Tricky mistakes when learning English and German


With the introduction of the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or its analogue in German, the TestDAF, there is a general opinion that the language learning process should become universal and standardized, just as language tests. The trend is serious, but should not be taken for granted, since the majority of typical mistakes take place in a specific part of the language. The current discussion is dedicated to the most typical mistakes connected to the learning process of German and English by Russian speaking audience.

To start with, the Russian language, belonging to the Eastern Slavic group of languages, is radically different from the majority of western European languages. Different alphabet, different path of development, different grammar… this is not the full list of differences between Russian and, for example, German. However everything is doable! It is relatively easy to learn the alphabet, become proficient in pronunciation, and be familiar with the meaning of words; however it usually takes a while to become friends with articles, a.k.a “die, das, der” in German, and “a, an, the, or (no article)” in English.

Difficulties connected to the use of articles can be explained by the fact that the Russian language, unlike the majority of Western European languages does not use any articles whatsoever. Mistakes connected to the misuse and complete disregard for articles have become typical mistakes made by Russian learners of English. This trend is an epidemic. The absence of articles, a natural institutional deviation existing in the Russian language, as well as in other Slavic languages, plays a huge role in the language learning process, demanding specific emphasis and special teaching methods. Within the Russian speaking world the problem became so dominant, that scholars working on language learning techniques thought about introducing specific methods that would improve the teaching techniques and diminish the amount of mistakes.

So, if you are a Russian speaker, do not forget about articles! Speak correct English and German. While scholars and research centers are thinking about revolutionary teaching methods, take your chance and improve your article skills now! Do it, with the help of tests.

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