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Tricky Words in this week's OVI

Tricky Words in this week's OVI

Personal and personnel. I am looking at these words again (they were among the very first tricky words back in June 2000, so it's high time they were re-looked at) in response to feedback from a reader, which I'm naturally very grateful for. As usual the trickiness stems from the superficial similarity between the English "personal" and the Slovak "personál" and "personálny", and as usual the basic idea for students and translators must be that the English and Slovak forms of original Latin words have DIFFERENT meanings, which was the compelling reason for starting the Tricky Words column in the first place.

The English "personal" means "osobný/á/é" in Slovak, so we talk about personal property or personal questions, and the Slovak "personál" means "personnel" (say /pés-NEL/), or "staff", "crew", "workforce", "employees", "company", "gang", "squad", "band" or "complement" - but these days the usual expression is Human Resources.

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