False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

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clawgrip
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by clawgrip » Wed 12 Jul 2017, 10:02

Lao Kou wrote: As we've seen, Chinese 机 and Japanese 机 are cognates, or at least have a mother-daughter relationship. As GrandPiano points out, Chinese 机 is used in compounds and not left alone, floating in space, like 机 in Japanese, so it'd be:
Chinese 机 and Japanese 机 are not actually cognates at all, because Chinese 机 derives from 機 which in turn derives from 幾, while Japanese 机 derives from 几).

A false friend should be cognate but with a different meaning. ZH機 and ZH机 are cognate and have the same meaning, so they can't be false friends.

a false cognate would be something that looks/sounds similar and has a similar meaning, but is not actually cognate. ZH机 and JA机 are not cognates, and they look identical, but they have totally different meanings, so they're really not false cognates either.

So they seem to fall in the realm of "other unfortunate coincidences".
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Lao Kou » Wed 12 Jul 2017, 11:38

clawgrip wrote:Chinese 机 and Japanese 机 are not actually cognates at all, because Chinese 机 derives from 機 which in turn derives from 幾, while Japanese 机 derives from 几).
We seem to be talking past one another, but I'll take another swipe at the piñata. Chinese 几 originally means "little table" (and may well be an ideogram, since it actually looks like a little table). Add the wood radical for reinforcement, leading to the alternative 机. And over to Japanese, where "little table" becomes a "desk" (Tisch - desk?). Cognates.
A false friend should be cognate but with a different meaning. ZH機 and ZH机 are cognate and have the same meaning, so they can't be false friends.
The latter is a simplified form of the former. I would not qualify that as "cognate".
A false cognate would be something that looks/sounds similar and has a similar meaning, but is not actually cognate. ZH机 and JA机 are not cognates
My point is that I think they are.
So they seem to fall in the realm of "other unfortunate coincidences".
The unfortunate coincidence seems to be that 幾 and 機 were simplified to 几 and 机 back in them mainland simplification days (perhaps because the latter sense characters were majorly underutilized -- I wasn't consulted at the time -- not having been born may have had a bearing on that).
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by clawgrip » Wed 12 Jul 2017, 13:54

I think we may be talking about slightly different things? I don't know. I'm talking about the actual characters at this point, rather than the words.

A good example of a false friend (in terms of characters) would be 太, which means "greatly"or what have you in Chinese, but means "fat" in Japanese. Same character, shifted meaning.

机 is rather complicated, because Chinese 机 "machine; opportunity" is a simplification of 機, while Japanese 机 ki/tsukue is not a simplification of 機. Traditional 机 is not the same character as 機; therefore, these two are not related.

However, traditional Chinese 机 "small table" is of course the exact same character as Japanese 机 ki/tsukue "desk" so these are "related" in the sense that they are the very same character.

So strictly speaking, the characters 机 "machine; opportunity" and 机 ki/tsukue "desk" are unrelated (not including the 木 radical, which is a different issue).

As for whether the actual spoken morphemes and are the same morpheme or not, well, I just don't know about that.
Lao Kou wrote:A false friend should be cognate but with a different meaning. ZH機 and ZH机 are cognate and have the same meaning, so they can't be false friends.
The latter is a simplified form of the former. I would not qualify that as "cognate".[/quote]
That's the problem using this terminology to talk about graphemes...it doesn't quite work all the time. In any event, they are directly related though the simplification process and have the exact same pronunciation and meaning, so they are not false anythings, I think. They're just loopy tricks to fool Japanese people.
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Lao Kou » Wed 12 Jul 2017, 15:24

clawgrip wrote:A good example of a false friend (in terms of characters) would be 太, which means "greatly"or what have you in Chinese, but means "fat" in Japanese. Same character, shifted meaning.
I would quite agree that in terms of characters, this is a "great" ( [B)] ) example of a false friend; you might assume you're going one way and not have to worry about the definition, when, in fact, the meaning is moving in a different direction.
As for whether the actual spoken morphemes and are the same morpheme or not, well, I just don't know about that.
Nor do I. But with the tonal variety (and across the dialects I can pretend familiarity with), I'll guess no. Perhaps Des or k9 can offer insight.
That's the problem using this terminology to talk about graphemes...it doesn't quite work all the time.
Yes.
In any event, they are directly related though the simplification process and have the exact same pronunciation and meaning, so they are not false anythings, I think. They're just loopy tricks to fool Japanese people.
And white, hairy lumbering giants with huge feet and noses (and perhaps, mythologically associated pudenda).
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Trebor » Wed 12 Jul 2017, 23:10

