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Does anybody know of a list of Polish-English False Friends and True Friends?


tonykenny 18 | 131
15 Dec 2008  #1
Hi,
Does anybody know of a list of Polish-English false friends and true friends.

For those not up on the terminology, a false friend is a word that sounds the same in the 2 languages but has a different meaning. For example, as a Pole for a preservative and see what you get! :) More of a 'preventative' is what you will receive :)

I'm looking for the list of false friends to prevent such mistakes but, the list of true friends will be incredibly useful as a way to boost my vocab very quickly indeed. For example, mailować, surfować, powokować are such true friends that are easy to remember.

In the meantime, I have a race with a friend to completely memorise all the verbs in "301 Polish verbs" but thakfully not all the conjucations and perfectives.

dziękuję bardzo za pomóc.

Tony
Seanus 15 | 19,716
15 Dec 2008  #2
Nerwowy - nervous, not the same. Nervous tends to mean afraid whereas nerwowy means agitated more.

Angina - angina. Angina pectoralis refers to a chest condition, in Polish it's an ailment connected with the throat. I know this as my friend told me she had angina, I was alarmed. She was surprised at my reaction.

I'll write more in a bit. I just need to think of them, I have encountered many
OP tonykenny 18 | 131
15 Dec 2008  #3
yeah, i've come across this one where a friend said somebody was making her nervous, she really meant annoyed. Of course, similar problem i had a year ago explaining to somebody in Polish I was too nerwowy to speak... meaning nervous.. oops!

Maybe I should set up an online false-friend database.
Seanus 15 | 19,716
15 Dec 2008  #4
Good idea, I could help you out where possible. A neat little project.

Hazard - gambling PL
Hazard - sth dangerous EN

No - Yes PL
No - No EN, I often have this with my fiancee. No, ale który?

Komunikacja - Public transport PL
Communication - Between people EN
OP tonykenny 18 | 131
15 Dec 2008  #5
Found some here:

mypolishlife.pl/index.php/tag/false-friends/
Seanus 15 | 19,716
15 Dec 2008  #6
Yeah, I have 3 of those. Ewentualnie, właśnie, that's a classic ff.

I think seksowny might be another one.
OP tonykenny 18 | 131
15 Dec 2008  #7
seksowny = sexy according to my dictionary
właśnie = exactly not sure how it's a false friend though.

but looking at the dictionary, i can see that i'm going to confuse właśnie and własny (own, belonging to oneself)
Seanus 15 | 19,716
15 Dec 2008  #8
I didn't mean właśnie, I was thinking in Polish and said, aaaaah, właśnie, w ten sposób.
Seanus 15 | 19,716
15 Dec 2008  #10
Sympatyczny - nice

This doesn't really mean sympathetic as we use it

Lunatyk - sleepwalker

This is a classic. I was asked if I was a lunatyk. I replied, 'maybe, but I try not to be'.

Ordynarny - foul-mouthed

Quite a difference from the English meaning of ordinary

Pupil - teacher's pet

The Poles have a word, kujon, for this. We use people in the sense of a school student.

Szef - boss

Another common mistake. Oh, sb who cooks is a cook, not a cooker. Chief is often used for chef
sausage 19 | 777
15 Dec 2008  #11
One I always have to think twice about..
Katar = a cold
(you would expect it to be a cough like catarhh)
Seanus 15 | 19,716
15 Dec 2008  #12
Yeah, not to be confused with Qatar ;)
spieretti 1 | 31
15 Dec 2008  #13
Fart in Polish means a piece of good luck, which is pretty ironic as that's the opposite in English if you're on the receiving end of one.
chris_miner
16 Dec 2008  #14
I think it is funny the way many of these are not false friends in German. For example szef 'chef' is boss in german, and katar is very much like Kater which means male cat but more commonly 'hung over' (ie headache, upset stomach, sore body).
Krzysztof 2 | 973
16 Dec 2008  #15
Winston Churchill was a false friend :)
chris_miner - | 2
16 Dec 2008  #16
and Ewentualnie which seems like eventually in english is very much like eventuell in german which means "maybe, but most likely not at all" but in english "yes, but it could take a while".
JustysiaS 13 | 2,240
16 Dec 2008  #17
absolutely - by itself it means 'definitely yes' in Eng., whilst in Polish absolutnie means 'definitely not' lol
?????
18 Dec 2008  #18
Some more False Friends

Brat - means “brother” in Polish, looks like (English “brat”) which means “bachor” in Polish.

Klej – means “glue” in Polish, sounds like (English “clay”) which is “glina” in Polish.

Dres – means “tracksuit” in Polish, sounds like (English “dress”) which is “ubierać” or “sukienka” in Polish.

But – means “shoe” in Polish, sounds like (English “boot”) which is “bagażnik”, “kozaczek”, “but wojskowy”, or “zapuszczać” It also looks like (English “but”) which means “ale” or “lecz” in Polish.

