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17 FALSE FRIEND WORDS in German and English | Feli from Germany

  • Published on Jun 7, 2023 veröffentlicht
  • -Reason for blurs/muted audio: This channel was renamed in Oct 2021. All references to the old name have been removed.-
    Learning German and English can be tricky! Especially, when two words look and sound the same and you think "Oh hey, I know that word!" but then it doesn't mean that AT ALL. So in this video, I put together a list of misleading words in German 🇩🇪 and English 🇺🇸 (false friends/cognates) that I found to be relevant, interesting, or that I have personally struggled with before. I hope you guys like it and find it helpful! 😊 If you can learn this vocabulary, it will be easier to learn English fast and learn German fast - and make you sound more like a native speaker.
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    0:00 Intro
    1:56 Sympathisch, Gift, Sensibel (1-3)
    4:21 Champagner, Chef, Pepperoni (4-6)
    6:38 Mist, Eventuell, Limonade (7-9)
    9:01 Föderalismus, Gymnasium, Isolierung (10-12)
    12:02 Rente, Pathetisch, Dezent (13-15)
    13:49 Brand, Hölle (16-17)
    ABOUT ME: Hallo, Servus, and welcome to my channel! My name is Felicia (Feli), I'm 26, and I'm a German living in the USA! I was born and raised in Munich, Germany but have been living in Cincinnati, Ohio off and on since 2016. I first came here for an exchange semester during my undergrad at LMU Munich, then I returned for an internship, and then I got my master's degree in Cincinnati. I was lucky enough to win the Green Card lottery and have been a permanent resident since 2019! In my videos, I talk about cultural differences between America and Germany, things I like and dislike about living here, and other experiences that I have made during my time in the States. Let me know what YOU would like to hear about in the comments below. DANKE :)
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Comments • 3 332

  • Feli from Germany
    Feli from Germany  2 years ago +261

    Languages can be tricky! Especially, when two words look and sound the same and you think "Oh hey, I know that word!" but then it doesn't mean that AT ALL. So in this video, I put together a list of misleading words in German and English (false friends) that I found to be relevant, interesting, or that I have personally struggled with before. I hope you guys like it and find it helpful!

    • Elliot Davis
      Elliot Davis 2 years ago +12

      lemonade is no false friend in english and german it is the same. rather in american and german, and english and american it is a false friend

    • fusola
      fusola 2 years ago +3

      question: what is it about abriviations: the medical file entrance "time of death" is abriviated as "t.o.d" -mic drop

    • d
      d 2 years ago +4

      7:06 your titles got screwed up

    • vampireheart1987
      vampireheart1987 2 years ago +1

      Fehler beim Einblenden ab @7:01 ^^

    • d
      d 2 years ago +2

      10:34 you misspelled 'gymnasium'

  • Reuter 03
    Reuter 03 2 years ago +1724

    Deutsch ist schon eine schöne Sprache „Umfahren ist das Gegenteil von Umfahren“.

    • Feli from Germany
      Feli from Germany  2 years ago +233

      One of my favorites!

    • Leviathan
      Leviathan 2 years ago +403

      Haare wachsen lassen und Haare wachsen lassen

    • Anson
      Anson 2 years ago +58

      Daß es zwei verschiedene Wörter sind merkt man, wenn man sagt "Um (gut) zu fahren muß man lernen das Auto zu bewegen ohne Schilder umzufahren."
      btw zu 13: die Rente _von Beamten_ in Deutschland heißt *Pension,* und sie "gehen nicht in Rente", sondern werden "pensioniert" (=retire). Eine *Pension* ist außerdem auch noch so etwas wie ein kleines privates Hotel in einer großen Wohnung (=guesthouse/boardinghouse).

    • Nikioko
      Nikioko 2 years ago +20

      Je nachdem, ob man die erste oder zweite Silbe betont...
      Gibt aber noch mehr Wörter, die das Gegenteil von sich selbst sind. Wir hatten da vor langer Zeit mal eine Liste gemacht.
      Gibt es im Englischen aber auch: inflammable means flammable?

    • Adalata
      Adalata 2 years ago +7

      @Anson Es gibt auch private Arbeitgeber, die eine Pension zahlen. 😉

  • Chris Pantazis
    Chris Pantazis 2 years ago +94

    I am Greek and I laughed a lot at the "Gymnasium" part (since it is a greek word). Both interpretations are correct according to ancient Greeks. Because Gymnastics were considered a strong part of the education at the higher level (higher education). However, nowadays we use Gymnasium the same way the Germans do (or the other way around, it doesn't matter).

    • Nikos Solomou
      Nikos Solomou 2 months ago +2


    • Richard Bale
      Richard Bale Month ago +3

      Training naked.

    • Marcus Meisters
      Marcus Meisters 25 days ago +3

      "gymnasio" = gr. nackt

    • iwilltubeyouall
      iwilltubeyouall 25 days ago

      You get the sense of nakedness in words like "gymnosperm - Nacktsamer (in German)"

    • Sebastian Ludwig
      Sebastian Ludwig 20 days ago

      In germany its still the name for an higher education school. but that was invented during the industrial revolution to keep the workers class out of it. still not so much changed. You got money, you spend a lot of it to get your dumb child onto level for "Gymnasium" . As long you cant afford that extra, you just hope your kid is smart enough...

  • Skate Or Die
    Skate Or Die 2 years ago +31

    I remember when my mom came to visit in Ohio and she was absolutely stunned to see a "Gift Shop" with so many people in there buying nicely wrapped packages.
    She thought they were selling poison

    • PowerControl
      PowerControl 2 years ago +4

      I always found gift shops weird, because in Germany there are no "Geschenkeladen", shops they are solely specialized in selling gifts...

    • Skate Or Die
      Skate Or Die 2 years ago +1

      @PowerControl well she thought they were selling poison

    • PowerControl
      PowerControl 2 years ago +2

      @Skate Or Die Ich hab den Witz schon vorher verstanden! ;)

    • Skate Or Die
      Skate Or Die 2 years ago +1

      🤣 tut mir leid!!

