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Poll: Do you correct people's grammar / language when they are speaking?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 03:28
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Sep 19, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you correct people's grammar / language when they are speaking?".

This poll was originally submitted by John Cutler

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A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:28
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Sep 19, 2007

Yes, when I deal with awful mistakes unless they come from a special social context, such as poor or indigneous people who never had an integral "school" education. But it's unacceptable if it comes from "cult" people.

I remeber right now one of Televisa CEO, Emilio Azcárraga Jean pearls, in Spanish: "....para todas las gentes" instead of "para toda la gente". It was like "for all thes peoples" instead of "for all the people".

I accept corrections too.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:28
Dutch to English
+ ...
Yes Sep 19, 2007

In two main situations:

a) my daughters: they attend a Portuguese school and normally speak Portuguese to my husband and each other.

When they are speaking to me or we are speaking English as a family at home and they make a mistake, I normally stop the conversation and ask them to repeat what they just said "in English not Porglish", and make them correct themselves.

It irritates them so much, they rarely make mistakes these days

I don't see the point of correcting them myself as it would be in one ear and out the other.

b) Some Portuguese friends and acquaintances - it's very common, where I live anyhow, for a Portuguese person to correct you if you make a mistake - and is not considered rude but rather helpful - so I just return the favour

That said, I'd have to know the person well, most Portuguese people I know ask for/encourage it as they are always trying to improve their English. But there are limits in order to keep the conversation going sometimes.

Of course, in some situations you have to tread carefully: my daughter politely corrected her new 10th grade English teacher yesterday on the incorrect use of a preposition and although it wasn't so well-received initially, she was luckily backed-up by another English girl in the class and the teacher soon changed her attitude

Right, back to work, really under the gun here ....

Nice poll !

[Edited at 2007-09-19 17:38]


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Full circle Sep 19, 2007

Correcting spoken grammar is a time honored tradition in my family. When I was a kid, my grandmother would come to our house for extended visits. She was an ex-English teacher from the old school and had no qualms about correcting every facet of how we spoke.

My father took part from time to time as well. He wasn’t particularly strict, but he hated it when we said, “gunna” as a contraction for “going to”. (That was a losing battle )

My oldest brother even earned his nickname from the habit: Jimmy-ly. You guessed it, he hated it when people left the –ly suffix off the end of adverbs as is common (and probably still incorrect) nowadays. He’d correct anyone right to their face.

It might sound like I lived in some sort of language Gulag, and at the time it seemed like unnecessary scolding, but as a translator, it’s certainly come in handy. In fact it’s turned into a way to make a living.

Now, after 22 years in Spain, the cycle has come full circle and broadened in scope. My children have absolutely no qualms about correcting my spoken Spanish or Catalan!


[Editado a las 2007-09-19 15:21]


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Melzie
Local time: 12:28
French to English
+ ...
yes, with one main exception Sep 19, 2007

My daughter's teacher who, in the homework she sets, regularly makes mistakes.
2 reasons for not doing this; it's not my native language and should she take it badly, she could give my daughter grief for the next two years while she's learning the basics.
Otherwise it's no holds barred and others correct me right back, which is great. I do limit it to people I know very well though...


Having said that, I don't speak with many fellow native English speakers, the ones I do being in the same line of business as me. Most of them speak English to the same level as I do, if not better.

[Edited at 2007-09-20 08:30]


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:28
English to Dutch
+ ...
Mentally Sep 19, 2007

I've given up, basically. There is much debate here in the Netherlands about how even teachers don't use Dutch grammar and spelling correctly.

I only correct my children and sometimes my husband, because I have not given up on them yet. And a couple of friends who are learning Dutch and asked me to help them improve their language skills this way.

I can't help noticing mistakes, though, even when I don't correct them. At times, I have to make an effort to keep listening to what people are saying, because my mind is so busy correcting how they are saying it.

Having said that, I'm always happy when a native speaker of the other languages I (try to) speak corrects my mistakes. As long as it's done in a helpful way, that is. So feel free!

