Anglické jazykové okienko

Anglické jazykové okienko

Tricky Words in this week‘s OVI

Mask. This is a return to the original, typical kind of “tricky word”, because it looks quite like the Slovak word maska, it sounds quite like it too, but it doesn't necessarily mean the same, so you have to be careful when translating it. The English understanding of a mask is nearly always associated only with the face, sometimes with the head, but not usually with the rest of the body. It can be done with make-up or face-paint, like a clown's mask; it can be a physical cover for the face, like a Dracula mask; if it only covers the top part of the face (with eye-holes, i.e. škraboška) it's a domino(-mask); or it might cover the whole head, like a bank-robber's mask, but in any case it is meant to change or hide the wearer's identity. Masks which are not supposed to hide the identity are further specified, such as gas-mask, ski-mask or protective (face-)mask.

Andy’s Wordshop

Turning things around, the question is how to translate the Slovak maska, and the answer starts with understanding the context. Sometimes it really means the same as the English mask, something which covers the face, like plynová maska, or like Jim Carrey's green head in the film The Mask. But if it's something which covers the whole body, like for maškarný ples, then it's fancy dress (the original sense of fancy, like fantázia) or a costume /KOSťúm/, and if it's seriously intended to trick other people, then it's a disguise /dizGÁJZ/. If you go to a fancy-dress party, you can go dressed as a pirate (then you wear a pirate costume) or a cowboy (in a cowboy costume). Spies and detectives often wear disguises (Edward Fox or Bruce Willis in the Jackal films, or Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau), but James Bond doesn't usually bother with them.

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