Sounds strange and rude: mistakes in English that Russian speakers do without realizing it
"Hello! I'm Justin. I am a native English speaker, but a few years ago I lost my mind and started learning Russian, ”- this is how the Canadian Justin Hammond always appears in his YouTube videos. On his channel, he talks about what it is like for a foreigner to learn "the great and the mighty", and at the same time helps everyone who is trying to master his native language. AdMe.ru told why, according to Justin, Russian speakers sound rude when they switch to English, and how to deal with it. Further - from the first person.
The word what
We are taught from childhood not to ask again, using the word what (“what”). For example, when you did not hear or understand what was said to you. I often hear that Russian speakers do just that. This is considered normal for you, but when you speak English, you should not do this, because it sounds very rude. Better to say:
- Sorry, one more time please.
- Could you please repeat that?
- I didn't catch that. One more time, please.
- Sorry, can you say that again, please?
Did instead of have
I have noticed that Russian speakers often use did when it is better to say have. This error occurs if you confuse the past simple (did) and present perfect (have) tenses. For example, in a situation where you asked someone to do something, and then clarify whether he did it, you do not need to ask "Did you already do your homework today?" It is preferable to say "Have you already done your homework today?" It sounds softer, not like you're trying to control a person. When you use did instead of have, it always looks too straightforward and demanding.
This Russian sound "mm" - I don't even know how to pronounce it correctly. I often hear it in Russian, for example, at the end of a sentence: "Are you crazy, or what, mm?" Or sometimes this sound appears separately as a sign that the person did not hear something: "Mm?" I notice that Russian speakers publish it when they switch to English. Since he is unfamiliar to us, we consider him strange and rude. Just keep that in mind, please, and that's it.
The verb to want
You need to know that the verb to want is very dangerous. If a person uses it too often: “I want this, I want that, I want, I want”, we believe that we are facing a greedy and selfish person. Instead, it is better to say "I would like" - "I would like."
On the subject: 45 Russian words that cannot be translated into English
The imperative mood is often used in Russian speech and very rarely in English. This is probably why you use it when you speak English, but for our ear it is too harsh and harsh. For example, “Please give me some water” sounds normal in Russian. But if you literally say it in English: "Give me water, please", then it turns out well, very, very bad. Even the word please does not save the situation. And the question should be: "Could you please pass me the water?" or "May I have the water, please?" Yes, it is much longer than your version, but that's exactly what we say.
Also, I often hear your literal translation of the sentence "Tell me please" - "Tell me, please". Don't say that, don't say guys. Correct would be "Do you mind telling me ..." or "Do you know how ...?" To make it sound as polite as possible, you can add excuse me or sorry at the beginning of the sentence: "Hey, excuse me / sorry, do you mind telling me how to get to the store?"
Some tips for those trying to conquer English
1. Learn the articles. This will make your speech sound much, much clearer.
2. Use the verb to rest correctly. In English, it literally means "do nothing." For example, lying in bed with your eyes closed. Therefore, it is insanely funny when you say that you will have an active rest ("active rest"). I can't even imagine how this is possible. Better to say "I'm going on vacation".
3. If you want to say something like “I like such people”, you don’t need to say “I like such people”. Better say “I like people like that”. We use the word such ("such") before adjectives. For example, "He is such a good guy" - "He is so good."
4. Instead of asking "Hello, how are you?" and respond to something like “I'm fine, thank you. And you? " (this is how the textbooks teach you, but we almost never say that), it is better to ask and answer like this:
- How's it goin '? - Good / It's goin 'good.
- Hey, what's up? - Not much / Not much, what's up with you?
- What's goin 'on? - Nothing much.
- What's happening? - Nothing much.
5. To emphasize that we are not very sure about something, that we only know approximately, approximately, we use the unofficial suffix -ish. For example, "I will come see you around 6-ish". Or “There were about thirty-ish people at the party”.
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