Best,
Margreet


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wolmix
English to French
Never! Sep 19, 2007

Or as in the poll: "I wouldn't dream of it". How rude!

What could you give the right to correct other people about their language? As for me, I would suddenly have something better to do than to speak with the "corrector".


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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:28
English to Polish
Yes Sep 19, 2007

I was raised in a family, in which such mistakes were chased and I'm afraid I grew up to be such an adult too.

I would not correct an elder person, but people my age or younger - always. Not that I try to be mean or rude, but I just can't stand mistakes, they upset me and I find them as lack of respect to a language.

But then - this applied to native speakers only. I wouldn't be picky for foreigners, unless they'd ask me to correct them, due to their eagerness of improvement


Anni


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 12:28
English to German
+ ...
I do Sep 19, 2007

it is in their own interest. Dyslexic, dyxgraphia. or even Legasthenie are symptoms or not having exercised the learned skill to the fullest extent , that would ulmatelely lead an individual to a high language usage. But I am not unfriendly about it, I just hint. Best regards, Brandis

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gianfranco  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:28
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
Burning curiosity Sep 19, 2007

Brandis wrote:
it is in their own interest. Dyslexic, dyxgraphia. or even Legasthenie are symptoms or not having exercised the learned skill to the fullest extent , that would ulmatelely lead an individual to a high language usage. But I am not unfriendly about it, I just hint. Best regards, Brandis


And... do they return the favour? Just curious...


Gianfranco


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Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 05:28
German to English
Wouldn't dream of it Sep 19, 2007

(well, sometimes I'd love to, but it's very rude to do so in the UK - among other native-speaker adults, anyway!).

I often notice that people who correct other people's grammar are listening to HOW people say things, rather than WHAT they are saying. Although I've asked my German friends to correct me when I make a mistake, sometimes I wish they'd actually just let me make my point!

[Edited at 2007-09-19 16:01]


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ICL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, it can go with being a translator... Sep 19, 2007

John Cutler wrote:

but as a translator, it’s certainly come in handy. In fact it’s turned into a way to make a living.



Correcting (consciously/unconsciously, mentally/verbally or in a written way) spoken or written language is probably a common "reflex" for many translators.

In Spanish there is an expression, "deformación profesional", which literally means "professional distortion" and it means, according to the Oxford tetralingual dictionary, "professional obsession".

To me it is more like when sometimes you continue with your profession's habits outside of your professional life. So, for example, for a translator, it is probably common to be more receptive about grammar/syntax and/or spelling mistakes and thus you tend to "react" when you catch them.

Obviously you should not be rude about it and certainly not do it if the other person may be offended (best to ask beforehand, just in case).

But I think when you are learning a foreign language it is a good thing to have someone correct your mistakes in general, even if it can be a bit of a "pain", because we can easily develop bad speaking and/or writing habits, especially when you learn that language as an adult.

Best,

Ivette


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Ivana de Sousa Santos  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:28
French to Portuguese
+ ...
Sometimes Sep 19, 2007

Well, most of the time, but it depends on the relationship I have with the person.

If I don't know the person I never do, I correct it mentally.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:28
Dutch to English
+ ...
Miaow ... Sep 19, 2007

gianfranco wrote:

Brandis wrote:
it is in their own interest. Dyslexic, dyxgraphia. or even Legasthenie are symptoms or not having exercised the learned skill to the fullest extent , that would ulmatelely lead an individual to a high language usage. But I am not unfriendly about it, I just hint. Best regards, Brandis


And... do they return the favour? Just curious...


Gianfranco




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xxxBrandis
Local time: 12:28
English to German
+ ...
No they do not Sep 19, 2007

gianfranco wrote:

Brandis wrote:
it is in their own interest. Dyslexic, dyxgraphia. or even Legasthenie are symptoms or not having exercised the learned skill to the fullest extent , that would ulmatelely lead an individual to a high language usage. But I am not unfriendly about it, I just hint. Best regards, Brandis


And... do they return the favour? Just curious...


Gianfranco
They are just happy as they are. Happy puppies and kittens. Bessere Regardé Brandis


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