Sanctuary / Santuario

The term “false-cognate” is sometimes misused for “false friend.” False cognates are a pair of words in the same or different languages that are similar in form and meaning but have different roots. That is, they appear to be or are sometimes considered cognates when in fact they are not.
The mistranslation of a false cognate may not only lead to academic and linguistic mistakes, but even to real life conflicts.
One of these cases is the television coverage made by the Spanish television during the Vietnam War, in which the Spanish reporter informed that the American forces were “bombing the SANCTUARIES of the Vietnamese guerrilla.” This item provoked a vast [and unfounded] media’s spin…

Here is the story: after the American media informed on TV that the US forces had “detected and attacked the sanctuaries of the Vietnamese fighters (i.e., their hiding and refuge places), the reporter decided to translate the term to the Spanish word “santuario”, which means “sacred or holy places”…
According to the”NTC’s Dictionary of Spanish False Cognates” by Marcial Prado:
“Santuario” and “sanctuary” share the meaning of “shrine, temple”. “Sanctuary also means “refugio”, “asilo” (for persons)
“Buscar asilo en, acogerse a = to seek sanctuary in”

This is yet another example of the DEVASTATING EFFECT of MISTRANSLATION and MISINTERPRETATION of WORDS…

Sarcophagus

Translations

Sometimes, new fields and specializations take existent terms that are related to a completely different field and assign them a new meaning; this was the iconic case on the Internet with the “icons” (medieval art term) and with the  2011 horrible catastrophe of the tsunami in Japan with the term “Sarcophagus”.

The Sarcophagus in ancient ages defined the place where (usually, royalty) was buried, but on the latest news, you will find it relating to the burying-place of nuclear waste. Sorts out that nuclear waste, after being used for generating energy, has to be buried, and the place where the radioactive residuals are placed is called “Sarcophagus”.

During the terrible tragedy of the tsunami in Fukushima, the sarcophagus of the nuclear plant was damaged (as well as in Chernobyl) and will need to be reconstructed in order to make sure there are no leaks. I must say that the similarities with the precious ancient object that was specially designed for royalty and the horrible huge cement monsters that bury inside all the fears of the modern world have only one factor in common: the CURSE that will fall on the heads of all those attempting to break them apart…  

False Cognates – Sanctuary/Santuario

The term “false-cognate” is sometimes used incorrectly for “false friend”. False cognates are a pair of words in the same or different languages that are similar in form and meaning but have different roots. That is, they appear to be or are sometimes considered cognates whensanctuary in fact they are not.

The mistranslation of a false cognate may not only lead to academic and linguistic mistakes, but even to real life conflicts.

One of these cases is the television coverage made by the Spanish television during the Vietnam War, in which the Spanish reporter informed that the American forces were “bombing the SANCTUARIES of the Vietnamese guerrilla”. This item provoked a huge [and unfounded] media’s spin…

Here is the story: after the American media informed on TV that the US forces had “detected and attacked the sanctuaries of the Vietnamese fighters (i.e. their hiding and refuge places), the reporter decided to translate the term to the Spanish word “santuario”, which means “sacred or holy places”…
According to the”NTC’s Dictionary of Spanish False Cognates” by Marcial Prado:
“Sanctuario” and “sanctuary” share the meaning of “shrine, temple”. “Sanctuary also means “refugio”, “asilo” (for persons)
“Buscar asilo en, acogerse a = to seek sanctuary in”

This is yet another example of the DEVASTATING EFFECT of MISTRANSLATION and MISINTERPRETATION of WORDS…

False Cognates-Constipation/Constipado

constipadoThe term “false cognate” is sometimes used incorrectly for “false friend”. False cognates are a pair of words in the same or different languages that are similar in form and meaning but have different roots. That is, they appear to be or are sometimes considered cognates when in fact they are not.

For example, the English term CONSTIPATION stands for a physiological state that is completly different to the meaining of the Spanish term CONSTIPADO.
While the English Word constipation indicates “a condition in which evacuation of the bowels is difficult and does not occur regularly”, in Spanish, “constipado” means cold, i.e. “a common infection in which the mucous membrane of the nose and throat becomes inflamed, causing running at the nose and sneezing”. As a matter of fact, this is one of the cases that the term “false cognates” gets an important medical meaning, and even an EXISTENTIAL one!

This reminds me the story of that Spanish friend of mine who, on her first overseas trip to the US, got a cold. When she arrived to the legendary city of New York, she went into a drugstore and asked for something that could relief her “constipation”. Till this very day, twenty years later, my dear friend still wonders about the low expertise level of the big apple druggists, that, instead of giving her a product that could alleviate her cold, they gave her “some pills” that not only helped her condition, but added a non-wanted DIARREA!

About me

Hello, my name is Daphna, Daphne, Laura, etc. I consider myself a multicultural individual who had the privilege of living in various countries and could become close to different cultures.
Much has been said, written, and debated regarding the influence of time and culture on language and the various factors to consider while translating a given text. Ludwig Wittgenstein was one of the first philosophers who spoke about the Gestalt theory and the impossibility of defining a given text as the mere sum of its components. Nowadays, we could refer to the whole phenomenon of the Internet as a new type of “culture” that includes chatting and castrating language.
You are invited to visit my blogs and leave your comments.

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