Friday, March 20, 2009

Focus on false friends- attuale, attualmente

This is a relatively easy false friend. The Italian "attuale" simply means "current" in English. This is an interesting false friend because it is also the same in some other European languages eg French, Spanish and even German, which is by no means always the case. For example, there are many English-Italian false friends which are not English-French false friends. "Magazine" (in the sense of "publication") is a false friend in Italian but not in French.

The problem arises to a certain extent in translating "actual" and "actually" into Italian. There is no simple equivalent, as often happens. Possibilities include words such as "vero" and "reale" and their equivalent adverbial forms. As always, you translate the meaning and not the words (you knew that already, I hope). So it is important to realize that we say "actual" and "actually" in English in contradistinction to a misperception or contrary belief. It is therefore not exactly a synonym of "real."

Some examples, as always, to clarify.

Attualamente vivo a Ferrara. I am currently living in Ferrara.

He doesn't actually live in Ferrara, he just goes there for work a lot. Non vive veramente a Ferrara, ci va molto per lavoro.

Actually, I'm not a doctor, I'm unemployed. Per dire la verita', non sono medico, sono disoccupato.

La situazione attuale e' preoccupante. The current situation is worrisome.

The actual date of the course is May 17th, not the 14th. La data giusta del corso e' il 17 maggio, non il 14.

False friends are not actually that hard after all. I falsi amici non sono poi cosi' difficili.

(I've done a lot of stuff on false friends. To find it all, search using the term under the box in the upper left corner of the screen.)