Linguist Forum

Languages => Language-specific analysis => Topic started by: IronMike on February 28, 2014, 08:02:15 AM

Title: Slavic: False Friends
Post by: IronMike on February 28, 2014, 08:02:15 AM
I know Slavic isn't a language, but I hope it is an appropriate label for this discussion.

Years ago while studying Serbo-Croatian in a course delightfully called "Turbo-Serbo" (16 weeks for speakers of Russian or Czech), I came across this wonderful word:

понос / ponos

I laughed and laughed...   In Russian, that word means diarrhea.  In Serbian it means pride.

So I started to look for more false friends amongst the Slavic languages. I thought having a list of these terms in an excel doc or an actual book would be of great benefit to linguists and Slavic language students.  I searched and searched for a few months, but then my project died on the vine.
Title: Re: Slavic: False Friends
Post by: Daniel on February 28, 2014, 11:36:00 AM
Why? Would this be something to include in a textbook, for example?

Certainly there are various false friends in many (all) pairs of languages, but I'm not sure I understand why you would need to or want to compile a list.


One very interesting question is whether these words actually have the same origin and how they came to have such different meanings.
Here's one example:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embarazada


Regardless, these examples are amusing :)
Title: Re: Slavic: False Friends
Post by: lx on February 28, 2014, 02:39:26 PM
I think linguists and compulsive list-making goes hand in hand. It certainly does for me and the amount of things I put in online spreadsheets and go back to check when I know I want to remember something that I put in there. We could make a sticky thread of the best/funniest false friends in one of our forum boards. I think that'd be a really good idea, actually.

We've already got 1-2 mentioned. I can think of two from Icelandic. "Fag" means a subject (like a school/course subject) and "Misseri" (pronounced like 'misery') means (among a few other things) a school semester. "What are you learning this misery?"  8)
Title: Re: Slavic: False Friends
Post by: Daniel on February 28, 2014, 03:15:23 PM
Quote
I think linguists and compulsive list-making goes hand in hand.
Haha, I guess that's true.


Those are some fun examples from Icelandic.
Title: Re: Slavic: False Friends
Post by: Corybobory on February 28, 2014, 03:24:15 PM
Oh dear!

I don't know any Slavic languages, but in Japanese 'kiseki' means miracle, while in Korean it means son of a bitch...

Which is funny as BoA, a Korean/Japanese singer released a song called 'kiseki no hito' which I'm sure amused her Korean fans...
Title: Re: Slavic: False Friends
Post by: freknu on February 28, 2014, 04:53:41 PM
Kind of sounds like:

ais to caress — ice
bár bare, naked — bar (taproom)
blístr to whistle — blister
brá good — bra (clothing)
breif letter (document) — brave
dog to suffice, avail — dog (hound)
fís "to fart" — fees pl.
frat to fart — frat (fraternity)
frog to ask — frog
gran spruce, fir — gran (grandmother)
nefr birch bark — never
rap to belch — rap (music)
Title: Re: Slavic: False Friends
Post by: IronMike on March 03, 2014, 02:39:34 PM
Why? Would this be something to include in a textbook

Well, for one, I started the list because I would annually have to take Russian, BCS and Slovenian language tests. I would use the false friends list to help study.

Further, I'd think that someone studying, say, Slavic linguists, with the requirement to study at least one Slavic language from the West, South and East families, well, the false friends list could be helpful.
Title: Re: Slavic: False Friends
Post by: Daniel on March 03, 2014, 03:27:51 PM
Quote
Well, for one, I started the list because I would annually have to take Russian, BCS and Slovenian language tests. I would use the false friends list to help study.
Ah, that makes perfect sense!
I should have one of those for the Romance (and Germanic) languages, although false friends don't account for all of my confusion in that :)
Title: Re: Slavic: False Friends
Post by: Jase on April 04, 2014, 04:41:04 AM
понос / ponos

Just for fun, the word πόνος (ponos) in ancient Greek meant work or labor. :)