My Genial Friend

I came across an interesting false friend recently, when a student referred to a person as genial. Now, this might seem fine to me, but is was clear from the context that a word like brilliant would have been more appropriate. How can we explain this seemingly strange error, confusing two such obviously different words? Continue reading

You’re Unfriended, Amigo!

Or perhaps enemigo would be more appropriate!

I’m not an expert in Spanish by any means. But recently I found myself watching a brief clip from Toy Story 3 (I can’t for the life of me remember the context, but it was a YouTube video of some sorts). The clip was from when Buzz Lightyear’s accidentally had his voice (and personality: I have seen Toy Story 3) changed to Spanish. From this very brief clip, and memory of watching the film, I recognised that he was saying Are you a friend or an enemy!? Which was very interesting. Continue reading

Quite a Predicament

I saw the word predicament recently, and thought that it would be an interesting case for a little bit of etymology figuring-out. It looks so Latin, with such clearly separate sections, each of which could have its own meaning, and which could all be added up to clearly show the meaning of the word as whole. Continue reading

Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

If you want peace, prepare for war.

An ancient, but enduring adage, first found in the 5th century De re militari (Concerning Military Matters) by the Latin writer Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus.

I was thinking about this phrase recently, inspired by the subtitle of the latest John Wick filmParabellum. Continue reading