17 FALSE FRIEND WORDS in German and English | German Girl in America



Languages can be tricky! Especially, when two words look and sound the same and you think “Oh hey, I know that word!” but then it doesn’t mean that AT ALL.

21 thoughts on “17 FALSE FRIEND WORDS in German and English | German Girl in America

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    German Girl in America says:

    Languages can be tricky! Especially, when two words look and sound the same and you think "Oh hey, I know that word!" but then it doesn't mean that AT ALL. So in this video, I put together a list of misleading words in German and English (false friends) that I found to be relevant, interesting, or that I have personally struggled with before. I hope you guys like it and find it helpful!

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    Kurt Snyder says:

    There is a movie based on a cartoon from the 1960s ( originally as a promotional for General Mills[ no, not a military type general, but more as a non specific, like General in General Motors] here in Minnesota) called Rocky and Bullwinkle. There is a human woman character named Karen Simpathy ( as in care and sympathy) player by Piper Perabo. Would this name translate to German?

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    K.o.t.O.R. 511 says:

    By the way, talking about peperoni and hot peppers,
    Scharf = sharp
    >Messer sind Scharf = Knives are sharp
    At the same time,
    Scharf = hot, spicy.
    > Das Essen ist viel zu Scharf = The food is way too spicy.
    In addition to that,
    Scharf = hot, attractive (depending on context)
    > Diese Mädchen sind echt Scharf! = These girls are really hot!

    Not to be confused with "sharp" when translating the previous sentence from english into german.
    Scenario:
    >German guy: "That girl over there is really sharp!"
    >English guy: "You think so? I mean she is struggling with her grades a lot."
    >German guy: "… What?"
    Sharp in this case would mean 'clever/smart' instead of 'attractive/hot'.
    Naturally, sharp girls can also be attractive. 🙂
    Aside from that, regarding 'chefs' and kitchens:
    Germans use 'Paprika' generally when referring to the 'sweet pepper' (the vegetable), not just the spice.
    The german word 'Pfeffer' equals 'pepper' (the spice, not the vegetable).
    So while cooking, ask a german person to hand you 'a pepper' and you might recieve a pepper shaker. 🙂

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    Scott Douglas says:

    "Chef" is French for Boss. As the French are known for their cuisine it would be more correct to state it means "boss… of the kitchen". Germans tend to use it in the French connotation. Yanks do not.
    Most words have two or more definitions, for instance, "Disperse" (originally spelt in England as "Dispurse") means "to hand out sums of money". It also means " to spread out"

    Deutsche Sprache schwere Sprache nein Englisch ist hart

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    M Soko says:

    Only discrepancy in this video i found is, I think most Americans know the difference between champagne and sparkling wine. Must be a current college age or demographics of Cinci ignorance(for lack of a better word). That is like saying Cognac is the same as Brandy.

    As far as pepperoni being salami. They are 2 different things in the US. Difference being the size of the roll it is cased in and more importantly pepperoni has substantially more spice and heat to it.

    PS. So who's going to the shoe store and telling the sales person to "die in hell"?🤣

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    Stacey Goggin says:

    I thought of another word. When I arrived at the home of my German student she was showing me around her house. We got to the bathroom she asked if I wanted to ‘douche’. I was like 😳. New German word learned. lol

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    Andreas Rehn says:

    Champagne was also used in Germany for sparkling wine until the treat of Versailles prohobited Germans to do so. "Federal" really confused me as well at the beginning.

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    Quantum Uncertainty Workshop says:

    i think an easy way to remember the difference between rent and pension would be to equate rent to a "metered" payment which will remind you of it's word in German! little tricks are what make learning languages simple, easy and more effective! while i don't understand most i tend to immerse myself in foreign films and music and study/learn from there. trying to understand how and where they(words) all tie back to makes things SOOOO much easier in the long run and because of how languages evolved in Europe and Russia makes it a little easier to understand some context of a situation so that you can at the very least follow along when someone is speaking to you even if you can't really speak the language. it's kind of like how the "predictive text" works on your phone you hear certain words as it's spoken and your brain just kinda meshes them together into a sentence you can understand.

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    Wulfram Georg Tanner says:

    In Swiss-German a bell pepper is called a "Peperoni" and "Paprika" refers to the spice, just like in Italian and probably many other languages. The Germans and Americans are just both using these words wrong. 😉
    Fun fact: "Gift" in German and English do indeed have the same root, because posion is something that you give to someone. cf. "Mitgift" which is goods or money that are exchanged upon marriage.

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    AH White says:

    The "federal" thing really has me curious about the historical usage of the terms in German. While "federal system" implies decentralization even to my ears, "federal" by itself has always, in 'Merkuh, referred to the central authority in such a system (with even the original Federalist political party been the advocates for more central power). German seems to have two words where we tend to use the one word in English, variants of föderalismus and then that whole "Bund-" thing. It's _Bundes_republik, not Föderativ. Reminds me of the problems with translating concepts in English like "policy" versus "politics." You also, when dealing with anything related to, well, politics, have the issue of connotations based on political perspective that makes genuine discussion more than a bit challenging.

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    Sonshi Design says:

    My favorite is: fast (engl) -> schnell (dt) & fast(dt) -> nearly(engl). When I was a child the song "Eye of Tiger" was very popular, but it took me years to figure out that it doesnt mean "Ei des Tigers"

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    Stephen Gresser says:

    I really enjoy these videos, thank you! One of my favorite "false friends" include the word for soup in Spanish (sopa, which many people who don't know Spanish use to order soup – the word I learned for soap in Spanish is "jabón")

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