Classical mistakes

Hi everybody!

I already mentioned that I pay attention to what people say when they speak or write a non-native language, right? So here is an article where I decided to list some of the classical mistakes people make while speaking or writing a foreign language, always among the ones I know!

First of all I wonder: ” Why people make mistakes?”

There are several reasons to why this happens, such as: they learned a language “on the street”, or just listening to it on the TV or music; they can also have learned it through the school and after many years without touching a grammar book, they forget the grammatical rules, and so on…

Second of all I wonder: ” Why I as many other translators pay attention to what and how people say or write?”

I wonder if it’s because we somehow feel superior or if it something that just comes naturally?

Well, I think that it just comes naturally, because we are specialists in constructing technically a sentence.

Let´s see some examples:
Italian1. As we have a lot of words which contain double letters, the most common mistake foreigners and sometimes the same italians do is to avoid the double letters writing or saying just one of them, for example: babbo, secchiello, tutto, dappertutto, etc. Many cannot distinguish the difference from a double letter sound to a single one. 2. Other classical mistake is the wrong use of subjunctive and conditional. When we use an hypotethical sentence we should use the subjunctive in the secondary sentence and the conditional in the main one, but many don’t do that, for example: “Se avessi piú tempo, viaggerei di piú (Correct). “Se avrei piú tempo, viaggerei di piú” (Incorrect). 3. A last typical mistake is the wrong use of the verbs “fare” and “avere“, for example: “Ció non ha senso” (Correct). “Ció non fa senso” (Incorrect).

Spanish1. The most common mistake people do is to not distinguish the letters b and v, as they are pronounced with the same sound inside a word, for example: Habana (Correct)/Havana (Incorrect); Voy (Correct)/Boy (Incorrect); Haber (Correct)/Haver (Incorrect); and so on. 2. Another mistake is to not remember which words start with h and which do not, for example: Huevos (Correct)/Uevos (Incorrect); Hacer (Correct)/Acer (Incorrect); Hache (Correct)/Ache (Incorrect); etc. 3. Another dangerous mistake is to get confused with the letters s and c (this involves especially latin-american people who “sesean” or they speak seseo), for example: Cerveza (Correct)/Servesa or Serveza (Incorrect); Profesional (Correct)/Profecional (Incorrect); Sencillo (Correct)/ Sensillo (Incorrect); etc.

English1. The most common mistake that people do is the incorrect use of “don’t” for the third person. According to the conjugation of the verb “to do“, we should say “he/she/it doesn’t“, but maybe because in many songs we listen to expressions like “he/she don’t love you” or “he/she don’t care”, etc. because of the prosody and as we don’t know it, we repeat what we hear. 2. Another horrible mistake that I unfortunately notice is that almost nobody cannot distinguish the use of “people” and “persons“. According to the Oxford dictionary we use the word people as the commoner of the two words and is used in most ordinary contexts: “a group of people“; “there were only about ten people“; “several thousand people have been rehoused“; the word persons, on the other hand, tends now to be restricted to official or formal contexts, as “in this vehicle is authorized to carry twenty persons. 3. A very serious mistake is to get confused with the regular and irregular verbs, for example: to flow, flew, flown (Correct); to flow, flowed, flowed (Incorrect); or to take, took, taken (Correct); to take, taked, taked (Incorrect).

Portuguese1. One mistake I noticed portuguese people do is the confusion between “Em vez de“/ “Ao invés de“, for example: “Ao invés de elaborarmos um relatório, discutimos o assunto em reunião” (Incorrect); Em vez de elaborarmos um relatório, discutimos o assunto em reunião” (Correct). “Em vez de” is used as a substitution, while “Ao invés de” is used as opposition. 2. Another confusion is between “Esquecer“/”Esquecer-se de“, for example: “Eu esqueci da reunião” (Incorrect); “Eu me esqueci da reunião” or “Eu esqueci a reunião (Correct). We have to remember to use the preposition de after the verb just when there is a pronoun which is object in the sentence. 3. Last case is the confusion between “A“/”“,for example: “Atuo no setor de controladoria a 15 anos“(Incorrect); “Atuo no setor de controladoria há 15 anos” (Correct). is used for expressing a past episode. A is used for expressing a future moment.

