What is the meaning of false cognates? Please give some examples to make it clear.

/False cognates are more likely a problem for Japanese and Korean students rather than Mexican or Brazilian students in English./ <<<<- Is it true or false?

I know Japanese but don't know the other languages mentioned in the above statemnet. So I am unable to understand it? Please help!!

I don't know enough of Japanese and/or Korean to comment on your question. In Brazil, they speak Portuguese. In Mexico, they speak Spanish.

I will use Spanish and English to demonstrate false cognate.

Spanish: Comer - to eat.
English: Come - approach the speaker

The words look the same or similar but have entirely different meanings.

Spanish: embarazada - pregnant
English: embarrass - to cause to feel self-conscious or ill at ease

Often we look at words in foreign languages that appear to be similar to words in our language. We use these words in their approximate meanings to figure out what is being written or said. But false cognate trick us because they look similar to our familiar words, yet mean something completey different.

Hope that helps.

A cognate is a word in one language related to a similar word in another related language by a common ancestor. "lunar" in English is related to Spanish "luna", French "lune", and Portuguese "lua", for example. "lunar" means "having to do with the moon" and the Spanish, French, and Portuguese words cited all mean "moon". All these words are directly or indirectly related to their common ancestor in Latin "luna". Cognates can only occur between related languages. English is related to many Western European languages, Greek, Persian, Hindi and Sanskrit, but the languages of Asia developed in a different, unrelated language family, and so have no cognates with English.

A false cognate is a pair of words which appear to have the cognate relationship, and may in fact be cognates in some indirect way, but have no similarity of meaning.

"pretend" in English means something completely different from "pretend" in French (as well as being pronounced quite differently, of course).

"gift" in English means something completely different from "Gift" in German.

"exit" in English means something completely different from "exito" in Spanish.

These are examples of false cognates.
Emotion: geeked
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Dear MountainHiker and CalifJim,

Thanks a lot for the clear explanation. How easy you made it for me to understand!!

And I found the answer of the statement I posted earlier.../False cognates are more likely a problem......Brazilian students in English./ <<<----- It is FALSE.

I was answering a quiz and there I found the above statement. On the basis of your explanation, I filled it as FALSE and got it as a correct answer.

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