Why do they do that?

You most likely have noticed errors in your non-native English speaking students’ writing that seem quite elementary to you, but these errors can be caused by native language interference. Understanding this interference may help you to correct and to better understand what your students are trying to communicate. The first example of language interference we would like to introduce is that of Chinese.

The plasma cell PC is the factory for producing the immunoglobulin, which has the direction target of kill this specific virus or germs.

The most prominent problem is the incorrect use of word forms. Because inflexion does not exist in Chinese, you may have seen the misuse of noun, verb, adjective, and adverb forms of a word. In addition, there might be a lack of correct verb endings for verb tense and person. Similarly, Chinese does not use one main verb and others linked by conjunctions or infinitives, gerunds, or participles. Instead, verbs can be placed in succession.

You may have also noticed problems with adjective clauses. Relative pronouns such as who(m), which, and that may be omitted because they are nonexistent in Chinese. Being unfamiliar with clause structure, Chinese students may omit other elements of a clause as well.

One final problem is that of comma splices. While it is acceptable to join independent clauses with only a comma in Chinese, English requires the use of conjunctions or punctuation.

Source: Yang, Yi. “Chinese Interference in English Writing: Cultural and Linguistic Differences.” ERIC. 2001.

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