‘A Study of Emic Proportions: Contextualising Phraseological False Friends’

Linguo-Cultural Research on Phraseology, Volume 3 of the Intercontinental Dialogue on Phraseology (IDP3), is a collection of papers from around the world in the field of phraseology. Published by the University of Bialystok, it is a multilingual book with contributions in English, French, German, Polish, and many other languages.

My contribution to the book explores ways of structuring language learning tools to deal with the problem of understanding and translating phraseological false friends, using examples in Polish and Czech. These phrases are usually figurative and can be: (1) phrases that have a similar form in two or more languages, but differ in their meanings; (2) phrases that have an identical form in two or more languages, but differ in their meaning; or (3) phrases that have a different form, but identical meanings.

Each language has its own inventory of lexical and phraseological utterances with which to communicate. This inventory is defined by the cultural context in which its texts were created. Therefore, providing contextual information gives language learners an insight into language as it is experienced by a native speaker. It can also develop cross-cultural understandings, along with learners’ metaphorical competence.