Today, the english is one of the most important languages used in the world, but... Is it an objective language? Is it a language to translate literally? Although some do it, no, it isn´t.
The "False friends" are words which lead to confusion. They are pronounced or written similarly in different languages but they have different meanings. This words usually derived from Latin, so they have a similar root, but they don´t mean the same. I think that some of this words are big curiosities.
- "Constipated" usually give much play. We may think that it means someone has a cold., but really that´s not true. "Constipated" describes the person suffering from constipation and not one who suffers from runny nose, cough, headache or cold symptoms.
- "Recluse" is a person who chooses to live alone and avoids contact with their partners and not a prisoner, or a prisoner in jail as many think.
- "Squalid" is an adjective that refers to something extremely dirty and it´s used more to describe locations than people. If we label someone "squalid",his problem is solved with a hot bath and not swelling to eat.
- "Travesty" can raises laughs and an extensive discussion, very common in class, but the meaning trick. The first thing all students suggest is, of course, refers to a person who likes to dress as a woman or man, but the English word of that is "transvestite". Our false friend is an injustice. It can be used in a context of social and political criticism.
- And we can not forget about "Vicious". A word that is used with enormous freedom every time. When someone doesn´t know how to express that someone has a bad habit such as nail biting or smoking a lot. In English, the use of "vicious" means someone violent or with strong character, and not the previously mentioned meaning.
Knowing all these little details, we make the english a more rich language, culturally and linguistically.
Don´t forget to have caution with false friends.
María Hernández Galván.