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Bald vs. bald- Tricky False Friends Between German & English

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

In this series of blog posts, I'm trying to help students avoid the most common mistakes with false friends in German and English. False friends (the official term being "false cognates") are pairs of words that are often similar in spelling but with a significantly different meaning. In the first part, we looked at the English word gift and what it means in German, in the second part we clarified what the German word also actually means. Today, we look at "bald" vs. "bald". What is the difference?

While the English word "bald" refers to hairless person (in German "kahlköpfig" oder "glatzköpfig), the German word "bald" means "soon" in English. So there is absolutely no connection between the two words.

E.g. It suits him to be bald (Er sieht kahlköpfig gut aus)

Entschuldige, dass ich zu spät bin. Ich werde bald ankommen (Sorry to be late, I'll arrive soon)

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