False friends

دوره: لغات انگلیسی در شش دقیقه / اپیزود 40

لغات انگلیسی در شش دقیقه

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False friends

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A Spanish woman was on a train in Australia. She said "Can I sit down please? Im embarrassed ." What did she mean - and why did no-one give her a seat? Catherine and Finn talk about false friends in 6 Minute Vocabulary.

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Finn Hi! I’m Finn.

Catherine And I’m Catherine. Welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary. Today we’re talking about false friends.

Finn But false friends aren’t people! False friends are words that look or sound the same in two different languages - but have different meanings in each language.

Catherine That’s right and today we’ll give you plenty of examples…

Finn …there will be a quiz of course…

Catherine …and we’ll also bring you a top tip for remembering these words.

Finn But first, here’s Jim. He works as a student advisor, and he’s talking about students’ problems.

Catherine While you’re listening to Jim, try to guess what the student called Camilla’s problem really was.

INSERT Jim Lots of students come to me with their problems, but sometimes I have to guess what they mean! Claus from Germany asked me for a rat because his father was busy in the kitchen . Simone, who’s French, was worried about the buttons on her face. Camilla, from Spain, didn’t know what to do because she was embarrassed . And when I helped Pierre, he said “Thank you very much, that’s terrible !”

Finn So, did you guess what Camilla’s problem really was?

Catherine And the answer is Camilla was actually pregnant ! But she used the wrong word when she said she was embarrassed .

Finn She did. Because embarrassed is a false friend in Spanish and English. The Spanish word embarazada means pregnant . Apologies for my Spanish pronunciation there! Spanish speaking people need to be very careful before they tell someone they are embarrassed - or that their husband is! Listen out for more false friends in this clip.

INSERT Jim Claus from Germany asked me for a rat because his father was in the kitchen . Simone, who’s French, was worried about the buttons on her face.

Catherine So I’m guessing that Claus didn’t really want a rat ?

Finn I don’t think so, I think he wanted some advice from Jim. The German word r at means advice in English. And Claus was worried because his father was in prison . The word kitchen can mean prison in German.

Catherine Confusing. And what about Simone, who said she had buttons on her face…

Finn Indeed. In French, the word boutons means spots . So, Simone thought that the English word buttons had the same meaning.

Catherine OK. Now, let’s have another clip. Pierre also said something quite strange.

INSERT Jim And when I helped Pierre, he said “Thank you very much, that’s terrible !”

Catherine So do you think that Jim was upset when Pierre said that? After all, Jim was trying to help.

Finn Well, Pierre didn’t mean to be rude. But in French terrible - like terrible - can have two meanings. It can mean very bad , but it can also mean great . It depends on the sound of your voice when you say it. Pierre meant that Jim’s advice was great, not terrible .

Catherine Wow, big misunderstanding. So the message is: don’t get upset if someone from another country says something that seems a bit strange or perhaps rude. They might just be using a word that’s a false friend.

Finn Exactly. And be very careful yourself when you’re speaking in another language. You know, there was this one time, I was in a hotel in France and I asked for a cushion - I thought that meant a cushion - for my bed. But it sounded like the French word cochon which means pig !

Catherine So you asked for a pig for your bedroom!

6 Minute Vocabulary from BBC Learning English.

Catherine And it’s time for a quiz! Today, we’re going to play a guessing game. So number one: If a French man is holding some £10 notes in his hand but he says that he’s got no money, what does he mean?

Finn The answer is that he means he’s got no coins. Yes, monnaie in French means coins or change.

Catherine Very good. And number two: If a German woman in an English restaurant says that she wants to become a steak, is she joking - or does she really want to turn into a meal?

Well, the answer is neither. Bekommen in German is a false friend for become in English . She means that she wants to get a steak to eat.

Catherine Right then. Number three: If someone from the US invites you to a party, Finn, and tells you to wear pants , should you be shocked?

Finn Well, actually, no, you shouldn’t. Pants in American English means trousers . It doesn’t mean underwear like in British English!

Catherine That’s a relief! And that’s the end of the quiz. Well done if you got them all right. And before we go, here’s a vocabulary tip. Keep a note of false friends between your language and English. You could use word cards, with the word on one side and the information with example sentences on the other.

Finn And there’s more about this at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again soon for more 6 Minute Vocabulary.

Both Bye!

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