Category Scientific English

Give, hold, visit, attend a lecture

In my professional environment (university), I often hear and even read two literal and rather awkward translations from German to English. First, people like to use the expression to hold a lecture because the corresponding German expression is eine Vorlesung halten. However, the correct English expression is (see here) to give a lecture. Similarly, the

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False friend alert: study (Studium)

A remarkable number of German native speakers, including university professors and even Nobel Prize winners, make the mistake of translating Studium into study. For example, they would write 1997-2001 Study of physics in their CV. However, the English noun study translates into the German Studie, but not into Studium. A proper translation to English would

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Fresh from the source…

I just came across a very dangerous false friend while listening to a scientific talk. This time, it’s a false friend for non-native German speakers. Please, do not translate the English word ordinary as ordinär. The former means gewöhnlich (common) or einfach (simple), whereas the latter means vulgär (vulgar).

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