As speakers of English as a second language (ESL), it’s easy to fall into the habit of translating a phrase directly from our native tongue without double-checking whether the result is correct.
More often than not, this strategy leads to miscommunication in that these “translations” usually make no sense or could mean something else entirely!
Can you imagine how confused your foreign co-workers would be when you ask them about the company’s children fruit (anak buah)? Or the sheer terror you would strike in your English teachers when you ask them for exam kisses (kisi-kisi)?
Let’s look at the top five common mistakes ESL speakers in Indonesia make that often cause confusion:
Ramadhan has just come to an end, but you probably remember restaurants inviting customers to enjoy their seasonal “breakfasting” menu at the end of a long day of fasting. The only problem is that in English, breakfasting is done in the morning – at breakfast.
The correct phrase for the occasion is “breaking the fast.”
Granted, it doesn’t sound quite as catchy, but it will save your foreign friends from showing up to what they thought was a morning meal together!
English teachers often hear this from students in class – which never fails to make them smile or laugh. What these students mean to say is that they “feel bored,” but by exclaiming “I’m boring,” they are actually calling themselves dull and uninteresting!
Remember, when an adjective ends with -ing (boring, exciting), it describes an object or action that makes you feel a certain way.
To describe how you feel, use adjectives that end with -ed (bored, excited). This way, you won’t give people the wrong idea by saying, “I’m so annoying!”