I was teaching my 2yo how to say ball in French, and he got really confused because a ballon in French is a Ball in German, and a German Ballon is a balloon, or as the French French say, a baudruche (we Quebecers just call it a ballon).
It got me thinking, what are the different words for Ball-like things?
I made a chart with my results:
Conclusions (approximate, I’m not a linguist):
- English pretty much calls everything a ball, except it they float
- German seems to distinguish things that roll, bounce and float
- French boules roll, balles are thrown, and ballons are filled with air