sobota, 26 listopada 2011

Lectures and Readings

Today's entry is about vocabulary confusion caused by something called a "false friend."  That is, a word that looks similar in two languages, but does not mean the same thing.  We've got a lot of these in English and Polish, and we'll be looking at quite a few of them.  Today's example is the word lecture.  It looks like lektura, so many students assume there's no difference, and use one as they would use the other.

However, English lecture does not mean "something we have to read for school (usually something long and boring)."  The word for that is reading--very often called required reading.  For example: in many American schools, the Constitution is required reading.  In this case, reading can be a countable or an uncountable noun.  We might say, for example: I've got five readings to do this weekend OR this lesson contains a dialog and a reading (countable).  But we can also say: My literature teacher assigned a lot of reading for this semester (uncountable).

A lecture is what we call in Polish wykład--that is, somebody giving a talk or a speech, usually about an academic subject.  For example: today a professor at Jagiellonian University is giving a lecture on economic theory.

The words lecture and lektura, by the way, both come from the Latin word for read, but have taken slightly different paths in their evolution.

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