True false friends 2

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Re: True false friends 2

Postby linguoboy » 2020-06-07, 1:14

(es-CL) ampolleta lightbulb (= (es) bombilla)
(es) ampolleta hourglass (= (es-CL) reloj de arena)
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Re: True false friends 2

Postby Linguaphile » 2020-06-07, 1:39

linguoboy wrote:(es-CL) ampolleta lightbulb (= (es) bombilla)
(es) ampolleta hourglass (= (es-CL) reloj de arena)

+ (es-MX) ampolleta glass vial, ampule (= (es) ampolla)
But in all three cases, a thin glass vessel containing something. :mrgreen:
I've even heard it used (by extension) to mean an injection.*
And let's not get started on ampolla, which can also be the glass part of a lightbulb, or a glass vial, but also a blister on the skin, or a bubble that forms in rapidly-moving water, or a cruet for sacramental wine....

*Using it to mean "injection" bothers me. First of all, I don't think it's correct usage. But secondly, Le van a poner una ampolleta makes me imagine they're going to give an injection just barely under the skin so that it forms a blister... ouch. Actually it refers to the vial that contains the vaccine or medication, but for some reason I can't help thinking of skin blisters when it's said that way. :nope:

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Re: True false friends 2

Postby Brzeczyszczykiewicz » 2020-06-07, 5:38

Linguaphile wrote:
linguoboy wrote:(es-CL) ampolleta lightbulb (= (es) bombilla)
(es) ampolleta hourglass (= (es-CL) reloj de arena)

+ (es-MX) ampolleta glass vial, ampule (= (es) ampolla)
But in all three cases, a thin glass vessel containing something. :mrgreen:
I've even heard it used (by extension) to mean an injection.*
And let's not get started on ampolla, which can also be the glass part of a lightbulb, or a glass vial, but also a blister on the skin, or a bubble that forms in rapidly-moving water, or a cruet for sacramental wine....

*Using it to mean "injection" bothers me. First of all, I don't think it's correct usage. But secondly, Le van a poner una ampolleta makes me imagine they're going to give an injection just barely under the skin so that it forms a blister... ouch. Actually it refers to the vial that contains the vaccine or medication, but for some reason I can't help thinking of skin blisters when it's said that way. :nope:


I can definitely confirm those two usages!
I do understand why that second usage of it (meaning "injection") just sounds wrong at first, and I also believe it is wrong, but for some reason I've always understood it as referring to the medicine contained within the vial, and not really to the vial itself, or to a blister (which we indeed call "ampolla" here) ... :para:

Then again, I am Mexican, so I may not exactly be unbiased when it comes to this one. :mrgreen: 8-)
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Re: True false friends 2

Postby Brzeczyszczykiewicz » 2020-06-07, 23:29

vita - war
vita - life; waist
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Re: True false friends 2

Postby linguoboy » 2020-06-08, 19:45

This one tripped me up today:

(ca) so vibrant
(en) so vibrant

I was reading the article on Tik Tok in the Catalan Wikipedia and "so vibrant" ("vibrant sound") was the gloss given for its Chinese name, 抖音. At first glance I thought they'd copied that over from an English-language site by mistake.
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Re: True false friends 2

Postby OldBoring » 2020-06-11, 15:13

Brzeczyszczykiewicz wrote: vita - life; waist

Once I was talking to a Brazilian and used "vida" to mean "waist", and she was confused as hell.

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Re: True false friends 2

Postby Brzeczyszczykiewicz » 2020-06-11, 18:13

OldBoring wrote:
Brzeczyszczykiewicz wrote: vita - life; waist

Once I was talking to a Brazilian and used "vida" to mean "waist", and she was confused as hell.


:D :mrgreen: I certainly can't say I blame them.

In my case something similar happened to me once, but the other way around: I had an e-pal from Italy and one day I wrote her about remembering some stuff, and for some reason my brain seemed convinced that the Italian verb for "remember" was "lembrare"... :para:
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Re: True false friends 2

Postby Brzeczyszczykiewicz » 2020-06-12, 23:10

leo - lion
leo - today
leo - voice; tone; melody
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Re: True false friends 2

Postby linguoboy » 2020-06-12, 23:24

Brzeczyszczykiewicz wrote: leo - lion
leo - today
leo - voice; tone; melody

These are not "true false friends" according to the definition used in this thread. (See the OP for details.) The "Multilingual false friends" thread is a more suitable for them.
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Re: True false friends 2

Postby Brzeczyszczykiewicz » 2020-06-13, 3:33

linguoboy wrote: These are not "true false friends" according to the definition used in this thread. (See the OP for details.) The "Multilingual false friends" thread is a more suitable for them.


After reading through some of your posts in the original thread, I think I now have a better idea of what you were expecting to be included here.

I have to admit, though, that reading only the OP didn't really help. You wrote:

"So here's a thread for actual false friends, i.e. words from different languages that seem like they should have the same meaning by don't--preferably illustrated with genuine examples of their use."

Maybe it's just me, but put that way it didn't seem to me at first that there was anything wrong with the examples I gave above. Then I read some of your later posts and I had to agree that the Swahili "leo" was not really a good example because it isn't even a noun, like the other two.

But then, I can't help but wonder why those aren't valid, either. If I understood you well, the big issue here is the fact that they belong to languages that are not even remotely related to each other (as far as I know... :para: ), and thus, even though they're both nouns, any real risk of thinking their meaning is the same would be very low?...

This one's very likely been given before, but heck, just to make sure I'm following you, would the following pair be a better example?

cama - leg
cama - bed
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Re: True false friends 2

Postby linguoboy » 2020-06-13, 15:24

Brzeczyszczykiewicz wrote:I have to admit, though, that reading only the OP didn't really help. You wrote:

"So here's a thread for actual false friends, i.e. words from different languages that seem like they should have the same meaning by don't--preferably illustrated with genuine examples of their use."

Maybe it's just me, but put that way it didn't seem to me at first that there was anything wrong with the examples I gave above.

I was referring to the full explanation in the archived OOP, which specifically referenced the Multilingual False Friends, and not the truncated version supplied by Ashucky. The MFF thread came first and this one was created in response to it based on the simple premise that stories are more interesting than mere coincidences.

Maybe this example will help: The other day, I watched an episode of Norden which took place partly in Mo i Rana in Norway. If I'd given it a moment's thought, I'd've recalled that i means "in" in North Germanic languages and, thus, the name represents "[the town of] Mo in [the municipality of] Rana". But Catalan is one of my strongest languages and i is Catalan for "and", which lead me to parse this as "[the conjoined municipality of] Mo and Rana".

Is this more interesting to know than a long list of glosses for i in a string of unrelated languages? Maybe not for you, but, if so, the MFF thread still exists and you can find that there (in the archives).
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Re: True false friends 2

Postby vijayjohn » 2020-06-13, 17:16

If it's stories that you're interested in, then this:
Gujarati (gu) ભૂલી પડી [ˈbʱuli pəˈɖi] - got lost (by semantic extension also 'fell in love' and 'haven't seen in a long time')
Urdu (ur) بھول ہی پڑی / Hindi (hi) भूल ही पड़ी [bʱul hi pəˈɽi] - just had to forget

was inspired by this old Gujarati movie song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMieXTB8L9I
Now I'm wondering how many more false friends with Hindi and Urdu there are in this song. Somehow, I get the feeling that in those languages (that language?), it would sound like the rest of the song had something to do with getting your lover to kill someone and a deer doing something with thorns. :lol:

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Re: True false friends 2

Postby Linguaphile » 2020-06-13, 19:32

Brzeczyszczykiewicz wrote:I have to admit, though, that reading only the OP didn't really help. You wrote:

"So here's a thread for actual false friends, i.e. words from different languages that seem like they should have the same meaning by don't--preferably illustrated with genuine examples of their use."

This question has come up fairly regularly from the very beginning of the first thread, which you may have already seen. I've certainly posted some that apparently weren't what was wanted either, multiple times. The idea of the words being the same part of speech have come up several times, as has etymology, or just the idea that the words should be ones that someone has actually observed being confused. I guess the first two (being of the same part of speech or having a common etymology) make the likelihood of them actually being confused more likely for many people.

I'm still not sure, to be honest. Often the words I confuse are words from unrelated languages (because for the most part the language I'm studying aren't related, and besides, those are the false friends that seem more interesting/surprising/embarrassing to me) and often not even the same part of speech but again, that has to do with the languages being unrelated (and maybe with aspects of word-building in each of them).

As an example, not long ago I was momentarily confused by a word in Estonian (I think it was lisaosa or some such thing) which should have involved the lemma lisa "addition", but I got that mixed up with Spanish liso "smooth, flat" and so at first I understood lisaosa as a "flat part" rather than an "extension". Actually I can't remember if it was precisely lisaosa, I think it was some sort of nonce compound I hadn't encountered before but it was definitely some compound involving lisa, which I should have understood, and my confusion of it with the Spanish adjective that turned it into something "smooth and flat" rather than something "extra".

Should I have posted it here? I didn't, because (a) the words aren't the same part of speech; (b) they aren't from etymologically related languages; (c) I'd never had that confusion in the past and probably won't ever again, it was just a mental glitch maybe caused by having put down a book in Spanish and picked up one in Estonian; (d) probably no one else will make a similar mistake either and (e) given all of the above, I really just felt silly about my mistake. I wasn't in a mood for hey everyone, guess what stupid thing I just did!! both because it seemed very minor and also very silly. It was more like oh silly me, what's wrong with my brain today? Let's move on..... And so now I don't remember whether the word was lisaosa or (more likely) some other word that includes lisa and really, that part that I remember (the lisa/liso "addition/smooth" confusion) is the only relevant part. Yet if I were to post here exactly that way...

(et) lisa addition
(es) liso/a smooth, flat

...I imagine I'd get the same response that the word leo ("lion/today/voice" in unrelated languages) got, that response being "these are not true false friends according to the definition used in this thread", unless I wanted to take the time to explain how a word meaning "flat, smooth" in a Romance language really can cause one to misunderstand a word that means "addition" in a Finnic one. (Which I've done here today, but didn't feel like doing, or have the time for, when I came across it originally.)
Also sometimes it's honestly pretty uncomfortable to be asked "how in the world could someone actually mix those two words up?" (and told not to post such words here because they would never be mixed up in real life) after posting two words which I have, well, actually mixed up in real life. And that's happened too. I guess in that case I should just post them in the other thread, or not post them, and let it be.

linguoboy wrote:the simple premise that stories are more interesting than mere coincidences

Well, this explanation with "stories" mentioned makes a distinction more clear to me, although I wouldn't have said (realized?) that was supposed to be the premise of this thread. Is this thread meant for the false friends with stories, and the other one just for lists? I think almost all of us (including linguoboy) have posted quite a few without stories in this thread, or at least without posting those stories. I guess maybe the assumption is that if the words are etymologically related and of the same part of speech, the "stories" can be more easily imagined without being stated explicitly. But it seems that only works consistently for Indo-European languages. :mrgreen:

So here's the story for this one, which I posted a few months ago:
Linguaphile wrote:(fi) sammua to die down; to shut off; to conk out; to pass out from drinking (1s sammun: I conk out, etc.)
(et) sammuda to step, to walk, to tread (1s sammun: I walk, etc.)

It's from a joke based on the stereotype (sorry, Naava) of Finnish tourists getting drunk in Tallinn. Well, I'll probably mess it up since it's been a few months since I heard it but it was something about the misunderstanding or double meaning resulting from a sentence like this when spoken in one language and heard by a speaker of the other:
(et) Seal sammuvad soome turistid = Finnish tourists walk there
(fi) Siellä sammuvat suomalaiset turistit = Finnish tourists pass out from drinking there

The words sammua and sammuda actually aren't etymologically related, but they look like they should be, and cognates like this between Estonian and Finnish are extremely common (so it's logical to assume they would be cognates, even though in this case they aren't.)

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Re: True false friends 2

Postby vijayjohn » 2020-06-14, 1:30

Btw, not a false friend at all, but a note on my previous post: Even the sentence break would be different between Gujarati and Hindi.

In Hindi, it would sound like the first two sentences were 1. bhooli re padi re hoon to 2. bhooli re padi.

But in reality, it's 1. bhooli re padi re 2. hoon to bhooli re padi, because hoon in Gujarati means 'I', not '(I) am' as in Hindi.

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Re: True false friends 2

Postby Gormur » 2020-06-14, 16:56

Thanks for bringing this up Linguaphile

I haven't posted in this thread before because I didn't understand the criteria. In my head, I have to memorize these things that lack an equivalent in my mother tongue. You know like a word that ends up being two or three separate words for just one word that I know, depending on context

To me these are true false friends :whistle:
Eigi gegnir þat at segja at bók nøkkur er hreinferðug eðr ønnur spelluð því at vandliga ok dáliga eru bœkr ritnar ok annat kunnum vér eigi um þœr at dœma

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Re: True false friends 2

Postby linguoboy » 2020-06-14, 18:07

I was going to end my response to Brzeczyszczykiewicz with "I almost didn't say anything because the last thing I want to do is to attract Linguaphile's attention and get into another involved discussion" but I thought that sounded belligerent. :D

Linguaphile wrote:
linguoboy wrote:the simple premise that stories are more interesting than mere coincidences

Well, this explanation with "stories" mentioned makes a distinction more clear to me, although I wouldn't have said (realized?) that was supposed to be the premise of this thread. Is this thread meant for the false friends with stories, and the other one just for lists? I think almost all of us (including linguoboy) have posted quite a few without stories in this thread, or at least without posting those stories.