    • Plants Over Pills
      Plants Over Pills 3 days ago


  • Dodi ben Abba
    Dodi ben Abba 9 months ago +19

    You mentioned Fanta when you spoke about Limo.....fun fact the Germans created Fanta in WW2 as they couldn't get/didn't want Coca Cola so they created their own carbonated drink! 😊

  • martin farrell
    martin farrell 2 years ago +36

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE continue giving us lists of these "False Friend" words. It's really interesting, and you do a GREAT job with your examples!!!!!!

  • Mario Kremer
    Mario Kremer 2 years ago +12

    I had a big language fail when I was in holiday with my family at the Nordsee in Germany. We wanted to order food in a restaurant and on the big list where you can pick your food was "brathering". I asked the woman at the food order what brathering means because I pronounced it on the english way with the th. She didn't know what I was meaning. But the interesting thing is that brathering means cooked herring. (to) cook sth.= etw. braten. It was so embarrassing but still funny though 😂😂😂
    I am from Germany lol 😂

    • Herb66
      Herb66 Year ago

      love that one and this is not embarrasing at all, just very funny. because german words can sometimes be very long and me, as a german native speaker, have that problems now and then with other german words as well.

    • Mario Kremer
      Mario Kremer Year ago +1

      @Herb66 Weiß nicht, ob du es gelesen hast, aber ich bin auch Deutscher 😂😂😂

    • Chris Rudolf
      Chris Rudolf Year ago

      @Mario Kremer It can happen if you aren't too familiar with the dish, especially if you read the word on a menu that has both English and German terms.

    • Mario Kremer
      Mario Kremer Year ago +1

      @Chris Rudolf yes but the funny thing is that I AM German haha

    • Kautschukkartoffel
      Kautschukkartoffel 4 months ago +1

      Another German word that might look all English with its th is Tathergang. As with Brathering, some people may have to look twice to read it correctly...

  • Lieder in Gebärdensprache
    Lieder in Gebärdensprache 2 years ago +860

    My German class mate once said: "the sentence is short and pregnant". Prägnant is a German word for precise :D

    • Hank
      Hank 2 years ago +13


    • oddball oona
      oddball oona 2 years ago +6

      Not true

    • RichyRich
      RichyRich 2 years ago +18

      Lieder in Gebärdensprache Meine Chefin hat mal folgendes rausgehauen: „the value is not guilty“. Sowas nennt sich wohl „false friend“.

    • Aurelia R.
      Aurelia R. 2 years ago +35

      Yeah this happened to one of my classmates, too! She said: "We have to make it short and pregnant." Now this is quoted in our "Abibuch".

    • Project305miami
      Project305miami 2 years ago +16


  • Brandon Meisner
    Brandon Meisner 2 months ago +1

    Being an American in Munich, I have made some of these same mistakes! Thank you for a great video!!

  • HistoryLover
    HistoryLover 4 months ago +9

    I’ve definitely messed up did Limonade and lemonade, but the one I’m struggling with is a little more complicated to explain. In English, we use the word will to mean “I will do something/I am going to do something”. In German, will is a conjugation of wollen “Ich will, du willst, er/sie/es will, etc.,” and it means “I want, you want, we want, etc.” Every now and then, I’ll read a sentence like “Ich will nach Hause gehen”(I want to go home) and I’ll translate it to, “I will go home.” Very frustrating, I must say. I also don’t know if that made sense, sorry if it didn’t.

    • Gysar
      Gysar 24 days ago +3

      And then you have the English noun "will" as in "my grandfather's last will".

    • Robin Rehlinghaus
      Robin Rehlinghaus 21 day ago

      It can be used like that in English too, though. Not always, but considering that it originally has the same meaning as the German word, it's not too far off.

  • Alberto Sordina
    Alberto Sordina 2 years ago +2

    crazy how so many of those words have a false friend in italian which bears both the german and the english meaning!

  • Derminatorable
    Derminatorable 2 years ago +8

    Peperoni is a classic. You hear that badly translated all the time in tv and the movies, although they had professional translators. So they always eat "Peperoniwurst" which translates to chili sausage.

    • Neko Translates
      Neko Translates Month ago

      Well, a pepperoni is a type of sausage, just like a hot dog or bratwurst

  • Rainer-JGS
    Rainer-JGS 2 years ago +8

    Tolle Idee Felicitas, solch ähnlich klingenden Vokabeln mit völlig anderer Bedeutung einmal aufzugreifen, worauf man sonst im Unterricht, oder im Lehrbuch kaum hingewiesen wird und deshalb damit ganz schön auf die Nase fallen kann!
    Du würdest sicherlich eine super gute Lehrerin für Fremdsprachen abgeben, denn Du bringst die Dinge immer wieder gut verständlich und super charmant auf den richtigen Punkt!

  • Opacor
    Opacor 2 years ago +265

    The German word "Brand" and the English word "brand" actually are very closely related. The Germanic meaning is the one still preseved in German while the English meaning is derived from marks left by branding irons, e.g. on horses or leather.

    • FreezyAbitKT7A
      FreezyAbitKT7A 2 years ago +4

      Brennen ,Brenner, Brandt are related as well

    • Edward Blair
      Edward Blair 2 years ago +19

      Another archaic English meaning of "brand" is a burning stick, often used as a torch.
      Also I suspect that the verb "brandish", i.e. waving something like a sword or burning stick, is related.

    • Darrell
      Darrell 2 years ago +8

      Wow that brand is going to leave a mark! Ouch!!!!

    • Morbid Angel
      Morbid Angel 2 years ago +4

      Mann hab ich einen Brand. >>> Me being realy thirsty.

    • ryacus
      ryacus 2 years ago +1

      I'd still say they were all originally linked to fire though as in something you forge or heat up in a fire.

