How to make friends with "False Friends"?

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  • 1.
    • Konov Mark,
  • a pupil of the 4 thform,
  • lyceum 4, Ryazan
  • Korotkova
  • Irina Ivanovna,
  • anEnglish teacher,
  • Doctor of Science
  • 2011


  • To study the phenomenon of False friends by the example of Russian and English, to find out its sources and to decide how to avoid mistakes dealing with them.


  • Though False friends are a very difficult phenomenon and can be translated incorrectly, there are some special features, which can help us to recognize them.


  • 1.To find and select the necessary information on my topic;
  • 2.To analyze and systematize this information;
  • 3.To test if it is possible to tell the difference between unfamiliar False Friends and True Friends;

4.To make conclusions; 5.According to the conclusions to decide how we can avoid mistakes. 5.

  • (false friends (Fr .Faux amis), interlinguistic homonyms) are words from different languages, similar or almost similar in spelling and pronunciation, but completely different in meaning. The term was created in 1928 by
  • M. Koessler.


  • Magazine

() () 7.

  • These are homonyms which have absolutely different meanings. They can be confused only because of their similar pronunciation.

Compositor 8.

  • These are homonyms which have related meanings, or meanings belonging to one sphere of use.

Angina (quinsy) 9.

  • Some scientists (linguists) call polysemantic words (multiple-meaning words) False friends as they also cause a lot of mistakes in translation.

Monitor 10.

  • Pseudo-international words are interlinguistic homonyms which are confused with international words (because of their spelling or pronunciation).

, Occupation ( invasion ) 11.

  • There are several reasons:

12. Replica 13.

  • The similarity of words is caused by a common word existing in the ancestor language of the two. There are no such cases among Russian English misleading words as they have different ancestor languages.

( ) 14. The wordwas borrowed to name dockage facility ( ), though in English it means the whole wharf. 15.

  • Two different languages can borrow the same words from one language but in different meanings. In case of Russian English False friends the ancestor language is mainly Latin.


  • To prove the difficulty of misleading words and to find probable special features of False Friends I offered my classmates to test their intuition and say whether these words have similar meanings:
  • revolution =
  • spectacles =
  • politics =
  • replica =
  • data =
  • concentration =
  • economics =
  • more =
  • cabin =
  • crest =
  • magazine =
  • music =
  • occupation =
  • list =
  • fabric = .

17. 18.

  • 1. Every translator (interpreter) has friends and enemies in English. These are words which can help to translate or mislead.
  • 2. False friends are words from different languages, similar or almost similar in spelling and pronunciation, but completely different in meaning.
  • 3. False friends can be of different types (according to the most frequent mistakes).

4. Sometimes even the whole idioms may be misleading. 5. False friends appear because of: coincidence, independent development of related languages, change of meaning after borrowing or parallel borrowing. 6. There are no bright signs which can help to tell the difference, between true and False friends of a translator. But there is some advice how to make it easier. 19. 1.Better safe than sorry: dont hurry to make a decision about the translation of a wordif it resembles you a Russian one; 2.Take into account the words form (English adjective cant correspond to a Russian noun:electric ); 3.Think of possible words which contain the same root and can show you the true meaning of the word under question ( multiplication , multiple =-> multiplication = ); 4.If you are not sure, consult a dictionary. This will guarantee you the correctness of your translation. 20.

  • . " ", ., 1969
  • . ., ? " ", 1961, 3
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  • ( )
  • Longman Dictionary of contemporary English on-line
  • Online Etimology Dictionary