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#2278 - 05/13/00 09:39 AM false friends  
Joined: Mar 2000
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juanmaria Offline
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juanmaria  Offline
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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.

#2279 - 05/13/00 12:26 PM Re: false friends  
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AnnaStrophic Offline
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AnnaStrophic  Offline
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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')


#2280 - 05/14/00 07:14 AM Re: oops  
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jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah
jmh  Offline
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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???


#2281 - 05/15/00 02:55 PM Re: false friends  
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trinket Offline
stranger
trinket  Offline
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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!


#2282 - 05/17/00 07:30 AM Re: false friends  
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juanmaria Offline
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juanmaria  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 163
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.

#2283 - 05/17/00 12:33 PM Re: false friends  
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William Hofmeyr Offline
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William Hofmeyr  Offline
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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'...


#2284 - 05/17/00 12:57 PM Re: false friends  
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jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah
jmh  Offline
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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!


#2285 - 05/17/00 03:25 PM Re: false friends  
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AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel
AnnaStrophic  Offline
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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 :-)


#2286 - 05/17/00 04:05 PM Re: false friends  
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Jackie Offline
Jackie  Offline

Carpal Tunnel

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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!


#2287 - 05/17/00 06:29 PM Re: German Donut  
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David108 Offline
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David108  Offline
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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?



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