False friends are pairs of words or phrases in two languages or dialects (or letters in two alphabets) that look or sound similar, but differ significantly in meaning. An example is the English embarrassed and the Spanish embarazada, which means pregnant. I copied this from Wikipedia. Why?
I wrote a post a couple of hours ago and made a mistake with the subject title. I wrote: Anyone trying to teach two languages contemporarily?!? I can’t even remember now what I'd written....
Someone (I guess Adam, thank you!) has corrected it to simultaneously, which is what I intended to write in the first place. Then I must have had the Italian word in my head which is contemporaneamente, so I actually turned that into English. After having lived in Italy for so long it does happen to me quite often.
Do you or your children make mistakes using false friends??
I wrote: Anyone trying to teach two languages contemporarily?!?
Judit, I just wanted to mention that, yes, there are elves behind the scenes at this forum, reading every post and, when necessary, making minor edits. (Okay, it's just one big elf--me.)
The policy behind these edits is simple: Far from changing the content itself, such edits are intended only to make that content as clear and as readable as possible.
Adam Beck is the author of the popular nonfiction books "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability" and "I WANT TO BE BILINGUAL!" (illustrated by Pavel Goldaev) as well as the award-winning humorous novel "How I Lost My Ear" (illustrated by Simon Farrow).
Yes, I'll bet we all have had some moments with false cognates.
I don't know if this counts: both sweet cookies and salty crackers can be translated as "galletas" in Spanish and Cookie Monster is "el monstruo de galletas." My son's majority language is English. He loves sweet things, as you can imagine. While he usually gets it right and asks for "cookies," I have caught him talking about "crackers" in a context that clearly calls for the use of the word cookies. The only explanation that seems to make sense is this incorrect usage is the fact that there is only one word in Spanish for both of these English terms.
The nerd in me thinks it is way cool that my son is making these kinds of logical bilingual errors.
My husband flinches every time my 2 year old runs around the park screaming "die! die! die!" That's what "give me" sounds in Russian and obviously is among the first and most used words by a Russian speaking toddler.
Same here , "die" in Italian means "come on". My aerobic instructor used to shout at us, "die, die, die" and I'd say under my nose...oh shush, I am dying here! That just reminds me, "walnut" in Hungarian is "dio", and "dio" in Italian means "God"! When my son was running around the garden picking them up and shouting "dio", my rather religious mother-in-law looked a bit suspicious...
That's so funny! I heard my daughter use a false friend last night and thought "must remember that for the forum" but of course now I can't recall it. But then I remembered I am writing a blog on my bilingual child-raising experience. And so I went over to my own blog and checked, and here is one: Quick switch or mix – or whatever
Edit: I remembered the one from the other night: My daughter was telling her dad (in French, her ML) about an experiement they'd done at preschool: check what items will float and what items will sink to the bottom of a bowl of water. She used "nager" (swim) instead of "flotter" (float). In German (her ml), "schwimmen" means both swim and float (as opposed to sink). Not as funny as the false friends above, I know.
We had the false friend "glass" yesterday too. My daughter said she wanted a "glass" except that "glaz" is eye in Russian. I told her that we do not eat eyes for breakfast and she must wait at least until dinner before I hand one of mine over.
We also recently had a chain of false friends. The word journal in Russian is a magazine. The word "magazin" in russian is not an English magazine but rather a store. We got a magazine at the library for the first time, and boy my poor daughter is using all the wrong words in all the wrong languages. Telling her dad that she has a journal and telling me that she has a store (magazine).
Marisa: "Victory moment:" My almost 4-year-old daughter told me yesterday in the ml (rough translation): "mom, there's something wrong with the cartoons, can you fix it, please?"... she was accidentally watching TV in the ML! So I gladly obliged
Jan 18, 2020 4:15:02 GMT 9
Amy: Awww bless her, Marisa!!! That was so cute!! <3
Jan 18, 2020 5:25:44 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Marisa, give that little minority language lover a big hug from me!
Jan 18, 2020 8:04:49 GMT 9
Mayken: We're at Harry Potter Book Night at the English bookshop in Paris. The activities are all in French but my daughter teamed up for the treasure hunt with a girl who also speaks ouf ml German!
Feb 8, 2020 3:50:49 GMT 9
Amy: Was stunned to hear eldest had an anglophone (ml) accent when she began to read in the ML this afternoon!! Didn't last more than a paragraph until her brain switched language, but chuffed mum here!!
Mar 7, 2020 23:05:49 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter found the secret stash of ml books I'd bought at the closure sale of the ml book store two months ago and hidden away for later. Guess it's a good time for new books now, right?
Mar 18, 2020 5:29:38 GMT 9