First Language Issues Non-native speakers sometimes encounter First Language Issues where a transference from the speaker’s original language affects the production of the English language. Usually concerns three areas o Form o Convention o Sentence structure
First Language Issues Form An obvious Polish to English Example: “I have 25 years (or even summers).” Or reversed from English to Polish “Ja jestem 25.” But sometimes they are not so obvious…
First Language Issues Form “We, with my brother, went to the shops”. What should it be?
First Language Issues Form “We, with my brother, went to the shops”. Me and my brother went to the shops. My brother and I went to the shops. My brother went to the shops with me. I went to the shops with my brother. I and my brother went to the shops.
First Language Issues Convention There is nothing wrong with any of these sentences: “I spent half a year in England.” “I have just sent an SMS.” But it is not what a native speaker would say. What would they say?
First Language Issues Form – Questions “How does it look like?” What should it be? What does it look like? or How does it look?
First Language Issues Form – Questions or statements? “He told me how should I do it.” Is the Student asking or telling me! Inversion only applies to direct questions or inverted forms like “Only now, did I realise the error of my ways”
First Language Issues Structure “There has been prepared for you a special training course to help you improve your skills”. “From Poland, there are no direct flights”. “In America there was declared the abolition of slavery before the civil war”. What is the correct form in each case?
First Language Issues Structure - Answers “A special training course has been prepared to help improve your skills”. “There are no direct flights from Poland”. “In America, the abolition of slavery was declared before the civil war”. SUBJECT + VERB + Other unless using inversion/questions Watch your use of THERE
Other Common Mistakes Trainings (!) is always uncountable! “It can be” is not an affirmative YES Word pairs that are confused o Lend / Borrow o Until / By o Come / Go o Make / Do o Remind / Remember
American vs. British English Colour & Color Recognise & Recognize Pavement & Sidewalk Have you seen the new film yet? or Did you see the new film yet? Whatever you do – do it consistently! Which does the client favour?
American vs. British English Can you spot the ‘mistake’ in the photograph?
Common ‘Mistakes’ made by Natives You was He don’t / She don’t (especially around Luton area) Double negatives: “I didn’t do nothing!” I should of done it earlier. How should I pronounce ‘often’? What should we do when students do this?
Some Quotations This breaks down into two key areas “Poles are basically okay, once you get over the fact they are rude!” - Scot, Warsaw “Wow – are English people really so aware!” - Magda, Warsaw Appropriate Language Appropriate Behaviours
Appropriate Language 1) Soften your English e.g. English for Foreigners → English for foreign learners → English for non-native speakers 2) Take time to use correct polite phrases
Compare the Following Dear Tom I must have Document XYZ by tomorrow and I want you to send me it as soon as you can or I will have to report it to the boss. Best Regards Fred Bloggs Dear Tom I would appreciate it if you could send me Document XYS by tomorrow as I have to prepare some information from it. Unfortunately if I do not receive it by then I may need to regrettably involve the boss - which I am reluctant to do. Many thanks in advance. Fred Bloggs
Appropriate Behaviours Personal Space & Awareness! Awareness! Awareness! THINK
Appropriate Behaviours Acknowledge others: Respond using polite phrases. Use simple words like sorry – accidents happen.
Thank you very much for your time. Q & A The End.
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