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 Post subject: The mistakes you've made
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 3:53 pm 
Lebom
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One think I always find of interest, but seldom perturbing, is the errors people make when speaking languages they have learnt as second language speakers (usually after the formative years). If any here are game to it, I thought we might as well share our own erroneous tendences.

While learning German in High School (and I was about the only person in my German classes doing that), I would often try to use wholly off the mark word order.

ex. I would often say things akin to, "Ich du liebst.," instead of "Ich liebst du."

Other times, the error could be akin to, "T?tete er ich " rather than, "Ich t?tete er.


As a more minor problem, it took me a long time to adapt to using werden to form the future tense, rather than the modal will, which I tended toward as it resembled the English use.

Ex.
"Ich will zu das Buchhandlung fahre." rather than what I think is the correct form, "Ich werde zu das Buchhandlung fahren." (given my woefully limited proficiency with the language, I likely made an error in my supposedly correct form)

Irregular verbs were a general nuisance, but none so much as nehmen. I never did learn that one properly.

I've only been studying Japanese for roughly five months and have not yet experimented with the language enough on my own to get a lot wrong. But I do tend to end sentences with か when answering questions, mostly on reflex. And sometimes I gaff the proper forms of 'to be' and fail to distinguish animate and inanimate.

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Last edited by Delthayre on Wed Feb 04, 2004 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 4:18 pm 
Niš
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Delthayre wrote:
"Ich werde zu das Buchhandlung fahren." (given my woefully limited proficiency with the language, I likely made an error in my supposedly correct form)


I think using gehen would be better than fahren. The reason my German teacher gives for this is that "you don't drive into the bookshop." And it's der Buchhandlung. :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 4:32 pm 
Lebom
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In Latin, I get the two past tenses (perfect and imperfect) mixed up a lot; eg I'd write navigavit for "he was sailing" rather than navigabat, and then I'm go and write navigabat for "he sailed" rather than navigavit, et cetera :) :?

I used to pronounce Latin horribly, but then again so did my teacher, my peers, and everyone else I knew... now they're annoyed because I pronounce it differently than they do (ie the right way) :D

I also tend to mix up the word order; either Anglify or Wierdify it- eg, OSV order when there's no reason to emphasize the object, and that sorta thing.

Here's one thast's sorta interesting: In Gonardoi, participles and gerunds are used for most secondary clauses (though relative clauses get their own verb)- for example, "I want to eat a mouse" is velennena catto manin, where manin is the present active participle of mani "to eat". I've started to occasionally accidentally use that sort of construction instead of infinitives in Latin, eg porcum cibantem volo for "I want to eat the pig" instead of porcum cibare volo. A few times I've actually done that in English, too :|


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 5:04 pm 
Sanno
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Sirk wrote:
Delthayre wrote:
"Ich werde zu das Buchhandlung fahren." (given my woefully limited proficiency with the language, I likely made an error in my supposedly correct form)


I think using gehen would be better than fahren. The reason my German teacher gives for this is that "you don't drive into the bookshop." And it's der Buchhandlung. :wink:


There's a difference between driving zur Buchhandlung and in die Buchhandlung--just as we differentiate between driving "to the store" and "into the store".

But this touches on a problem I encountered when acquiring German: The distinction between gehen and fahren. I tended to use the former indiscriminately--even when I had taken a bus or tram somewhere rather than gone zu Fuss. In general, I was tripped up by the fact that German often demands a specific verb where, in English, one could get by with a more generic one. Another frequent mistake: treffen "to meet [by prearrangement]" for kennenlernen "to meet [for the first time], to get to know".

Although I had little trouble producing the umlauted sounds, I found that I often had trouble remembering when to use them. To this day, I make mistakes with verbal pairs like drucken and druecken or zahlen and zaehlen. I also never mastered the length/quality distinctions whose counterparts were lacking in English, i.e. [a] vs. [a:] and [E:] vs. [e:]. Of course, these distinctions are also missing from the colloquial speech of many Germans (just not in the area of Germany where I was living).


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 5:26 pm 
Lebom
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linguoboy wrote:
Sirk wrote:
Delthayre wrote:
"Ich werde zu das Buchhandlung fahren." (given my woefully limited proficiency with the language, I likely made an error in my supposedly correct form)


I think using gehen would be better than fahren. The reason my German teacher gives for this is that "you don't drive into the bookshop." And it's der Buchhandlung. :wink:


There's a difference between driving zur Buchhandlung and in die Buchhandlung--just as we differentiate between driving "to the store" and "into the store".

