1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Esperanto
  4. >
  5. When your foreign language im…

When your foreign language impacts your spelling in your native language...

[deactivated user]

    So me and Esperanto are having some fun right now, and I keep typing "hi" instead of "he" in my English translations by accident.

    And one time when I was studying Spanish pretty intensely, I wrote Japonese and then stared at it for ages and ages trying to figure out why it was wrong (because in Spanish it's japones, and of course in English in Japanese). Really, it took forever. I felt like an idiot.

    Does this happen to anyone else?

    And lets not even get me started on when it starts affecting my speech, and then I resort to mumbling nonsense at people in a language they don't speak.

    "Lo siento, parece que yo he perdido el inglés. Sólo puedo hablar en español hoy, porque soy idiota." (I'm sorry, it seems I've lost English. I can only speak in Spanish today, because I'm an idiot.)

    So much fun!

    May 29, 2015



    I know the feeling! I can't count the times someone will walk by while I am studying or creating sentences in my head, they'll ask me a question and I will answer in the language I am working on. Instead of the one the question was asked in.

    Hey, my family should be thanking me! They now know yes and no in a lot of languages because of my weirdness?

    [deactivated user]

      At least in Esperanto if you say Jes, it sounds just like Yes? Of course, that doesn't help if you're not trying to speak English either...


      Most of the time I am trying to speak English. But most of the time they catch me in German. So ja works just fine.


      yes. That happens to me all the time. Like for example when i want to say el oso negro I will accidentally say in my English translation el black bear.


      I mostly mix up sentence structures. Luckily, both German and English use SVO order but you can still mess up a lot of things (as often demonstrated by German learners who simply translate their English sentences into German). I fear that it might get worse as my language skills get better and I can express more complex thoughts in other languages too...

      Another funny thing is that I replaced a lot of common German words with words that exist in German AND English... but are rather uncommon in German. I make sure to use only words that exist and to use them correctly but it definitely sounds a bit unusual, often unnecessarily complex... But I always liked weird words ;)


      Unlike in Latin where the verb goes at the end of the sentence, some pretty weird grammar it makes. :)))))


      Omg i thought i was the only one :D I wrote the décision in a recent history test (which is suppose to be in English) :D


      I do that all the time as well. I'm learning dutch and every time I have to translate 'olifant' I forget how to spell elephant. Do you find that you have a 'native language' part of your brain and a 'foreign language' part and that the foreign languages you speak can all get muddled up together? Like if I'm not sure how to say something in Dutch I'll just say it in German and not even realise it's wrong.


      I often get Spanish and French mixed up, in particular if I've started in one then hit a word that is the same in both, like la, I often finish in the other. Strangely, Doulingo doesn't like "Frenish" :P


      I'm learning Danish and I've written 'elefant' when I'm typing in English more times than I'd like to admit!


      Absolutely. The more I practice another language, the worse my English spelling and grammar gets. Esperanto is especially bad, because it's phonetic and when I look at English words I just think, "No, that can't possibly be spelled that way, can it?" I got caught up today on the word "eighth". What a nonsensically spelled word. My brain wanted to spell is "ejth". Or better yet, "okono" ;)


      Ejth! I love it. English really is horrendously illogical in it's spelling. After a bit of Spanish I have to really force myself put "elephant" instead of "elefant". Yesterday on the Esperanto course my brain got tangled and I produces "shi" as the female third person pronoun. I'm sure it must be excellent brain exercise (Exersize? Exersise? . . . Oh, thank you spell checker.) to fight though these, but I certainly produce some very strange mashups along the way.


      Yes, I'm sure once we're more familiar with the new languages our brains will settle down and spell things properly, but until then, I guess we should be grateful we have spell checkers!


      Due to the fact that I now know many more languages (like Spanish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Portuguese) than when I first looked at Esperanto some years back, I find some of the parts of Esperanto's grammar counter-intuitive (I think that's the right word?). That is, saying things like “al la” seems strange now, because if that were Spanish, it would be like saying “to the the”, as in Spanish “al” = “a + el” (“el” being “the” for masculine nouns), and “la” is “the” for feminine nouns.

      I also keep thinking “pato” is “duck” (thanks to Spanish also)


      Ok, lots of people who has the same problem. But is there anyone who solved it ?

      As for me, often I can't "switch over" to another language. For example, even if my German is really bad, I can spend a hour with a German book and after I have too think too long to build a simple phrase not in German. So after German immersion I can't switch over to Spanish that I know much better simply because German is stuck in my head.


      I find things a bit easier if I have specific times of day when I learn, practice or speak each language. Mornings are Esperanto, evenings are French, the rest of the time is English. My brain seems to understand this and will switch accordingly.


      That's a good point. If I start looking at one language immediately after another then it takes a long time to get into the swing of it. I think that once you've been doing one language for a while it's easier to add another without getting quite as confused. I'm confusing Danish and Esperanto a lot at the moment. I'm not confusing Esperanto and French though, even though a lot of the words are similar, but I've been learning French for longer.


      Luckily I write my native language using a totally different script!


      Cool! Well, maybe this would apply to you if you learned something like Persian.


      I know this feeling... As a Polish native I do not start nouns with a capital letter in my language but it happens to me after learning German. Sometimes I forget an English word but I remember the same word in French. I'm doing the same thing as you - typing "hi" instead of "he" while learning Esperanto. Sometimes I put Dutch words in German sentences. And I stopped using Polish "proszę" ("please"), now I usually use "s'il vous plaît". Oh, and when someone is calling my name I answer with "oui?".


      Korean affects how I type Esperanto, lol..


      YES. There needs to be a word/phrase to describe this. The more I use a second language (Spanish, português), the worse my spelling gets in my first language (English).

      I never learned any second language until my 20’s. Previous to this I rarely made a spelling mistake. After learning Spanish and Portuguese I often find myself staring at the keyboard unsure of how to spell in English, sometimes with words that are not even that difficult like “rhythm” but especially one that are similar in the other language such as “interessante”. Kills me.

      Makes me think back to school when bilingual kids would often struggle more with spelling. Now it makes sense.


      Japonese è güen andalú. El plurar de japonè. gúgole al "Curso Dandalú" en el Youtube.

      [deactivated user]

        lol (cómo lo dice en español? jajaja?)

        Eso es muy interesante, y también muy peligroso por mi tiempo libre. Quizás el sueño no sea necesario de verdad...


        I have problem with lemon in Russian. I type лемон instead of лимон.


        i actually mix words from different languages particularly adjectives when i try to form a sentence or say something not so frequent but it happens like speaking in lang x about my dog then using the word for black in language y without feeling

        [deactivated user]

          Just now, I almost wrote "fotograph" instead of photograph while writing in English. I got to take a sec to check my spelling and lang before hitting the enter key. :)


          Somehow as a Native English speaker, I taught myself to write "realize" in the non-English variant "realise". I don't even know how I did that, seeing as I didn't start learning languages other than English a couple years ago.

          Learn Esperanto in just 5 minutes a day. For free.