Italian Cognates and False Friends Posted by Bridgette on Apr 4, 2020 in Grammar
Ciao a tutti!
Spero che tutto sia bene! As you may know, Italian is a language derived from Latin, and English has a big portion of it’s vocabulary that is also derived from Latin (about 40%) so Italian and English share many cognates, as well as ‘false friends.’ Let’s discover some more about them below.
A cognate is a word that has similar spelling and the same meaning between two different languages. I’m sure you can think of plenty in Italian already. They are always a welcome sight to any language learner as they help your comprehension, plus they’ll be easy to remember for future use. Italian cognates are therefore your friend!
Ecco qualche esempio:
- adorabile – adorable
- impossibile – impossible
- naturale – natural
- paradiso – paradise
- recente – recent
- problema – problem
- finale – final
- moderno – modern
- melodia – melody
- animale – animal
- banca – bank
- sistema – system
Ecc, ecc, ecc….! This list can really go on for forever. Look for cognates to help you understand the meaning of a sentence when you’re learning a second language, loro sono i vostri amici!
A false friend is a word in a foreign language that is spelled in a similar manner and yet has a completely different meaning. They make learning a foreign language a bit more challenging, and so they are clearly not your friends. Allora, state attenti!
Ecco qualche esempio:
- annoiare – to bore (not to annoy- irritare)
- confrontare – to compare (not to confront – affrontare)
- domandare – to ask (not to demand – esigere)
- pretendere – to expect (not to pretend – fingere)
- educato – polite (not educated – istruito)
- grosso – fat, huge (not gross – schifo)
- morbido – soft (not morbid – morboso)
- camera – room (not camera – fotocamera)
- libreria – bookstore (not library – biblioteca)
- baldo – bold (not bald – calvo)
Tocca a voi! Can you think of any other cognates or false friends in Italian? Do you have any stories of when you may have gotten confused with a false friend?
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