But this touches on a problem I encountered when acquiring German: The distinction between gehen and fahren. I tended to use the former indiscriminately--even when I had taken a bus or tram somewhere rather than gone zu Fuss. In general, I was tripped up by the fact that German often demands a specific verb where, in English, one could get by with a more generic one. Another frequent mistake: treffen "to meet [by prearrangement]" for kennenlernen "to meet [for the first time], to get to know".

Although I had little trouble producing the umlauted sounds, I found that I often had trouble remembering when to use them. To this day, I make mistakes with verbal pairs like drucken and druecken or zahlen and zaehlen. I also never mastered the length/quality distinctions whose counterparts were lacking in English, i.e. [a] vs. [a:] and [E:] vs. [e:]. Of course, these distinctions are also missing from the colloquial speech of many Germans (just not in the area of Germany where I was living).


Well, criminy, I'm more out of practice than I'd feared. Curiously, if I had remembered the direct article for buchhandlung, I almost certainly would have used zur. I finally figured out contractions (zur, zum, ect.) in my last year of High School German and began to find them almost addictive.

With the exception of <?>, I never had much trouble with pronounciation. Although classes full of obnoxious scumbucket slackers probably hasn't helped cultivate a good accent for German. I was able to fall back on listening to my grandfather, who is fluent in Pennsylvania German, to pick up some of the finer elements (although that probably has given my speach a curious affectation).

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 5:40 pm 
Sanno
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Delthayre wrote:
With the exception of <?>, I never had much trouble with pronounciation. Although classes full of obnoxious scumbucket slackers probably hasn't helped cultivate a good accent for German. I was able to fall back on listening to my grandfather, who is fluent in Pennsylvania German, to pick up some of the finer elements (although that probably has given my speach a curious affectation).


I can't help but laugh when I imagine you walking around with a Pennsylvania-German-tinged accent. Curious affectation is right! Of course, as someone who polished his accent in far southwestern Germany, near the Swiss border, I can't cast many stones.

What intrigues me most is not examples like the ones so far--which are textbook cases of interference--but the inexplicable or original mistakes. For instance, my brother complained that when he began learning Spanish, German would pop into his head at the oddest times. I had the same trouble taking German. I'd try to recall some new vocabulary and the Spanish word would pop into my head. It's like your mind starts out with two settings, "Native language" and "Foreign language", and it takes it a while to subdivide the latter into "Foreign Language A," "Foreign language B", and so forth.

And then there were all the false friends and false generalisations. Like once I was trying to say in German, "I got lost". The verb is verlaufen, that is, "to run, to walk" plus the prefix ver-, which often has the meaning of "to do wrongly, mis-". I stuck the prefix onto the wrong verb and came out with "Ich bin vergangen", which means instead, "I have elapsed".


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 5:52 pm 
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linguoboy wrote:
For instance, my brother complained that when he began learning Spanish, German would pop into his head at the oddest times. I had the same trouble taking German. I'd try to recall some new vocabulary and the Spanish word would pop into my head. It's like your mind starts out with two settings, "Native language" and "Foreign language", and it takes it a while to subdivide the latter into "Foreign Language A," "Foreign language B", and so forth.


I think that's quite common... at least, I've heard similar complaints from many people. Oddly, it doesn't happen for me. If I know a word in language A, then I think of it. If I don't, I may recall the word in language B, but it's not like it's coming up when I want the word in A.

I can't think of any entertaining mistakes I've made, but I found it interesting to look at the Spanish papers written by my wife's Hispanic fellow students: despite being native speakers, they would typically be word-for-word equivalent to English. So far as I know the same isn't necessarily true of their spoken Spanish; I'm guessing that they don't really learn formal written Spanish, and so they take their syntax and general approach from the formal written register they do know, rather than from the spoken form of the language.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 6:25 pm 
Lebom
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Delthayre wrote:
I would often say things akin to, "Ich du liebst.," instead of "Ich liebst du."

Other times, the error could be akin to, "T?tete er ich" rather than, "Ich t?tete er."

I don't know what the second means, but shouldn't the first be Ich liebe dich?

I was never able to get German or Russian pronunciation right ? but then, I never had any teachers who could pronounce it right either. Since I started conlanging when those were the only two foreign languages I knew, this has had quite an effect; somewhat paradoxically, not at all a bad one.


