Falscher Freund (or Fauxami , French faux ami "false friend") is a term from interlinguistics , originally introduced in 1928 as faux amis du traducteur by the French linguists Maxime Koessler and Jule Derocquiny and since then as a translated version of this expression in numerous other languages has been taken over, e.g. B. as false friends in English.
The term refers to word pairs from different languages that are very similar in appearance, but have a different meaning in their respective languages . Often both names have a common etymological or conceptual origin. Wrong friends are part of the translation difficulties and interference errors and can lead to a wrong translation . In the specialist linguistic literature, such expressions are also known as tautonyms.
Attempts at definition and lexicographical selection criteria
Despite extensive linguistic and lexicographical research on false friends in the last few decades, due to different theoretical approaches, there is neither a uniform technical definition nor a basic lexicographical theory or concept for work that is critical of the dictionary.
The definition of KH Gottlieb is often used in a partially modified form, which appears particularly helpful from the point of view of language practice: False friends are therefore "words and word combinations, two or more languages, which because of the analogy of their phonetic and / or Morphemas can cause false associations and lead to misleading inclusion of the foreign language information or to more or less significant distortion of the content in the translation, inaccuracies in the reproduction of the stylistic coloring, incorrect word combinations and errors in word usage. "
For the selection of the lemmas for collections or dictionaries of the wrong friends, lexicographic sources such as representative monolingual dictionaries of both languages as well as bilingual translation dictionaries are used as a basis. In some cases, however, language didactic criteria are also included in order to adequately take into account the difficulties or errors of the learners. In doing so, interference errors from foreign language lessons are collected that occur in text comprehension, free speech, translations or text production, either with beginners or with advanced learners. The corpora compiled on this basis differ accordingly due to the different basic typologies, with either a broad or a narrow understanding of the term "false friend" being assumed.
According to the broader view, not only phonetically or graphically identical word pairs are counted among the wrong friends, but all cases that can cause potential interference errors, for example also words with the same word structure but different phonological-graphic design and meaning, or sham borrowings, i.e. H. Words that are formed with borrowed language material but do not exist in the source language, e.g. German Showmaster, which is formed from two borrowed lexemes, but is not used in English with this meaning. In addition to lexical false friends, praseologisms with a similar structure but different meaning are also counted among false friends in the broader typologies. Likewise, limitations in the combinability of lexemes in the source and target language are used by linguists such as Hausmann or Sinclair as criteria for choosing wrong friends, for example German "hit a hammer in the wall" and English "Hammer or drive a nail into the wall", but not "beat a nail into the wall". A very far-reaching definition, however, harbors the risk that even with relatively arbitrary, slight differences as a sufficient condition, an excessive number of word pairs must be classified as false friends.
In contrast, in the narrow version only those words from two or more languages are regarded as false friends, which differ in their semantic content with the same or at least very similar graphic and / or phonemic form. However, by including not only semantic, but also morphological or prosodic features in the same or similar form, the concept of the wrong friend tends to be expanded again in the more recent specialist discussion.
In the specialist literature a further distinction is made between absolute (total, actual) and partial false friends: In the case of absolutely false friends, there are no common meanings and no congruence of the meanings of the two lexemes, i.e. H. the source-language lexeme is to be reproduced with a completely different target-language lexeme.
So far there has been no consensus in linguistics or linguistics on the conditions of formal similarity on this background; Nor have clear and undisputed operational criteria for the assignment to the faux amis been developed. The authors of the existing dictionaries or collections of false friends primarily follow their intuition when selecting the lemma and, depending on their teaching and language experience, rely on different linguistic corpora, from technical, literary, general language to colloquial or popular scientific use. Criteria such as up-to-dateness, frequency of use or the presumed probability of the occurrence of interference errors in foreign language learners with very different levels of knowledge are also applied in different ways with recognizable subjectivity. Accordingly, there are significant differences in the size of the various false friends' dictionaries; The number of word pairs in the common dictionaries for the German-English false friends ranges from approx. 200 to approx. 4000, depending on the addressee group and the selection criteria used.
Types of false friends
In addition, intralingual false friends or paronyms exist within a language , for example antiseptic - aseptic . Apparent correspondences between two dialects of the same language or between a dialect and the standard language as well as lexemes with a diachronic change in meaning are considered false friends for various linguists.
