Similar Words, ..... Different Meanings

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#1 May 14th, 2010, 19:26
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  • suricate is offline
#1
We have members from all over the world, speaking many different languages. India herself has so many languages. So let's have some fun with similar sounding words that have very different meanings in different languages. Sometimes this could be amusing, at others even embarassing. The point is primarily to have some fun, and perhaps also learn something useful in the process.

The only requirement is to present similar sounding words with different meanings (explained in English, if necessary) in at least two different languages.

So I start with a few:


Pa : English - papa; Bengali - leg.

Mummy : English - mother; Bengali (maami)- aunt (maternal uncle's wife).

Loo : Hindi, Bengali - hot wind in summer.

Cheetah : Hindi, Bengali - leopard (in India, now that cheetahs are extinct there). Its original meaning was any spotted big cat, including cheetah. So it does not really have an entirely different meaning.

Okay, so let's have some more...
#2 May 14th, 2010, 19:40
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  • theyyamdancer is offline
#2
dada - English for Daddy; but Bengali for elder brother (or honorific for male older than oneself).

chaana* - In some Indian languages means "chick pea"; but in Bengali means the rough equivalent of "cottage cheese" - well, untranslateable actually, but the basis of delicious sweets.

*Suricate will probably correct my spelling.

caca in Bengali is father's younger brother; but the way it is pronounced sounds like a dance (cha-cha) and the way it is written sounds like a rude French word!
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#3 May 14th, 2010, 20:52
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#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by theyyamdancer View Post dada - English for Daddy; but Bengali for elder brother (or honorific for male older than oneself).
Thanks. I wasn't familiar with this word. But I suspect the 'd' sounds like the 'd' in 'dad'. The 'd' in the Bengali word 'dada', however, sounds like the 'th' in 'this'


Quote:
chaana* - In some Indian languages means "chick pea"; but in Bengali means the rough equivalent of "cottage cheese" - well, untranslateable actually, but the basis of delicious sweets.

*Suricate will probably correct my spelling.
Well, if you insist! , -- I'm going to correct the spelling for the word that means paneer (not really cottage cheese). It is 'chhaana', the 'chh' is a sound that you get by adding an 'h' sound to the 'ch' in chalk (i.e. you force some air through your teeth). chhaana can also mean 'baby'.

The 'ch' in 'chaana' (in Hindi, for instance) is similar to the 'ch' in chalk. Chaana could also mean Bengal gram (are you familiar with this? Chaana daal is made out of this). I see in my dictionary that 'Chaana' is a Bengali word too, rarely used now. There is a different, commonly used Bengali word for it.


Quote:
caca in Bengali is father's younger brother; but the way it is pronounced sounds like a dance (cha-cha) and the way it is written sounds like a rude French word!
chacha is the word for father's younger brother in Hindi. Possibly the same word is used by Bengalis in Bangladesh too. However, in West Bengal it is 'kaka' (pronounced 'kaakaa'). I suspect 'caca' is a phonetic transcription used in your dictionary to represent 'chacha'.
Last edited by suricate; May 15th, 2010 at 08:52.. Reason: added additional meaning for chhaana
#4 May 14th, 2010, 23:45
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#4
great thread suricate

susu:
malay = milk
in india = urine


pont:
french = bridge
bengali = butt [with a lil bit of tweaking in the pronunciation]


maarhaba:
arabic = greeting / hello
bengali = i know there is such a word, but meaning - not knowing am guessing its a swear word ?



:brishti
#5 May 15th, 2010, 03:36
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  • namaste_cat is offline
#5
ooh, cool thread, suricate!

I have a silly one, w/ yet more to come

Bandar - word for "monkey" in Hindi (and several regional languages), but in Farsi/Persian it's a combo of Band as in enclosed or closed + dar i.e. darwaza being gate or door. So it's used for a port or something along those lines.

Don't know what it is in Arabic but I first came across Bandar as a name during 1st Gulf War when a Saudi minister was on TV, with his name displayed as "Prince Bandar". From then on, he's been Prince Monkey to me!

P.S. I have seen बंदरगाह [bandargaah] as a word for port in Hindi but not seen it used much.
#6 May 15th, 2010, 09:24
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#6
The Bengali word for harbour or port is Bondor, -- the first 'o' is pronounced as the 'o' in 'bond'; the second as the one in 'old'. The 'd', of course, is like the 'th' sound in 'this'.

