Maria Almeida
Similar Words in Different Languages

Hi everybody,
We notice that there are akin words with similar meaning in different languages. For instance:
1)strange(English) - estranho(Portuguese) - extraño(Spanish) - strano(Italian) - étrange (French)
2)special(English) - especial(Portuguese) - especial (Spanish) - speciale(Italian) - spécial(French)
3)novelty(English) - novidade(Portuguese) - novedad(Spanish) - novità(Italian) - nouveauté(French)
4)different(English) - diferente(Portuguese) - diferente(Spanish) - différent(French)
5)choice(English) - choix (French)
6)debate(English) - debate(Portuguese) - debate(Spanish) - débat(French) - debatte(German)
7)example(English) - exemplo(Portuguese) - ejemplo(Spanish) - esempio(Italian) - exemple(French)
8)similar(English) - similar(Portuguese) - similar (Spanish) - simile(Italian) - similaire(French)
Please, If you remember other examples, share them with us. Thanks.

Dec 4, 2015 12:07 PM
Comments · 11

Hi Maria, 

 

I'm more fascinated by the ones that seem the same but aren't: 

 

camino- Spanish road, but in French, Italian, German (chiminée, camino, Kamin) means chimney

 

bravo - Spanish ''aggressive, fierce'' but in French, Italian and German (brave, bravo, brav) means well-behaved (this one got me into trouble the first time in Spain when people asked me if my dog was ''bravo'' and to their horror I answered, ''Well of course he is!'')

 

And not to forget the famous ''embarazada'' which is ''pregnant'' in Spanish but ''embarassed'' in just about every other Latin language.  

December 4, 2015

Sometimes "false friends" are not exactly false friends. I keep running into examples of Spanish words whose most common meaning is fairly different from the meaning of the similar-looking English word--but nevertheless is similar to a less common or older meaning.

 

For example, <em>probar</em> means "to test" or "to try," while <em>prove</em> usually means "to show conclusively that something is true." However, <em>prove</em> can mean "to test" or "to try." A <em>proving ground</em> is a place where munitions are tested; "Come live with me and be my love/And we will all the pleasures prove" means "we'll try every pleasure."

 

Not infrequently, I will be groping for a Spanish word, will come up with something, and then will laugh out loud when my instructor or language partner tells me that the best choice is a word that is almost like English. The other day, I was trying to explain about sealing my house to prevent the escape of heated air. I used the word <em>huir</em> for "escape." My instructor said a better choice would be... <em>escapar.</em>

 

A lot of long, technical, Latinate words can be "translated" to Spanish just by adjusting the spelling, -<em>ity</em> to -<em>idad</em>, -<em>tion</em> to -<em>ción</em>, etc. 

December 7, 2015

water - voda (Russian)

December 9, 2015

1)strange(English) - estranho(Portuguese) - extraño(Spanish) - strano(Italian) - étrange (French) - strannyi (Russian)

December 9, 2015

False friends English- Spanish. 

Discuss (English) has neutral meaning " talk about", discutir (Spanish) as my tutor explained is for angrily situation "have an argument" , "pelear"

December 7, 2015
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