Parapet - means “windowsill” in Polish, looks like (English “paratet”) which means “przedpiersie” in Polish.
PolskaZabka
18 Dec 2008  #19
'no' in polish is a very informal way of saying yes, almost like yea is uses for yes, in poland 'no' can mean TAK.

English: refined - sophisticated (positive)
Polish: wyrafinowany - cleaver (negative)

English: ordinary - common, every day (neutral)
Polish: ordynarny - base, rude (negative)

nervous - unsure, worried (neutral)
nerwowy - easily angered (negative)
Guest
18 Dec 2008  #20
Complement (supplement) - komplement (compliment)
Knot (tangle) – knot (wick).
Caravan (convoy) - karawan (hearse)
Gnat (small two-winged flies ) - gnat (bone)
Divan (large couch with no back or ends) - Polish “dywan” meaning (area rug).
Gymnasium (gym) - Polish “gimnazjum” (junior secondary school)
Local (native) - lokal (dwelling, apartment, restaurant)
Lot (a tract of land) - lot (flight)
Lump (swelling) - lump (wino)
Vagary (an extravagant or erratic notion or action) – wagary (playing truant)
sausage 19 | 777
19 Dec 2008  #21
Here are my favourite ones...
karawan = hearse
lunatyk = sleepwalker
spieretti 1 | 31
31 Dec 2008  #22
You will see "warzone" on a bottle of Warka Strong. Don't worry, this doesn't mean the yanks have found oil there, it is a conjugation of the verb "to brew".
tomekcatkins 8 | 130
31 Dec 2008  #23
Przecież means after all, but and not precise.
Kolegaalso means friend, mate.

...And a Warsaw isn't something you use in the army. :P
SeanBM 35 | 5,809
16 May 2010  #24
English to Polish numbering systems are different after a million.

So when I say there are six and a half billion in the world, this would be six and a half milliard people in Polish.

Our ''Trillion'' is their ''billion''.

Long and short scales
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_and_short_scales#Short_scale_countries_and_regions
vetala - | 382
16 May 2010  #25
Prezerwatywy - Preservatives ;)
MareGaea 29 | 2,753
16 May 2010  #26
English to Polish numbering systems are different after a million.

That's a continental thing. Nearly everywhere on the continent an English billion is a milliard; a billion is usually the next step after a milliard, like this: million, milliard, billion, billiard. A continental billion is therefore 1000 English billion +.

I've seen more examples of things that are actually widespread in continental Europe, but are actually different in English. Poland is just being a continental state with all its influences linguistically.

>^..^<

M-G (what's after a billiard, I don't know, I guess Trillion and Trilliard and after that...)
Linguist 1 | 37
16 May 2010  #27
I am afraid but the story of "false-friends" and "tru-friends" might not encompass those words which are already "loans" from a tertiary language. That is to say Polish "hazard" ~ "gambling" and English "hazard", are both of an Arabic origin (Arabic "az-zahr" ~ "to die") which have adopted new semantic concepts. The same thing also occurs for English "lunatic" and Polish "lunatyk" (sleepwalker) where they both are originally borrowed from Latin "lunaticus" (moon-struick).

I am not sure but Polish "gnat" (bone) and English "gnat" could be considered as sorts of false-friend. Or Dutch "die" (that) and English "die".

However in a pure "false-friends" instance both words would carry outward as well as semantic similarities but no etymologies in common. For example English "bad" and Persian "bad" both convey the same meaning and exactly resemble each other but are by no means derived from the same root. Or Kurdish "neq" and English "neck" both besides their similar definitions look like each other too, but are not etymological cognates.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,467
16 May 2010  #28
I may be wrong but I thought in Polish it was milion miliard, bilion trylion, etc.
Linguist 1 | 37
16 May 2010  #29
It is an American, to my knowledge, phenomenon in which "milliard" gave way to "billion". But its true and logical concept is still remained in British English as well as in the other languages. A "billion" got twice zeros compared to that of a "million" and "trillion" got three times as many zeros as a "million". By the way "bi-" means "two" and "tri-" means "three".
SeanBM 35 | 5,809
16 May 2010  #30
That's a continental thing.

So it's an incontinent thing ;)

I may be wrong but I thought in Polish it was milion miliard, bilion trylion, etc.

Nope, this is new to me too.

million, milliard, billion, billiard.

what's after a billiard, I don't know, I guess Trillion

Yes, tysiąc, milion, miliard, bilion, biliard, trylion, tryliard, kwadrylion, kwintylion etc...
pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liczebniki_g%C5%82%C3%B3wne_pot%C4%99g_tysi%C4%85ca#Nazwy_utrwalone_w_pi.C5.9Bmiennictwie

It is an American, to my knowledge, phenomenon in which "milliard" gave way to "billion".

What?
It is not of the new world but of the old world.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_and_short_scales#Timeline


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