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Feedback needed from Poles confused about English


Kafir 1 | 1
15 Oct 2011  #1
Hello!

I need some feedback from Polish speakers about those little quirks of the English language that trip up even the most gifted language students when it comes to proper usage of prepositions. I'm about to give a language usage presentation and I've never had a Polish audience before. I'd like to make it relevant to them because the influence of the mother tongue is one of the main causes of confusion, aside from English being pretty damn weird in itself.

So what confuses you the most about English prepositions and which ones do you tend to mix up the most due to influence from Polish? I've heard speakers of romance languages mix up for/since as well as at/in or in/on for instance, but I don't know if the trend is similar for Polish speakers.

Thanks.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,617
16 Oct 2011  #2
For/since could be mixed up in Polish, although teachers try to stress that the English language makes the distinction between ''for six years" and "since 2005", while Polish does not (it employs "od=since" for both).

Confusing on/in could be quite popular as it is often found in the case of "in television" or "in the internet" (I believe that "on the internet" is correct). "To" may be confused with "in" as many Polish speakers might say "I've never been in England" rather than "I've never been to England". For some other examples, you may click in my profile (or is it "on my profile?) to find out my replies at different threads (again, I was wondering if I could also use 'to' and 'in' along with 'at' here, and which one would be the best) in which I'm sure you'll find mistakes in my using prepositions in English. I am a native speaker of Polish who have lived in Poland all my life. [Any feedback on my wrong usage would be welcome :-)]
kondzior 9 | 950
16 Oct 2011  #3
My favorite. Once I got confused when American person told me that she "slept on the train" For Pole, it sounds as if you have slept on the roof of the train. As in Poland, you can travel only inside of the train.
isthatu2 4 | 2,708
16 Oct 2011  #4
[Any feedback on my wrong usage would be welcome :-)]

"who HAS lived.." :)
ur welcome :)
f stop 25 | 2,513
16 Oct 2011  #5
if door is pronounced [dor], then poor should be pronounced [por]
isthatu2 4 | 2,708
16 Oct 2011  #6
come oop here, they are pronounced " Doo er" and " poo er" ;)
Trevek 26 | 1,702
16 Oct 2011  #7
articles the/a/an, because most Slavonic languages don't have them.
lusia - | 17
16 Oct 2011  #8
is there any difference between pronunciation those two phrases? :)

"I want it"
"I wanted"
Vincent 9 | 809 Moderator
16 Oct 2011  #9
In the UK there are so many different accents that they might sound the same. A person would probably need to speak very clear to hear the difference. However you could still tell the difference by the context of the sentence.
isthatu2 4 | 2,708
16 Oct 2011  #10
Its a wonderfull world we live IN.
Its a wonderfull planet we live ON.

Don't know if those help or hinder,but they just occured to me as examples of confusing un-written rules in English :)
OP Kafir 1 | 1
17 Oct 2011  #11
to find out my replies at different threads (again, I was wondering if I could also use 'to' and 'in' along with 'at' here, and which one would be the best)

in different threads. :)

Thank you so much for your help, this is very helpful for my preparations. I try to tell Polish people (especially since most of the ones I meet through work are impressively fluent) that most English speakers will NOT nitpick their usage of grammar, all that matters is to get your point across in most situations. Unlike with other langauges, most native speakers will be super impressed that you bothered to learn another language, regardless of minor slip ups.

This is an exception where I need to nitpick just to help them improve though. Thanks for all your examples! The train one in particular will make some good visual aids.

is there any difference between pronunciation those two phrases? :)

"I want it"
"I wanted"

It might vary with regional accents, but generally:

"I want it" = [aj wɑnt ɪt]
"I wanted it" = [aj wɒntəd ɪt]

This seems to be good tool: upodn.com
Ziemowit 12 | 3,617
17 Oct 2011  #12
Thanks for the corrections. In the second one of them I wrote my sentence with in first, then I began to think it over as the subject of the thread was Polish speakers confusing English prepositions :-) ... and I made that mistake! What's more, I did exactly the same with the former one of my two mistakes!

That may lead us to an interesting conlusion: the more we are thinking of the possibly of having been just making a mistake in a foreign language, the more likely we are to make them. The obvious source of mistakes in employing prepositions would be that they are different in our mother tongue than in the foreign language which we learn. But is it the only explanation? It is possibly the most common one, but there also must be some other reasons (like in the above case of mine). It could be quite interesting perhaps to find them out and show in your "language usage presentation".


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