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I fooled a native speaker

 Language Learning Forum : Cultural Experiences in Foreign Languages Post Reply
56 messages over 7 pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6
Joined 5893 days ago

78 posts - 84 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, English, German, Swedish
Studies: Russian, Spanish

 Message 49 of 56
09 December 2007 at 3:30pm | IP Logged 
I don't think I did anything wrong, but I always felt bad about this episode:

August 1979, I was with my father in Leningrad as tourists. One afternoon he took a nap and I went for a walk in a beautiful park. I was young and my Russian not so rusty, and a guy not much older than me asked for a match.

I told him I don't smoke.
He asked me where I got my jeans, and I said, "From Denmark".
"How did you get them?", he asked.
"I bought them", I said.
He looked puzzled, and suddenly I realized why, and added, "I'm a Dane".

Remember, in those days Average Ivan could not go abroad.

His expression changed to something between sudden lack of interest and contempt, he switched into English, turned his face away, and mumbled, "Ah, go to hell, my friend!"

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Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 6054 days ago

429 posts - 452 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Russian

 Message 50 of 56
11 December 2007 at 11:28am | IP Logged 
Kualidu wrote:
lloydkirk wrote:
Is that proper French? Never seen it before...

Actually this is the way most speakers would say it --at least the ones in France-- in an informal context. The "NE" is hardly ever used in a casual conversation. Your professor probably doesn't want you to know there are other informal contractions besides the ones in your textbook like, for example, when people say t'es for Tu es, t'as for tu as, etc. The one I love is "Je ne sais pas", which becomes something like Zhsaypah. If you ever want to surprise him/her, you should respond one day in class: "J'sais pas, moi". I take no responsability for your grades though. :)

Thanks for informing me about those, but isn't it better to not use these contractions? In the English world, contractions are widely used, but sneered upon and forbidden in formal writing.
1 person has voted this message useful

Super Polyglot
Joined 6344 days ago

9078 posts - 16473 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
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 Message 51 of 56
11 December 2007 at 2:55pm | IP Logged 
If you are going to speak informal spoken French then you have to use those contractions, but you wouldn't use them in the normal written language (apart from certain genres in literature). A teacher that didn't teach them to his pupils would not be worth his salary.

Edited by Iversen on 11 December 2007 at 5:50pm

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United States
Joined 5827 days ago

459 posts - 477 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Korean
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 Message 52 of 56
19 December 2007 at 5:08am | IP Logged 
My ability in Japanese is incredibly scattered. My grammar is at a high intermediate level while my vocabulary is at a low-intermediate level, etc.

My ability to speak is low in most contexts, but rather high at work. It's high enough, in fact, that I fool several Japanese customers a day into thinking I'm either native or fluent. Starting from my typical introduction all the way to handling most transactions I am capable of maintaining a good accent and speedy speaking pace. Occasionally I slip up or I'm asked a strange question and I'm out though.

The only unfortunate thing is that none of the customers have shown a good reaction to finding out I really don't speak that much. In fact they're usually a bit irritated.

I'm waiting for my frequent swearing in Korean to be heard by a native soon so they can be utterly shocked. :D
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Joined 3806 days ago

40 posts - 51 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, English
Studies: French

 Message 53 of 56
10 July 2013 at 4:56am | IP Logged 
I haven't fooled anyone so far. At least not in spoken English but I remember last year I was on one of these chatrooms that connects us to people from anywhere in the world, if Im not mistaken it happened on '''' or something like this: There was a girl from the United States who I was talking to for some minutes, I told her I was an American and lived in Texas, she easily believed, she didn't even doubt about my ''nacionality'' hehe. I felt kind of pround because she commited more grammar mistake than me!
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Senior Member
Joined 4085 days ago

747 posts - 1123 votes 
Speaks: Cantonese*, English, Mandarin
Studies: French

 Message 54 of 56
04 November 2013 at 5:27pm | IP Logged 
In this part of the world you don't hear Mandarin when you are calling somebody on the phone. You don't know
who may be on the other end of the line. Most people would start with a friendly "Hello, can I speak to Mr. / Mrs.
so and so". Sometime ago I picked up the phone. The caller dialled a local # so I started off with the usual "Hello".
The caller said in Mandarin something like: "Is Mr. Li there?". I answered back in Mandarin with something like:
"Sorry, you dialled the wrong number". I had no idea how fluent this lady's English was. Most Chinese calling their
relatives & friends would start off with "Hello..." instead of the Chinese "Wei" unless you're in Hong Kong or
Taiwan. If the lady happened to call somebody who only spoke English, she probably figured she called the wrong
house (of a White person) who she didn't understand.

Once I was down in New Orleans in the US for a family gathering. There are all sorts of gift shops in the French
Quarter. I was outside a gift shop with several other people. A salesman came out to greet us. We looked Asian so
he said: "ni hao ma?" or "how are you?" in Mandarin. Someone in the group answered back in English: "Continue"...
His face turned red and he he paused for a few seconds before switching back to English. Obviously he wasn't
fluent besides knowing the simple greeting.

Edited by shk00design on 04 November 2013 at 5:46pm

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Bilingual Hexaglot
Joined 4379 days ago

30 posts - 43 votes
Speaks: English*, Spanish*, Catalan, Italian, French, German
Studies: Dutch

 Message 55 of 56
01 September 2015 at 5:20pm | IP Logged 
I find this topic particularly interesting because it has been a motivation for my language learning for some
time. It already happened for some of my languages:
Catalan, for which almost everyone believes I am a native speaker, and even don't believe the contrary.
Italian, pretty much the same, since I hang around with many Italians and am in Italy almost everyone takes
me for a native speaker, which I absolutely adore.
German, granted it has happened only once and I am pretty sure the other party was not completely sober,
but it made me super happy. In short conversations when I lived in Germany it used to happen as well.
Never happened in French yet, though I am hopeful this year it does.
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United States
Joined 5393 days ago

18 posts - 21 votes
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Mandarin, Arabic (Egyptian), Russian

 Message 56 of 56
09 May 2016 at 5:50am | IP Logged 
I'm an African American in the US so I'm not fooling anybody with native status in general
since most of the languages I speak are European or Asian. However, when it comes to French,
typically it is assumed that I grew up speaking the language, but nobody knows from where
because I don't have a distinct accent as many French speaking Africans do. Frankly, most of
the time I'm met with sheer confusion. Non-native french speakers tend to think I'm french,
but I guess that's not really saying much.

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