Sometimes words are also referred to as "false friends", which seem like common foreign or loan words , but have no or a completely different meaning in the supposed language of origin. A well-known example is the German term “ Handy ” for a mobile phone. In English, the word handy does not mean “mobile phone”, but “handy, clever, agile”. Such words are more correctly called pseudo-borrowing (or bogus Anglicism , bogus Gallicism, and so on).
In the scientific discussion so far, numerous attempts at classification or typing have been made to distinguish between the different types of false friends.
The internationally recognized Polish linguist Ryszard Lipczuk differentiates faux amis (FF) according to a narrow and broad view. To the former, he only counts words from two or more languages that differ in their semantic content in the same or similar (graphic and / or phonetic) form. He calls such lexemes tautonyms.
According to the broad view, Lipczuk as well as Wotjak and Herrmann propose a differentiation between the following types of faux amis :
- Words with the same meaning but different spelling (orthographic FF);
- Words with certain differences in pronunciation (phonetic FF), such as B. German realism and Spanish realismo;
- Words with certain grammatical differences, e.g. B. Gender of nouns: z. B. span. El minuto - dt. The minute;
- Words with certain differences in the word structure or belonging to different types of words (morphological FF), e.g. B. dt. The atheist (noun) - span. Atheo (adjective);
- Words with a formally different form that are considered to be semantic equivalents globally, but not in all cases or collocations, e. B. German large - pol. duży (heavy clouds in German and large clouds in Polish);
- Words with the same word structure but different phonological-graphic design and different meanings, e.g. B. dt. Ignore (hear something, but not react to it) - narrow. to overhear (hear or overhear something by chance);
- Phraseologisms with a similar structure but different meanings, e.g. B. dt. To lose one's head [to be confused] (only meaning 1) - pol. tracić głowę [1. be confused; 2. succumb to the charm of a person];
- Words of a language that had a different meaning in an earlier time than in the present language (diachronic FF), e.g. B. German cunning (earlier: knowledge, ability, today: cunning);
- certain utterances with the same (similar) form, but different communicative functions (pragmatic FF), e.g. B. German bye! (usable when parting) - pol. Cześć! (can be used as a greeting and when saying goodbye);
- Single words (not word pairs) that are used in one language but do not exist in the other, e.g. B. Norwegian sendemann = German ambassador, envoy.
Cartagena / Gauger distinguish six types of false friends.
In 2000, Annette Kroschewski presented a differentiated classification proposal:
- Interlingual false friends
- Orthographic wrong friends
- Phonological false friends
- Morphological false friends
- Semantic false friends
- Semi-honest (partial) false friends
- Dishonest (absolute) false friends
- False friends as pseudo-anglicisms
- Syntactic wrong friends
- Idiomatic false friends
- Pragmatic false friends
- Text linguistic false friends
- Systematisation according to reference areas
- Intralingual false friends
- Diachronic false friends
- Synchronous fake friends
- Incorrect friends due to registry
- British English / American English: Anglo-American false friends
Formation and development of false friends
The two words can be related in origin, but have developed differently ( e.g. through pejoration in only one of the two languages), or have a purely coincidental similarity. In the case of related languages (e.g. Standard German and Dutch ) or those that have or have had close contact for a long time (e.g. German and French ), false friends are much more common than with unrelated languages (e.g. German and Japanese ). In the case of the latter, identical or similar vocabulary are so different in meaning or function that the problem generally does not even arise. Danger of confusion can arise here mainly from borrowing and simultaneous shifting of meaning or from the fact that the words not only sound similar but also fulfill the same function in the context of the sentence. An example is the German number word "six", which is similar to the Turkish number word sekiz , but which means "eight". In other cases, the meaning or the grammatical function of similar-sounding words are usually so different that there is no risk of confusion.
Sometimes the meanings cannot be clearly distinguished from one another. So English is serious not normally but "serious" or "significant", "serious". But sometimes serious also means something like "serious". In this area of overlap, the wrong friends actually correspond. Another example is the English tip , which mostly means “tip” and has a number of other meanings, including “tip”. The illustration at the beginning of the article also shows an example of this type.