Norwegian1. One mistake that caught my attention is the confusion between the pronoun as subject and the pronoun as object, for example: ” Jeg trenger å snakke med henne” (Correct); “Jeg trenger å snakke med hun” (Incorrect)- many norwegian use the incorrect one. Hun is the subject and henne is the object. 2. Another mistake is to not know how to write some words, for example: epost (Incorrect); e-post (Correct); istedet (Incorrect); i stedet (Correct); etc. 3. A last mistake could be the confusion of the same words which belong to the norwegian dialects that mean different things, for example: stavangersk, bergensk, dialects from the north, etc. Here you just need to be used to those words and each meaning according to each dialect and memorize them.

Hard job eh?

Do you also make many mistakes in your language?



What is typical?

Here I am today to write a short list of typical cultural factors of the countries whose languages I speak:

I am a curious person and I always try to discover and learn new things; I can tell you that lately I have taken the B2 level norwegian exam and one of the most popular questions is “What is typical in Norway?“, so then I asked myself: “And what about Italy, Spain, Latin America, United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Australia, Portugal and Brazil?“. So I have been asking all my friends who belong to these cultures and I found out that (I chose the most important 5 typical things):

Italy- my country is known for Pasta, Pizza, Wine, History and a funny one, we emphasize everything we say using our hands…we move them like crazy while talking…..ah ah ah.

Spain- since I have been living there for seven years I think that this wonderful country is known for Jamón Serrano (Serrano ham), Flamenco, Paella, Siesta (power nap) and History.

Latin America (where they speak spanish)- I have been just in Cuba but I have friends from Colombia, Argentina, Cuba, Venezuela, Perú, Uruguay, Chile, Dominican Republic, Mexico, etc. and I can say that in general they are popular for: wonderful Beaches, Sun, Salsa, History and Mulatos (people born from one caucasian parent and one black).

United Kingdom- I have been just in London but I met few people from United Kingdom; I also follow the news sometimes and it comes to my mind that it is popular for: Tea, Queen, Castles, Rain and two floor buses.

USA- I had the honor to stay in both Florida and North Carolina and since I have always been a super fan of the American language and of the Oscars I can say that we know USA for: Hollywood, Hamburger, Donut, Grand Canyon and Jazz-Black music.

Canada- one of my dreams is to visit this wonderful country, but I found out that Canada is known for: Ice Hockey, long Winter, Maple Syrup, Lumberjacks and Bears.

Australia- I absolutely have to visit this one.. even if it’s a very long journey. It might sound strange but I have contacts even there…ah ah ah… two friends invited me (one italian met in Seville and one australian met just once in my whole life, which thanks to the social medias I can still keep in touch with, in Calabria- South of Italy). For Australia I would say: Kangaroo, Koala, Nature, Indigenous people and it is one of the first countries who celebrates the New Year´s Eve.

Portugal- I love this elegant country; I have been in Porto, Lisbon, Faro, Tavira and Madeira. I just can write that this beautiful country is known for: Fado, Nature, Wine, Cachaça and Pasteis de Belem (sweets of Belem) which I love!

Brazil- I fell in love of Brazil, I traveled there last year and I spent one month between São Paulo, Campo Grande, Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza and I can say that this country is known for: Beaches, Samba, Caipirinha, Bossanova and Brazilian Bikini.

Norway- I live here since 2013 and I can say that this amazing country is known for: long Winter, Trolls, Nature, Pølse (hot dog) and Long Walks in the forest.

NB: I didn´t mention other parts of the world where all those languages are spoken because I don´t have that much information. 

Isn´t that fun?

Do you know other cultural factors of these countries?




Let´s correct!

Hi everybody!

I would like to share a little story with you:

Lately I´ve been traveling to Munich and Paris, very nice cities.

In Munich, where my story took place, I stayed at my brazilian friends house and one day we went to an alternative circus called Wannda Kulturfestival, that I loved!


Inside the circus tent there was live music, food stands and a girl who was writing something on an old typewriter, so I went near her and I asked her what she was doing and she answered that given max. 5 words from a stranger, she was capable of writing a poem with the same ones, and people would give her an offer for her work. I was very interested so I chose my words that were anger, fear, peace and love. With these, she wrote for me a very beautiful and profound poem. Since she was german and I didn’t speak her language she tried to write it in English. Here is the result:


As you can notice she made some mistakes in english, let´s see which ones:

in amore lovely way to myself“- it should be “in a more lovely way

She didn´t put the space between a and more and I would omit “to myself“, so I would write: “I trust you anger in a different and in a more lovely way” or “anger you are different and lovely to me” (to have different and correct versions).

