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The Words in a Language  False friends are two words that exist in two languages that despite looking or sounding similar differ in meaning (Portuguese-English false friends, 2003). False friends cause confusion and difficulty for learners of English as a second language. Figure 19 shows a few examples of false friends for Portuguese and English. See Portuguese-English Cognates (words that share common roots and mean the same thing).

False Friends in English - Portuguese:

English Portuguese Portuguese English
actual real atual present
actually na verdade atualmente at present
anthem hino antena antenna, aerial
to assist ajudar assistir to watch, to help
barracks quartel barracas tents
candid sincero cândido innocent; naïve
casualty vítima de acidente;
baixa, perda
casualidade chance
notice aviso; nota notícia news
to notice reparar, aperceber-se noticiar inform
piety devoção piedade pity
tenant inquilino tenente lieutenant
terrific tremendo; maravilhoso terrível terrible; terrifying
viola violeta, alto viola guitar

Adapted from: Portuguese-English false friends. (2003). In UniLang Wiki.

Amazing Cognate Poems

Toussier-Ades Bigio-Antebi, E. (1987). etoussier@hotmail.com
A Cognate Fanatico: The Amazing Cognate Poems.
Retrieved from: http://www.geocities.com/Paris/5000/

The Language Revolution

I'm not good as profeta
So I'll try it as poeta
Write about it in gaceta
I announce it with trompeta
"Toussier's Cognate Words" is here!

Now you start on new proyecto
Get a dose of intelecto
You'll speak Spanish soon correcto
(Or some other dialecto.)

For this method necesario
Study short vocabulario
It might help increase salario
You'll be linguist honorario

Say it slow, with claridad
You'll be glad eternidad
When you speak with variedad
Gives you more seguridad

You see, you know it, the definición
You know the root, by cognición
Now learn the ending by repetición
Soon you'll speak by intuición!

It's really not so complicado
All these words that I've aislado
The best, the easiest, the most apropiado
It's really not exagerado:
Spanish words ilimitado

This new method atractivo
Something new educativo
Results are in, they're conclusivo
You'll learn fast, I'm positivo

You don't believe? It's just promotion?
Can't be so fast, such locomotion?
But you see, I'm a magic marciano...
Puf ! You're reading Italiano!

(read cognate in Italian)
Another language! It's incredíbile!
( in cre DEE bee le )
This is really impossíbile!
For the teacher the soluzione
( so lu TZION ne )
A Second Language Revoluzione!

You want to start, you're impaciente
That's very good, it's excelente!
But you've already started, it's evidente
This was your first lesson equivalente!

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