Wrong friends can also shift the meaning of words. With frequent and persistent incorrect use, a word can take on its assigned meaning and the false friend translation becomes the standard. For example, until some time ago , realizing only meant "realize, implement". The persistent influence of the English wrong friend to realize / realize is realized today in the sense of "see notice" is used. This meaning has now also been recognized by dictionaries.
English false friends
|English word||resembles||but means||Translation of the similar German word|
|actual||current||actually, actually||current, recent|
|art||Art||art||kind, form, species, some kind of|
|become||to get||among other things "will"||get, obtain|
|brave||well-behaved||brave, brave, righteous||good, well-behaved|
|edge||corner||Edge, edge||corner, angle, quoin|
|eventually||perhaps||then, in due time, finally, ultimately||possibly, perhaps|
|genius||genius||Djinn , genie in a bottle , hence the play on words with the charming Jeannie in English , which was lost in the German translation||genius|
|poison||Poison||Gift, gift, endowment; the Germans still in dowry included||poison, venom|
|high school||high school||Gym||high school (no direct equivalent), grammar school ( BE ), secondary school|
|mobile phone||mobile phone||practically||mobile phone, cell phone|
|lush||slack||lush, also in the sense of 'sensual', with colors: 'full'||feeble, limp (handshake)|
|must not||not to have to||not allowed||don't have to, need not|
|ordnance||orderly||Artillery, supply of troops||orderly|
|overhear||Ignore||notice, randomly hear||fail to hear, ignore|
|oversee||overlooked (something)||supervise, supervise, monitor||overlook|
|pathetic||pathetic||pathetic, pathetic, pathetic||solemn, lofty, elevated|
|periodical||periodically||(regularly appearing) magazine, magazine||periodic|
|pregnant||concise||pregnant||concise, succinct, incisive|
|self-conscious||confident||inhibited, embarrassed, self-conscious||self-confident|
|sensitive||sensitive||sensible, sensible, noticeable||sensitive|
|slip||Slip||Slip, petticoat; or also: form, slip and much more||briefs, panties|
|tin roof||Tin roof||Tin roof||sheet metal roof|
|undertaker||Entrepreneur||Undertaker (but note: undertaking)||entrepreneur|
|warehouse||Department store||Warehouse (hall), wholesale market||department store|
|(I will||(I want||in today's English: (I) will (auxiliary verb)||would like (to), want (to)|
|English expression||seems to mean||but means||Explanation|
|first floor (USA)||first floor (first floor)||ground floor||in British English first floor is the first floor, in American English first floor is the ground floor; in British English the ground floor is called the ground floor.|
|Guinea pig||Guinea pig||Guinea pigs, guinea pigs||The Guinea pig is a small breed of pig from Africa (= Guinea hog). "Guinea pig" is often used to mean guinea pig, test person.|
|high school||University||a secondary school (secondary level after 6th grade)||There is no exact equivalent for this type of school, so it is best to leave it at the English name.|
|shortly||recently||shortly, soon, very soon (i.e. the opposite in terms of time)||recently|
|Sunday baby / Sunday child||Sunday child||bastard||The German word Sonntagskind means a person who was born on a Sunday and is correctly translated as Sunday's child .|
|Shotgun wedding||Wedding with guns||Compulsory marriage||Parents have to force their children to marry with guns. In a figurative sense, the term is used for involuntary or inappropriate pairings or for violent excesses during a wedding party.|
Dutch false friends
Due to its close relationship with German, the Dutch language has a particularly large number of striking false friends.
