Spotting a Foreigner

The folk I work with have disturbingly good English and it leaves me feeling quite inadequate. Nevertheless, I’ve picked up on some common mistakes that I hear occasionally:

  • Pronunciation of launched.
  • Referring to a bowl of cereals, and not just cereal. Fruit, and not fruits.
  • Pronunciation of tired (tīrd).
  • Using American pronunciations, especially data.
  • Misuse of lend, lent and borrow.
  • Mispronunciation of silent letters, such as in salmon (săm’ən) and iron (ī’ərn).
  • The Irish say appreciate and genuinely in a funny way and are bananas about using the word avail.
  • Saying 2 billions and not just 2 billion.
 Tags: Random   Published: 27th February '08

16 Archived Wordpress Comments


Thank God, You can spot English man without any doubt :)


Thanks Maggie. Joao and I were just saying yesterday that we should get you over for some cookies.


And a cup of tea ?;)


“fruits” is another one, as in ‘have some fruits’

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I got stuck on when trying to create my own map (after clicking Submit, the page just refreshes).

Otherwise, I couldn’t spot any other bugs and the site certainly looks pretty comprehensive. Not sure if it’s something that I would ever actively use.

What’s the distinction between MapMe and other photo/location tagging sites? I see that you can add video/text – does this give it the edge?

Glad to see some ads :)

Ronan Carrein

we are not supposed to pronounce the L in salmon ??? (as if it was the only mistake i make…)

Keith Mander

Nope. It's sam-en, not sal-mon. I'm still trying to master saying pain au chocolate, so I wouldn't feel too bad about getting this wrong.


Okay Keith, I say saLmon and iRon… But Pau au chocolate doesn’t mean anything… or maybe chocolat skin? You can correct your ticket and spell it like this: Pain au Chocolat. When you will be able to pronounce it correctly I’ll offer you one :)


I don’t know what you mean…. ;)


and then we have a certain North African colleague (whose name I dont want to mention here) who has the charming habit of saying “he offered me” instead of “he gave me” and likes to use “each others” in plural :-)


Pain au chocolat! You removed it from the post!


Ça va pas la tête?


Brilliant! But I’m sure you asked for help to write that one ;)


I find it interesting that you consider the Irish and Americans as foreigners to the English language… :-)

Keith Mander

It’s true. The British don’t actually have an accent, they just speak English properly.

Keith Mander’s Blog | Spotting A Foreigner, Part II

[…] prior post on common English errors made by foreigners raised sufficient controversy to warrant a second […]