  • iamtheiconoclast3
    iamtheiconoclast3 2 years ago +7

    I really love speaking English with non-native speakers, as there is so much great information about how their language relates to ours, and I frequently find that when I'm surprised by their uncommon usage of a word, I can look it up and ultimately learn something new about my own language.
    For instance, just to make things even more complicated, "sensible" actually _can_ mean "perceptive" or "sensitive" in English; it's just that nobody ever uses it that way. It can also mean "perceptible", as in "There was a sensible smell in the air." But nobody uses or knows about that usage either. Either one is likely to get you a frown, but that doesn't actually mean that you're wrong. :)

  • Hugh Nelson
    Hugh Nelson 2 years ago +3

    You’re “killing it,” Feli 😄 Have you explained the 3-tier high school system in Germany, and where people go after high school? It would be fascinating to American viewers. Great videos.

  • Strongbow
    Strongbow 2 years ago +2

    I had to laugh when you mentioned lemonade. That exact same misunderstanding is made by people from other English speaking countries! When I took a friend visiting from Australia to a diner, she ordered a "lemonade" with her meal, expecting to get a Sprite. She was quite surprised when a "lemon cordial" was delivered! (And absolutely disgusted when she saw "biscuits and gravy" on the menu...)

  • RTPTechGuy
    RTPTechGuy 2 years ago +8

    I remember when I was in high school taking German and as immature high schoolers we got a kick out of the example sentence, “Das Haus ist groß und hell.” We thought it was funny that a house is hellish. Of course our German teacher (Frau Crittenden) took care to explain the difference but it still didn’t matter.

    • Steve Thornton
      Steve Thornton 9 months ago +5

      I like 'Mein Vater ist gross'

    • Ironmoon Darkwing
      Ironmoon Darkwing 22 days ago

      This is giving me the same vibes as my Spanish class. The teacher repeatedly emphasized that the „u“ in Miguel is silent which naturally led to us persistently pronouncing it as „Mee-goo-el“.

  • Alex Rafe
    Alex Rafe Month ago

    What I found was that many of the false friends were words of French origin where English borrowed them at a different time than German, often further in the past, so that frequently the German word retains a similar meaning as the French but has become something else in English, the two examples I remember off the top of my head are sympathetic and sensible. There is a novel by Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, about two sisters with different temperaments where if translated in contemporary English would be something like The Pragmatic and the Emotional Sisters.

  • Cin Dy
    Cin Dy 2 years ago +176

    I had once a misunderstanding with the word “dick”.
    It was super confusing and awkward at first but once we (german boyfriend and I) realized were talking about something completely different we couldn’t stop laughing. Languages are fun indeed.

    • Karl-Konrad Klotzkopf
      Karl-Konrad Klotzkopf 2 years ago +35

      @Cin Dy It can get even more confusing if there is a guy named Richard involved. :D

    • bios theoretikos
      bios theoretikos 2 years ago +31

      In the 1950s "dick" was a slang for detective. This is frequently used in Rex Stout's novels, it gets even better when a person is referred to as a "female dick" (i.e. one of the rare female private investigators).

    • Linzy Jensen
      Linzy Jensen 2 years ago +20

      My German professor showed us a video of a small child in Germany saying that he did not want to get fat, and she warned us ahead of time that it was going to sound like the boy was saying something rude in English. That still did not prepare us for what sounded like the child didn't want penis. Fun was had by all.

  • Mark Featherstone
    Mark Featherstone Month ago +1

    Great video! Other "false friends" that are encountered very early in the study of German are (with the German given first): (a) "will" (first person singular of the verb "wollen"), which does not mean "will," but rather "want"; (b) "also", which does not mean "also," but rather one meaning of "so," as in, "Also, was machen wir heute Abend?" (So, what are we doing this evening?); (c) "wer" means "who," not "where" and "wo" means "where," not "who; (d) "wen" means "whom," not "when"; (e) "denn" means "than" and "dann" means "then"; (f) Oh, and the one that really drives me crazy, “auf” does not mean “off” but “on”!!! 😊

  • John Doe
    John Doe 2 years ago +6

    I only speak English, but I've noticed many English as a second language speakers use plurals incorrectly. A Chech friend once said 'Something bites my eye'. Or they hear the the plural of mouse is mice, so they assume it would be the same pattern for house, and they say hice and get puzzled looks lol
    From what I've been told many other languages have a fairly consistent grammatical structure, but English is all over the place and riddled with exceptions to every rule.
    I find it fun to scan a text in German, Spanish or French until I find a word I sort of recognize and then google translate it to see if it's the same, or completely different like these examples.

    • KRY MauL
      KRY MauL Year ago +1

      English is a Germanic language with French words and Latin grammar basically meaning it does keep any grammar system and switches between Greek and Latin plurals.

  • Chalphon
    Chalphon 2 years ago +2

    One false friend that almost messed up a whole lot for me once upon a time is how we (Swedes) express time compared to how native English speakers do it. If i say "half six" I mean five thirty (the half of six) but in English half six means six thirty... This blew my mind when I figured it out once when I was setting up a time to meet a British girl in Kuala Lumpur 20 year ago...

    • Matthias
      Matthias 10 months ago +2

      we have the same problem in germany. "halb 6" is "5:30" and "dreiviertel 6" is "5:45" but there are some regions in germany that dont use/know "dreiviertel" (three quarters) and they say "viertel vor 6" and "viertel nach 6". (quarter before / quarter after) and when you say "dreiviertel 6" to them they may think you mean another time
      and then if you meet one person waits for a long time and the other is late ^^

  • Leopoldo Ghielmetti
    Leopoldo Ghielmetti 19 days ago

    It's funny because as an Italian and French speaker I was comparing the false friends with both German and English and the majority of words you have explained in DE are more similar with the meaning they also have in IT and FR rather than EN (except for some very specific German words like brand or hell that have no meaning in Italian or French because the corresponding word is different).

  • Павлина Георгиева

    I've studied both English and German as foreign languages and I totally relate to all these examples :) My favourite is Gift/gift :) I can say that even after so many years of speaking both languages, I still think twice before using it, wondering: did it mean present or poison? :) We have some of the words in Bulgarian too and they are in the same meaning as in German, for example when we say "simpatichen", this means the same as "sympathisch" in German, not "sympathetic". :)

  • Peter Smiling
    Peter Smiling 2 years ago +353

    The first false friend for englisch beginners: to become = werden, bekommen = to get

    • Feuerschlange
      Feuerschlange 2 years ago +2

      In school i never wrapped my head around this

    • Qopel
      Qopel 2 years ago +30

      I hear German people say, “I’m going to become a baby”.

