False Friends | Chaneen Salako

I recently came back from a surprise trip to Paris. It was an awesome trip with lots of memories, lots of pictures and lots of laughs.

Most funny was the fact that my boyfriend constantly got confused by our false friends. Falsefriends, which are also known false cognates or faux amis (in French), are words that appear or sound the same in two or more different languages, but have very distinguishable meanings.

Touring across Paris by foot we passed a number of items, and when my boyfriend asked, ‘who puts a library in such a noisy and busy place,’ I had to take a moment to understand. He was looking at a bookshop, which translates to ‘librairie’ in French. I laughed an explained it was the name for a store that sells books. A little later we passed a place that said ‘Magasin,’ he asked, ‘so if a library is a bookshop, what’s a magazine?’ Again, I laughed and explained it was the name for a general store, and it’s not pronounced like ‘magazine’.

These sort of words appear most often in other European languages so when abroad keep an eye out for these pesky little words and see how many you can spot, it could become a fun game.

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