|Dutch word||means in German||German word||is called in Dutch|
|got||able, suitable||comfortable||gemakzuchtig, gerieflijk|
|bark||ring the bell, phone||bark||bark|
|durven||dare||allowed to||to like|
|small child||Grandchild||small child||kleuter|
|claarcoma||come (sexually)||get along||bolwerke, klaarspelen|
|lekker||delicious, beautiful||delicious||not only for taste / smell:
lekker weer (nice weather),
lekkere stoel (comfortable chair)
|sea||Lake (inland water)||sea||zee|
|to like||allowed to||to like||leuk vinden|
|shady||cute / sweet||shady||schaduwrijk|
|schuin||crooked||beautiful||lekker, mooi, fijn|
|perished||to disturb||to destroy||to rot away|
|voorjaar||spring||Previous year||het previous jaar|
|knowledge||swipe / delete||knowledge||weten|
French false friends
- 1. Word spelled the same (or almost the same) - different meaning
|French word||means in German||German word||means in French|
|adjudant m.||sergeant||adjutant||aide-de-camp m.|
|académicien m.||Member of the Académie Française||Academics||universitaire m.|
|acte m.||Deed, deed||file||dossier m.|
|apparatus m.||Pomp, splendor||apparatus||appareil m.|
|bredouille f.||Embarrassment or distress||Bredouille||embarras, détresse|
|piano m.||Keyboard, keyboard||piano||piano m.|
|délicatesse f.||Tact, attention||delicacy||friandise f.|
|gymnase m.||Gym*||high school||lycée m., collège m.|
|infusion f.||herbal tea||infusion||perfusion f.|
|milieu m.||center||milieu||milieu sociaux m.|
|potence f.||gallows||power||puissance f.|
|raquette f.||(Tennis) racket||rocket||fusée f., missile m.|
|régisseur m.||Administrator||Director||metteur en scene m.|
|serviette f.||Towel, briefcase||napkin||serviette de table f.|
|tablet f.||Board, tray||tablet||comprimé m.|
|vase f.||dirt||vase||vase m.|
|veste f.||Jacket, jacket||vest||gilet m.|
*) Exception French-speaking Switzerland , where gymnase also stands for grammar school; Gym = hall de gymnastique
- 2. The German word sounds French; but there is no similar word in French
|German word||means in French|
|brilliant||courageux, plein de bravoure|
|hair stylist||hairdresser, figaro|
|ground floor||au rez-de-chaussée|
- 3. Words with the same root but different ending
Usually these are vocabulary that are foreign words or borrowings in both languages, German and French, or are borrowed directly from Latin or another Romance language, such as Italian, in German
|German word||means in French|
- 4. Words with different gender
On the one hand, it is important that French has no neuter and, on the other hand, that in German certain final syllables are associated with a gender. The final -e shows e.g. In German, for example, a feminine gender is regularly used, while the same ending, which is usually not spoken in French, is derived from completely different Latin endings, not just the feminine Latin -a .
|the aspirin||une aspirine|
|the dictation||la dictée|
|the system||le system|
|the jeep||la jeep|
|the anchor||une ancre|
|the Citroën||la Citroën|
|the liqueur||la liqueur|
|the planet||la planète|
|the axis||un ax|
|the pineapple||un pineapple|
|the bar||le bar|
|the bronze||le bronze|
|the episode||un episode|
|the floor||un étage|
|the garage||le garage|
|the gesture||le gesture|
|the group||le groupe|
|the hymn *||l'hymn|
|the massage||le massage|
|the million||le million|
|the assembly||le assembly|
|the sabotage||le sabotage|
|the sauna||le sauna|
|the bust||le buste|
*) compare, however, from the same root directly from Latin: the hymn
- 5. Verbs with different directions
|to take advantage of something (transitive)||profiter de qc. (intransitive)|
|sb. ask||demander à qn.|
|play (game)||jouer à qc.|
|play (instrument)||jouer de qc.|
|subscribe to something (transitive)||s'abonner à (reflexive)|
|suspect something||se douter de qc.|
|perceive something||s'apercevoir de qc.|
|sb. serve||servir qn.|
|sb. consequences||suivre qn.|
|to believe in sb. / something||croire qn., qc.|
|sb. help||aider qn.|
|wake up (intransitive)||se réveiller (reflexive)|
|to be with sb. thank you (reflexively)||remercier qn (transitive)|
|to stay||séjourner (intransitive)|
Note: it is advisable to learn the faux amis in the direction of German → French, because when translating into a foreign language, the faux amis are more “tempting” than the other way around. Alphabetical list of German words that lead to a wrong translation in French:
- Alimony, ambulance, (one-room) apartment, artist, meringue (pastries), (flashlight) battery, blouse, good, café, chaise longue, demonstration, can, endive, imagination, feuilleton, fidel (cheerful), figure (Physique), figure (person), functionary, cloakroom (clothing fee), high school student, high school, impotent, infusion, suitcase, compass, bankruptcy, costume, (letter) envelope, miserable (very bad), misery (difficult situation), Ordinary, ground floor, rocket, director, rendezvous (date), toilet (WC), safe (safe), jersey (sports shirt)
Wrong friends in other languages
- An example of false friends within the Slavic-speaking area is the name of the month Listopad : In Croatian it denotes the month of October , in Polish , Czech and Slovenian it means November . In all of these languages the name means "falling leaves".
