False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

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Shemtov
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Shemtov »

This Semitic pairing really got me: :eth: ማር /mar/ "Honey" :isr: /mar/ "Bitter"
Many children make up, or begin to make up, imaginary languages. I have been at it since I could write.
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VaptuantaDoi
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by VaptuantaDoi »

A large proportion of Esperanto placenames are analysable as affixed roots, and thus have two meanings —

mal- "opposite of" + avio "plane" > Malavio "not a plane / Malawi"
kat- "cat" + -aro "collection of" > Kataro "group of cats / Qatar"
ir- "go" + -ano "member" > Irano "member of going / Iran"
om- "Ohm" + -ano "member" > Omano "member of a group of Ohms / Oman"
pak- "pack" + -ist- "one who does" + -ano "member" > Pakistano "member of a group of packers / Pakistan"
sud- "south" + -ano "member" > Sudano "member of the south / Sudan"
barb- "beard" + -ado "frequent or continuous action" > Barbado "frequently being a beard / Barbados"
ĉ- "letter Ĉ" + -ado "frequent or continuous action" > Ĉado "frequently being the letter Ĉ / Chad"
gren- "cereal" + -ado "frequent or continuous action" > Grenado "frequently being cereal/ Grenada"
tri- "three" + n- "letter N" + -id- "offspring" + -ado "frequent or continuous action" > Trinidado "frequently being the child of three N's / Trinidad"
brun- "brown" + -ejo "place" > Brunejo "brown place / Brunei"
braz- "solder" + -ilo "tool" > Brazilo "soldering iron / Brazil" (the literal meaning of this one is listed in my dictionary)
dom- "house" + -ingo "holder for an object" > Domingo "house-stand / Dominican Republic"
ke- "New Zealan green parrot" + -njo "affectionate feminine suffix" > Kenjo "dear little female kea / Kenya"
est- "existence" + -ono "fraction" > Estono "an existenceth / an Estonian"
Belg- "Belgian person" + -ujo "container" > Belgujo "container of Belgians / Belgium" (and many more in -ujo)

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Zekoslav
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Zekoslav »

A nasty one from two closely related varieties:

Štokavian što "what", eastern Kajkavian što "who"

They are completely unrelated! Eastern Kajkavian što is cognate to Štokavian (t)ko which also means "who". /kto/ > /tko/ > /ko/ vs. /kto/ > /xto/ > /ʃto/.
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by GrandPiano »

:fr: innombrable "innumerable"
:es: innombrable "unmentionable"

(Note that these are not cognate; the former goes back to Latin numerāre "to count" while the latter goes back to Latin nōmināre "to name")
:eng: - Native
:chn: - B2
:esp: - A2
:jpn: - A2

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k1234567890y
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by k1234567890y »

just found this:

Tagalog: titi - n. p***is

Cebuano: titi - n. A respectful term of address to any familiar older man.

Both languages are spoken in the Philippines and both languages are widely used.
I prefer to not be referred to with masculine pronouns and nouns such as “he/him/his”.

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Shemtov
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Shemtov »

:tib: /làʔ/ "yes" vs. Aramaic & :ara: /la:/ "no"
Many children make up, or begin to make up, imaginary languages. I have been at it since I could write.
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

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:jpn: 王様 /o:sama/ "King; also name of popular singer" :eng: Osama
Many children make up, or begin to make up, imaginary languages. I have been at it since I could write.
-JRR Tolkien

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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Salmoneus »

Zekoslav wrote:
01 Jan 2020 09:48
A nasty one from two closely related varieties:

Štokavian što "what", eastern Kajkavian što "who"

They are completely unrelated! Eastern Kajkavian što is cognate to Štokavian (t)ko which also means "who". /kto/ > /tko/ > /ko/ vs. /kto/ > /xto/ > /ʃto/.
I think this sort of thing happens more often than might be expected with Indo-European interrogatives, demonstratives, prepositions and the like. The daughter languages innovated a bunch of different meanings for only-very-slightly-different forms (often case forms or gender forms) of particles that already had very little actual material in them. Once you mess around with sound changes, the forms are so close that you can often get them swapping places and the like.

Over in the cognates thread, someone's pointed out an example of the confusions resulting from Latin 'per' and 'pro', for instance, and no doubt somewhere in this thread someone has mentioned German vs English wer/who and wo/where.

