Tekamolo v.s. Svompt: Word order

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Sometimes two languages can live inside one person peacefully, they complement each other and don’t get in each other’s way. Unfortunately, sometimes the opposite is true and we get …

L1 interference!

Sounds nasty, but it just means though that you use rules that apply to your native language, and apply them to your foreign language. If German is your native language and English your foreign language and you have problems with l1 interference, your English sounds kinda German.

A very common problem for German speakers is when they apply German word order rules to English. In English we have Svompt as a general rule:

Subject, Verb, Object, Manner, Time, Place

In German there is tekamolo as a general rule:

TEmporale Angabe, KAusale Angabe, MOdale Angabe, LOkale Angabe

(Time, Reason, Manner, Place)

So if I say “At two o’clock I rushed to the dentist.”, unless you want to emphasize “two o’clock”, this sentence sounds a bit strange.

In German “Ich bin zum Zahnarzt um vierzehn Uhr geeilt.” is also a bit weird.

So look out for this. Getting it right will help your English to sound more natural, oder? -talk about l1 interference!

Take care and see you soon


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