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Thread: Things that betray the non-native speaker

  1. #21
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    Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    There is one typical mistake regarding "pronombres demostrativos" ,at least with native English speakers:
    • Este casa.
    • Esta lugar.
    • Esto perro.
    Regards,
    "No critiques a los enemigos, que a lo mejor aprenden".J.D.P.

  2. #22
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    Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    Many, many details and I dare say half of them are the same for Romance languages, but I'll quote just one for Portuguese: the -ão pronunciation. Whenever you hear someone saying /Sao/ Paulo not /São = nasal pronounciation/ you know he is not native.
    Eu quase que nada não sei. Mas desconfio de muita coisa...- Guimarães Rosa

  3. #23
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    Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    This topic is way too broad, since there are many factors which determine the character of typical mistakes which speakers of some language make when they speak another one, especially how close or similar is their native language to the other one in grammar, vocabulary and phonetics and a list of such mistakes could be endless, depending also on the proficiency of the concrete speaker.

    In the case of Spanish, most Czech learners would find its phonetic system quite easy to reproduce, maybe with the exception of the single r/rr distinction, since a lot of Czechs would pronounce it in both cases as the short one, so "pero" instead of "perro", without realizing the importance of the correct pronunciation. But it would not be difficult to pronounce the double r for us, our r is alveolar too, it's just a certain laziness or something.

    As for the grammar, some things would be quite familiar (gender of nouns, different conjugation endings for various persons, reflexive verbs etc.) and some rather troubling (not very similar vocabulary, various verbal tenses - in Czech there are only 3, articles - there are no articles in Czech and a lot of other differences). For example, a lot of people would use indicative or conditional instead of subjunctive, since there is none in Czech and wouldn't get the articles right or just wouldn't use them etc.


    As for the typical mistakes of Spanish speakers in Czech.. well I have never heard any Spanish speaker talking in Czech, so hard to say, but I would say that they would find the case system quite difficult just as the system of verbal aspect and phonetics with all those consonant clusters and ř.

  4. #24
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    Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    This topic is way too broad, since there are many factors which determine the character of typical mistakes which speakers of some language make when they speak another one, especially how close or similar is their native language to the other one in grammar, vocabulary and phonetics and a list of such mistakes could be endless, depending also on the proficiency of the concrete speaker
    No it's not!
    You can't just say 'this is too broad'. I think this is a really interesting thread that allows native speakers from all over the world to give their views on what sound like 'give-aways' when people are trying to speak their language, or when they speak a different language.

    I think adding bits of information for unrelated languages like that from page 1 is really good and I've enjoyed reading this, not everything has to be a strict mono-themed discussion. I even enjoyed reading your post, about how Spanish works with Czech and I am quite interesting... which brings me to my next point:

    in Czech there are only 3, articles - there are no articles in Czech and a lot of other differences
    I don't think you meant to write 'Czech' twice?? I think the first one is meant to be 'Spanish', but I just wanted to check .

    @ Topic: When I was doing my TEFL a few months ago and giving lessons to foreign speakers probably the biggest thing that hit me that I didn't expect was Word Order of Statement / Questions and how often they got mixed up.

    I think that is a massive red flag that pops up when listening to people, some of the students had picked up a lot of colloquial slang and in passing conversation for 5-10 seconds they could have passed for a native speaker (with regard to accent / colloquial expressions) but of course any more than a few seconds or a tricky aspect of grammar would have given them away. Things like "Why it can go there?" or "I can go to the toilet?".

    Orignally I had pegged this as a Romance language thing, trying to apply logic and realise that the way of forming questions is the same syntactical structure just with a raised intonation (often accompanied with raised eyebrows ) so I just thought it was a lack of understanding and it was a mistake triggered by their L1 (Romance languages), but it soon became clear that there were many people making this mistake (i.e. from Poland / Slovakia / Lithuania) which (I don't really know for sure) have a different worder for forming questions.

  5. #25
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    Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Alxmrphi View Post
    I think that is a massive red flag that pops up when listening to people, some of the students had picked up a lot of colloquial slang and in passing conversation for 5-10 seconds they could have passed for a native speaker (with regard to accent / colloquial expressions) but of course any more than a few seconds or a tricky aspect of grammar would have given them away. Things like "Why it can go there?" or "I can go to the toilet?".

    Orignally I had pegged this as a Romance language thing, trying to apply logic and realise that the way of forming questions is the same syntactical structure just with a raised intonation (often accompanied with raised eyebrows ) so I just thought it was a lack of understanding and it was a mistake triggered by their L1 (Romance languages), but it soon became clear that there were many people making this mistake (i.e. from Poland / Slovakia / Lithuania) which (I don't really know for sure) have a different worder for forming questions.
    Hi,
    French "regular" word order for asking question is subject-verb inversion... But it is often a formal way of speaking (or the way to write it)...
    The oral way for asking question is different :
    He sleeps = il dort
    Does he sleep ? =
    - Dort-il ? (formal way : inversion)
    - Est-ce qu'il dort ? (less formal way : est-ce que = "do", "does"...)
    - Il dort ? (colloquial way : only intonation, and eyebrows movement )
    - Il dort, non ? (other colloquial way...)...

    So (French) people that say "I can go to the toilets?" may speak in a colloquial way
    Last edited by TitTornade; 19th December 2009 at 5:43 PM.
    TitTornade, aka Lil'Tornado !

  6. #26
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    Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    I never thought about French really (not knowing much about it) but I know about Italian and a bit of Spanish so I sort of assumed it was the same for all Romance languages, a common trait in the language family.

