Höger eller vänster, rakt fram eller helt vilse
Att tänka snabbt och dessutom svara rätt när någon frågar om vägen på engelska kan vara nog så svårt. Finns det dessutom falska vänner bland orden kan det gå riktigt tokigt. "Right" och "straight" till exempel. Orden är förvirrande lika men svänger du höger istället för att köra rakt fram så kan du verkligen komma vilse!
Finding the right word when you need to think quickly isn't always easy. The phrase "false friend" refers in linguistics to a word which appears or sounds similar in two different languages but the meaning of which actually differs, from the one language to the other.
Say an enquiry involving giving directions comes your way. If you normally speak Swedish, it is easy to take a Swedish word and sort of transform it into something that at least sounds like English. "Straight" in Swedish is "rakt" and sounds rather like "right". So even if you want someone to go "straight on" you can end up sending them off to the "right" and getting them totally lost!
0.20 The false friends "right" and "straight"
1.08 "A classic confusion", Mike says, as is the mix up of left and right (in any language)
1.30 "Straight on and take the first turning on the right"
2.10 Why do we confuse "right" with "straight"?
3.03 Right means more than just "turn right"
Hint from Mike:
The problem here is that "right" seems to fall more readily to hand than "straight", when intended for use in phrases were "straight" should be used, such as "go straight on", or "you'll see it, straight ahead".
This is most likely because "right" associates relatively more closely with the Swedish word "rakt". It's also important to be familiar with the differing meanings of the word "right" - as in "on the right-hand side/turn right" and "you are so right" or "please see me right on this" as well as: "Oh, right - I see".
And - it may be a good idea to gen up on your right and left - even in Swedish!