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 Post subject: Spank me
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 6:33 pm 
Lebom
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Ahribar wrote:
Delthayre wrote:
I would often say things akin to, "Ich du liebst.," instead of "Ich liebst du."

Other times, the error could be akin to, "T?tete er ich" rather than, "Ich t?tete er."

I don't know what the second means, but shouldn't the first be Ich liebe dich?


Yeah, I'm rather out of practice. I have the grammar books lying there in easy reach. I just don't do squat with them.

Ah well, naughty Zoot I am.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 7:00 pm 
Lebom
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all sorts of mistakes with latin. it took me a long time to work out how to use the verbs properly, i kept using the wrong tenses, partly because the names don't actually tell me what they do half the time :x that said, i've forgotten a lot of my latin now, but i've slowly gained in old english, so the trade off has been better 8)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 7:40 pm 
Avisaru
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I started learning Russian after four years of high-school French, so my Russian pronunciation was initially rather French-flavored. (Incidentally,a friend of mine who came to work in Russia after receiving a college degree in Spanish reports that she "mixes" Spanish and Russian in a manner similar to that described by linguoboy.) In addition, once I began learning to write in the Cyrillic alphabet, I went through a period during which I kept inadvertently using Cyrillic letters when writing in English...:wink:

My mistakes in Russian over the last decade and a half have, of course, been legion, but I can't remember all of them offhand. I've had to fight against using English word order when it's not appropriate, problems with pronunciation (merging sh and shch, pronouncing normal'no with an unpalatalized l), and Anglicisms such as prefacing every statement with Ya dumayu, chto... ("I think that...").

I've already cited a couple of examples of problems that my Kazakh-speaking students in Kazakhstan had speaking Russian--primarily gender confusion, and occasionally irregular verbs, like the little girl who used vozmili instead of vzyali as a past tense for vzyat'--"Vy ego vozmili!" (rather like saying in English, "You taked it!" instead of "You took it!").

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 9:09 pm 
Niš
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Despite years of Spanish, I always had the bad habit of forming the future tense as "Voy a X" instead of properly using the conjugation I should have. It wasn't actually incorrect (at least by the dialect I was learning), but it sounded a bit...juvenile. "I'm gonna do X, I'm gonna do Y" isn't the most appropriate way to express these things.

And then of course when I took Greek, I kept trying to put things in Latin order...


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 9:10 pm 
Avisaru
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Sirk wrote:
The reason my German teacher gives for this is that "you don't drive into the bookshop."


In Oklahoma they do, or at least for almost everything else: banks, restaurants, liquor stores, funeral parlours, drugstores...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 9:18 pm 
Lebom
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Jaaaaaa wrote:
In Latin, I get the two past tenses (perfect and imperfect) mixed up a lot; eg I'd write navigavit for "he was sailing" rather than navigabat, an) :?
I used I also tend to mix y use that sort of construction instead of infinitives in Latin, eg porcum cibantem volo for "I want to eat the pig" instead of porcum cibare volo. A few times I've actuall up the word order; either Anglify or Wierdify it- eg, OSV order when there's no reason to emphasize the object, and that sorta thing.d then I'm go and write navigabat for "he saileseciple of mani "to eat". I've started to occasionally accidentally done that in English, too :|
s (though relative clauses get their own verb)- for example, "I want to eat a mouse" is velennena catto mand" rather than [i]navigavit, et cetera :
my peers, and everyone else I knew... now they're annoyed because I pronounce it differently than they do (ie the right way) :D
r mosHere's one thast's sorta interesting: In Gonardoi, participles and gerunds are used foto pronounce Latin horribly, but then again st secondary clauin[/i], where manin is the present active parti
o did my teacher,


Drink more Lysol.

Okay, I'll stop with the completely irrelevant postings, and the jumbled quotes... For today.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 9:46 pm 
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fadethecat wrote:
Despite years of Spanish, I always had the bad habit of forming the future tense as "Voy a X" instead of properly using the conjugation I should have. It wasn't actually incorrect (at least by the dialect I was learning), but it sounded a bit...juvenile. "I'm gonna do X, I'm gonna do Y" isn't the most appropriate way to express these things.


My high school had the bright idea of teaching us the "voy a __" freshman year and the future tense junior year, when the "voy a ___" was already engraved in our minds. Qu? tonto.