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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

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/ima/ :isr: "mother" :jpn: "now" :que: "what"
Many children make up, or begin to make up, imaginary languages. I have been at it since I could write.
-JRR Tolkien

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All4Ɇn
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by All4Ɇn »

:esp: Sueco "Swede" and zueco "clog"
Both pronounced exactly the same outside of Spain and I could see people thinking they're related since Sweden is home to träskor

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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

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All4Ɇn wrote:
15 Apr 2020 00:46
:esp: Sueco "Swede" and zueco "clog"
Both pronounced exactly the same outside of Spain and I could see people thinking they're related since Sweden is home to träskor
Hmm, zueco pretty clearly comes from Latin soccus, so I wonder why the initial consonant fronted.

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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Aszev »

Dormouse559 wrote:
15 Apr 2020 01:11
All4Ɇn wrote:
15 Apr 2020 00:46
:esp: Sueco "Swede" and zueco "clog"
Both pronounced exactly the same outside of Spain and I could see people thinking they're related since Sweden is home to träskor
Hmm, zueco pretty clearly comes from Latin soccus, so I wonder why the initial consonant fronted.
Italian also seems to have zoccolo as its cognate.

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Ser
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Ser »

Dormouse559 wrote:
15 Apr 2020 01:11
All4Ɇn wrote:
15 Apr 2020 00:46
:esp: Sueco "Swede" and zueco "clog"
Both pronounced exactly the same outside of Spain and I could see people thinking they're related since Sweden is home to träskor
Hmm, zueco pretty clearly comes from Latin soccus, so I wonder why the initial consonant fronted.
It's just an example of historical confusion among Old Spanish sibilants across points of articulation. Although the general pattern truly was /s/ > /s z/, /k(i,e,ɛ) kj tj dz/ > /ts dz/, there's quite a number of cases where ancient /s/ ends up as /ts dz/, for example:
- serāre > çerrar (> cerrar)
- *sub-bullīre > çabullir (> zabullir)
- sulfur > *sulfurem > azufre (the a- is prob. an influence of azúcar < Arabic as-sukkar)
- cerasia > çereza (> cereza)
- cerevisia > çerveza (> cerveza)
- *sub-superāre > sozobrar (> zozobrar, cf. superāre > sobrar)

There's a number of similar sibilant confusions, especially /s/ > /ʃ/ and /ʝ/ > /ʒ/ (the latter change increased in number of attestations by Latin influence in more formal words like iūstus > yusto > justo, iūdicem > juez):
- sūcus > xugo (> jugo)
- sapōnem > xabón (> jabón)
- passerem > páxaro (> pájaro, cf. Portuguese pássaro)
- forficēs tōnsōriās > tixeras (> tijeras, cf. Portuguese tesoura)
- iam magis > jamás (cf. iam > ya)
- iocus > juego
- iūncus > junco
- gentem > yente > gente

There is also a set of /s ts/ > /tʃ/ words, which are often reasonably thought to be inter-dialectal borrowings (Mozarabic notably has /k/ > /tʃ/), but which I tend to think might be in part due to the association of the sound /tʃ/ with very colloquial/informal and even childish notions. Some of them are doublets with the expected /s ts/ word.
- Late Latin zanca 'Persian-style shoe' > çanca '"foot" of a bird' (> zanca)
- Late Latin zanca (+ diminutive -etta) > chanca, chanqueta 'slipper' (> chancla, chancleta 'flip-flop, slipper')
- schisma > çisma 'schism' (perhaps a learned word; > cisma)
- schisma > chisme 'gossip, rumour'
- sībilāre 'to hiss' > silbar 'to whistle, usually pleasantly with a melody'
- sībilāre > chiflar 'to whistle loudly [to call somebody]'
- sībilāre > chillar 'to cry painfully like a child'
- *sub-puteāre (literally "do-a-well under") > chapuzar 'to throw someone [into a lake, river, etc.] for fun, (reflexive) to dunk [into a lake, etc.]'
- *sub-putāre (literally "under-trim") > chapodar 'to trim [a tree] badly, without art' (cf. putāre > podar 'to trim [a tree]')
- ciccus > chico 'small (a rather cute word, cf. the more neutral pequeño)'
- cicerus > chícharo 'pea'
- soccus + diminutive -ulus > choclo 'wooden sole shoe to avoid mud' (cf. zueco)
Last edited by Ser on 23 Apr 2020 20:13, edited 4 times in total.
hīc sunt linguificēs. hēr bēoþ tungemakeras.