Hindi also has the same word (bandar) for harbour or port. I think bandargaah means a naval base or something like that.

The origin of this word (bandar) is Farsi!

As for Bandar (monkey), the Bengali word is 'B~aador', the 'B~' being my way of indicating that the 'B' is nasalized (I don't know the phonetic way of expressing this). The 'd' is, again, pronounced like the 'th' in 'the'.

Are the words bandar (monkey) and bandar (port) pronounced the same way in Hindi?
#7 May 15th, 2010, 11:03
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  • machadinha is offline
#7
I can't think of any catchy examples, sorry, but learning German the first thing I had to overcome was how the Dutch shares many words with it, with an entirely different meaning however, often the exact opposite.

Makes you wonder how our forebears ever communicated, when the languages were still a lot closer (they often still are in border regions). Right, you say, hm? Ah, yes, left indeed, understood, right! (The Abbott & Costello sketch springs to mind here.)
#8 May 15th, 2010, 12:11
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#8
The word "spread" is currently used all the time in Greece, which would in English be called "loans interest rate differential" in financial parlance.

In English the word "spread" is something we might smear on our toast.

The word "engage" in Greek means hired, reserved - for a table at dinner in a restaurant, and Arm-in-Arm (the way we walk down the street holding elbows!). In French it means "busy" (on the phone for instance).
#9 May 15th, 2010, 12:53
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#9
Gouda - A kind of Cheese, the word means Knee in Punjabi.
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#10 May 15th, 2010, 13:12
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by theyyamdancer View Post The word "spread" is currently used all the time in Greece, which would in English be called "loans interest rate differential" in financial parlance.
"Spread" is commonly used in financial parlance in India too, to mean the same thing.


Quote:
... In French it means "busy" (on the phone for instance).
In English too, "engaged" can mean the same thing:

"receptionists' telephones are always engaged".
Last edited by suricate; May 15th, 2010 at 20:48.. Reason: Modified last sentence and added example
#11 May 15th, 2010, 13:32
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by delhiwala View Post Gouda - A kind of Cheese, the word means Knee in Punjabi.
Really? That's funny How's it pronounced? Goo-dah, as the English-speaking tend to pronounce the cheese's name? The Dutch Gouda cheese (Gouda is the town where it originates) is pronounced something like chow-dah (soft g at the beginning).
#12 May 15th, 2010, 21:00
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#12

Tip

Tip - Bengali: bindi; aim; pinch.

And, here it gets interesting, -- it can also mean fingertip (tip chhaap = fingerprint). I don't know if this meaning is somehow related to the similar meaning in English. In Bengali, tip doesn't have the general meaning of 'the extreme end of something'.
#13 May 15th, 2010, 21:41
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#13
A couple of interesting usages I came across while picking up Hindi(as a tamil kid) and more recently Telugu:
* In Hindi, kundi is a latch, in tamil (in baby talk atleast) it can mean the bum. You can imagine our(my cousins and I) amusement when as kids we first heard kundi kholo, which can mean open your bum

* In Telugu, rep(u) stands for tomorrow. Randi is the respectful version of come. You can imagine what it feels like to hear rep randi , which in the north could mean rape the whore...
#14 May 15th, 2010, 22:03
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#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by BitchesBrew View Post A couple of interesting usages I came across while picking up Hindi(as a tamil kid) and more recently Telugu:
* In Hindi, kundi is a latch, in tamil (in baby talk atleast) it can mean the bum. You can imagine our(my cousins and I) amusement when as kids we first heard kundi kholo, which can mean open your bum
Similarly, kuttha, Hindi for dog, is very close to the spoken word for bum in Telugu.

In Telugu, chettakundi is garbage can.

Quote:
* In Telugu, rep(u) stands for tomorrow. Randi is the respectful version of come. You can imagine what it feels like to hear rep randi , which in the north could mean rape the whore...
#15 May 16th, 2010, 13:19
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#15
Quote:
Originally Posted by machadinha View Post Really? That's funny How's it pronounced? Goo-dah, as the English-speaking tend to pronounce the cheese's name? The Dutch Gouda cheese (Gouda is the town where it originates) is pronounced something like chow-dah (soft g at the beginning).
Actually it's pronounced godda, and it tastes nothing like Gouda Cheese. Of course if you go down a bit, you get feet with smelly socks on - now that smells like swiss blue cheese.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyderabadi View Post Similarly, kuttha, Hindi for dog, is very close to the spoken word for bum in Telugu.
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