(For all y'all non americans, freshman year of high school is for 13-14 year olds, and junior is two years later, for 16-17 year olds. Usually, there are always exceptions.)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:19 am 
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Well...
I throw spanish into everything (first foreign language, so fairly natural)
i mix up french and german, and spanish and japanese on occasion

my worst mistake was my french 1-2 oral (spring of my senior year)
I had senioritis really bad and kept saying thing like...
"Il fait froid y il est solliel" (my french was much better at the time, assume everthing but y was correct)
I did this constantly and i had never done this before (mixing up spanish and french and)
My teacher just said et every time I said y :P

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 4:16 am 
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I get a fair amount of mty german confused, especially when there is a slight difference in the meaning of two words, which I don't really get, like lassen vs verlassen (to leave vs to leave in a minutely different context)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 5:39 am 
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My funniest mistake came in Spanish 1. I was talking to the new teacher, and I said about the previous teacher, 'Nos gustan Morir a Jos?', when I meant 'Nos gustan <kill> a Jos?' (Damn the dissapearance of my Castellano dictionary. I've got a New Mexican/So Coloradoan dictionary, but of course it doesn't have kill in it). He wasn't a bad teacher, he was actually one of the best, we just were exaspirated at his rapid-fire English.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 7:49 am 
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I often get German and Dutch grammar and vocabulary mixed up (I once said "der Badkammer" in German class). And there's the time, under the influence of a certain auxlang which shall remain nameless, when I was asked "Como estas" by a Spanish speaker, and replied "Estas muy bien"...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 8:47 am 
Niš
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In order, I have formally studied German, Spanish, and Japanese, and in class one day, these three languages came together and left me mumbling and scratching my head.

There is a word in Japanese, a German loanword, arubaito. This is the Japanese representation of the German word Arbeit (the verb is arbeiten with arbeit as the stem), meaning work. In Japanese it's slightly more narrow in meaning and specifically means part-time job, but at the time it was the only word the class knew for work. Some of you may also know the present-tense, first person, singular conjugation in Spanish is formed by attaching an o to the stem.

My Japanese professor asked me what I do after school, and I wanted to say, I work, which is, arubaito wo shimasu. I immediately said, arubaito, which my brain convinced me was the first person conjugation of the word meaning to work (arubait+o). I then just kind of trailed off and looked stupid for several seconds, but thankfully my instructor knew I knew Japanese well enough that I was probably just blanking for no reason, and he asked me a couple of extra questions before I properly answered his question.

A German borrowing, Japanese phonotactics, and Spanish conjugation were not my friends that day.


Last edited by monoglot on Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Write rightly german
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:19 am 
Sanno
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Ahribar wrote:
Delthayre wrote:
I would often say things akin to, "Ich du liebst.," instead of "Ich liebst du." Other times, the error could be akin to, "T?tete er ich" rather than, "Ich t?tete er."

I don't know what the second means, but shouldn't the first be Ich liebe dich?


t?ten "to kill" (from tot "dead"). The accusative case of er should be ihn. Ich t?tete ihn--"I killed him." The first sentence could also be corrected to Mich liebst du, i.e. "You love [b]me[/i]", since German does allow some freedom in word order. It's almost never the case that the second element in a main clause is anything besides an inflected verb, however.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:22 am 
Sanno
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Drydic_guy wrote:
My funniest mistake came in Spanish 1. I was talking to the new teacher, and I said about the previous teacher, 'Nos gustan Morir a Jos?', when I meant 'Nos gustan <kill> a Jos?' (Damn the dissapearance of my Castellano dictionary. I've got a New Mexican/So Coloradoan dictionary, but of course it doesn't have kill in it). He wasn't a bad teacher, he was actually one of the best, we just were exaspirated at his rapid-fire English.


matar, as in matador.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:24 am 
Sanno
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Shm Jay wrote:
Sirk wrote:
The reason my German teacher gives for this is that "you don't drive into the bookshop."


In Oklahoma they do, or at least for almost everything else: banks, restaurants, liquor stores, funeral parlours, drugstores...


Drive into or drive thru?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 4:32 pm 
Lebom
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How can you possibly have a drive-thru funeral parlour? There must be a law against dead folks getting up and driving away...


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 4:47 pm 
Sanno
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Ahribar wrote:
How can you possibly have a drive-thru funeral parlour? There must be a law against dead folks getting up and driving away...


I think it's primarily the viewing that's drive-through. I've tried searching for a web site for one of these businesses that would list their services, but I'm having no luck.


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