Dr. Crippen, Call Your Office
In regard to the cross-linguistic ambiguity of the word “gift,” a reader who is acquainted with yet another Germanic language tells me that in Norwegian, the noun gift means “poison” but the verb å gifte (“to gift“) means to marry someone or be married to someone.
The great Swedish sinologist Bernhard Karlgren, in his very instructive little 1923 handbook Sound and Symbol in Chinese (p. 30 in my first edition), tells us that:
Just as a Swede at once distinguishes by the melody gìftet (the marriage) from gíftet (the poison), the Chinese distinguishes his words by their tones.
(Do people still remember Dr. Crippen? The peelers have written him up here.)