As far as I'm concerned, it was all there in the OP. Note that I used the word "preferably" which means it's better (i.e. it makes for a more interesting post) if people include explanations, but that it isn't required.

I'm not a moderator and the moderators don't moderate this thread that minutely so, at the end of the day, y'all are free to post whatever you want here. All I can do is make a request. (And a recommendation: If you're really into seeing lists of chance orthographic resemblances, check out Wiktionary. That's how they group entries--by spelling, regardless of language--and you can find thousands and thousands of them there.)
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Re: True false friends 2

Postby Linguaphile » 2020-06-14, 18:43

I think I've remembered what the issue with this one was.
    (et) lisa addition
    (es) liso/a smooth, flat
I couldn't remember which "Estonian word" I'd encountered because it was actually the other way around. All I could remember was the pair of lemmas, but after trying to remember, I'm pretty sure I'd come across alisar in Spanish, a word I know well ("to flatten, to smooth out") but for some reason what popped into my head was "to add to", based on the Estonian meaning of lisa.
So yeah, it probably looks like a chance resemblance (which of course it is) or sounds weird to say that the above two words could cause confusion, or to say it was these:
    (et) lisandama to add to, to append
    (es) alisar to flatten, to smooth
and because the issue involved word parts I don't even know whether to say it was the first set or the second set. It wasn't conscious enough or lasting enough to pin it down to either one. But either way, the momentary misunderstanding it caused was real! This belongs to the "this might only ever happen once" variety of True False Friends, versus the "this is constantly confusing language-learners everywhere" variety. Very context-dependent and situational, but no less real. :mrgreen:

(Edit - added a bit later:)
Lutrinae wrote:
Linguaphile wrote:
Lutrinae wrote:
Linguaphile wrote:(vot) halva cheap
(izh) halva bad
(et) halb bad
(fi) halpa cheap


What about the dessert? :)

I didn't think of it because my list was made of words that are etymologically related and that can easily cause confusion, but you're welcome to add to my list!
:mrgreen:


Aw sorry I didn't pay attention to that! (Probably because I don't know those languages :oops: )
I should post the "story" behind these too. I haven't confused them in real life, but the Estonian and Finnish ones are well-known among many speakers of those languages and the subject of jokes, such as a theoretical Finnish speaker asking an Estonian where to buy cheap (halpa) food or whatever, and instead being understood as asking for bad (halb) food, etc.
(et) halb bad
(fi) halpa cheap
For the most part the jokes of this type come from the situations actually happening to people. I just don't know enough Finnish for it to have ever happened to me personally; I learned the Finnish word halpa by means of the joke in Estonian and so from the time I first learned the word I also knew that the meaning was not the same in both languages. That's true for the majority of these Estonian-Finnish false friends.

So anyway, I'd heard that type of joke several times, and so it really amused when I discovered this pair:
(vot) halva cheap ("bad" is alpa)
(izh) halva bad ("cheap" is hootava)
All four (Estonian halb, Finnish halpa, Votic halva and Izhorian halva) are etymologically related, from a Proto-Finnic word which once upon a time had both meanings. But what's so funny about the Votic and Izhorian words being identical with different meanings is that around the Luga river both languages were (to a lesser extent still are) spoken in the same villages. Contact between the two languages is very extensive. Surely there must have been confusion at times. :mrgreen:
Apparently some Votic speakers say ooka for "cheap" instead of halva and say epä-üvä ("not good") for "bad" instead of saying alpa. Less room for confusion.
With such close language contact it is probably false friends like these that have lead to the situation where the Votic word lägätä can mean either "to speak Izhorian" or "to babble." :mrgreen:

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Re: True false friends 2

Postby linguoboy » 2020-06-16, 16:32

(es) patero duck hunter
(es-cl) patero flatterer

(ca) patota card trick
(es-cl) patota gang
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Re: True false friends 2

Postby Brzeczyszczykiewicz » 2020-06-17, 4:08

muscle
muscle - the extreme end of the shoulders (the Catalan term for English "muscle" is múscul)
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Re: True false friends 2

Postby linguoboy » 2020-06-19, 3:04

(en) riot
(fr) riotte squabble
(ca) riota laughingstock

(en) riotous
(it) riottoso quarrelsome
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