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https://www.duolingo.com/CharmingTiger

Can someone explain to me why 'historia' means both 'history' and 'story'?

CharmingTiger
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Doesn't this cause confusion during conversation?

4 years ago

12 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/pont
pont
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Not really; the English words "set" and "run" have several hundred meanings and we seem to manage fairly well. In fact, it's been estimated that around 40% of English words have more than one meaning.

Every language* has words with multiple meanings; we just don't notice it in our native languages because we've grown up with them.

*At least, every language I've encountered. If anyone knows a counterexample, I'd be delighted to learn of it...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ontalor
Ontalor
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I'd imagine Lojban doesn't have words with multiple meanings since it was designed for perfect clarity, but I think you're right, every natural language does.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CharmingTiger
CharmingTiger
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I looked this Lojban up on Wikipedia. Very interesting language. 'It has no irregularities or ambiguities in spelling and grammar' - This would be a welcome reprieve from the way most languages are set up. 'It possesses an intricate system of indicators which effectively communicate contextual attitudes or emotions.' -

you-[imperative] [me-the-social-inferior!] inside-type-of come that-which-is-described-as having-to-do-with-me house

=I would be honored if you would enter my residence. ROFL

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ontalor
Ontalor
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lol, yeah it sounds like one of those things that would be great in theory but a serious headache in actuality.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jagonics
jagonics
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In Polish we also have the word historia and it, too, means both history and story.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
LICA98
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Think of it this way: do "your" and "you're" (or something else that sounds the same) cause confusion in English? Sometimes, yes. Usually depends on context

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CharmingTiger
CharmingTiger
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Okay thanks guys. Your English examples were very useful in helping me realize how context-specific a lot of words are, regardless of the language. I will just have to keep this in mind as I continue to advance. So is there no way of knowing whether one is saying 'The History of Stories' or 'The Stories of History'? Por ejemplo - La historia de historias o Las historias de historia

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
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In your example, "history" would be "la historia", singular, and "stories" would be "las historias", plural. That's the easiest giveaway.

The History of Stories: La historia de historias
The Stories of History: Las historias de la historia

But honestly in a case like this, just like in English, I would use a different word, such as "Los Cuentos de la Historia" to avoid ambiguity and repetition, unless I were doing it for effect.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndresC.
AndresC.
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"Los cuentos de la Historia" would mean something like: "The untrue stories of History", as cuento is by definition something made up. A cuento is a fiction work for kids (think Rapunzel, The Three Little Pigs, etc.). A novela is a fiction work for adults.
For your example I would suggest "Los relatos de la historia".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
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Gracias. Relatos es una palabra nueva para mi.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CharmingTiger
CharmingTiger
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Thanks Irtward! This provides a much better alternative if I'm ever in a situation where I need to say something like that.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jasongainer

it confuses me A little bit

4 years ago