Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 >
Topic Options
#2278 - 05/13/00 05:39 AM false friends
juanmaria Offline
member

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 163
Loc: Malaga, Spain.
I've just read today's word 'pander' and I'm remembering that some years ago I introduced a friend of mine as a 'procurer'. It was the mother of all faux pas!.
Spanish 'procurador' is english 'proxy'.
Does anyone know if there exist a list of spanish/english "faux amis"?. Must be an interesting reading!.


Juan Maria.

Top
#2279 - 05/13/00 08:26 AM Re: false friends
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
Whoops!

I'm sure there is such a list. I have a book published over 20 years ago listing English-Portuguese false cognates. One of my favorites is 'exquisite' (in Brazilian Portuguese, 'exquisito' means 'weird')


Top
#2280 - 05/14/00 03:14 AM Re: oops
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
I'd love to see such a thing, if anyone can find it.

In the meatime, here's a couple of "bloomers" from a school exchange trip to Barcelona when I was about 13.

On the first night I realised that I'd forgotten to pack a nightdress (mine was a long white Victorian(ish) cotton one). So I told the people looking after me that I needed to write to my mother to ask her to send me "un vestido largo para la noche" - I didn't know the word for nightdress so I was trying to say a long dress to wear at night-time. What I was really saying, apparently, was a long ball-gown. They were wondering where they would have to take me so that I could wear it!

I followed it up by saying "me voy a la caha" I meant to say cama (bed), instead I said "I'm going to the box". Bride of Dracula or what???


Top
#2281 - 05/15/00 10:55 AM Re: false friends
trinket Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/15/00
Posts: 1
When I was learning Spanish, I remember telling a story to my boyfriend's mother who spoke Spanish only. In the course of the tale, I said that I was "muy embarazada" intending to convey that I was very embarassed. Unfortunately for me, embarazada is a false cognate of embarassed, and really means pregnant. I had some explaining to do after that faux pas!


Top
#2282 - 05/17/00 03:30 AM Re: false friends
juanmaria Offline
member

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 163
Loc: Malaga, Spain.
I didn’t know this thing about ‘exquisito’. The Spanish and English meanings are similar. It’s wonderful how, being close neighbors Spaniards and Portuguese -we use to understand each other when we speak slowly- , a word can evolve so differently.

This ‘nightgown’ word keeps making me think twice every time I come across with it, the picture that first appears on my mind is that of an elegant ball dress.

The thing with ‘embarrass‘ and ‘embarazar’ is quite curious. We can say that ‘an embarrassing situation’ is ‘una situación embarazosa’, but we, males, can’t be ‘embarazados’. We have also a word with the same etymology as pregnant that is ‘preñada’ -I hope that Spanish tilded ‘n’ shows properly- but, nowadays, it’s used mainly referring to animals, it can be used for people but in a very informal way.

The evolutionary thing is what make those false friends so attractive to me, and the fun in then too!.
I like the view of words as living beings that are in continuos evolution and how they change their form, meaning or both.


Juan Maria.

Top
#2283 - 05/17/00 08:33 AM Re: false friends
William Hofmeyr Offline
stranger

Registered: 04/02/00
Posts: 2
A friend (who has a little Dutch and somewhat more Afrikaans) was once in a crowded train in Amsterdam. From the far end of the carriage his companion called to him that he'd found two vacant seats. My friend had already found somewhere to store his backpack, and called out (loudly, so as to be heard) something like "Ek komme, maar ek moet my eers aftrekke" ("I'm coming but I'm first going to unburden myself.") Unfortunately, 'aftrekke' in Dutch means 'masturbate'...


Top
#2284 - 05/17/00 08:57 AM Re: false friends
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
I wonder if anyone can tell the JFK story. He made a speech in Berlin which was meant to imply that he was very much one of them. he used the word "Berliner" (or similar)which had a quite different meaning. My German is too embarassingly awful to try to relate the story myself!


Top
#2285 - 05/17/00 11:25 AM Re: false friends
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
Jo, JFK said "Ich bin ein Berliner." Which, literally, is correct German. But something nudges me, I think you might be right.... isn't 'Berliner' slang for doughnut?
... I'm not betting dollars on that :-)


Top
#2286 - 05/17/00 12:05 PM Re: false friends
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
W. H.--
That's about the most 'situacion embarazosa' (thanks,
juanmaria) I've heard. I'll bet he had the attention
of everyone on the train!


Top
#2287 - 05/17/00 02:29 PM Re: German Donut
David108 Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/00
Posts: 112
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
The reference to John Kennedy's attempt to order a jelly donut in Berlin is a well-known Urban Legend. Refer to

http://www.snopes.com/errata/doughnut.htm

It is an amusing tale, nonetheless! :o)

Anybody want to bet Marks to Berliners?



Top
Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 >

Moderator:  Jackie 
Forum Stats
8717 Members
16 Forums
13802 Topics
214510 Posts

Max Online: 3341 @ 12/09/11 02:15 PM
Newest Members
Laban, birdie, mepallav, discopig, Byz
8717 Registered Users
Who's Online
1 registered (LukeJavan8), 31 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters (30 Days)
Bazr 104
LukeJavan8 91
endymion6 91
wofahulicodoc 73
jenny jenny 65
A C Bowden 31
Faldage 7
Tromboniator 7
TitoMatito 2
tsuwm 2
Top Posters
wwh 13858
Faldage 13803
Jackie 11609
tsuwm 10514
Buffalo Shrdlu 7210
AnnaStrophic 6511
LukeJavan8 6316
Wordwind 6296
of troy 5400
BranShea 5282

Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 2014 Wordsmith