Multilingual false friends

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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-02-06, 1:18

One of my co-workers is Italian, and another, who is Telugu, brought up this false friend:

Italian (it) ciao - hi, bye
Telugu (te) చావు [t͡ʃaːʋu] - to(?) die

Their English translations even rhyme! (Although I also just saw చావు translated into English as 'death').

The cognate of this Telugu word in Malayalam is even worse because it's normally supposed to be used specifically to refer to (non-human :P) animals dying.

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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby cHr0mChIk » 2017-02-06, 8:33

I don't know has this one been mentioned in this forum before, but it's a pretty bizarre one in my opinion:

 (pl) "szukam drogi na zachód" - I am looking for the road on the west
 (cs) "šukam drogy na záchod" - I am f**king drugs in the toilet

The Czech verb "šukat" (to f**k), appears to be etymologically connected to the old Slavic verb *šukati (meaning "to search/to look for"), in Polish: "szukać"; Ukrainian: шукати (šukaty); Belorussian: шукаць (šukać); etc.
However, a semantic change appears to have taken it's place, so in modern Czech, it's meaning is quite explicit.

The second word, "droga" is a true false friend... it's written and pronounced exactly the same, however it means something completely different, and it's etymologically unrelated.

In Czech, "droga" is a loanword, meaning "drugs", and shares etymology with the English word. However, in Polish, "droga" comes from old Slavic *dorga, meaning "road, path, way", and it exists in Czech as well, only as "dráha".
In Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian and Belorussian, the letter "g" (/g/) has softened into "h" (/ɣ/ in Belorussian; /ɦ/ in the rest), so that's why these respective languages have an "h", where the rest of the Slavic languages have a "g".

And the last word - "zachod" - appears to share it's etymology. Comes from old Slavic *za (after or behind) + *xodъ (motion/movement/walking) - and the verb *zaxoditi can mean "to go after/to set" or "to go behind" - it's connection with the west (where the sun sets). And this deverbial's connection with the bathroom is that it's believed that it's said this way (to go behind) because the bathroom was behind the house.

An interesting thing is that "zahod" in Croatian means both west and the toilet. :D
وَقَالُوا لَن يَدْخُلَ الْجَنَّةَ إِلَّا مَن كَانَ هُودًا أَوْ نَصَارَىٰ ۗ تِلْكَ أَمَانِيُّهُمْ ۗ قُلْ هَاتُوا بُرْهَانَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
بَلَىٰ مَنْ أَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهُ لِلَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ فَلَهُ أَجْرُهُ عِندَ رَبِّهِ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-02-06, 13:29

cHr0mChIk wrote:I don't know has this one been mentioned in this forum before

I don't think so.
but it's a pretty bizarre one in my opinion:

 (pl) "szukam drogi na zachód" - I am looking for the road on the west
 (cs) "šukam drogy na záchod" - I am f**king drugs in the toilet

Lol. That sounds like some false friends between Malayalam and Tamil.
The Czech verb "šukat" (to f**k), appears to be etymologically connected to the old Slavic verb *šukati (meaning "to search/to look for"), in Polish: "szukać"; Ukrainian: шукати (šukaty); Belorussian: шукаць (šukać); etc.
However, a semantic change appears to have taken it's place, so in modern Czech, it's meaning is quite explicit.

Looking for sex? :P

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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby Leopejo » 2017-02-06, 16:33

There's plenty of false friends between Polish and Czech, some of them quite funny. Examples:

 (cs) čerstvý fresh -  (pl) czerstwy stale (as of bread)
 (cs) kriminalista criminologist (policeman) -  (pl) kryminalista a criminal
 (cs)květen May -  (pl) kwiecień April; and:  (cs) červenec July -  (pl) czerwiec June
 (cs) láska love -  (pl) laska cane, stick, hot girl, blowjob
 (cs) bezcenný worthless -  (pl) bezcenny priceless, invaluable
 (cs)jahoda strawberry -  (pl) jagoda bilberry (and generally berry)

I don't speak a word of Czech, so take those Czech meanings and spellings with a grain of salt.

It seems there's also a long list of funny translations from Polish to Czech... that are false, but widely circulating. For example (English - Polish - fake Czech):
Terminator - Terminator - Elektronicky mordulec
squirrel - wiewiórka - drevni kocur (''wooden male cat')
To be or not to be, that is the question - Być albo nie być, oto jest pytanie - Bytka abo ne bytka to je zapytka

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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby linguoboy » 2017-02-06, 17:05

Leopejo wrote: (cs) láska love -  (pl) laska cane, stick, hot girl, blowjob

A dog in the Russian novel I'm current reading is named Ласка (Laska). This will add a new dimension to the scenes she's mentioned in.

