Faux Amis

Most languages have false cognates: words that look similar in different languages but have different meanings. I’m familiar with many of the ones for English and French—which are often referred to as faux amis or false friends. I recently encountered a new set of faux amis, though: balade and balader.

While there is a french word ballade (feminine) which means ballad, balade (also feminine) means a walk or a ride, and balader means to go for a walk or ride or, in its transitive sense, to take someone or something for a walk or ride.

Adding to my confusion was the fact that the French word for podcast, in addition to podcast (probably masculine), is baladodiffusion. I’m guessing baladodiffusion is feminine since diffusion is feminine, but I could be wrong. Baladodiffusion is also sometimes abbreviated as balado, and an iPod or walkman is a baladeur (masculine) (but walkman [masculine] is also used).

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