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False cognate

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False cognate

False cognates are pairs of words that seem to be cognates because of similar sounds and meaning, but actually have different etymologies; these word pairs can be within the same language or be from different ones.[1] This is different from false friends, which may in fact be related but have different meanings. Even though false cognates lack a common root, there may still be an indirect connection between them (for example through phono-semantic matching or folk etymology).

As an example of false cognates, the Spanish words mucho and haber mean roughly the same as and look similar to the English words much and have, but are in fact unrelated.

Phenomenon

The term "false cognate" is sometimes misused to refer to false friends, but the two phenomena are distinct.[1][2] False friends occur when two words in different languages or dialects look similar, but have different meanings. While some false friends are also false cognates, many are genuine cognates (see False friends § Causes).[2] For example, English pretend and French prétendre are false friends, but not false cognates, as they have the same origin.[3]) A related phenomenon is the expressive loan, which looks like a native construction, but is not.

"Mama and papa" type

The basic kinship terms mama and the word for "mother" is deda.

Examples

See also

Notes

  1. ^ from Latin focus
  2. ^ from Proto-Germanic *fūri

References

  1. ^ a b Moss (1992), p. ?.
  2. ^ a b Chamizo-Domínguez (2008), p. 166.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d e f Lyle Campbell, Historical Linguistics: An Introduction, 3rd edition, p. 350
  6. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, Second edition.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Lyle Campbell, Historical Linguistics: An Introduction, 3rd edition, p. 355
  9. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
  10. ^ LIV s. v. *sleh₂gʷ-, *lembʰ-
  11. ^

Further reading

  • Geoff Parkes and Alan Cornell (1992), 'NTC's Dictionary of German False Cognates', National Textbook Company, NTC Publishing Group.
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