(In Russian ласка means both "caress", which seems cognate to the Czech term, and "weasel", a true friend of Polish łaska. So two-for-one on false friends within West Slavic.)
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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-02-07, 1:10

Leopejo wrote:It seems there's also a long list of funny translations from Polish to Czech... that are false, but widely circulating. For example (English - Polish - fake Czech):
Terminator - Terminator - Elektronicky mordulec
squirrel - wiewiórka - drevni kocur (''wooden male cat')
To be or not to be, that is the question - Być albo nie być, oto jest pytanie - Bytka abo ne bytka to je zapytka

This reminded me of the fake Malayalam word for "switch."

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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby voron » 2017-02-07, 13:05

Leopejo wrote: (cs)jahoda strawberry -  (pl) jagoda bilberry (and generally berry)

The same pair exists between Serbian and Russian:
 (sr) ягода strawberry
 (ru) ягода berry

Also,
 (sr) jагодица cheeckbone
 (ru) ягодица buttock

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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby Vlürch » 2017-02-08, 4:02

voron wrote:
Leopejo wrote: (cs)jahoda strawberry -  (pl) jagoda bilberry (and generally berry)

The same pair exists between Serbian and Russian:
 (sr) ягода strawberry
 (ru) ягода berry

Also,
 (sr) jагодица cheeckbone
 (ru) ягодица buttock

These are probably not grammatically correct, but
Czech (cs) Mám rád jahody - I like strawberries
Arabic (ar) ما مراد يهود (mā murrād yahūdi) - what Jewish rebels/demons

These ones have obviously been posted before, I may have even posted them myself, but whatever:
Finnish (fi) lutka - slut
Serbo-Croatian (sr) lutka - doll, darling
Finnish (fi) hallitus - government
Estonian (et) hallitus - mould

I'm 100% sure I've posted about the epic false friends between English and Breton before, as have others, but I mean... Breton, mad anal bro. 8-)
Breton (br) anal - breath
English (en) anal
Breton (br) fri - nose
English (en) free
Breton (br) bro - country
English (en) bro
Breton (br) mad - good
English (en) mad

Japanese (ja) 梵語 (bongo) - Sanskrit
English, etc. (en) bongo
Japanese (ja) 殺気 (sakki) - bloodlust
Finnish (fi) sakki - a group of people
Japanese (ja) 国旗 (kokki) - national flag
Finnish (fi) kokki - chef, cook
Japanese (ja) 閣下 (kakka) - excellency
Finnish (fi) kakka - poop
Japanese (ja) 梃子/ (teko) - lever
Finnish (fi) teko - act, deed
Japanese (ja) (yama) - mountain
Finnish (fi) jama - situation, place, etc. (figuratively)
Turkish (tr) yama - birthmark, patch
Polish (pl) jama - cave
Slovene (sl) jama - cave
Serbo-Croatian (sr) jama - cave

Uyghur (ug) nigar - beloved
Persian (fa) نگر (negar) - look (present stem)
English (en) nigger

And then this gem, which alone is enough to make me wanderlust for PIE every time:
*twerḱ- - to cut
English, and just about every language in existence thanks to Miley Cyrus (en) twerk

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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby IpseDixit » 2017-02-09, 8:09

 (fi) mitä kuuluu - how are you
 (it) metà culo - half ass

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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby Leopejo » 2017-02-09, 11:12

IpseDixit wrote: (fi) mitä kuuluu - how are you
 (it) metà culo - half ass

Never thought about this. The only one I, and most Italians, know is
 (fi)katso merta - watch the sea
 (it)cazzo merda - lit. dick shit, also: fuck, shit

'katso merta' might be the only Finnish Anna Falchi knows :evil:

P.S. the Finnish noun kuulo, 'sense of hearing', exists too.

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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby reineke » 2017-02-12, 4:22

cHr0mChIk wrote:I don't know has this one been mentioned in this forum before

An interesting thing is that "zahod" in Croatian means both west and the toilet. :D


In standard Croatian zahod just means "toilet". Another word for this is "nužnik". In Slovenian and the Cakavian dialect of Croatian zahod apparently means both things.

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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby Vlürch » 2017-03-05, 10:15

These are kind of not-exactly-false-friends-if-you-look-at-it-from-a-certain-perspective, but it's objectively so much closer to a false friend situation than a true friend situation that it'd just be wrong to post this in the true friends thread, no matter how tempting it is...
English (en) dick
Turkish (tr) dik - steep, upright
Zazaki (zza) dik - rooster

I can't help but wonder if in some obscure English dialect roosters are called dicks... probably not, but it would be funny.

