August 6th, 2009

Athena of Pireus
  • fpb

A false friend

Language students are regularly warned against "false friends" - either words that sound similar but have different or even opposite meanings (how many Germans have been scalded in Italy because they did not know that caldo does not mean kalt?) or words with similar etimologies but which drifted apart in different contexts (I should imagine that everyone, by now, knows that a fattoria is not a factory). I have just come across a particularly subtle and interesting one. Apparently, Schiller and Beethoven's Ode an die Freude translates into Spanish as Himno de la alegria. Now, I am Italian, and this just struck me - as we say - like a punch in the eye. There is no way that German Freude could translate as Italian Allegria. Allegria means cheerfulness, bubbliness, lack of care; something pleasant, indeed, but much more superficial than the profound, overwhelming, earth-shaking emotion described in the poem and the symphony. If Spanish Alegria can describe that emotion and that experience, then it is dangerous indeed to connect it to its Italian cognate.
from a painting

Pronunciation Practice

I have recorded some audio in French, Catalan, and Dutch for me to practice my pronunciation. If there are any native speakers for these languages out there, please point out any ways for me to make my pronunciation better. Here are the audio files:

Catalan: "Estudiar català"  - Text in my Lang-8 Journal
Dutch: "Mijn hond" - Text also in my Lang-8 Journal
French: Chapter 2 of "Le petit Prince" - Text here (Australian Gutenberg Project)

Merci! Dank je! Gràcies!

  • qdinar

2 blogposts of mine about linguistics and my notebook of linguistics' findings and thoughts

i introduce my new blog, written in english language, probably not perfect english. there are two posts of linguistics: Etymology of “earth” and “great groups of words” and several words that are similar in english and tatar languages. (but there is also another post about computer programming languages.)
and i introduce my notebook, published in graphical format, where are similar words of different languages are written to not forget them and thoughts mostly about tatar  language written in tatar language. you can browse its pages at and there is mirror: .