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41b

Language guide to transfer errors

Errors in writing in a new language can occur when you are grappling with new subject matter and difficult topics. You concentrate on ideas and clarity, but because no writer can do everything at once, you fail to concentrate on editing. The language guide here identifies several problem areas for multilingual and ESL writers. It shows grammatical features (column 1) of specific languages (column 2) that lead to an error when transferred to English (column 3), and an edited Standard English version (column 4). Of course, the guide covers neither all linguistic problem areas nor all languages. Rather, it lists a selection, with the aim of being useful and practical. Included in the guide are also references to Caribbean Creole (listed simply as "Creole"), a variety of English with features differing from Standard English. Use the guide to raise your awareness about your own and other languages. If you think of a feature or a language that should be included in the guide, please write to the author at the publisher's address or send a message to the publisher's Web site at <http:/ /college .hmco.com/keys.html>. This Web site also provides links to sites specifically designed for multilingual students.

LANGUAGE FEATURES LANGUAGES SAMPLE TRANSFER ERRORS IN ENGLISH EDITED VERSION

ARTICLES (42c­42f)

No articles Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Swahili, Thai, Urdu Arabic, Creole, French, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese Arabic Sun is hot. I bought book. Computer has changed our lives. He is student. She lawyer. The sun is hot. I bought a book. The computer has changed our lives. He is a student. She is a lawyer.

No indefinite article with profession Definite article with days, months, places, idioms Definite article used for generalization

She is in the bed. He lives in the Peru. The photography is an art. The books are more expensive than the disks. Dog can be blind person's eyes.

She is in bed. He lives in Peru. Photography is an art. Books are more expensive than disks. A dog can be a blind person's eyes. Professor Brackert teaches in Frankfurt.

Farsi, French, German, Greek, Portuguese, Spanish Creole

No article for generalization with singular noun Definite article used with proper noun

French, German, Portuguese, Spanish

The Professor Brackert teaches in Frankfurt.

LANGUAGE FEATURES

LANGUAGES

SAMPLE TRANSFER ERRORS IN ENGLISH

EDITED VERSION

No definite article No indefinite article

Hindi, Turkish Korean (uses one for a; depends on context) Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Russian

Store on corner is closed. He ran into one tree.

The store on the corner is closed. He ran into a tree.

VERBS AND VERBALS (43)

Be can be omitted. India more religious than Britain. She working now. He cheerful. They still discuss the problem. When I walked in, she slept. No tense inflections Chinese, Creole, Thai, Vietnamese He arrive yesterday. When I was little, I always walk to school. The singer have a big band. She work hard. They were arrived when I called. I study here for a year. He has left yesterday. They were stolen their luggage. My name base on Chinese characters. The mess clean up quick. A miracle was happened. India is more religious than Britain. She is working now. He is cheerful. They are still discussing the problem. When I walked in, she was sleeping. He arrived yesterday. When I was little, I always walked to school. The singer has a big band. She works hard. They had arrived when I called. I have been studying here for a year. He left yesterday. Their luggage was stolen. My name is based on Chinese characters. The mess was cleaned up quickly. A miracle (has) happened.

No progressive forms

French, German, Greek, Russian

No inflections for person and number Past perfect formed with be Different tense boundaries from English Different limits for passive voice

Creole, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Thai Arabic Arabic, Chinese, Creole, Farsi, French Creole, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Thai, Vietnamese

LANGUAGE FEATURES

LANGUAGES

SAMPLE TRANSFER ERRORS IN ENGLISH

EDITED VERSION

No -ing (gerund) /infinitive distinction

Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Greek, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese Korean

She avoids to go. I enjoy to play tennis.

She avoids going. I enjoy playing tennis.

Infinitive not used to express purpose Overuse of progressive forms

People exercise for losing weight. I am wanting to leave now.

People exercise to lose weight. I want to leave now.

Hindi, Urdu

WORD ORDER AND SENTENCE STRUCTURE (44)

Verb precedes subject Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish (optional), Tagalog French Good grades received every student in the class. I knew what would propose the committee. . . . (when) the teacher the money collected. Every student in the class received good grades. I knew what the committee would propose. . . . (when) the teacher collected the money.

Verb-subject order in dependent clause Verb after subject and object

Bengali, German (in dependent clause), Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Turkish Arabic

Coordination favored over subordination Relative clause or restrictive phrase precedes noun it modifies

Frequent use of and and so The enrolled in college student . . . A nine-meterhigh impressive monument . . . He gave me a too difficult for me book. The student (who was) enrolled in college . . . An impressive monument that is nine meters high . . . He gave me a book that was too difficult for me.

Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian

LANGUAGE FEATURES

LANGUAGES

SAMPLE TRANSFER ERRORS IN ENGLISH

EDITED VERSION

Adverb can occur between verb and object or before verb

French, Urdu (before verb)

I like very much clam chowder. They efficiently organized the work.

I like clam chowder very much. They organized the work efficiently. I want you to stay. I want them to try harder. She is leaving, and so am I. Although she is rich, she wears simple clothes. Even if I had money, I would not buy that car. It is raining.

That clause rather than an infinitive Inversion of subject and verb rare Conjunctions occur in pairs

Arabic, French, Hindi, Russian, Spanish Chinese

I want that you stay. I want that they try harder. She is leaving and so I am. Although she is rich, but she wears simple clothes. Even if I had money, I would also not buy that car. Is raining.

Chinese, Farsi, Vietnamese

Subject (especially pronoun) can be omitted Commas set off a dependent clause No equivalent of there is/ there are

Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Thai German, Russian Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai (adverb of place and have)

He knows, that we are right. This article says four reasons to eat beans. In the garden has many trees. My father he lives in California.

He knows that we are right. This article says [that] there are four reasons to eat beans. There are many trees in the garden. My father lives in California.

NOUNS, PRONOUNS, ADJECTIVES, ADVERBS (42a, 42b, 22, 23)

Personal pronouns restate subject Arabic, Gujarati, Spanish

LANGUAGE FEATURES

LANGUAGES

SAMPLE TRANSFER ERRORS IN ENGLISH

EDITED VERSION

No human/ nonhuman distinction for relative pronoun (who/which) Pronoun object included in relative clause No distinction between subject and object forms of pronouns Nouns and adjectives have same form. No distinction between he and she, his and her No plural form after a number No plural (or optional) forms of nouns No relative pronouns Different perception of countable/ uncountable

Arabic, Farsi, French, Russian, Spanish, Thai

Here is the student which you met her last week. The people which arrived . . . The house that I used to live in it is big. I gave the forms to she.

Here is the student [whom] you met last week. The people who arrived . . . The house [that] I used to live in is big. I gave the forms to her. Or I gave her the forms. She is a beautiful woman. They felt very safe on the train. My sister dropped her purse. He has two dogs. Several good books . . . The book that is on the table is mine. I bought three pieces of furniture. Or I bought three chairs. He has five sticks of chalk. I have helpful friends. Jack does not like meat. They don't know anything. Or They know nothing.

Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Hebrew Chinese, Gujarati, Korean, Spanish, Thai Chinese, Japanese

She is beauty woman. They felt very safety on the train. My sister dropped his purse. He has two dog. Several good book . . . The book is on the table is mine. I bought three furnitures.

Bengali, Farsi, Gujarati, Thai Creole, Farsi Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai Korean Japanese, Spanish

He has five chalk. Adjectives show number. Negative before verb Double negatives used routinely Spanish Spanish Spanish I have helpfuls friends. Jack no like meat. They don't know nothing.

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