A common problem for language learners is language transfer – speakers apply knowledge from their native language to a second language. Second language interference is similar, only that speakers import features of a learned language to their native language.

Having spent over 10 years in Germany, a Scottish colleague of mine once asked me ‘I can’t do my class next Friday, can you spring in for me?’ [compare German: Spring in den Pool; English: Jump in the pool.]

Do you have funny examples of slips?

Hi Ralf

Here are a few of the slips I remember hearing in Germany (native English speaker influenced by German):

  • On the phone: “Here is Marcia” (instead of “This is Marcia.”)
  • On a hot, sunny day: “Let’s go stand in the shadow.” (instead of “… in the shade”)
  • Not feeling well: “Do you have anything against a headache” (instead of “…for a headache”)
  • Bread preference: “I only eat full corn bread” (instead of “…whole grain bread”)
  • Apartment rental: “Is there a caution?” (instead of “… security deposit”)

Some people seem to be far more susceptible to this sort of thing than others.

Here is another one I sometimes hear from native speakers who have lived in Germany for a while: You can call me on my handy.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Reconstruction[YSaerTTEW443543]

That seems like a rather odd sentence. Is the use of “only that” correct there?

See, I thought that this thread was going to be about the garments ladies wear underneath skirts! What the heck is this?!


There is also “attractive foreign colleague interference”, where the native speaker willingly imports engaging abusage.


Were you thinking of an English slip or a German Slip, Tom? lol

I thought it might be about Ralf’s sexual conquests - as he might call them. Mind, that would have made for a short thread, wouldn’t it? :lol:

Thanks to Molly I’ve learned and fully understood this concept through his/her example.

Molly, what’s the fun in being trite?

What’s the fun in being Ralf, Ralf? :stuck_out_tongue:

Do show us which part of “adding content to the discussion” this posts brings, will you?

It’s unbelievable that you don’t also see many of your own posts as trolling. Or maybe you can’t admit to trolling, Ralf. Living in denial?

Back to language transfer.

Amy feels that language transfer (from Spanish to English) is happening here:

Tom: Can you come to the meeting tomorrow?

Tim: If I have/get chance, I’ll pop in for a sec.

What’s your verdict, Ralf?

Also, just read about "push and pull transfer"and be after V-ing - regarding English, Irish-English and Gaelic. Interesting. Can you give us your take on be after V-ing and language transfer?

Adding content like your contributions?

I’d rather not play non-league football.

Here’s another - this time from Polish speakers of English:

Eng: My sister and I went to the beach yesterday.

Polish speaker of English: We were at the beach with my sister yesterday.

Apparently that transfer happens even with rather excellent Polish speakers of English.

In view of my original words, I’d say your statement can be categorically categorized as arrogantly “unmodalised” and intentionally misleading, “Molly”.
Your statement contains an obvious error.


I understood the topic of this thread to be language transfer from second/foreign language to native language. Don’t you have any examples of the phenomenon in question? The influence of Spanish on the English of a Brit living in Spain, for example?


Sounds like Mr P and Ralf, yes.

BTW, is an off-topic message about trolling an incident of trolling?

I thought you were going to tell us about that? How long must we wait?

But playing with balls is your thing, isn’t it? :lol:

Really? How so. Do tell.