The process of making English mistakes
Today, I would like to talk about the process of making English mistakes of Chinese students. And why I talk to this, it’s because I read the comment which was posted by Melissa from China on my blog which the title was “International Exchange Student---Luis from Brazil Thursday, 10 May 2007”. And Melissa used the word ‘caption’ on the comment, then another word I thought was ‘subtitle’, then I recalled something about the process of making English mistakes.
1) ‘caption’ and ‘subtitle’:
If I want to find out a new vocabulary which I don’t know in English, the first thing is to check on the Chinese-English dictionary. For example: I want to know the word in English which meaning is “a printed translation of the words of a foreign film that are shown at the bottom of the picture”, I checked on the Chinese-English dictionary, then, it shows up “captions or subtitles (of movies, TV programs, etc.), and I read two vocabularies which are ’caption’ and ‘subtitle’. Because ‘caption’ is placed on the first place, I could choice it.
Now let quote part of comment which was posted by Mellissa to have a look:
"Thanks James, from your blog I have learned two strange word Xenophile and discrepancy. Learning English, undoubtedly, is more difficult than one has expected. At least now, I have been trying to understand ENGLISH MOVIE without Chinese Caption.I feel I have done much but profit is little. (Posted by Melissa from China)"
Maybe, just maybe, Melissa chose the word ‘caption’ like the way I said.
And my point is, on Melissa’s comment, ‘caption’ or ‘subtitle’, which one is correct?
And then, if we can proceed to check on the English-English dictionary, the answer could be changed.
The definition of ‘caption’ on the English-English dictionary is
‘A caption is the words printed underneath a picture or carton which explain what it is about.’
The definition of ‘subtitle’ on the English-English dictionary is:
‘Subtitles are a printed translation of the words of a foreign film that are shown at the bottom of the picture.’
If you compare those two definitions, answer is there.
2) ‘practice’ and ‘do’
Teacher Alex said:’ and we don’t say ‘prepare my homework’ – this is a mistake that I’ve heard thousands and thousands of times!’ Why Chinese say ‘ prepare my homework’ ? That because Chinese students have to do lots of homework with a large of material every day. Which means is that they have to prepare a bunch of stuff to do their homework. As the students think of homework, the first word is ‘prepare’, and the word ‘Have you done or finished your homework jet?’ is the way of saying hello of Chinese students. So, it’s easy for a Chinese student to say ‘prepare my homework’, and it would exist all the time, never die.
3) ’hear’ and ‘listen’:
A word in one language doesn’t always correspond to one word in another. “hear” or “listen” is the same meaning in Chinese, we make the same mistake all the time. Let’s compare these two sentences:
Jameel from Jordan wrote:
The BBC site advises foreign learners of English to practice hearing native speakers so as to improve their listening skills.
Teacher Alex wrote:
The BBC site advises foreign learners of English to practice listening to native speakers so as to improve their listening skills.
The difference of two sentences is verb ‘hear’ and ‘listen’, Chinese student like me always make the same mistake because I can hardly distinguish those two words.
It’s easier to read the teacher blog than to read the student blog, so I would like to thank those who read or read and comment on my blog. No matter you are willing to read, or you have to read, my thanks is still the same.
Due process is the best policy.
James Zhih-Cheng Wu
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