Tips to deal with direct translation and fossilization

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    Pete Johnson (Edited )

    Yes,a  prime example would be the way that Vietnamese students confuse 'bored' with 'sad' when using English because in L1, the words are almost identical- 'buon'. The use of electronic online dictionaries is a major contributor to this phenomenon since it is not always apparent to the user just which of various meanings of the same word ( in English as much or even more than Vietnamese) is appropriate. If students use such tools, encourage them to try to look for the alternative meanings and hopefully sample sentences to be sure they have taken the right meaning. Such simple misunderstandings may frequently lead to answering an entirely different and incorrect IELTS question. The simple test is, just because one word may have two or more entirely different meanings, why on earth would that also be exactly the same case in another language? By way of further example, in Danish the Danish word 'gift' means in English both 'wife' and 'poison'. There is absolutely no reason why 'wife' and 'poison' would be the same word in English. ( I think..)

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    Morten

    Hi Pete,

    About the word "gift" in Danish. It is not entirely true. "Gift" means to be "married". And, hence, refers to the status (adjective), not a person. "Er hun gift?" = "Is she married?". In fact, "gift" is related to the word "give" which in Danish and English means the same thing. To give. Just think about the word gift in English understood as a present. "Gift" in Danish derives from the idea of "being given to someone". She has been given (away) to someone. 

     

    Best,

    Morten

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