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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby PfifltriggPi » 2017-03-05, 20:59

Vlürch wrote:Uyghur (ug) nigar - beloved
Persian (fa) نگر (negar) - look (present stem)
English (en) nigger


You can add to that Latin (la) niger - black :whistle:

This is the ultimate source of the name Niger as the Romans, as well as most of Europe and the Middle East through the Renaissance referred to the Niger River as the Black Nile, or, in Latin, Nilus Niger. :para:
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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby Vlürch » 2017-03-06, 13:34

PfifltriggPi wrote:
Vlürch wrote:Uyghur (ug) nigar - beloved
Persian (fa) نگر (negar) - look (present stem)
English (en) nigger


You can add to that Latin (la) niger - black :whistle:

This is the ultimate source of the name Niger as the Romans, as well as most of Europe and the Middle East through the Renaissance referred to the Niger River as the Black Nile, or, in Latin, Nilus Niger. :para:

I have no idea how I forgot that, except that I somehow managed to completely forget that Latin exists. :para:

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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby PfifltriggPi » 2017-03-06, 14:22

Vlürch wrote:
PfifltriggPi wrote:
Vlürch wrote:Uyghur (ug) nigar - beloved
Persian (fa) نگر (negar) - look (present stem)
English (en) nigger


You can add to that Latin (la) niger - black :whistle:

This is the ultimate source of the name Niger as the Romans, as well as most of Europe and the Middle East through the Renaissance referred to the Niger River as the Black Nile, or, in Latin, Nilus Niger. :para:

I have no idea how I forgot that, except that I somehow managed to completely forget that Latin exists. :para:


Heretic! Burn him! :)
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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby Vlürch » 2017-03-06, 14:46

PfifltriggPi wrote:
Vlürch wrote:
PfifltriggPi wrote:
Vlürch wrote:Uyghur (ug) nigar - beloved
Persian (fa) نگر (negar) - look (present stem)
English (en) nigger


You can add to that Latin (la) niger - black :whistle:

This is the ultimate source of the name Niger as the Romans, as well as most of Europe and the Middle East through the Renaissance referred to the Niger River as the Black Nile, or, in Latin, Nilus Niger. :para:

I have no idea how I forgot that, except that I somehow managed to completely forget that Latin exists. :para:


Heretic! Burn him! :)

*desperately tries to wipe the rust off a Roman ass sword*

Ego non hereticus, meus scaphelius asinus Romanus dicit Romanum sum!

...I meant to say "I'm not a heretic, my Roman ass sword says I'm a Roman!" but something tells me I completely butchered it. :lol:

I know "ass" isn't randomly added to things in any other language than English, but once I'd typed "Roman ass sword", you know I had to try to translate it to Latin... and I didn't even realise how much like a reference to anal sex it sounds to call a Roman ass sword "rusty" until I'd already typed it, but again... Roman ass sword... rusty... why do I think my sense of humour is funny.

I'm not even going to look up what it actually should be, because that'd take away from the facepalms I'll have if someone corrects the sentence.

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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby PfifltriggPi » 2017-03-06, 16:10

Vlürch wrote:Ego non hereticus, meus scaphelius asinus Romanus dicit Romanum sum!

...I meant to say "I'm not a heretic, my Roman ass sword says I'm a Roman!" but something tells me I completely butchered it.


I think it would be something like: "Hereticus nōn sum. Gladius meus asinus Rōmānus mē Rōmānum esse dīcit.

How do you have a talking sword?
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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby Michael » 2017-03-08, 16:30

These two pairs still confuse me occasionally:

 (az) başqa,  (tr) başka other
 (sq) bashkë together

 (az) (tr) mal beef
 (sq) mal mountain
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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby Osias » 2017-03-08, 17:29

Michael wrote: (az) (tr) mal beef
 (sq) mal mountain

 (pt) mal evil
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Re: Multilingual false friends

Postby cHr0mChIk » 2017-03-09, 1:17

Vlürch wrote:Japanese (ja) (yama) - mountain
Finnish (fi) jama - situation, place, etc. (figuratively)
Turkish (tr) yama - birthmark, patch
Polish (pl) jama - cave
Slovene (sl) jama - cave
Serbo-Croatian (sr) jama - cave hole


PfifltriggPi wrote:
Vlürch wrote:Uyghur (ug) nigar - beloved
Persian (fa) نگر (negar) - look (present stem)
English (en) nigger


You can add to that Latin (la) niger - black :whistle:


Korean (ko) 니가 (niga) - you

Also, I giggled when I heard this line of a Hindi/Urdu song:
- "Kar de idhar bhi tu nigaahein" (I believe it means "have a look at me, as well")

niggaahein apparently means "look", but it just sounds like "ni**a, hey!" to me.

Osias wrote:
Michael wrote: (az) (tr) mal beef
 (sq) mal mountain

 (pt) mal evil


Macedonian (mk) мал (mal) - little/small
وَقَالُوا لَن يَدْخُلَ الْجَنَّةَ إِلَّا مَن كَانَ هُودًا أَوْ نَصَارَىٰ ۗ تِلْكَ أَمَانِيُّهُمْ ۗ قُلْ هَاتُوا بُرْهَانَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
بَلَىٰ مَنْ أَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهُ لِلَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ فَلَهُ أَجْرُهُ عِندَ رَبِّهِ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ


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