    • SirCB85
      SirCB85 2 years ago +15

      @Qopel My first English teacher in German school taught us the difference with the example of asking a waiter "when will I become the steak I ordered?".

    • andybode
      andybode 2 years ago +2

      @SirCB85 We must have had the same teacher.

    • T.Stahl
      T.Stahl 2 years ago +13

      @SirCB85 ,
      "When will I become a steak?"
      "I hope never, sir."

  • Joana H.
    Joana H. 2 years ago +17

    Asking your doctor for a recipe will get you weird looks. As well as asking your friend who made some cake for the receipt. German Rezept = recipe, prescribtion. English receipt = Quittung

    • Peter
      Peter 9 days ago

      Prescription is the correct spelling

  • Giulia Anichini
    Giulia Anichini 5 months ago

    As a student of both English and German, I used to confuse other words, such as "also" and "also". I once had a big oopsie when I confused "schlimm" with "slim" and I said that a friend of mine, who is very thin, was actually a bad person... Surprisingly there are false friends between german and italian as well, but for some reason most of them involve sexual inuendos.

  • Lorena Lopez
    Lorena Lopez 2 years ago +10

    I speak Spanish, and when I was like 10 or 11 I thought embarazada meant embarrassed. Imagine the look of horror on my mom’s face when I told her at such a young age that I was PREGNANT which is what embarazada means (and then I really WAS embarrassed) 😭😂

    • Canais Young
      Canais Young 9 months ago

      That's a very common false friend in Spanish. I believe a pen company got in trouble for thinking embarazada meant embarrassed when they were trying to advertise to Spanish-speaking customers.

  • Bug Bean
    Bug Bean 6 months ago

    Our Australian exchange student came back home after her first week of school and was very confused why her classmates say "Frosch" (=frog) when they raise their hand during class. I've been very confused and only understood what happened there when she started mimicking it. "Frog" is dialect for Frage (=question) in the region. We still laugh about this 10+ years later 😂

  • Stefanik
    Stefanik 11 months ago

    One of your best. I am always amazed at your fluency and your ability to clearly define and use words from both worlds...

  • Harald Werner
    Harald Werner 2 years ago +54

    The first time I went back to Germany to visit my grandparents, I had an experience that pointed out what you were illustrating. My brothers and sister and went for a Spaziergang (walk) with our grandfather through some woods when he suddenly said, „Look there’s an Igel (hedgehog) but we all looked up thinking that he meant eagle (Adler). Boy he was confused about why we were looking up while the Igel was right at our feet.

  • João Pedro Balieiro da Costa

    German and English are both germanic languages. So it's curious to see that Portuguese, a romance language and my mother tongue, share the same false friends with German when compared to English -- words like "simpático" and "sensível", for example. "Brand" in Portuguese is "Marca", on a similar note. The more I get into English, the more I see how quirky it is.

  • Rigsby Rigged
    Rigsby Rigged 2 years ago +1

    The English "gift" results from the Germanic "Mitgift" - Also, probably the most mixed up word is: become/became. I actually had a German say to me that he "became a bicycle for Christmas" :-)

  • George Shriver
    George Shriver Year ago

    Sympatisch vs. sympathetic- keep in mind in English there's a term sympatico, which is actually similar to sympatisch meaning in German, agreeable/likeable. BTW- I love your shows; they're really well done & entertaining!

  • Amanda Emilie
    Amanda Emilie 2 years ago +4

    This is all really interesting and I could understand the mixup. I am Norwegian and have English as my second language, but I did study with German as my 3rd language. There can be a lot of mixup with German and Norwegian too.

  • Whitbypoppers
    Whitbypoppers 2 years ago +5

    The meaning for Sensible has shifted in English. While it always had its current meaning, it also had a second meaning closer to the German. You encounter it is the novels of Jane Austen, which are only 200 years old.

  • Joycastle
    Joycastle 2 years ago +123

    I once attended a meeting between a German and an American, and at the end the German handed a bunch of documents to the American and asked if he wanted a map. Which of course confused the American.
    "Mappe" in German is more of a portfolio or protective folder, made of leather or plastic.

    • Feli from Germany
      Feli from Germany  2 years ago +15

      That's a good one!

    • Felix Klüsener
      Felix Klüsener 2 years ago +11

      That's a nice one and brings back some memories about a conversation in a pub in Ireland. I was there with some friends and we talked to some Irish guys. The Irish guys asked one of my friends where our Hostel was. My friend wanted to show it on a map, but had no map and asked the Irish guy 'Do you have a plan of the city?'. I have never seen so many question marks in someones eyes before. The translation for the german word 'Plan' or 'Stadtplan' is 'map' and not 'plan'.

    • Holger Nestmann
      Holger Nestmann 2 years ago +2

      Ha, while reading this, before you explained „Mappe, I thought he also offered a business card. Karte = Map

    • KRY MauL
      KRY MauL Year ago

      @Felix Klüsener I mean he's not wrong considering that most early maps were plans of the city. The Irish guy was probably too drunk to catch on, though.

  • Kulcsocska
    Kulcsocska 2 years ago +9

    I learned German in Hungary, and we learned that Sympatisch as Szimpatikus (likeable) and they're pretty similar😂
    I ordered Pepperoni pizza in hungary, and got hot pepper pizza😂

  • trevorguy63
    trevorguy63 Year ago

    I'm learning French at the moment, and if you were to compare each of these German words with the similar sounding French word, you'd find that they actually mean the same! So no false friends between French and German for these examples here. Strange how the English meanings are so different.

  • Edge
    Edge 2 years ago +3

    When I moved to the US (Texas) I had a hard to grasping what "Fixing to" or "fixin to" meant. It took me awhile to adjust to the similar words between the language. These videos really give me a good laugh reminding me of my youth.

    • bobR
      bobR 26 days ago

      I reckon.

