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FALSE FRIENDS between Italian and English, French and Spanish

In today’s video we will talk about those friends that nobody wants to meet while learning a foreign language: FALSE FRIENDS! Very bad people! In particular, we will find out the most resounding false friends with English, French and Spanish!

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Tricky words: FALSE FRIENDS with English, French and Spanish

Let’s begin with a word that is confusing for at least 4 students out of 5.

1 – ANNOIANTE

This word simply doesn’t exist in Italian and it comes from the English “annoying”. However, if something is “annoying” in English, in Italian it is “fastidioso”!

Instead, the Italian adjective “noioso” means “boring”, while “annoiato” means “bored”.

 

2 – FERMARE

In French it is possible to “fermer” la porte, while in Italian we can’t “fermare” (to stop) the door, we can only “chiudere” (to close) it! “Fermare”, instead, means “to physically block someone or something in motion”, that is, in French, “arrêter”.

Don’t miss our video about the differences among FERMARE and SMETTERE

 

3 – SPOSARE

Many Spanish people translate “esposar”, which means “ammanettare” in Italian (to handcuff), as “sposare” (to marry), that is “casarse” in Spanish.

 

4 – ARGOMENTO

An Italian “argomento” is “topic” or “subject” of a conversation.

However, many use the word “argomento” with the meaning of “litigio“, “scontro“, “diverbio” (fight, argument), because of the influence of the English word “argument”.

 

5 – CANTINA

In French, many children eat in a “cantine” at school, which is called “mensa” (cafeteria) in Italian.

Instead, the Italian “cantina” is not appropriate for children, since it is the basement of a house or the wine cellar (“cave” in French).

 

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6 – LARGO

In Spanish, “largo” refers to what is “lungo” (long) in Italian. For example, “un ponte lungo” (a long bridge) is “un puente largo” in Spanish.

Instead, the Italian “largo” (large, wide) refers to what is “amplio”, “ancho” in Spanish. Therefore “una habitación ancha” will be “una stanza larga” (a wide room)!

 

7- EDUCAZIONE

We usually read and listen to this kind of sentences: “Il governo dovrebbe investire di più nell’educazione” or “Io non ho potuto studiare, ma mio figlio è ben educato”.

The problem is that the English word “education” means to get a regular cultural preparation, generally at school; in Italian, instead, in this case, we’ll talk about “istruzione” and the person who receives it is “istruita” (educated).

Educazione” exists in Italian, but it is the transfer of moral and cultural values (“good manners”, “politeness” in English).

“Educazione” is what our parents teach us: to be polite, to respect others, to give way to older people, not to speak with your mouth full… Therefore, someone might be educated but not polite and viceversa!

 

8 – AFFOLLATO

If you’re “affolés” because of an event or some news in French, in Italian you can’t be “affollati”!

In fact, in Italian, only places can be “affollati” (crowded, “bondés” in French), when a person is struck by something in a negative way, then we’ll say he or she is “sconvolto”, “nel panico” or “scioccato” (shocked, upset).

 

9 – CALDO

In Italian“caldo” refers to something that has a very high temperature: “Fa caldo oggi: ci sono 35º gradi fuori” (It’s very hot today: it’s 35° outside). In Spanish: “caliente“, “calor“.

On the contrary, the Spanish “caldo” is a kind of food that is called “brodo” in Italian (soup).

 

10 – ATTUALMENTE

Many foreigners use this word as the translation for “actually”, used in English to clarify, to specify something.

However, the Italian translation for “actually” is not “attualmente” (which means “in questo periodo”, “oggigiorno”, “di questi tempi” – currently), but “in realtà”.

 

11 – NONNA

A French “nonne” is not an Italian “nonna”, but a “suora” (nun)! The Italian “nonna”, instead, is the French “grand-mère” (grandmother), that is our parents’ mum.

 

12 – VASO

Spanish people drink water in a “vaso”. Italian people, instead, put flowers and plants in a “vaso” (“jarrón“, in Spanish – pot, vase in English). Italians use a “bicchiere” (glass) to drink water!

Alright! Now, have a look at all our Italian lessons!

Vediamo se hai appreso i contenuti di questa lezione! Prova a fare gli esercizi!

Puoi smettere di parlare per favore? La tua voce è veramente ___
Tutto ok? Ti vedo un po' ___ ... Spero non sia successo niente di grave!
Cosa hai mangiato oggi?
Fa freddo in questa stanza! Potete ___ la porta per favore?
Non ci parliamo più da quando c'è stato un brutto ___ tra noi!
Ho sete! Vado a prendere un ___ per bere un po' d'acqua...
Dopo aver sbagliato si chiede scusa! Sembra proprio che tu non abbia un'___!
Oggi nella ___ servivano un'ottima pasta al pesto!
___ non si fa altro che fotografare il cibo: è assurdo! In passato non lo faceva nessuno...

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