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Top mistakes made by Mexican ESL learners

 
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canada_1986



Joined: 23 Nov 2011
Posts: 44
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:43 pm    Post subject: Top mistakes made by Mexican ESL learners Reply with quote

Are these a lot of the same mistakes other ESL teachers in Mexico notice? Are there any specific ways to help students overcome these slips?

- pronunciation of plural words as if they are singular, e.g. "computers" pronounced as "computer" (even though Spanish also has an audible difference when 's' or 'es' is added to make a word plural)

- "In order for to work at Walmart..." (use of the word 'for')

- heavy use of "these days" to refer to something going on in the present time (not technically wrong, but I find it is rarely used in North American English)

- "I'm studying a career" (use of the word 'career' to refer to university studies)

- "I'm borrowing my phone to Juan" (use of word 'borrow' when one is lending something to another person)

- pronunciation of words ending in a soft consonant plus '-ed', e.g. "wash-ED" instead of "washt" for 'washed'

Any other frequent slips and how we can help break these habits that I think have become fossilized?
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Dragonlady



Joined: 10 May 2004
Posts: 715
Location: Chillinfernow, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are no mistakes.
There are learning opportunities.

DL
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johntpartee



Joined: 02 Mar 2010
Posts: 3209

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When the Spanish speakers call me "jew" I tell them I am not Jewish.

Pronunciation exercise: Yesterday your uniform was yellow.

When they tell me the number after two is "tree", I tell them "A tree is a plant that has leaves".

Pronunciation exercise (one of MANY): Six thick thistle sticks. Six thick thistles stick.

I show them how the letters are formed, e.g., for the "y" sound at the beginning of the word, have them say "e", as in "eeeeeeeyesterday eeeeyour........"

For the "th" sound, the tongue goes between the teeth and blow!!

For the "ed" for past tense verbs, I tell them that if the core word ends with "d" or "t" (example: wait, thread) it will usually require the ED to be spoken (waitED, threadED); otherwise, just say the "d" (washd, calld).
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canada_1986



Joined: 23 Nov 2011
Posts: 44
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dragonlady wrote:
There are no mistakes.
There are learning opportunities.

DL


Obviously; my point was, what are the best ways to take advantage of these learning opportunities?
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 787
Location: Juan Aldama, Zacatecas, Mexico

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

canada_1986 wrote:
Dragonlady wrote:
There are no mistakes.
There are learning opportunities.

DL


Obviously; my point was, what are the best ways to take advantage of these learning opportunities?


I think most of them stem from differences in Spanish and English, and are not so much limited to Mexicans. If you speak Spanish, you can explain that while there is only one more in Spanish for borrow and lend there are two in English depending on whether you are the one DOING the loaning or the one RECEIVING the loan.

I thing "these days" is in common use because of the large number of books in use that are from Britain, where, I believe, it is far more common, than in the US.

The =ed ending is just one of many common pronunciation errors caused by the fact that everything is pronounced in Spanish, that is, every letter and in English it is not. This is compounded by the fact that the ed ending sometimes IS pronounced like that, but only after base words ending in d or t.

Prepositions are an ongoing struggle for even advanced students due to the many uses, and many idiomatic uses. Try doing a preposition a day, showcase one preposition at the beginning of class, and she a few of it's more unusual uses. Or present ONE of the uses that follow a rule.
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Phil_K



Joined: 25 Jan 2007
Posts: 1816
Location: A World of my Own

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am sympathetic with learners that make these mistakes, as after more than ten years of learning Spanish, there are still occasions where I am unsure of the use in a particular situation of preterito v copreterito, and "por" and "para". These problems are exactly the same as the ones previously described; due to the absence of these differences in our own language.

It probably doesn't help to say as a teacher that students shouldn't be too concerned about these errors, if they are communicating well in other areas, but that is pretty much my philosophy. Just congratulate them on their excellent English, and tell them to find a way (or give them a way) to practices these little details. If they really want it, they will!
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notamiss



Joined: 20 Jun 2007
Posts: 848
Location: El 5o pino del DF

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2 observations:
(1) When Spanish speakers make mistakes that stem from their applying a Spanish-language structure to their English, we can learn from that to improve our own Spanish!

(2) Almost any typical mistake will be typical of all or most Spanish speakers, not Mexicans in particular. But there is one exception I can think of. There is a peculiarly Mexican idiom of leaving out the “no” in constructions like “Me dormí hasta la una.” “Abren hasta las diez.” (I didn’t go to sleep until one. They don’t open until 10).

People from other Spanish-speaking countries generally have never heard of this, and when they encounter it, they classify it as “wrong.” So when your learner says “I hardly got any sleep last night! I fell asleep until 3 o’clock,” it is due to this construction. (What they meant is “I didn’t fall asleep until 3 o’clock.”)
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geaaronson



Joined: 19 Apr 2005
Posts: 948
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am seeing many students adding s to adjectives when modifying plural nouns.

Also they`re neglecting to add a subject to a subordinate clause.
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davidmsgi



Joined: 01 Feb 2011
Posts: 56
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:37 am    Post subject: Mistakes made by ESL learners Reply with quote

Hielo in Spanish = Yellow in English
This gets students to pronounce their "Y" sounds instead of always saying "J"

Hielo / Yes / You / Your / Yellow


J is a totally different sound J= Jello = J. Lo (Jennifer Lopez)
"I love the taste of yellow Jello"


They also need to avoid pronouncing every "I" as "EEEE"

Please sit in this seat
These shoes don't fit my feet
I want to eat it
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EFLeducator



Joined: 16 Dec 2011
Posts: 595
Location: NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ONLY focusing on rules of grammar and NEVER actually PRACTICING. Then when in a real life situation where spoken English is needed, they fail miserably. Rolling Eyes

Then again that could be the fault of the "teachers" who only focus on the rules of the language.
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canada_1986



Joined: 23 Nov 2011
Posts: 44
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

EFLeducator wrote:
ONLY focusing on rules of grammar and NEVER actually PRACTICING. Then when in a real life situation where spoken English is needed, they fail miserably. Rolling Eyes

Then again that could be the fault of the "teachers" who only focus on the rules of the language.