  • Nils Babcock
    Nils Babcock 2 years ago

    I noticed that most of the closely related words you mentioned actually are from the same Latin or Greek roots. Going back to the root, you can actually see how the words developed in usage differently between English and German. For example "pathetic" and the derivatives sympathetic, empathetic, etc. are rooted in "pathos", meaning emotion. While the German and English usages are not the same, there's an obvious connection.

  • Heidi Michel
    Heidi Michel 2 years ago +3

    It is really cool to see that many "false friends" in german/english would be "true friends" in portuguese!
    I'm thinking now about "Sensibel/Sensível", "Chef/Chefe" and "Sympathisch/Simpático"...

  • Joel McElheran
    Joel McElheran 2 years ago +247

    When I was an exchange student in Germany back in the day, I had been traveling for a long time and my new German family thought I looked tired. They were trying to ask if I wanted a chance to freshen up with a “shower”. They were trying out their English and asked me if I wanted to “douche”.... They saw the look of terror on my 15 year old male face and ran for the German/English dictionary. After a little embarrassment we had a really good laugh.

    • Roozyj
      Roozyj 2 years ago +29

      When my family and I went to America when I was about 14 or 15 as well, one of the warnings my father gave me and my sister was to never say 'douche' instead of shower. He also explained what a 'douche' was in English, so I never made that mistake xD

    • its.clean
      its.clean 2 years ago +17

      This is the same in French, and if I'm not mistaken I believe the Germans actually borrowed the word "douche" from the French. Equally amusing is the French word "blanquette" which is a type of veal stew, but obviously sounds just like "blanket" in English. I made that mistake a few times before my French friends reminded me that the correct word is "couverture".

    • Steven Reckling
      Steven Reckling 2 years ago +2

      Lol, I live in the US, (Nebraska) I don't know that I've ever heard someone use the word fanny without "pack" after it Those are worn on the front so it's an odd name.

    • Skeptisk
      Skeptisk 2 years ago +6

      They meant shower, here in Norway we use the word *dusj* (pronounced 'doush') and means shower.

  • Atriya Koller
    Atriya Koller 2 years ago

    As a native Russian speaker who speaks both English and German (although my German is getting rustier every day, I haven't worked with it after graduation) I can say the English words "sympathetic" and "sympathy" cause Russian speakers some struggle too. "Симпатичный" (seem-puh-TEACH-ni) means good-looking or likeable, and "симпатия" is a generally positive predisposition to someone.

  • k34561
    k34561 2 years ago +4

    We ordered pepperoni on our pizza in Germany. We realized something was different when reading the menu. With one person saying I don't think pepperoni is pepperoni. Another person insisting pepperoni is pepperoni. And others not caring, they would eat whatever came, it's an adventure. It just adds another story to tell others about our vacation in Germany.

  • Kameron S
    Kameron S 2 years ago

    This is really interesting because i was raised with Polish and English languages a lot of these false freind words make sense in one of the languages at least, Gymnasium for example is the same in polish even though it isnt in english, Chef exactly the same, and the list goes on, this really made learning German a lot easier and always fun to see the polish language link like that to make it a lot easier and fun!

  • joefromravenna
    joefromravenna 2 years ago

    The word meaning for Slovak sympaticky and German sympathisch is spot on.
    The word meaning for Slovak šéf is same as German Chef.
    In Slovakia limonáda is like American lemonade: water, sugar & lemon juice.

  • colin Paterson
    colin Paterson 2 years ago +1

    Gift was the one that got me whilst visiting my German friend I took a bottle of Scotch Whisky and told him it was a gift. He knew what I meant but, teasingly, asked me what I had put in it.
    Once I made a funny mistake when I was asking at a bar for a biro, I asked for a Kubelschreiber instead of a Kugelschrieber. For those that do nout understand, Kubel is a pail (bucket) and Kugel is a ball.

  • Michael Zapf
    Michael Zapf 2 years ago +60

    "Gift" in German originally meant the result of "geben" (to give), compare "sehen / die Sicht", "schreiben / die Schrift", hence "geben / die Gift". It came out of use and was replaced by "Gabe" but survived in the composite word "Mitgift" (dowry).

  • Gerald Romanow
    Gerald Romanow 2 years ago +1

    Felicia, you are the only German I know (and I know many Germans) who speaks English without the slightest trace of a German accent. Respekt!

    • Steve Shoopak
      Steve Shoopak 2 years ago +1

      No, there's an accent, but it would be nigh invisible to 99.96% of English-speakers. And what there is, is subtle. Ausgezeichnet!

  • Bobby Weinmann
    Bobby Weinmann 2 years ago +1

    Not German, but in Hebrew the word "die" (pronounced like English) means "enough". Here in Israel, all the parents are yelling "die" at their children. Being raised in America, it takes some getting used to.

  • Metaphysical
    Metaphysical 25 days ago

    Note: on Champagne, I think this is a big regional and socioeconomic difference in the US. In the northeast, California, big cities and especially among the upper-middle class, Champagne always refers to Champagne from the French region. In less cosmopolitan areas, people tend it use the term to refer to a lot more things

  • Tamas Marcuis
    Tamas Marcuis 11 months ago

    Sensible in English originally meant the same as in German. The English novel Sense and Sensibility from around 1800, would now be written as Sensible and Sensitive. In the novel one sister is sensible and the other sensitive or sentimental.

  • Michael Shackleford

    Sensible in Spanish also translates to Sensitive in English. In case anyone is wondering, sensible in English translates to sensato in Spanish.

  • Itsjustme
    Itsjustme 2 years ago +12

    In her autobiography, Maria von Trapp talked about her difficulty with false friends when learning English, having once told a grocer “Behold your cauliflower. I can become one across the street for less.”

  • BarneyRubble
    BarneyRubble 2 years ago

    Thank you again. Both your beautiful smile and warm happy facial expressions, and your warnings to Americans to be extremely careful how you say things in English when you visit Germany. ;)

  • Michael
    Michael 23 days ago

    A friend of mine once tried to calm a nervous (english) woman trying to explain something in front of a group of (german) people by saying "don't worry, we're handsome" (Handzahm = docile). Half the group was literally lying on the floor laughing which didn't much help calm the woman.

