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#205507 - 04/17/12 04:00 AM Paragon and paragon  
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Hamish Offline
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Hamish  Offline
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Hello all! I've been on the mailing list for A.W.A.D for a while now, but I've finally mustered up some gusto and made my way over to the forums.

Yesterday's (or for some of us still, today's) word of the day was 'paragon'. I've already sent this message to The Wordsmith, but thought I might share it here in case anyone can answer the question I pose in summary of my thoughts on the topic:

"As an avid gamer, I would always associate the words 'paladin' and 'paragon' with one another in my mind, it became one of my favourite words. I would arbitrarily recite "A paragon of virtue", when either word came to mind.

During a volunteer stint in Poland, I was delighted to discover they too had the word 'paragon' in their vocabulary! It, however, meant 'receipt'.

From many experiences after this I became fascinated with the phenomenon of words sharing the same phonetic sound or alphabetic spelling between differing languages but having completely different meanings. Could anybody please tell me the name for these curiosities?"

Disclaimer:

Coming from a rural town in Australia I'd really had little to NO experience with a foreign language before setting foot into Europe (I want to use 'onto' instead to make me sound like a pioneer or great adventurer). Long story short, even though I'm back home now after a good 9 months in Poland - and having picked up a fair bit of Polish - I'm enamoured by the world of languages. While I'm only nineteen, given the passion I've developed, I do feel rather guilty not having approached this sooner (and resentful that my Polish grandfather hadn't passed on the language to my mother to pass onto me! wink )

#205509 - 04/17/12 09:43 AM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: Hamish]  
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Faldage Offline
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One common name for these things is false friends. Sometimes they are the same word that just took different paths in the different languages, e.g., actual; in English it means 'real', in Spanish and Portuguese it means 'present, current'.

#205511 - 04/17/12 12:36 PM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: Faldage]  
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Hamish Offline
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Interesting! Just to fully clarify, how about these other examples:

Polish 'kij' meaning 'stick', but is pronounced the same as English's 'key'. Or the German 'nein', sounding like the English 'nine'. Do these examples also simply fall under the same banner as false friends?

EDIT: Upon reading through the Wikipedia article on this topic I seem to have already concluded that these are all indeed false friends! I love it, thanks for the help! These are quite fun to learn about wink

Last edited by Hamish; 04/17/12 12:47 PM.
#205512 - 04/17/12 01:51 PM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: Hamish]  
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Rhubarb Commando Offline
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G'day Hamish - welcome a'Board; it's good to have you with us.

Like you, I'm fascinated by the similarities and differ3ences between languages. Of course, English is full of them, because of the large variety of sources on which it is based - Latin (from AD47?) Old german (Saxon/Jutish incursions from 6th Century) Scandinavian (Vikings, c. C7) French (1066 and all that) and then from successive waves of immigrants - Jewish, Flemish, Italian, Chinese, Polish, Russian, German - etc etc. Then the world-wide Empite of the C18/C19 brought African, Indian, and Arabic words into the language. Anmd they have adopted and modified English words.
So, wherever you go, almost, you find both true friends and flase ones in the language.
A bit like life, really!


I'm immortal until proven otherwise
#205515 - 04/17/12 02:41 PM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: Rhubarb Commando]  
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LukeJavan8 Offline
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Welcome Hamish.
And the push in the past was to become an American one
learnt English, the "old country" was just that.

Last edited by LukeJavan8; 04/17/12 03:35 PM.

----please, draw me a sheep----
#205518 - 04/17/12 05:52 PM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: Hamish]  
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Yes, 'false friends' Óre fun. I have some for you too,

Dutch<>English:

brook(creek)<>broek(pants)
bane(a cause of harm)<>been(leg)
drop(verb; smallest quantity of liquid)<>drop(liquorice candy)
baker(the breadman)<>beker(mug)

A French<>Dutch one: coup(a hit)<>koe(cow) smile
Just some phonetic equals of many more.

But I wonder would there be languages that would not match at all?

Last edited by BranShea; 04/18/12 08:27 AM. Reason: question
#205525 - 04/19/12 02:17 PM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: BranShea]  
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Hamish Offline
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For certain there must be!

