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Old 07-29-2013, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Somewhere flat in Mississippi
10,060 posts, read 12,802,696 times
Reputation: 7168

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For those of you who learned English later in life.
Have you ever said something funny in English because you made a literal translation of a phrase or figure of speech used in your native language?

Here is an example.

Make that the cat wise! | Free Dutch
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Hong Kong / Vienna
4,491 posts, read 6,342,029 times
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This happens way too often...

German False Friends Glossary - False Cognates - Falsche Freunde
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Old 07-29-2013, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Novy Jicin, Czech Republic
257 posts, read 517,992 times
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In my language there is a word for a sausage (párek). You can also use this word for "a couple", but it is a slang term. And I read that one guy wanted to express "a couple of lovers" and he said "a sausage of lovers". I´m not sure you can get a punchline of this, but as for me I think it´s funny.
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:13 PM
 
Location: Switzerland
83 posts, read 149,162 times
Reputation: 227
An American friend almost fell over laughing when I said: "I have licked blood" ... which was my clumsy translation of a German expression meaning I kind of got addicted to something...

Once by accident I said "douche" instead of shower and was informed that this was a word I should rather not use in polite conversation
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Old 07-29-2013, 06:55 PM
 
Location: San Diego, California Republic
16,588 posts, read 27,381,339 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samantha.M View Post
An American friend almost fell over laughing when I said: "I have licked blood" ... which was my clumsy translation of a German expression meaning I kind of got addicted to something...

Once by accident I said "douche" instead of shower and was informed that this was a word I should rather not use in polite conversation
I once worked with a French guy when I worked with penguins. We had a shower there and when we were working, he asked me if I wanted to douche first or if I wanted him too. Although I have some knowledge of French, it took a bit before it registered what he was asking LOL
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Old 08-31-2014, 06:12 AM
 
43,631 posts, read 44,361,055 times
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Very common between Spanish and English - words that are similar but quite different usage!

False cognates
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Spanish...False_Cognates
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Old 09-01-2014, 08:08 AM
 
Location: near Turin (Italy)
1,373 posts, read 1,442,334 times
Reputation: 2223
about " Having fun with the English language", here in Italy there is a guy that makes funny videos on youtube singing covers of famous songs in english, but with a translate text. the point is that for making the translation he uses google translate, so the final result usually has not any sense in italian.

for example


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94QJ...FWfB9&index=20

the translation of the words "party rock" it's already really funny, "partito roccia"."Roccia" means rock, or stone, and that's why the protagonist of the video it's a stone. "Partito" instead means political party, and not just party. That's why in the video there are a lot of electoral posters that say "vota roccia!" that means "vote rock!".

another sentence that in italian doesn't make sense it "having a good time", that literally translated in italian it's "avere un buon tempo". it italian it doens't means "to enjoy", "tempo" has just a chronological sense. so in the video there are: -a runner that takes a good time in a race -a guy that eats a clock and so on. at the end there is a guy that eats paper tissues because "tempo" it's also a famous brand of paper tissues.

Last edited by Urania93; 09-01-2014 at 08:17 AM..
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Old 09-01-2014, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Hong Kong / Vienna
4,491 posts, read 6,342,029 times
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-0Av59JbO4

Even happened to our former Minister of Finance.

"Shortly without von delay"
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Old 09-01-2014, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Kharkiv, Ukraine
2,617 posts, read 3,453,368 times
Reputation: 1106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chava61 View Post
Very common between Spanish and English - words that are similar but quite different usage!

False cognates
Spanish/Common False Cognates - Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Actually this is about false friends, not false cognates. False friends are words in different languages which sound similar but mean different things. False cognates are words which sound similar and mean similar things but are not related to each other (cognates are words which are related to each other, for example Russian words for brother and sister are брат (brat) and сестра (sestra) - both are from Proto-Indo-European roots *bʰráH₂ter- and swe-sór- respectively).
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