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Tag Archive 'cognate'

Jun 25 2009

What is a problem cognate?

Posted in General |


Idioma: anglès
Nivell: 3,4,5 i 6
Destresa: vocabulari

With this sheet you’ll familiarise yourself with some basic problem cognates.

Read the following text about problem cognates and have a look at theexamples .
Problem Cognates:
English, Catalan and Spanish all have many words that come from Latin. As a result, the meaning of many English words is readily apparent to you. For example, you would never bother to use a dictionary if you encountered the English word “configuration” because it looks very much like a word in Catalan or Spanish. Such words are called cognates.

In this case of “configuration”, the meaning of the word in English is identical or very close to the meaning of the cognate words in Catalan and Spanish. This is true of the vast majority of cognates. Unfortunately, there are also a certain number of English words whose meanings diverge somewhat or considerably from the Catalan and Spanish cognate words. For example, as you probably know, the English word “realize” does not usually mean realitzar or realizar.

These words are often called “False friends”. However, a better term might be “problem cognates”, because in most cases these words have various meanings, and not all of these meanings are “false”. That is, most of these words have English meanings that DO coincide with the meanings of their Catalan and Spanish homologues.

English Grammar by R.F.Carmona, Longman, 2001: Madrid. (pp. 278-279)

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