Common False Friends

A “false friend” is an English word that looks very similar to words in Catalan and Spanish but which has a different meaning.  For example, the English word “all” means tot/tots/todo/todos while all in Catalan is translated into English as “garlic.” Another example is “gusto,” which would be translated into Spanish as entusiasmo (The boy was blowing his trumpet with great gusto), but the Spanish word “gusto” would be translated into English as “taste.”  (He has good taste…Tiene buen gusto) but the English sentence, “It taste good,” would be translated into English as Sabe bien.  Here is a list of similar words:

  1. actuallyde fet/de hecho

(actualment/actualmente … currently, now)

  1. adviceconsell/consejo

(avís/aviso … warning)

  1. to collapsehundirse/enfosar

(col·lapsar/colapsar … stop/to bring to a standstill)

  1. compromisesolució intermèdia/solución intermedia

(compromís/compromiso … commitment)

  1. conductordirector d’orquestra/director de orquesta

(conductor … driver)

  1. deception … engaño

(decepció/decepción … disappointment)

  1. exitsortida/salida

(èxit/éxito … success)

  1. injuryferida/herida

(injúria/injuria … insult)

  1. jubilationalegría/alegría

(jubilació/jubilación … retirement)

  1. journeyviatge/viaje

(jornada … work day)

Perhaps the most famous (and dangerous) false friend is “fart” (english), which is translated as “pet” (catalan), and “pet” in English refers to a domestic animal (mascota).  The Catalan expression fart would be translated into English as “fed up” (estic fart).  So be careful, and never trust in false friends  😜

Written by Mike Dean Alger for Aston School

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