Newbie Mistakes

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Newbie Mistakes

Postby dtp883 » Thu 08 Oct 2009 4:44 am

Have any of you, when you first saw a language, made "newbie" mistakes. Mistakes so bad you probably wouldn't be understood at all, based on orthography or pronunciation.

Before I looked into French and from a very young age, which where I live I never hear spoken, I pronounced it much like Spanish.
Something like:
Je m'appelle Danny. J'aime le chien. Le chien est petit.
[ʒeɪ mə:'pɛl dæ̃ ni. 'ʒeɪmə le 'ʃien. le 'ʃien ɛst pɛ'tit.]
When in reality it's more like:
[ʒə ma:pɛl dæ̃ ni ʒɛm lə ʃijɛ̃ lə ʃijɛ̃ e pəti]

*Sorry, my computer (or the forums) does not like nasalization marks. They are meant for the preceding vowel.
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Re: Newbie Mistakes

Postby linguoboy » Thu 08 Oct 2009 5:48 am

I started taking Spanish in my first year of high school. I was doing my homework and wanted to translate "his". Only trouble was we hadn't yet covered possessive pronouns. No matter, I looked in the glossary and saw that the word was su...or sus. I wasn't sure which form to use, but reasoned that if "his" ended with an s in English it should be the same in Spanish. (Spanish doesn't work that way: possessive adjectives add s in the plural just like all other adjectives.)

It was also around this time that wanting to say "very much" I came out with muy mucho. My teacher couldn't quite believe that one.
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Re: Newbie Mistakes

Postby Talib » Thu 08 Oct 2009 8:18 pm

Just the typical practice of treating a given language's grammar like English as much as humanly possible. That and you don't want to know how I pronounced Chinese words before I knew the rules governing pinyin (granted this was before I'd ever thought of learning Chinese. After working on the phonology, my teacher says my pronunciation is excellent).
It was also around this time that wanting to say "very much" I came out with muy mucho. My teacher couldn't quite believe that one.
This seems like a natural enough mistake to make. How indeed do you distinguish "much" (mucho) from "very much"?
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Re: Newbie Mistakes

Postby linguoboy » Thu 08 Oct 2009 8:50 pm

Talib wrote:This seems like a natural enough mistake to make. How indeed do you distinguish "much" (mucho) from "very much"?

mucho vs. muchísimo. (Or just by reduplicating "mucho".)
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Re: Newbie Mistakes

Postby Talib » Thu 08 Oct 2009 10:16 pm

So I can say muchísimo machismo?
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Re: Newbie Mistakes

Postby escher dax » Sat 10 Oct 2009 12:40 am

We went to Germany when our sons were still young. This was before GPS was commonly available in cars, so I was the official navigator. As we drove, I studied the map. We didn’t get lost until we got into the city and began winding our way through the narrow streets. I read the signs, trying to locate the street where our hotel was, but I couldn’t tell where we were on the map, so we could only keep turning corners and hoping to find it.
“This street is really long,” I commented. “It keeps winding around.”
“What street is this?” my husband asked, trying to find a place to pull over so he could see the map for himself.
“It’s not on the map. Einbahnstrasse.”
It didn’t occur to me to use the dictionary. It was a street name, after all. After another half hour of driving in circles, it dawned on me. Einbahnstrasse. One-way street. I am fairly sure that every street in Frankfurt is one-way.
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Re: Newbie Mistakes

Postby linguoboy » Sat 10 Oct 2009 4:44 am

I'm ashamed to say that both I and my brother independently made the "Einbahnstrasse" error during our respective first trips to Germany.

In a similar vein, my grandparents were convinced that "Ausfahrt" was the hugest town in Germany and couldn't understand why they'd never heard of it before. (They found countless signs pointing to to it when they were searching for the exit to "Cologne", which they never found. Surprising number of signs for some tiny burg called "Köln" though...)

I've been studying German for so much of my life now that I find it difficult to remember my most primitive misconceptions. I vaguely recall being baffled by reflexive verbs when I first encountred them (in a Cortina Method teach-yourself volume we got at discount price). I think I thought that the third-person reflexive pronoun, sich, was somehow equivalent to the English self and tried to say things like *Ich wasche sich.

Talib wrote:So I can say muchísimo machismo?

¡Sí se puede!
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Re: Newbie Mistakes

Postby Anders » Sun 11 Oct 2009 11:30 am

When I was in school and still not very good at German I did a mix-up of Swedish, English and German and wrote this sentence:

Er kehrt zwei Frauen um

I wanted it to mean 'He cares about two momen'. I accedently mistook German 'kehren' as an equivalent to English 'care' and the preposition we use in the corresponding Swedish expression is 'om' (bry sig om = care about), similar to German 'um'. The result of this mix-up is the sentence above.

And this German sentence actually means something. But something else than I wanted to say. It means:

He turns two women around

since umkehren = turn around.
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Re: Newbie Mistakes

Postby formiko » Mon 12 Oct 2009 6:12 pm

When I was first learning Russian, I thought the word for strawberry meant night club
The word клубника means strawberry, but when I was in Brooklyn, I'd ask
Где клубника? :)
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Re: Newbie Mistakes

Postby rickardspaghetti » Mon 12 Oct 2009 7:54 pm

Why do you speak Russian in Brooklyn?
そうだ。死んでいる人も勃起することが出来る。
俺はその証だ。
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