- Another example of false friends is the word yes , which means “I” in many Slavic languages ; In the Slovene colloquial language, on the other hand, the word is used as consent, as in German , while “I” in Slovene is expressed with jaz .
- In Romanian, "cheers" means something like "stupid", which can lead to misunderstandings when socializing.
- The word “burro” means butter in Italian , while it means donkey in Spanish and Portuguese .
- While the Norwegian frokost and also the Swedish frukost mean early food or breakfast , as expected , the Danes use frokost to refer to the (cold) lunch . Breakfast is called Morgenmad in Danish .
- The Danes' popular hyggelig , which among other things means cozy , but never hilly , can also be misleading .
- Klaus-Dieter Barnickel: False Friends: A Comparative Dictionary German – English. Groos, Heidelberg 1992 ISBN 978-3872-76674-8 .
- Hartmut Breitkreuz: More false friends: Insidious traps in German-English vocabulary. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1992, ISBN 978-3499-19172-5 .
- Janos Juhasz: Problems of Interference. Budapest 1970.
- Wolfgang Müller: Easily confused words. Duden paperbacks, volume 17, 1973.
- Walter Fischer: Easily confused words in the English and French languages. Keimer, 1981, ISBN 978-3-920536-48-4 .
- Carlo Milan, Rudolf Sünkel: False friends on the lookout. Dizionario di false analogy e ambigue affinità fra tedesco e italiano. Zanichelli, Bologna 1990, ISBN 88-08-07148-0 .
- Wolfgang Müller: The dictionary of the wrong brothers. In: Dictionaries in Discussion III. Niemeyer (= Lexicographica Series Maior 84), Tübingen 1998, ISBN 3-484-30984-9 , pp. 222-232.
- Graham Pascoe, Henriette Pascoe: Sprachfallen Englisch Max Hueber Verlag, Ismaring 1998, ISBN 3-19-002647-5
- Ryszard Lipczuk, Pawel Mecner, Werner Westphal: Lexicon of modern linguistics. Selected terms for communication and cognitive science. 2nd, expanded edition. Wydawnictwo Promocyjne Albatros, Stettin (Szczecin) 2000, ISBN 83-88038-13-3 , [p. 77 f .: false friends of the translator ; P. 166: Paronyms (False Brothers) ].
- Ageliki Ikonomidis: "Anglicisms in good German: A guide to the use of Anglicisms in German texts". Buske, Hamburg 2009, ISBN 3-875-48560-2 .
- Annette Kroschewski: "False friends" and "true friends". A contribution to the classification of the phenomenon of intersinguistic heterogeneous reference and its foreign language didactic implications. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2000, ISBN 978-3-631-36453-6 .
- Salifou Traoré: Interlingual interference phenomena. In selected areas of morphosyntax and text in African francophone German students with didactic conclusions , Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2000, ISBN 978-3-631-36857-2 .
- Richard Humphrey: False Friends, Falser Friends, Falsest Friends. A Student's Workbook on Deceptive Resemblances. English-German / German-English, Klett, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 978-3-12-939613-1 .
- Wolfgang Träger: English - Caution: Fall! A special dictionary to avoid possible misinterpretations of English expressions. RG Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 978-3-8301-0770-5 .
- Burkhard Dretzke, Margaret Nester: False Friends - A Short Dictionary. Philipp Reclam, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-15-019756-1 .
- Béatrice Gra-Steiner, Burkhard Dretzke, Margaret Nester: Petit Dictionnaire des Faux Amis. Philipp Reclam, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3-15-019778-3 .
- Anglicisms and translation traps in the English language
- FMM Frequently Made Mistakes
- False Friends in German
- German / Dutch - A very detailed overview with false friends with translations
- A hypertext bibliography
References and comments
- Duden online: Fauxami
- Artur Dariusz Kubacki: “When will I Become a Schnitzel? - I Hope Never. “Real and false friends of the translator in translation didactics. In: Comparative Legilinguistics . Vol. 29/2017, pp. 87f. See also Maxime Koessler, Jule Derocquigny: Les faux amis ou Les trahisons du vocabulaire anglais: Conseils aux traducteurs. Paris 2008.