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Shemtov
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Shemtov »

Various languages Sutra vs. :hrv: <sutra> "tommorow"
Many children make up, or begin to make up, imaginary languages. I have been at it since I could write.
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

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Shemtov wrote:
23 Apr 2020 12:05
Various languages Sutra vs. :hrv: <sutra> "tommorow"
Maybe I'm missing some meaning of the former, since it's not defined, but I don't really see how these are either false friends or unfortunate coincidences?

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Ser
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Ser »

Aszev wrote:
23 Apr 2020 15:53
Shemtov wrote:
23 Apr 2020 12:05
Various languages Sutra vs. :hrv: <sutra> "tommorow"
Maybe I'm missing some meaning of the former, since it's not defined, but I don't really see how these are either false friends or unfortunate coincidences?
This is definitely a false friend, what leads you to say it isn't? False friends don't have to be historical cognates... Notice the example of Mandarin 书 shū 'book' and English shoe in the first post of the thread.

I would say that sutra is also a false friend of Arabic سورة suura (plural سور suwar), which is the word used in Arabic for a 'chapter' of the Qur'an, and Hebrew סִדְרָה sidra (plural סְדָרוֹת‎ sedarot), literally 'sequence', which refers to the weekly reading of the Torah.

Supposedly, neither is a borrowing of the Hindu/Buddhist word. The Arabic word is supposedly derived with the feminine suffix from a word meaning 'wall' (سور suur, sometimes claimed to be borrowed from Aramaic), as metaphorically the chapters have walls announcing they are beginning, and the Hebrew word is similarly derived with the feminine affix attached to סֵדֶר séder 'order, arrangement' (which is apparently sometimes used, or has been used, to refer to weekly readings as well). Honestly, though, it wouldn't surprise me if in reality either of them turned out to be an eggcorn or phono-semantic match of the Hindu/Buddhist word, but I guess we can't reasonably tell nor would either religion (Islam or Judaism) be comfortable with the idea, so the confidence is low.
hīc sunt linguificēs. hēr bēoþ tungemakeras.

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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Aszev »

Ser wrote:
23 Apr 2020 16:25
Aszev wrote:
23 Apr 2020 15:53
Shemtov wrote:
23 Apr 2020 12:05
Various languages Sutra vs. :hrv: <sutra> "tommorow"
Maybe I'm missing some meaning of the former, since it's not defined, but I don't really see how these are either false friends or unfortunate coincidences?
This is definitely a false friend, what leads you to say it isn't? False friends don't have to be historical cognates... Notice the example of Mandarin 书 shū 'book' and English shoe in the first post of the thread.
To me, the notion of a false friend has always entailed a potential risk of confusion between the two. To me that has always been the entire point of the term, and 'a specific type of literature' and 'tomorrow' aren't exacly concepts that you would risk confusing, unlike (since you mentioned it) shoe and book, which are both nouns denoting everyday objects.

But maybe I have an overly narrow definition of the term.

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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Salmoneus »

Ser wrote:
22 Apr 2020 23:05
- soccus + diminutive -ulus > choclo 'wooden sole shoe to avoid mud' (cf. zueco)
FWIW, the English for this is "patten". [it applies both to the shoes themselves, and to removable wooden under-soles that you can put over other shoes]

However, nobody's worn patterns in three hundred years, so the word has receded into relative desuetude...

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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Aszev »

A false friend that has been causing me some trouble:

In (written) Finnish, the 123 singular pronouns start with m~s~h. In the related North Sami, they start with m~d~s, and this change of the initial s- is really throwing me off.

Cf. Finnish s(in)ä, s(in)ut 'you-NOM, you-ACK' with North Sami son, su '(s)he, him/her'.

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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Xonen »

Aszev wrote:
28 Apr 2020 22:01
A false friend that has been causing me some trouble:

In (written) Finnish, the 123 singular pronouns start with m~s~h. In the related North Sami, they start with m~d~s, and this change of the initial s- is really throwing me off.

Cf. Finnish s(in)ä, s(in)ut 'you-NOM, you-ACK' with North Sami son, su '(s)he, him/her'.
Also cognates. Maybe, kinda (the vowel correspondences are weird, but the Finnic /s/ here does come from earlier */t/).

But really, you should try learning Estonian (ma, sa, ta) and Saami at the same time... Or my personal favorite from my school years: French and Swedish, where the plural first and second person have the exact opposite consonantism ( :fra: nous, vous vs. :swe: vi, ni).

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