Languages > Language-specific analysis
Slavic: False Friends
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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.
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:
Regardless, these examples are amusing :)
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)
--- Quote ---I think linguists and compulsive list-making goes hand in hand.
--- End quote ---
Haha, I guess that's true.
Those are some fun examples from Icelandic.
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...
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