- Cf. Svitlana Kiyko: Metalexicographical considerations on the dictionary of false friends. In: Lexicographica , Volume 29: Issue 1, November 28, 2013, pp. 199ff. Available online for a fee at De Gruyter - Academic Publishing at  . Retrieved August 9, 2020.
- Andrzej Katny: On tautonyms and internationalisms from a linguistic and didactic point of view. In: Folia Scandinavica , Volume 20, Issue 1, December 1, 2016, p. 143, accessible online  . Retrieved on August 9, 2020. See also Karl Heinrich Gottlieb: Basic principles of a dictionary of the “false friends of the translator”. A contribution to practical lexicography. In: Herbert Ernst Wiegand (Ed.): Studies on New High German Lexicography V. Hildesheim / Zurich / New York: Olms, 1984, 103-134.
- Cf. Svitlana Kiyko: Metalexicographical considerations on the dictionary of false friends. In: Lexicographica , Volume 29: Issue 1, November 28, 2013, pp. 199-206. Available online for a fee at De Gruyter - Academic Publishing at  . Retrieved August 9, 2020. See also Franz Josef Hausman: Practical Introduction to Using the Student's Dictionary of Collocations. In: Benson, Morton / Benson, Evelin / Ilson, Robert (eds.): Student's Dictionary of Collocations. Berlin: Cornelsen, 1999, IV. Cf. also John McHardy Sinclair: Corpus, Concordance, Collocation. Oxford: Univ. Press 1991, p. 110. See also Artur Dariusz Kubacki: “When will I Become a Schnitzel? - I Hope Never. “Real and false friends of the translator in translation didactics. In: Comparative Legilinguistics . Vol. 29/2017, pp. 90ff.
- Andrzej Katny: On tautonyms and internationalisms from a linguistic and didactic point of view. In: Folia Scandinavica , Volume 20, Issue 1, December 1, 2016, p. 143, accessible online  . Retrieved August 9, 2020.
- Cf. Svitlana Kiyko: Metalexicographical considerations on the dictionary of false friends. In: Lexicographica , Volume 29: Issue 1, November 28, 2013, pp. 199–206, in particular pp. 200, 203 and 218. Available for a fee online from De Gruyter - Academic Publishing at  . Retrieved August 9, 2020.
- Cf. Artur Dariusz Kubacki: “When will I Become a Schnitzel? - I Hope Never. “Real and false friends of the translator in translation didactics. In: Comparative Legilinguistics . Vol. 29/2017, p. 91.
- Cf. Svitlana Kiyko: Metalexicographical considerations on the dictionary of false friends. In: Lexicographica , Volume 29: Issue 1, November 28, 2013, pp. 202f. Available online for a fee from De Gruyter - Academic Publishing at  . Retrieved on August 9, 2020. See also Artur Dariusz Kubacki: “When will I Become a Schnitzel? - I Hope Never. “Real and false friends of the translator in translation didactics. In: Comparative Legilinguistics . Vol. 29/2017, p. 91 f.
- FALSE FRIENDS ( Memento from February 27, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
- "False friends" and "true friends": A contribution to the classification of the phenomenon of intersilingual-heterogeneous reference and to the foreign language didactic implications . Frankfurt am Main 2000.
- More details in this presentation (PDF; 511 kB)
- Falsche Freunde German – Dutch
- Overview of false friends German – Dutch (pdf) ( Memento from May 6, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
- Examples of confusion: In the James Bond film In the Face of Death , silicon computer chips are used. Klaus Lage sings in Monopoli : “Your job is now done with a piece of silicone”.
- Dictionary query online dictionary LEO. Retrieved November 27, 2016 . Or. Dictionary query online dictionary LEO. Retrieved November 27, 2016 .
- Similar lists can be found in numerous vocabulary collections, e.g. B .: Wolfgang Fischer, Anne M LePlouhinec: Thematic basic and advanced vocabulary French. Klett-Verlag, 1st edition. 2009, ISBN 978-3125195165 , p. 569 f.