Monday, July 9, 2012

Mix-Up Monday: Same Word, Different Meaning

Learning a second language is hard...anyone can tell you that. Vocabulary, grammar, the list goes on and on. Some parts of a language are easier than others. For example, in German and English many words are the same. Baby, fossil, hunger, jeep, moment, to name a few. Others are similar sounding (and looking) and are similar in meaning. Words like these make the language that much easier. Haus/house, sohn/son, blau/blue.

Sometimes though it is the things that seem simple that get you the most mixed up. There are a good number of words in German and English that are spelled exactly the same but mean very different things. When you get these words mixed up you know...the looks you get are unforgettable. Here are some of our favorite examples (and places we have made our own mix-ups).

Rock (
English: A present
German: Poison

English: A stone
German:  A skirt

English: The outside edge of a melon
German: Beef

Rock (
English: An animal
German:  Advice / council

English: Expression of negation, denial, refusal
German:  Emergency

English: A type of artistic creation
German: A species, a kind
Hut (

English: Quick, speedy
German: Almost

English: A corridor
German: Echo, resonance

English: Opposite of heaven
German: Bright, light

Hut (

English: A wet fog
German: Dung, poop

English: A simple shelter
German: A hat

Gift (

There are many more examples but we think you get the point. Sometimes it is important not to assume that words that look or sound alike have the same meaning in two languages. We love getting gifts for our birthday but we would never accept any gift in Germany :)

Gift (

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