Common Problems for German Learners of English
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We’re told we should never generalise, but sometimes it can be to our advantage. Getting to know our students is one way we can make sure we are fully prepared for our lessons, and that includes the kind of mistakes they make. The generalisation comes in because we are able to anticipate the difficulties and problems our students are going to have based on their first language.
In previous posts we’ve talked about the common problems for Spanish, Arabic and Chinese speakers, but now let’s talk about German learners.
English and German are both Germanic languages in the Indo-European language family. It follows that they are closely related. Plus, if you understand that English is quite pervasive in everyday life in Germany, you won’t be surprised to learn that many German speakers become proficient in English. However, there are still a few aspects of the language which can cause difficulties for German learners of English.
German does not have a continuous tense, so German speakers may avoid the use of it or overuse it.
For example, I drink coffee versus I’m drinking coffee
Or I’m going to work every day versus I go to work every day.
German speakers tend to use will when speaking about the future, even when English doesn’t.
For example, I’ll tell him when I’ll see him versus I’ll tell him when I see him.
There is a similar problem when speaking about the past, as well. In German, the present perfect is often used to speak about the past which would result in a sentence like Then I have made dinner.
False friends are words which look the same in both languages but which have different meanings. Though German shares a lot of words with English, there are still a few false friends which can be problematic.
- aktuell means current, not actual
- also means so, not also
- der chef means boss, not chef
- die rente means pension, not rent
- der see means lake, not sea
and these are only a few of them!
German does not have the /Ɵ/ sound, as in Thursday and thirsty and German speakers may pronounce words which being with a /w/ with a /v/, for example wine as vine.
Punctuation rules in German are much stricter than in English so German speakers may overuse punctuation when they write in English. Also, nouns are capitalised in German, which can lead to German speakers capitalising all English nouns too.
Even if you are not teaching English in Germany you could still find yourself teaching German learners. Though they may already have an advanced level of English, keep these common problems in mind because they might still be an issue for your learners.
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- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.