It very well could be the teachers. Where I was teaching before, I was the only Native speaker, and the pronunciation of some of the other teachers was not strong. I don't blame the teachers, I blame the institute for not ensuring proper pronunciation from their teachers.

It could also be some students coming from institutes where grammar is emphasized heavily; I'm told (from a student who has been to two institutes) Quick Learning puts a lot of emphasis on grammar at the expense of conversation, while Harmon Hall tries to balance the two.
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Cezzie



Joined: 05 Jun 2011
Posts: 8
Location: Wales

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess the most common mistakes I see are all to do with the mixup of Spanish and English.

- The obvious j/y and b/v pronunciations

- Confusing He/She or leaving them out a lot because of the lack of it in Spanish

- Lack of punctuation! As a part-time writer, this one grinds on me because Spanish is sooooo informal when it comes to writing. I have to teach my students all about how to use proper punctuation and how important it is in English. It's weird because it feels like I'm speaking to schoolchildren.
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Sangre Frito



Joined: 12 May 2011
Posts: 2
Location: Brownsville, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are two books called English Pronunciation for Spanish Speakers (Vowels and Consonants). It deals with these pronunciation problems specifically.
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Ixchel



Joined: 11 Mar 2003
Posts: 151
Location: The 7th level of hell

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:37 am    Post subject: Re: Top mistakes made by Mexican ESL learners Reply with quote

canada_1986 wrote:
Are these a lot of the same mistakes other ESL teachers in Mexico notice? Are there any specific ways to help students overcome these slips?

- pronunciation of plural words as if they are singular, e.g. "computers" pronounced as "computer" (even though Spanish also has an audible difference when 's' or 'es' is added to make a word plural)
No idea, I've never noticed that. Write some pronunciation lessons to correct it.

- "In order for to work at Walmart..." (use of the word 'for')
In Spanish the translation is: Para trabajar en Walmart ("for to work") direct translation.

- heavy use of "these days" to refer to something going on in the present time (not technically wrong, but I find it is rarely used in North American English)
Again ("en estos dias") direct translation.

- "I'm studying a career" (use of the word 'career' to refer to university studies)
"Una carerra" is yet another direct translation referring to university studies in Mexico. "Educado/a" means polite. "Preparado/a" means formally educated.

- "I'm borrowing my phone to Juan" (use of word 'borrow' when one is lending something to another person)
"Prestar" is borrow or lend in Spanish. "Le presto mi telefono a Juan" I lend my phone to Juan. "Le pido prestado su telefono." I ask Juan to lend me my phone.

- pronunciation of words ending in a soft consonant plus '-ed', e.g. "wash-ED" instead of "washt" for 'washed'
After the age of 12 or so we are actually frozen into speech patterns based on our first language(s) Something else you'll need to point out to them and correct with some exercises.

Any other frequent slips and how we can help break these habits that I think have become fossilized?

Drill and kill. Very Happy When I lived in Mexico it drove Mexicans crazy that native English speakers used to say "el todo mundo" for the whole world instead of "todo el mundo" or "el mundo enterro." They asked me why and I explained that they were translating from L1 to L2.
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Ixchel



Joined: 11 Mar 2003
Posts: 151
Location: The 7th level of hell

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:38 am    Post subject: Re: Top mistakes made by Mexican ESL learners Reply with quote

canada_1986 wrote:
Are these a lot of the same mistakes other ESL teachers in Mexico notice? Are there any specific ways to help students overcome these slips?

- pronunciation of plural words as if they are singular, e.g. "computers" pronounced as "computer" (even though Spanish also has an audible difference when 's' or 'es' is added to make a word plural)

- "In order for to work at Walmart..." (use of the word 'for')

- heavy use of "these days" to refer to something going on in the present time (not technically wrong, but I find it is rarely used in North American English)

- "I'm studying a career" (use of the word 'career' to refer to university studies)

- "I'm borrowing my phone to Juan" (use of word 'borrow' when one is lending something to another person)

- pronunciation of words ending in a soft consonant plus '-ed', e.g. "wash-ED" instead of "washt" for 'washed'

Any other frequent slips and how we can help break these habits that I think have become fossilized?

1. No idea, never noticed. Write some pronunciation lessons to correct it.
2. Direct translation from Spanish: "Para trabajar en Walmart" ["for to work at Walmart]
3. Direct translation from Spanish: "en estos dias." [these days]
4. "Una carerra" means university studies. Direct translation again.
5. "Prestar" in Spanish means to borrow and to lend. So it's confusing to have two different words in English. "Le pido prestado" means I borrow. "Le presto" means I lend.
6. After the age of 12-14 or so our muscles actually freeze into place from being accustomed to pronouncing certain sounds. It's a huge amount of work to be able to develop an understandable accent (how good is yours in Spanish?) much less a native speaker level one as we get older. Each language pairs sounds (I have a very hard time pronouncing the "h" in the middle of a word such as in Persian "Tehran" or "Mehran" for example)
You can buy a book on pronunciation and do the exercises with your students. I think you're a good teacher to have picked up on these things and want to address them.
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