I have to mention, my favourite false friend is the pl. 'prezerwatyw' (same as the fr. 'prÚservatif'), which of course means 'contraceptive'/'condom'!

Of course it seemed absolutely crude and, paradoxically, instead of 'preserving' the semen, it has rather forsaken them wink

#205526 - 04/19/12 02:40 PM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: Hamish]  
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LukeJavan8 Offline
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whistle


----please, draw me a sheep----
#205527 - 04/19/12 02:58 PM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: Hamish]  
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BranShea Offline
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There will be many French loanwords in Polish, in fact in most European languages, thanks to the widely spread French cultural influence in the 18thC. and Nap. Bonaparte's ambituous marchings.
Both words look much alike.

As for the condom. It was invented in the 16C. for preserving people's health; as a means against syphilis. Contraception was a lesser issue.

Today it all depends on where your sympathies lie. wink

#205530 - 04/19/12 04:04 PM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: BranShea]  
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Rhubarb Commando Offline
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Indeed, until the late C19, when rubber condoms were introduced, condoms were leaky affairs, being made of either animal guts, or chamois leather, sewn up. Semen would leak through this, but bacteria were mush less likely to make the journey in the other direction!

Incidentally, on a note of social history, rubber condoms were, initially, used almost exclusively by the upper middle classes in England. Thye bacame more common for working class men during the First World War, when they were issued to the troops in Frnace when the went for R&R behind the lines. They were handed out in brown envelopes, and it is from this that the slang term for condoms, "French Letters" arose.


I'm immortal until proven otherwise
#205536 - 04/20/12 02:16 AM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: Rhubarb Commando]  
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Hamish Offline
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Haha, I feel the naivety of my youth shining through here, but I'll let that slide... for a few years more, at least!

Thanks Bran, Rhubarb and Luke.

#205551 - 04/20/12 02:58 PM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: Hamish]  
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LukeJavan8 Offline
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I'd say with age comes wisdom, but far too often
I've seen the opposite. Just keep doing what you
are doing, you'll be OK.


----please, draw me a sheep----
#205554 - 04/20/12 04:28 PM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: LukeJavan8]  
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Rhubarb Commando Offline
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Originally Posted By: LukeJavan8
I'd say with age comes wisdom, but far too often
I've seen the opposite. Just keep doing what you
are doing, you'll be OK.


Yes - I've never made up my mind whether it is worse to be young and foolish; or old and stupid.


I'm immortal until proven otherwise
#205555 - 04/20/12 09:15 PM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: Rhubarb Commando]  
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Tromboniator Offline
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Originally Posted By: Rhubarb Commando
whether it is worse to be young and foolish; or old and stupid.


Yes, it is!

#205578 - 04/21/12 07:03 PM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: Hamish]  
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BranShea Offline
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Originally Posted By: Hamish
Haha, I feel the naivety of my youth shining through here, but I'll let that slide... for a few years more, at least!


I hope the naivety of your youth will still come shining through when you'll be 91.

#205582 - 04/21/12 11:44 PM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: BranShea]  
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Hamish Offline
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Oh no, please don't wish such a thing upon me - I try to live by the motto:

Live hard, die young and leave a good-looking corpse.

wink

Last edited by Hamish; 04/21/12 11:46 PM.
#205588 - 04/22/12 12:03 PM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: Hamish]  
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BranShea Offline
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Ha!

#205594 - 04/23/12 02:06 AM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: Rhubarb Commando]  
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olly Offline
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and it is from this that the slang term for condoms, "French Letters" arose.

A New Zealand band, Herbs, had a hit with the song 'French Letter' A no nukes song. I'd have never had guessed the innuendo until now.

#205597 - 04/23/12 11:23 AM Re: Paragon and paragon [Re: olly]  
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Rhubarb Commando Offline
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It's a very old-fashioned term, Olly, and I haven't heard it used for years, I admit. Another slang term for condoms which seems to have gone out of use is "johnny."
People deal wwith contraception so matter-of-factly these days, that there doesn't seem to be the need for euphemism any more.


I'm immortal until proven otherwise
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