False friends in Italian and English: why you should not just trust the sound of some words

There are words in Italian which are misleading by their similarity to an English word. But these words just look alike, their meanings are far from being similar. 

When you study Italian, even here on the beautiful Island of Elba, be aware that there are some words which may have a different meaning in English, although the words seem familiar. An example: Italian crisps you can have with “sale”, which means salt and not that there is a reduced price.

Let’s have a look at those false friends, so we can avoid mixing them up with the English meaning.

Similar words with different meanings

So here is a list of those words which may convey a different idea from Italian to English.

Many of those are quite common, so if you come to Italy or you need the Italian language for business it is wise to be aware so to avoid communication problems (nothing a good Italian course could get rid of).

  • Attualmente: currently
  • Addizione: sum
  • Annoiato: bored
  • Avvertire: to warn
  • Baracca: shack
  • Bravo: good
  • Camera: room
  • Cantina: cellar
  • Cocomero: watermerlon
  • Coda: tail
  • Comprensivo: understanding
  • Concorrenza: competition
  • Consistente: solid
  • Definitivamente: ultimately
  • Delusione: disappointment
  • Editore: publisher
  • Fabbrica: factory
  • Incidente: car-crash
  • Ingiuria: insult
  • Lettura: reading
  • Licenziare: to dismiss
  • Magazzino: warehouse
  • Noioso: boring
  • Notizia: news
  • Novella: short story
  • Ostrica: oyster
  • Parente: relative
  • Pretendere: to claim
  • Retribuzione: pay
  • Romanzo: novel
  • Sale: salt
  • Sensibile: sensitive

How to defend yourself against being trapped by false friends

Here you had a brief look into some of the false friends one finds when studying the Italian language. But the best way to prepare oneself is to learn Italian in a school in Italy itself.

You could spend your holiday with language benefit exactly here on Elba in our language school ABC. Surrounded by specs of green in our region around Porto Azzurro, our school offers group courses or individual lessons in different levels. Of course we are happy to respond to your personal interests or professional issues with the language. 

Learning Italian with us not only helps you avoid false friends, but to make real ones. And this we mean literally: Included in our courses are also excursions and short trips which puts you in contact to the other students, who learn with us.

We hope to have you here with us on Elba for an enriching language experience in many different ways.

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