Imralu wrote:According to this dictionary, shî means "the leg", "the foot" or "the footprint" and shîm means "the eye", so it seems not to be a typo (or if it is, it's one that is being repeated, haha). What made you suspect a typo?
Thanks for checking into the Kanuri words. Haha, such would be a funny coincidence. I was suspecting a possible typo because it seemed strange for two basic vocabulary items in one lexical domain to be so similar when the number of possible syllables isn't too restricted. I would've expected speakers to change one of the pair, even just in terms of tone, so as to avoid confusion. But then, maybe natlangs are more tolerant of possible ambiguity than I'd be. [:P]
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by clawgrip » Thu 13 Jul 2017, 05:51

Trebor wrote:I would've expected speakers to change one of the pair, even just in terms of tone, so as to avoid confusion. But then, maybe natlangs are more tolerant of possible ambiguity than I'd be. [:P]
In Korean, "arm" is pal and "foot" is bal.
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by shimobaatar » Thu 13 Jul 2017, 22:20

clawgrip wrote:
Trebor wrote:I would've expected speakers to change one of the pair, even just in terms of tone, so as to avoid confusion. But then, maybe natlangs are more tolerant of possible ambiguity than I'd be. [:P]
In Korean, "arm" is pal and "foot" is bal.
This makes me think of how the pair ane "one's older sister" and ani "one's older brother" have been giving my Japanese classmates and I some trouble. This goes for the honorific versions of those words, used for talking about other people's older siblings, as well.
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Adarain » Fri 14 Jul 2017, 01:30

shimobaatar wrote:
clawgrip wrote:
Trebor wrote:I would've expected speakers to change one of the pair, even just in terms of tone, so as to avoid confusion. But then, maybe natlangs are more tolerant of possible ambiguity than I'd be. [:P]
In Korean, "arm" is pal and "foot" is bal.
This makes me think of how the pair ane "one's older sister" and ani "one's older brother" have been giving my Japanese classmates and I some trouble. This goes for the honorific versions of those words, used for talking about other people's older siblings, as well.
Similarly, in Portuguese: avó [a'vɔ] grandmother, avô [a'vo] grandfather gave me quite a bit of trouble.
At kveldi skal dag lęyfa,
Konu es bręnnd es,
Mæki es ręyndr es,
Męy es gefin es,
Ís es yfir kømr,
Ǫl es drukkit es.
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by All4Ɇn » Fri 14 Jul 2017, 01:33

shimobaatar wrote:This makes me think of how the pair ane "one's older sister" and ani "one's older brother" have been giving my Japanese classmates and I some trouble. This goes for the honorific versions of those words, used for talking about other people's older siblings, as well.
I had a problem with that at first myself. The way I remembered it is that in Italian masculine nouns ending in -o form their plural with -i (so ani) while feminine nouns ending in -a form their plural with -e (so ane)
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by shimobaatar » Sat 15 Jul 2017, 17:47

Adarain wrote: Similarly, in Portuguese: avó [a'vɔ] grandmother, avô [a'vo] grandfather gave me quite a bit of trouble.
Wow, pairs like this really make me wonder how they developed and how they've been sustained. Obviously native speakers must not have much trouble with them, though.
All4Ɇn wrote:
shimobaatar wrote:This makes me think of how the pair ane "one's older sister" and ani "one's older brother" have been giving my Japanese classmates and I some trouble. This goes for the honorific versions of those words, used for talking about other people's older siblings, as well.
I had a problem with that at first myself. The way I remembered it is that in Italian masculine nouns ending in -o form their plural with -i (so ani) while feminine nouns ending in -a form their plural with -e (so ane)
Oh, that's a smart way to think about it! Thanks!
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Imralu » Sat 15 Jul 2017, 19:07

:tan: Swahili:
  • popobawa - a demon of Zanzibar (incl. Pemba) and coastal regions such as Dar es Salaam, in the form of a man-bat with one eye and a large penis who anally rapes people, particularly men. (Google image search with safe-search off for some weird fetish art.)
:deu: German:
  • Popobauer - butt farmer
Glossing Abbreviations: COMP = comparative, C = complementiser, ACS / ICS = accessible / inaccessible, GDV = gerundive, SPEC / NSPC = specific / non-specific, AG = agent, E = entity (person, animal, thing)
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Dormouse559 » Tue 18 Jul 2017, 06:52

Adarain wrote:
shimobaatar wrote:
clawgrip wrote:
Trebor wrote:I would've expected speakers to change one of the pair, even just in terms of tone, so as to avoid confusion. But then, maybe natlangs are more tolerant of possible ambiguity than I'd be. [:P]
In Korean, "arm" is pal and "foot" is bal.
This makes me think of how the pair ane "one's older sister" and ani "one's older brother" have been giving my Japanese classmates and I some trouble. This goes for the honorific versions of those words, used for talking about other people's older siblings, as well.
Similarly, in Portuguese: avó [a'vɔ] grandmother, avô [a'vo] grandfather gave me quite a bit of trouble.
As an English speaker, I had trouble telling apart French au-dessus /odsy/ "above" and au-dessous /odsu/ "below".
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Lambuzhao » Tue 18 Jul 2017, 19:26

shimo wrote:
Adarain wrote: Similarly, in Portuguese: avó [a'vɔ] grandmother, avô [a'vo] grandfather gave me quite a bit of trouble.
Wow, pairs like this really make me wonder how they developed and how they've been sustained. Obviously native speakers must not have much trouble with them, though.
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Proto-Germanic *frawjǭ, a feminine form of *frawjô
There seems to be more distinction in the descendants:
Old :eng: frōwe :: frēa
AH :deu: frouwa :: frō
:non: freyja :: freyr
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Lao Kou » Wed 19 Jul 2017, 06:03

:eng: :fra: (et alia) pirogue dugout canoe (inter alia)
:rus: пирoг (pirog) type of pie made with leavened dough
:pol: pieróg dumpling
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by All4Ɇn » Wed 19 Jul 2017, 20:28

:eng: tattoo
:fra: tatou / :bra: tatu "armadillo"
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Xonen » Wed 19 Jul 2017, 20:36

Dormouse559 wrote:As an English speaker, I had trouble telling apart French au-dessus /odsy/ "above" and au-dessous /odsu/ "below".
This reminds me of an unfortunate coincidence between Finnish and Saami (using Inari Saami here):

:fin: yllä - :sme: alne 'over', 'above', 'on'
:fin: alla - :sme: vyelni 'under', 'below'

I still sometimes find myself tripping up on these, especially reading alne (or North Sami alde) as 'below' and having to mentally correct myself. Both pairs are in fact true cognates, even; Saami has just essentially turned the whole vowel system upside down at some point.
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Iyionaku » Fri 21 Jul 2017, 07:27

:mys: anda
:jpn: あんた anta

Both translate as "you", but while the Malay pronoun is very formal, the Japanese one is (apparently, don't know much about Japanese) very rude.
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by sangi39 » Mon 24 Jul 2017, 21:20

Icelandic - átaka 'conflict' or 'battle'
Finnish - auttakaa '(you lot) help!'
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by Imralu » Sat 29 Jul 2017, 22:37

:epo: ambaŭ "both"
:tan: ambao "who/which/that" (relative pronoun for classes 2, 3, 11 and 14)

:epo: ni "we"
:swe: ni "you" (plural, nominative)

:epo: vi "you" (plural and singular, nominative)
:swe: vi "we"
Glossing Abbreviations: COMP = comparative, C = complementiser, ACS / ICS = accessible / inaccessible, GDV = gerundive, SPEC / NSPC = specific / non-specific, AG = agent, E = entity (person, animal, thing)
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Re: False friends and other unfortunate coincidences

Post by GrandPiano » Fri 04 Aug 2017, 15:12

Lao Kou wrote:
GrandPiano wrote:Mandarin and Japanese ... orthographic false friends.

:jpn: 机 tsukue "desk" - :chn: 机 jī "machine; opportunity" (usually used in compound words)
Certainly in terms of modern mainland usage, your point is not lost, but here, in the senses you're indicating, 机 is the simplified form of 機. Meanwhile there is the character 几, not the simplified form of 幾, but a character in its own right, which does mean a small table, and 机 is listed as an alternative form. Seen in that light, they're not really false friends at all. Interestingly, at least to me, is that, as "small table", mainland resources list it as first tone jī, while Taiwan resources list it as third tone jǐ. Uncle Hanzi offers both.
That's exactly why I listed them as false friends. It's rare that what visually appears to be the same character in (simplified) Chinese and Japanese actually has different etymologies in each language (are there any other examples of this?), so, as Clawgrip pointed out, it's easy to assume that they mean the same thing if one doesn't know better.
clawgrip wrote:A false friend should be cognate but with a different meaning. ZH機 and ZH机 are cognate and have the same meaning, so they can't be false friends.
Are you sure? To my understanding, false friends don't have to be cognates, although they usually at least appear to be.

:jpn: タコ tako "octopus" - :eng: :esp: taco
:eng: - Native
:chn: - B2
:esp: - A2
:jpn: - A2
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