Friday, March 16, 2012

Word of the week-cura

Our word of the week, la cura (noun) and its corresponding verb, curare (regular 1st conjugation) shows the tricky nature of false friends, that is, those words that seem to be equivalent to similar words in another language, but aren't.

Why is this tricky? Because there is often significant overlap in the meaning of the words. The Italian word and the non-Italian word don't mean the same thing, but have a meaning that is related, or similar; or one meaning of the Italian word corresponds to one, but not all, meanings of the foreign word. Sometimes, though, there is no connection at all, and mix-ups can be comical and embarrassing.

Let's look at cura and curare in the medical sense. In Italian, these words in these contexts generally refer to treatment, and not necessarily cure (definitive solution of the problem). The proper words for "cure" and "to cure" would be la guarigione and guarire. To add to the confusion, sometimes cura is used in the sense of "cure," for example, "non hanno ancora una cura per il cancro."

Cura and curare are also used outside the medical context e.g. con cura, "with care," "attentively."

To see other stuff I've written on false friends, input the term in the upper left corner search function.