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Original scientific paper

Diachronic Investigations of False Friends

Vlatko Broz ; Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu

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A number of internationalisms originating from Latin have different meanings in English
from their cognates in other European languages. This paper presents the results of an investigation
of words such as actually, eventually, etiquette, fabric, billion, chef, preservative,
sensible, sympathetic, biscuit in Oxford English Dictionary. All these words have retained
more or less the same meaning in German, Spanish and Croatian (each taken in this research
as a representative of three major linguistic branches of the Indo–European language
family), whereas English shows a departure from the original meaning. The causes for the
shift in meaning are explained through the cognitive mechanisms of metonymy and metaphor
and a tentative period is determined when these semantic changes were under way in
the course of the development of the English language.


false friends (linguistics), internationalisms, diachronic semantics, cognitive linguistics

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Article data in other languages: croatian

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