  • Random Brittany
    Random Brittany 2 years ago +6

    That’s so funny this happened when I was learning Farsi. In Farsi, Barf is snow ❄️ , but it is still hard not to think of 🤢 when I say it 😂
    And kar is work, but I always think of a car 🚗

  • Darkwrath
    Darkwrath 2 years ago +1

    Serbian is almost totally on the German side (when we use the same words), except for lemonade and champagne. Also, isolation can be used in English as insulation

  • Rob Scott
    Rob Scott Year ago +3

    "Menu" is one of my faves. Hearing a German native speaker say in English "I think I'll have the menu." always makes me laugh!
    DE Speisekarte = EN menu; DE Menü = (daily) special [but can also mean EN menu].

    • Angela Necef
      Angela Necef 20 days ago

      Menü = Speisekarte / menu
      But it also means a complete dinner, including soup, salad, main dish, desert and sometimes even a drink.

  • Akkaren
    Akkaren 2 years ago +91

    "Pension" is also a German word. It is the pension for public servants, while "Rente" refers to all other.
    Weirdly enough, "Pension" also means "small hotel" in German.

    • ryacus
      ryacus 2 years ago +2

      I wonder if it was called that because that's where pensioners would be living sort of like in the UK with their pensioner housing, this would have course been in the era where the elderly stopped living with their families like the times of old.

    • Felix Klüsener
      Felix Klüsener 2 years ago +7

      By the way, in Austria there is no difference between 'Rente' and 'Pension' and 'Rentner' are called 'Pensionisten' there. What do we learn? German is not the same in every country or region and even the 'official german' used by governments is different in every country. More examples for differences in official language: (D) Fahrerlaubnis= Lenkberechtigung (A); (D) Ordnungswidrigkeit = Verwaltungsübertretung (A); (D) Ministerpräsident = Landeshauptmann (A); (D) Parlamentsfraktion = Parlamentsklub (A)

    • Philipp W
      Philipp W 2 years ago

      What both 'Rente' and 'rent' have in common is that they are monthly reoccurring, equal payments. The former from the government - the latter from a tenant.

    • Ondřej Matějka
      Ondřej Matějka 2 years ago +1

      Similar in Czech language :-D pension (pronounced penzion - something like hotel but mostly cheaper and smaller) and penze which means rent. Penzista is also person with rent, but Czech equivalents for that words are more common today.

    • Kerschi93
      Kerschi93 2 years ago +4

      In Austria we say Pension to both, Rente and a small Hotel

  • Dragonlover
    Dragonlover 2 years ago +6

    One of my former class mates said:" I become a book". What she wanted to express was, that she got a book as a present.
    No, you can't become a book, girl...no matter, how hard you try...

  • Eric Honaker
    Eric Honaker 2 years ago +2

    So many old memories coming back! I lived in West Germany for 3 years in the 80s. Dad was in the US Air Force.
    Lemonade quickly became my favorite beverage. Interestingly, my parents favorite restaurant (in the village closest to the air base) had pepperoni pizza on the menu with salami. Maybe they just got tired of misunderstandings with the local GIs. :)

  • Sheldon Helms
    Sheldon Helms 9 months ago

    This may be apocryphal, but our German teacher was from Austria, and told us a story about first meeting her host family in America back in the 1950s. She was just a teenager, and spoke no English, so when she saw a package with a note that read, "gift for the German family" she was horrified. She knew "for" "German" and "family," but the word "gift" wasn't something she could figure out. And, of course, she was afraid it meant something entirely different! LOL! (Her mother soon set her mind at ease, thankfully.)

  • kyparnx
    kyparnx 2 years ago +1

    Most of the German words mean the same in Swedish - even spelled the same. Swedish and German are more alike than I first thought :)

  • Gabriel LaVedier
    Gabriel LaVedier 10 months ago

    Sensible used to be way more similar. There's a reason "Sense and Sensibility" are a distinct set of words. Sensibility used to mean something close to "emotionally sensitive" or "full of feelings" as opposed to logical sense.

  • R H
    R H 2 years ago +8

    For me as a Dutchman this video is kind of funny to watch. Nearly all these words exist in Dutch, too (sometimes spelled slightly differently). In about 2/3 of the cases the meaning in Dutch leans closer to the German one (though not always identical), in about 1/3rd of the cases closer to the English one. So I suppose our language really is in between both, (but closer to German) :)

    • Thomas Müller
      Thomas Müller 13 days ago

      Angelsächsisch und Holländisch sind genau wie Deutsch germanische Sprachen und haben eine gemeinsame Herkunft aus dem Mittelalter.

  • Gustavo Costa
    Gustavo Costa 2 years ago +5

    When our chef (fun fact, in Portuguese it's chefe) came from Amsterdam a few years ago to Milan, he paid pizza for everyone and asked us to make the orders.. And guess what, he had a pepperoni pizza, and when it arrived he said "this is not my pizza" hahahaha

    • Geof Greenleaf
      Geof Greenleaf 2 years ago

      I am impressed that she speaks American English without a Cincinnati accent.

  • Hannah K
    Hannah K 2 years ago

    Some of these are not false friends in British English. We use lemonade the same way as Germans do - you could ask for still lemonade if you want the American version, but it's not very common.
    We also tend to use the word champagne properly (although not always). We actually have the word bubbly to cover champagne, cava, prosecco and sparkling wine if you don't want to be specific.

  • Hannah Coffey
    Hannah Coffey 2 years ago +14

    My high school German teacher once told us about a time he was staying in Germany and asked for another "Mätresse" instead of "Matratze"...

  • TimoPhillip
    TimoPhillip 22 days ago

    I didn't even know I was using the word decent wrong until I watched this video. :D
    Due to Number 16 I remembered an other false friend which also might be a bit confusing to others when using it wrong: cause in German it's totally common to ask something that would literally translated like "do you have fire" or "could you please give me fire" if you want to ask for a lighter.

  • Hervé Bernier
    Hervé Bernier 3 months ago

    Many of the German false friends words you mentioned have spelling close to French and have the same meaning as in French. Very interesting!

