07 September 2012

False friends between Russian and English

Tags: native speaker false friend cognates
The English learner of Russian may be daunted by the new alphabet, but has on their side a lot of similar words that exist in the two languages: телефон means 'telephone'; такси means 'taxi'; сестра means 'sister', and since both Russian and English took a large number of their technical words from Greek, диспессия, география, астрономия all mean exactly what one might expect. But the English learner of Russian and the Russian learner of English must still exercise the same caution as any learner of a foreign language, as dangers may be lurking anywhere. Бог means, not 'bog', but God.