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Thread: Ambiguous Words in Different Germanic Languages

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    Ambiguous Words in Different Germanic Languages

    Hi Skadites,

    do you know any ambigious words in your own language who have a completely different meaning in other Germanic languages? Maybe even pronounced in the same way?

    Here´s an example: The English combined words "Eagle eye". They´re pronounced as "Iigl ai".

    Well, in German language, the word for "hedgehog" is "Igel" (pronounced as "Igl"). And the word for "egg" is "Ei".

    So "Eagle eye", pronounced as "Igl ai", sounds like "Igelei" in German language, which literally means "The egg of a hedgehog".

    (The German equivalent for "Eagle Eye" is "Adlerauge")

    "Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Senior Member velvet's Avatar
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    :d

    There's Italian metal band called "Furze"

    Checking the dictionary told me it is "furze" in English too (or gorse), for German 'Stechginster' (what a name for a metal band....oh well), though in German

    -> furze (verb) means fart! (yes, imperative )
    Ein Leben ist nichts, deine Sprosse sind alles
    Aller Sturm nimmt nichts, weil dein Wurzelgriff zu stark ist
    und endet meine Frist, weiss ich dass du noch da bist
    Gefürchtet von der Zeit, mein Baum, mein Stamm in Ewigkeit

    my signature

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    Member Volkwin's Avatar
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    You can have a lot of fun with the words kátur/kåt. The Icelandic form "kátur" means "happy", while the derived Swedish version "kåt" means "horny", as in "sexually aroused".

    Another fun example is wife/wijf. The English word "wife" has most likely kept its original meaning, while the Dutch word "wijf" is very derogatory for "woman".

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    Senior Member Angelcynn Beorn's Avatar
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    Between English and Swedish you have the pronunciation of the English word "whore" being exactly the same as the Swedish word "hår" (hair).

    Unfortunately most Swedes speak at least a little bit of English, so the opportunities to have fun with this are rather limited.
    I am Ripper... Tearer... Slasher... Gouger.
    I am the Teeth in the Darkness, the Talons in the Night.
    Mine is Strength... and Lust... and Power!
    I AM BEOWULF!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angelcynn Beorn View Post
    Between English and Swedish you have the pronunciation of the English word "whore" being exactly the same as the Swedish word "hår" (hair).

    Unfortunately most Swedes speak at least a little bit of English, so the opportunities to have fun with this are rather limited.
    Close, but not the same; the å in hår is a higher vowel, i.e. the tongue is held higher in the mouth as you pronounce it, and the "h" is aspirated. The "o" in "hora" (i.e. whore) is a bit more like the English vowel; but again the "h" would be aspirated. The English "r" would be palatal whereas in both cases the Swedish would be either guttural (in the south) or trilled.

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    Senior Member Angelcynn Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neophyte View Post
    Close, but not the same; the å in hår is a higher vowel, i.e. the tongue is held higher in the mouth as you pronounce it, and the "h" is aspirated. The "o" in "hora" (i.e. whore) is a bit more like the English vowel; but again the "h" would be aspirated. The English "r" would be palatal whereas in both cases the Swedish would be either guttural (in the south) or trilled.
    I'm sure that's all true, and to someone with much experience in both languages the differences probably stick out like a sore thumb. But to an English ear, when you hear the Swedish word "hår" there is only one image that flashes through your mind.

    I am Ripper... Tearer... Slasher... Gouger.
    I am the Teeth in the Darkness, the Talons in the Night.
    Mine is Strength... and Lust... and Power!
    I AM BEOWULF!

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    Senior Member Angelcynn Beorn's Avatar
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    Although not strictly a Germanic language, this cross language ambiguity is too good not to post.

    http://youtu.be/aU6VBTGjYkk

    (I still can't figure out how to embed videos on this forum...)
    I am Ripper... Tearer... Slasher... Gouger.
    I am the Teeth in the Darkness, the Talons in the Night.
    Mine is Strength... and Lust... and Power!
    I AM BEOWULF!

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    I've heard the word "Po" used in German as a slang term for butt/ass/whatever you want to call it, so wouldn't that make "Poland" in English sound like "Ass country" in German?
    Leben heißt für mich, mehr Träume in meiner Seele zu haben als die Realität zerstören kann.
    -Hans Kruppa

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    Some Swedish/Norwegian words:

    The Swedish word for rush hour is "rusningstid", in Norwegian this would mean "drug hour" (The hour to get high).

    Swedish word "snål" means to be cheap, in Norwegian it means to be strange.

    The Swedish nickname for beer is "bärs", in Norwegian this means feces...

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    Rapport. In Swedish "rapport" means report. But it is also used to mean just rapport.

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