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Tricky Words in today's OVI

Pridané: 27.08.2007
Kategória: 34/2007

What you missed last week (I hope) was: tract. Regular readers of this column (my thanks to you, by the way, for your positive feedback) will already be thinking about where a very similar word is used in Slovak, and already suspecting that it will be different from the English use - and you're right, at least in everyday terms.

Tract is not used in English for parts of large buildings like hospitals or municipal offices (say "wing" instead, because tract means a very large area of LAND, or a strongly political or religious TEXT). But in specialist usage it is the same in Slovak and English, especially in medical terms (respiratory tract, digestive tract). Most scientific words come from Latin or Greek, and they tend to keep close to the original meaning even when they are used in different languages. Everyday words, on the other hand, are more likely to develop new meanings with different generations or nations of people using them, and the English language (or languages?) has gone through centuries of this kind of development.



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