I reckon most of us who are using English as our second language (or third or fourth), stumble upon difficulties to use the correct terms especially when we translate some terms or words literally from L1 (our first language). I myself sometimes commit some mistakes too though I'm an English teacher. Based on my 7 years of teaching English, I've come across many amusing literally translated words, terms or phrases. There are also some examples of amusing terms that my daughters always use.
- I want to jump, teacher!
2. He/She is long.
One of the genres in writing component is Descriptive writing. As most of them go to ELS with minimal knowledge in English, their writing skills are usually quite weak. The teachers even have to start teaching from the punctuations (full stop, comma, capital letters) before moving on to sentence structures. So, the sentence of "He/She is long" is a normal sentence that some of them use to say "He/She is tall".
3. The tyre has no wind.
This might sound familiar right? I remember one of my ex-students in USM used the sentence when he was presenting a speech. I didn't stop him when he made the mistake because I need to give more marks on the content rather than just the grammatical errors or mistakes. Only after everybody finished presenting, I highlighted some common and amusing mistakes. So, "the tyre has no wind" should be changed to "the tyre is flat".
4. Mama, open the tv please.
Fathini and Hafizah always forget to use the correct phrase which is "Mama, please switch on the tv". Every time they say "Open the tv, please", my response is "I can't open it because I don't know how to repair or use screw drivers to open it". They normally laugh at their own mistake and I reckon sometimes they purposely make the same mistake just to tease me.
Well, I have to stop here for now since I plan to write about this as a long series and also I have to recall first of more amusing literal translation that I have come across. Hope this series will also help those who read to not repeating the same mistakes.