Is there a name for this type of logical fallacy (seal = fuck?)

When I was in 4th grade in French class, we learned that “foque” was French for “seal” (as in the animal."

Our little 4th grade minds figured that since that word was so close to the sound of “fuck,” that if we said “SEAL!” to a French person, he would interpret that as “fuck.”

In other words, “‘seal’ is how you say ‘fuck’ in French! Heh heh heh!”

Of course, the logic of this is totally flawed. But it is flawed in such a way that makes me think there might even be a name for the type of fallacy it represents. Is there?

It’s just a non sequitur.

It sounds like a type of converting a conditional (a --> b, therefore b -->a)

Yeah, actually I agree with Bootis. It’s like a conditional affirmation of the consequent.

Back home we call this pushing the string. Or turning the crack backwards on the meat grinder.

Sounds like a variation on Cockney rhyming slang:

False friends

That’s not really what a false friend is, though. For instance, in French, if you want to draw a circle, you use a compas. However, if you you’re looking for a direction you use a boussole.

And, by the way, it’s phoque, not foque… Which reminds me of a skit by a Quebec comedian:

(As a French journalist reporting on seal hunting.)

Isn’t it? why not?
From Wiki:

  • False friends (or faux amis) are pairs of words in two languages or dialects (or letters in two alphabets) that look and/or sound similar, but differ in meaning … Another example is the word ‘gift’, which in English means ‘present’ but in German means ‘poison’. *
    Isn’t that what the OP is asking about?

I don’t follow your point. I’d guess that *compass *and *compas *both derive from the same root. If I’m right then the example is irrelevent to the question.

If that guess is wrong, then they would be false cognates, not false friends.

False cognates are words in 2 different languages that sound similar, and have similar meanings, but derive from completely different roots. Example: English *boy *and Japanese boya both mean young male child, but they have no common origin.

The OP does describe a pair of “false friends,” yes.

But his question is: because “foque” was French for “seal” we assumed “seal” was French for “foque.” That is a fallacious conclusion. Is there a name for the fallacy?

Yes. It’s called Affirming the Consequent.

Close, but not quite. That fallacy constitutes a malformed modus tollens. A -> B. B :: A. Since there is no truth value assignment in the OP’s example, Bootis is right that it’s a converted conditional, which is always a fallacy unless the terms are biconditional.

Mathematically, the fallacy is assuming the situation is A=B and therefore B=A. But the real situation is f(A)=B which does not necessarily mean f(B)=A

Which would be equivalent to A <-> B. In that case, B -> A would be true.

Ah, yes, I see.

But B -> A is not true. Which is why it’s a fallacy to make this assumption.

Please read the post (again if necessary). B -> A is true if A <-> B is true. That’s a biconditional implication.

Aw, seal all you logic monkeys! :wink: