymore. Of course it is up to you if you want to arrive to a fluent level of a specific language!

It is curious and attractive the fact that the languages suffered such a kind of evolution by time and space. Every language is a world, it has its own rules and billions of exceptions and just thanks to the practice and the study you can learn them well.

It is also a bit messy but funny to use False Friends and easily get confused! ;D

Just pay attention when you translate or say or write a False Friend!

What do you think about a False Friend?

Which foreign languages do you speak?

How many False friends do you know and do you get confused using them?

 

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