    Apologies for my ignorance! (Thanks for pointing it out!)

  7. #27
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    Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    As a response to the /rr/ sound, in Costa Rica this sound is very rare to hear; the /r/ and /rr/ are pronounced the same as the /r/ in English. I think not using the subjunctive and using the wrong prepositions are mostly what make English speakers sound like non-natives in Spanish.

  8. #28
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    Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacobtm View Post
    I often say things like "Creo/pienso que vamos a salir a las 9." (I believe/think we're going to leave at 9) when I want to express that I'm not sure. To Spanish speakers, that doubt doesn't seem to transfer, and they take my sentence to be a firm plan. Of course, working on Mexican time helps throw the uncertainty back into the mix, even if it's not linguistically recognized.

    I got a girl to giggle quite hard by saying "me gusta Mark" when what I meant was "me cae bien Mark." (the difference between like and like-like.) What on earth are you saying! I am sure I said "Me gusta" instead of "Me cae bien" about many a person in Barcelona, Spain and nobody ever stared at me like our funny "".

    Also, I just throw "ya" and "se" around like nobody's business. I've yet to find any sort of logical rule/rules for when they need to be included, so I just use them like chili and lime.

    My response to "¿Cuándo sale el camión?" would be "Ya se salió". The bus leaving isn't reflexive in the question, but is in the response, and to me somehow I think that's correct...
    In my opinion "Ya se salió" is odd if referred to a lorry. (Or do you mean "bus" for "camión"?)

  9. #29
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    Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    MOMO2, The girl was 18, so perhaps in Barcelona people understood that you just meant "me cae bien". Or perhaps they assumed that you were gay, and didn't find anything weird about it.

    In Mexico, camión, autobús, and bús are all used for "bus", though "camión" can also mean "lorry".

  10. #30
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    Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    I think you could try to generalize by referring to linguistic branches, such as :
    - phonetics: has been made clear here
    - lexicography : idiomatic expressions (I notice that I can never imitate Germans because I tend to translate too literally from Dutch); language registers (is that the right word to refer to 'colloquial' vs. 'formal', etc. ? )
    - syntax: e.g., the place of certain words may point out that you are not good
    - pragmatics: there are different 'habits' as for the use of for example 'please' (in our Dutch-speaking context we generally say something when giving/ handing over something (often 'alstublieft', lit. 'please'), but in an English-speaking context you don't, or only 'here you are'.

    Those are things that are hard to learn ! But professional linguists could add more branches, like morphology, but I think grammar is often fairly easy to learn, except for certain things that are 'conditioned' by some kind of worldview, like tenses, which comes close to pragmatics, I believe.

  11. #31
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    Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    I think it also depends on the Spanish that you are speaking.
    I am Mexican, but my Spanish is kind of neutral, because I have lived in the north, center and south of México and because I have friends from several Spanish speaking countries. Still, I got a Spanish train ticket seller laughing at me because I said: viaje redondo and not ida y vuelta I got Southamericans laughing at my Spanish, because I said platicar instead of conversar or charlar. And I got a comment of a Spanish person telling me to go to Spain more often to learn to speak Spanish.
    So it also depends on who is listening.

  12. #32
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    Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    Good point: at stake is what standard language is, or 'standard' simply. Afro American English can be called deviant, but you can also consider it simply a variant! Yet, I think that we can easily distinguish between native speakers and others: we can 'feel' it, but sometimes have a hard time explaining it !

  13. #33
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    Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    Quote Originally Posted by coquis14 View Post
    There is one typical mistake regarding "pronombres demostrativos" ,at least with native English speakers:
    • Este casa.
    • Esta lugar.
    • Esto perro.

    Regards,

    However, I've read translations by "native speakers" who had the demonstrative pronouns wrong too - not only according to me.

  14. #34
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    Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    What do you mean by "translations"? , something like this?:
    This Place has been nominated. ... ---> Esta lugar ha sido designado...
    Sorry ,but it is hard to believe that kind of mistake, even an illiterate person knows that.

    Regards,


    "No critiques a los enemigos, que a lo mejor aprenden".J.D.P.

  15. #35
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    Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    Some speakers of English as a foreign language use the simple present where a native, at least in US, will use the future:
    I get it for you now instead of I'll get it for you now.
    Here. I do it instead of Here. I'll do it.

  16. #36
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    Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    Many Americans and Canadians I know say "como esto" instead of "así" for "like this" and don't forget the "oh, mi Dios" for "oh, my God!"
    The ability to speak several languages is an asset, but the ability to keep your mouth shut in any language is priceless

  17. #37
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    Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    I've heard a bunch of my friends who're learning Spanish say "como así"...

  18. #38
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    AW: Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacobtm View Post
    I've heard a bunch of my friends who're learning Spanish say "como así"...
    That doesn't sound foreign...
    Más vale sentir en la nuca el hálito glacial del invierno que el caluroso aliento de un elefante enfurecido.

  19. #39
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    Re: AW: Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    Quote Originally Posted by miguel89 View Post
    That doesn't sound foreign...
    Well then that just betrayed my lack of knowledge, I just thought así didn't need a como in front of it ever. Guess not...

  20. #40
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    Re: AW: Re: Things that betray the non-native speaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacobtm View Post
    Well then that just betrayed my lack of knowledge, I just thought así didn't need a como in front of it ever. Guess not...
    It doesn't. I am not sure if "ever" but certainly not when you mean like this, or in this way. In some countries people use the expression "¿cómo así?" as an equivalent of "what was that?". Most us would simply say "¿cómo? or ¿qué?".

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