littleblacksmith

Loosing your temper? Language discussion.

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JHCC   
2 hours ago, Anachronist58 said:

Hmmm, I have always wondered at how gift in English means poison in German......

And "Sayonara" ("Goodbye" in Japanese) should not be confused with "Cyanide" ("Goodbye" in any language).

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7 hours ago, Anachronist58 said:

Hmmm, I have always wondered at how gift in English means poison in German......

Ah, beware of Germans bearing gifts then? And I thought it was Greeks (at least from the Trojans' point of view).

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JHCC   
16 minutes ago, John in Oly, WA said:

Ah, beware of Germans bearing gifts then? And I thought it was Greeks (at least from the Trojans' point of view).

Although oddly enough, the phrase "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts" comes not from the Greek literary tradition, but the Roman. "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes" (I fear the Greeks, even/especially when [they are] bearing gifts) is from Virgil's Aeneid.

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Ohio, good Japanese word.  

"False cognates" of which a risible Spanish one is embarazada; it certainly has raised a lot of eyebrows when misused by english speakers.

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13 hours ago, Marc1 said:

"..........accepted popular usage trumps academic/historical meaning every single time....."

Oh my ... reminds me of the so called 'false friends' where words that sound the same but have different meaning are borrowed from one language into another with atrocious results.

Unfortunately the false friends of translators end up in the respective dictionaries victim of political correctness and an urge to be seen as progressive.

   

Marc1,

I suspect that being seen as progressive is the motivation behind much of what happens in academia.  Thomas Sowell once said that "Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked, with what sounded good."

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You can't get a PhD  telling folks that what they are  doing works just fine.  You need to do something *NEW*!    (I once worked in a scientific research organization and was amazed at the resistance to using stable, cheap, off the shelf software solutions.  They wanted to do all their own stuff even though it would take longer, cost more and be a LOT LESS ROBUST.)

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On 4/20/2017 at 2:09 PM, ThomasPowers said:

You can't get a PhD  telling folks that what they are  doing works just fine.  You need to do something *NEW*!    (I once worked in a scientific research organization and was amazed at the resistance to using stable, cheap, off the shelf software solutions.  They wanted to do all their own stuff even though it would take longer, cost more and be a LOT LESS ROBUST.)

So when do we reach the point where students "rediscover" classical solutions that can be applied to academically generated problems? 

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I see a lot of things rediscovered but generally there is strong resistance in the academic world to them.  One of the biggest problems is everyone seems to want a "one size fits all" solution to issues involving people and people can be so different!

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Marc1   
On 4/21/2017 at 4:07 AM, ThomasPowers said:

Ohio, good Japanese word.  

"False cognates" of which a risible Spanish one is embarazada; it certainly has raised a lot of eyebrows when misused by english speakers.

Well ... false cognates and false friends are different things. Embarrassed in english and embarazada in spanish are two words that sound close but mean something completely different. Those are false friends.

Obligado and arigato (thank you in portuguese and japanese) are false cognate, sounding the same (or close), meaning the same yet having different etymology. Cognates comes from latin meaning relatives. It means "in law" in Italian, sort of the same thing. 

But in the case of "embarazada" in spanish meaning pregnant, there is a cultural explanation. Pregnancy in a culture that considered all things related to reproduction shameful and sinful, becoming pregnant was in fact embarrassing. Not going as far as russian that literary means burden or punishment, gravida in italian (loaded) but being happy in chinese.

If you want to be on the safe side, say "encinta" in spanish or "incinta" in italian ... and don't forget that pregnant in english has an equivalent in spanish, that is "preñada" meaning pregnant yes, but used for animals, so ... don't use it unless on the farm :) 

And on the False Cognates front, that expression reminds me of a friend from Indonesia who told me that when he went to the US, every mexican was approaching him in spanish to his great distress. He kept on saying sorry I don't understand a word you are saying I am not mexican! But he looks like one. 

 

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