  • schooooooorsch
    schooooooorsch 2 years ago +9

    Pepperoni, pepper and paprika are words directly from hell. They always mean something slightly differnent, not just in German, English and Italian but also in Spanish but still very close to each other.

  • Jennifer
    Jennifer 2 years ago

    I took German in highschool and college - I remember a few of these.
    Eventually - I'm American (mid-Atlantic area - once a large German and Irish area), but I've heard "eventually" and "maybe" used in the context of a subtle "No! Stop bugging me about it!" meaning. Something a mother might say to her kids. Sometimes it is a "maybe, but I'm just gonna put it off" meaning instead of "this is what I plan to do". Maybe it's just a regional difference.
    Gymnasium - I remember this one from highschool, one of my favorite German words. Technically, highschool is a gymnasium to exercise your brain!
    Brand - I wonder if that came from the word firebrand. First thing I thought of.
    Der Hölle/hell - This one caused some giggles from me in highschool.

  • Ben Edwards
    Ben Edwards 5 months ago

    When I was on a German river cruise last week I ordered a lemonade from a Romanian waiter and I received a Sprite with a slice of lemon 😂 so I completely understand this one getting mixed up.

  • AquaShot59
    AquaShot59 2 years ago +4

    I once confused the Speisekarte (menu) for the Menü (food special/set meal). Cue an embarrassing explanation to the waitress later, and I've never made that mistake again xD

  • Linus Wärn
    Linus Wärn 2 years ago +8

    I remember my fellow Swedish friends singing along to Kraftwerk’s Autobahn thinking it was in English. ”Fun, fun, fun on the Autobahn”

    • Kirsten Shute
      Kirsten Shute 2 years ago

      I misheard that exact lyric too! I thought it was "we're far, far, far off the Autobahn" - which is pretty much the opposite :P

    • *ARL ARL
      *ARL ARL 6 months ago +1

      I've heard that some americans unterstood "chainsaw" in Rammstein's song "Sehnsucht" (which is hard to translate, maybe one could say something like "romantic longing"....).

    • Linus Wärn
      Linus Wärn 6 months ago

      @*ARL ARL Odd, they sound nothing alike

  • Attila Kozma
    Attila Kozma 22 days ago +2

    I am Hungarian and I remember while I was learning the two languages on the same day. Sometimes German lesson followed the English lesson and I got pretty confused so many times. 😀 (and today I live in Munich) your video made me laugh a lot because I hear the same “mistakes” a lot during my work. 😀

  • ShawnsWelt
    ShawnsWelt 2 years ago +32

    We have been on a schooltrip to London when I was about sixteen. And as everyone can imagine, if a bunch of german teens who were semi talented in the english language, walks around London there happens one or fifty "false friends"! But my alltime favorit happens to one of us ( I swear it wasn't me) at Burger King: My friend ordert: "I become a cheesburger, please!" A second later he was very confused about the answer: "Oh I'd like to see!" I laughed so hard! But want went wrong? In German *bekommen* means "to get something". While the English *become* means "etwas werden" like in: I become rich. So what he truly meant was: "I'd like to get a cheeseburger."

    • Greg Hiller
      Greg Hiller Year ago +3

      I surprised myself by suddenly almost killing myself with laughter about the cheeseburger order: I could just vividly imagine the person behind the counter folding-up with hilarity in the first instance. Not meaning badly in any way whatsoever, of course.

    • Astrid Lung
      Astrid Lung Year ago

      Order in German, please.

    • swisspeach67
      swisspeach67 23 days ago

      In der Schweiz klingt "Ich bekomm xxx" eher unhöflich. Man sagt hier "Ich hätte gerne xxx" (ob Du's auch *bekommst*, sehen wir dann ;-)

  • Deborah Lanigan
    Deborah Lanigan 25 days ago

    The last one explains something in the German movie Metropolis that had confused me for years. The late wife of Joh Frederson who was also loved by Rotwang was named Hel

  • Weirdogirl 127
    Weirdogirl 127 2 years ago +1

    I love how you use false friends! I always knew them as false cognates.

  • Bobby Bermudez
    Bobby Bermudez 2 years ago

    German Brand and English brand actually come from the same source. 'Brand' in Older English also referred to a burn originally, but the meaning shifted once farmers started marking their cows for example with a brand. The poor creatures were burned with the farmer's mark to show ownership. The metaphor took on from there.

  • Leo Ross
    Leo Ross 14 days ago +1

    Moin, Ich, als Deutscher muss sagen, dir hört man unwahrscheinlich gerne zu. Deine Englische Aussprache ist sehr klar und verständlich. Ich habe sehr große Probleme mit Englisch bzw mit der Aussprache anderer und dessen Verstehen. Aber bei dir kann ich gut zuhören und auch erkennen was du meinst.
    Ich hoffe das wird mir etwas helfen besser Englisch zu verstehen :)

  • Michael Hubbard
    Michael Hubbard 7 months ago

    I had a friend in high school who was an exchange student from Munich, who was terribly embarrassed the first time she went grocery shopping with her host family and was asked if she would rather have jelly or preservatives.

  • Tony Bates
    Tony Bates 2 years ago +6

    As an American living in Germany the past 10 years teaching English, can confirm all of this. After awhile the incorrect usage doesn't sound so wrong anymore. The most common one I run into is probably aktuell/actual(ly).

  • Calder Wishne
    Calder Wishne 2 years ago +3

    I can see how the word went from Brand to brand. In English, “to brand” is also a verb meaning to sear with a hot iron, a firebrand, and so mark as one’s own. Eventually the word was applied to companies’ practice of putting their name and/or logo on their products. I’m not sure this is true, but it seems sensitive, lol.

  • Christiane Bagnato
    Christiane Bagnato 2 months ago

    Great job, Feli! I also speak both languages and had to laugh at the comparisons since I'd heard so many of them in both languages through the years! The pizza thing tickled me especially since years ago, I was in Berlin and walked into an "Italian Restaurant/Pizzeria" and ordered a pepperoni pizza! Of course it came with hot peppers on it. I looked at the menu again and it did say Pepperoncini, which are mildly hot vinegar peppers in Italy. I had scanned the menu too quickly and had to laugh at myself.

