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my favorite type of student error

2 June, 2012

One of the areas in language teaching that I find interesting is the types and patterns of errors made based on the learner’s first (or additional) languages.  During my first semester teaching in Poland, I enjoyed watching the patterns emerge, and comparing them to my Moroccan students and students I had in the US.  And as I learn more about the Polish language, I better understand why my Polish students make the errors that they do.

I woke up today to an email from one of my first-year students that contained no less than eight of my now-favorite Polish L1 errors – the improperly capitalized “y” in the word “you.” The author of this email is both consistent, and very sweet, and he wrote me to let me know that he will miss me next year, and to thank me for everything I’ve done throughout the school year.

In Polish, the formal second person pronoun (Pan/m, Pani/f) often begins with a capital “P” to show added respect and formality.

And so, in making this error (that has been pointed out and corrected previously!), my student was dishing out a little extra love and respect.

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