polish greetings

‘False Friends’ – Polish-German

We keep circling around the topic of false friends in foreign languages. Now we will learn about false friends (germ. falsche Freunde) in German. Have you come across the term false friends? You may have encountered it in a context other than foreign languages. When it comes to languages, however, it is an interesting but also problematic issue. Take a look at the topic of false friends, also known as tautonyms.

Definition of the Word False Friends

When learning a foreign language, we often come across words or phrases that sound similar or identical to those in our mother tongue. These words usually have a completely different meaning than in our mother tongue. We call such words and expressions “false friends”.

Is it worthwhile to get to know “false friends” and learn them? Absolutely! They enrich our vocabulary and allow us to take our language skills to a higher level. Unfortunately, they can rarely be learned from available textbooks. Rather, we get to know them through conversations in everyday situations or by reading language blogs dedicated to various language curiosities.

How are Fałszywi Przyjaciele Created?

Every language changes and evaluates. Language standards and vocabulary that were used 100 years ago are considered ridiculous or outdated today. A language used 200 or 300 years ago would be downright incomprehensible to many people today. Every language is influenced by various other languages. It is an ongoing process linked to the emergence of new industries, growing business relationships, etc. Languages change just as society changes.

Is It a Serious Mistake to Confuse Words?

During the process of learning a language, we get confused, confuse words and make mistakes. The misuse of “false friends” can lead to hilarious misunderstandings. However, you should in no way be discouraged from continuing to learn or be ashamed of your language use. We learn through mistakes!

Get to Know False Friends – Examples

False friend is a broad category of words that, in sound or spelling, remind us of expressions in Polish, and we intuitively attribute this Polish meaning to them. The real meaning? Most often it is completely different!

Here are the most commonly used, both in colloquial and formal speech, false friends:

akkurat – dokładny, porządny “false friend”: (genau – akurat, właśnie)
Der Artist – artysta cyrkowy (“false friend”: der Künstler – artysta)
Die Bank – ławka (“false friend”: der Bank – bank)
Das Basilikum – bazylia (“false friend”: der Basilika – bazylika)*
Das Blatt – kartka (“false friend”: die Arbeitsplatte – blat roboczy)
Der Dom – katedra (“false friend”: das Haus – dom)
Der Etat – budżet “false friend”: (die Planstelle – etat)
Der Grad – stopień (“false friend”: der Hagel – grad)
Der Kollege – kolega z pracy, współpracownik (“false friend”: der Bekkante – znajomy, kolega)
Der Konkurs – upadłość, bankructwo (“false friend”: der Wettbewerb – konkurs)
Der Kot – błoto (“false friend”: die Katze – kot)
Der Kran – dźwig (“false friend”: der Wasserhanh – kran)
Der Kriminalist – kryminolog (“false friend”: der Kriminelle – kryminalista)
kurz – krótki (“false friend”: der Staub – kurz)
Die List – podstęp (“false friend”: der Brief – list)
Die Mappe – teczka (“false friend”: die Landkarte- mapa)
Der Most – moszcz (“false friend”: der Brücke – most)
Der Motor – silnik (“false friend”: das Motorrad – motor)
Die Puppe – lalka (“false friend”: der Popo – pupa)
Der Rock – spódnica (“false friend”: die Jahr – rok)
Das Ruhm – sława (“false friend”: der Rum – rum)
Das Tor – bramka (“false friend”: das Gleis – tor)

How to Avoid False Friends?

According to various sources, false friends is a group of up to several hundred words that look and sound similar in German and Polish. In everyday language, we usually use several of them (at higher levels of proficiency, even dozens). Experts stress that the only way to tame false friends is to systematically learn entire sentences with the given expression and… to be suspicious of every German word that we automatically associate with a Polish word.

I invite you to visit this website and read the article to learn more about the ‘False friends’ in Polish-English.

If you want to learn Polish language, I invite you to visit our website and get more information.

free trial icon

Your first lesson is considered a trial lesson, and is absolutely free!

In 90 minutes, you’ll learn what Polka Dot is about: qualified native-speaking teachers, a unique learning method, enjoyable content and the best lesson quality.

Registration Form

Further information about our processing of data and your right of revocation can be found in our Data Protection Declaration.

Polka Dot. Online School
of Polish Language

Dresdener Strasse 116
10999 Berlin



join now icon
Join now

Leave us your email address and answer a few questions. We will contact you in order to find the best group for your needs!