  • Marek Hajduk
    Marek Hajduk Year ago

    When it comes to chef vs boss, there is word chief in english. Is that similiar? I also noticed we indeed have a lot of words from germany in czech language 😃 For example chef - šéf and kuch - kuchař, combined word is šéfkuchař (chef in english)

  • Jeroen Noël
    Jeroen Noël 2 years ago

    I'm Belgian so I speak Dutch which is quite similar to German.
    Nearly every point you touched had the same connotation in Dutch except Federal.
    We also have a Federal system and In dutch "de Federale overheid" means the Larger Federal government.

  • Leigh Ann Lindholm
    Leigh Ann Lindholm Month ago

    As a native speaker married to a Swedish-speaking Finn, I have had almost all of these same confusions! We also confuse receipt/recept/kvitto/recipe/prescription! After 20 years of marriage, my husband still occasionally says isolation when he means insulation.

  • T-Bone
    T-Bone 2 years ago +86

    You’ll love this. While stationed in Wiesbaden, I lived just North in Wiesbaden-Auringen. My friend and fellow trombonist in the Wiesbaden-Auringen Sports Stadt Kappelle was a boy in Berlein at the end of WWII. He told me about American planes flying over and dropping boxes Hersey chocolate bars with little parachutes. The boxes were labeled “gifts for children, from America!” He said that caused quite an uproar!

    • no
      no 2 years ago +4

      Im Form Wiesbaden

    • Nekr0n35
      Nekr0n35 Year ago +2

      @no das Gift war dann wohl nicht stark genug...

    • Steve Thornton
      Steve Thornton 9 months ago +2

      Hahaha, that's funny. Poison for children, I bet they were very confused.

    • ᚺᚨᚾᛋ ᚹᛖᛋᛏᛗᚨᚱ
      ᚺᚨᚾᛋ ᚹᛖᛋᛏᛗᚨᚱ 7 months ago


    • A nony mous
      A nony mous 6 months ago +1

      The French word for fish "poisson" looks very similar to the English meaning of das Gift. Scares the heck out of me in posh restaurants.

  • John
    John Month ago

    When I was first learning German, I couldn't get it out of my head that a Speisekart was a cart with spices on it that was wheeled around in restaurants, kind of like a mobile condiment station.

  • h p
    h p 2 years ago +2

    Hilarious! I still tend to use Limonade / lemonade wrong (but at least I know that Limo and limo are something COMPLETELY different) and the "Die in hell" part really killed me after the Groschen/penny had dropped. I'm sure you heard that some clever guys in a small Austrian town named Fucking (which is just a boilerplate town name in the Alpine region) obtained a brewing license so they now can market their "Fucking Hell" pale (= hell) beer. Kissing, Petting and Titting are peaceful Bavarian villages while Wedding is of course part of Berlin. Well, more to the topic, some of my favourite and really misleading false friends would be Kaution / caution, Zirkel / circle, Chips / chips, Klosett / closet, Konzern / concern, konkret / concrete, dezent / decent, engagiert / engaged, Genie / genie, Kittchen / kitchen, Mode / mode, ordinär / ordinary, Stapel / staple, Wand / wand and of course the ever-popular Präservativ / preservative. Hoping for more videos on linguistics 'cause I studied that to no practical use ever since :-)

    • Matthias
      Matthias 10 months ago

      awesome collection of false friends :D

  • biggsvac
    biggsvac 2 years ago

    Even though Canada and the United States are close together and use similar words, there are colloquialisms that are completely unique.

  • Lishka the Degenerate
    Lishka the Degenerate 2 years ago +6

    I was once with my mom in England and she said "wir gehen" to a bus driver with a weird combination of English and German pronunciation. I had quite a good laugh, because it sounded exactly like "we're gay".

  • Hainero2001
    Hainero2001 2 years ago

    The modern forms of both German and English are heavily influenced by Latin. Document and Dokument are an example of that. Sympathetic is another one, though German still uses it in a way far more similar to the original meaning. Both document and sympathetic exist in Spanish as documento and simpático (nice). Sensitive is also another one. From the latin "sentire" (sentir in Spanish). Chef also comes to both German and English via Latin by way of French. Ironically, the French's ancestors, the Franks, spoke a West Germanic language (Frankish) but it became almost entirely latinized. Damn those Romans, bastardizing our ancient tongues. ;-) Just kidding. Actually it's fascinating how language connects us all. I find other, more ancient connections very interesting. Take a look at the word kitchen.
    English- kitchen
    German- Kuche
    Spanish- cocina
    Italian- cucina
    Old English- cycene
    All are derived from Latin with an Indo-European root meaning something similar to "ripe".

  • Ingo Zachos
    Ingo Zachos 2 years ago +39

    "The list of false friends is endless."
    Yes, I found that out the hard way in my life.

    • Cricket2731
      Cricket2731 9 months ago

      Same in Spanish: jamon/jabon; sopa/ropa;

    • Canais Young
      Canais Young 9 months ago

      But with real people, not words.

  • Rampant_1
    Rampant_1 2 years ago

    Hopefully I remember the details of this story from 1974 while stationed in Darmstadt with the US Army. Another soldier and his wife were renting from a German couple and were good friends. He was drinking with his landlord and my buddy's wife wasn't present because she had injured her foot. When asked, my buddy shared that his wife's foot was injured. The landlord's eyes opened wide and was at a loss for words. He offered his sympathy for her injury. The confusion and clarity came out when the landlord explained the meaning of "foot". They had a good drunken laugh after that was cleared up.

  • defenestrationfan
    defenestrationfan 2 years ago +2

    When I was visiting my German girlfriend in Germany neither of us knew about the word "gift." It was the eighties and she would say her favorite musical group was a band called "Gift." I said I'd never heard of them where are they from. Later when I was leaving I said I wanted to give her and her family a gift for letting me stay with them and she was but why? I learned the word "geschenk" then but the other remained a mystery for years until I learned she was talking about the band "Poison" from America. (I still had never heard of them at the time anyway.)