A Semantic and Pragmatic Study of False Friends Phenomenon in English and Arabic

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Mohammed Essa Alwan, Wassan Abdulhadi Abdulameer


This paper explores the topic of fake friends (or false cognates) in English and Arabic. The research includes various forms of fake friends in English and Arabic. The article offers meanings, forms and causes of misunderstanding that arise from engaging with false friends.

The first form refers to the basic mistake that two terms are identical in any way but entirely different because they are from other communities, the English and the Arabic are prime examples. The second form refers to the students' misapprehension of the source language terms themselves.

The third form of fake friends observed in the study arose from an etymological confusion of the terms in the study. The fourth form of false friends is the product of loan words. It is concluded that semantic and etymological context awareness is a means of preventing such misunderstanding.

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