Then instead of “I don´t let you overcome myself as a construct of believe in things” I would write ” I won´t let you overcome me as a way of believe in things

She writes “I can see the now, now.” So I think she means “I can see them now, now.”

I really like the sentence “Where every thing belongs to everything“, as it is a poem she plays with words but she gives them a deep meaning.

I think that I corrected all the mistakes she made. A poem is a metaphor too so it is good that it is messy but deep, I really loved it. I gave her a hug after reading it and I left with my heart full of hope.

Casual moments are the best! Even if I think that everything happens for a reason!

About the poem I can say that I like to find mistakes when I read something or I listen to somebody who is speaking a different language than the native one.

Do you find other mistakes in the poem?




Did you know that?

Let´s observe now the beauty of the Culture:

How many proverbs do you know?Do you know how they correspond in other languages?

Here I found these proverbs in italian and their equivalent ones in spanish, english, portuguese and norwegian:

1- Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il vizio (Italian)

No hay que pedir peras al olmo (Spanish)

A leopard can´t change its spots (English)

Um tigre não muda as suas listras (Portuguese)

Som man reder så ligger man (Norwegian)

2- Chi dorme non piglia pesci (Italian)

Al que madruga, Dios le ayuda (Spanish)

You snooze, you lose (English)

Quem muito dorme, pouco aprende (Portuguese)

Morgenstund har gull i munn (Norwegian)

3- Dio da pane a chi non ha denti (Italiano)

Dios da pan a quien no tiene dientes (Spanish)

To have the means but not the know-how (English)

Dá Deus nozes, a quem não tem dentes (Portuguese)

Man skal ikke kaste perler for svin (Norwegian)

And many many more…

As you can read, depending on each culture, every language has a correspondent proverb to express that concept in order to let people understand it! Some of them are similar even in different languages, some others aren´t.

We have to remember that learning a language is not just to be able to understand it or to use its grammar properly, but the main point is to learn every country´s culture in order to understand proverbs and people´ sense of humor and all the hints that a certain language gives: I am always amazed by the beauty of the cultures and of the languages!


Culture is everyday lifetime!






Let´s play with some music!

Another passion I have is MUSIC and I have been searching for songs which contain different languages. The first song that came to my mind was

Baila (Sexy thing)” by Zucchero

He is an italian international singer and not just one of the most popular in Italy, but also in Spain and Latin America as in the rest of the world. He likes to mix languages in his songs: I think it can be considered his own way of being international. (He has been singing here in Norway too and I even had the honor to have dinner with him after the concert, what an unforgettable experience!).

In this song he uses three languages: Italian, English and Spanish.

In the verse he sings: “La luna é un sole guarda come brilla/Baby the night is on fire/Siamo fiamme nel cielo/lampi in mezzo al buio what you say”

The refrain says: “Baila, baila morena!/Sotto questa luna piena/ Under the moonlight, under the moonlight”, and so on.

Another song which mixes languages is

Boa sorte (Good luck)” by Vanessa da Mata and Ben Harper.

They sing in portuguese and english:

“Tudo o que quer de mim/Irreais/Expectativas/Desleais/That´s it/There´s no way/It´s over, good luck/I´ve nothing left to say/It´s only words/And what I feel/Won´t change/Tudo o que quer me dar/Everything you want to give me/È demais/It´s too much/È pesado/It´s heavy/Não há paz/There is no peace”

The following song I chose is a latin american one

Peligro” by Aventura

He sings in spanish and english:

“Peligro/peligro/Que se libren los hombres de tu camino/ Danger/danger/You must be aware this woman enters in your eyes”

And I found also a norwegian song mixed with english

Hatere” by Admiral P and Onklp

It says: “De kan si det de vil og/gjøre det det vil og/la haterene hate seg selv for å si det helt mildt nå/gjør det de vil og/si det de vil og/Onklp og Admiral/we don´t give a shhhhit!”

So as you can see the languages have the power even in music, in order to let people get closer and involve them even with a sentence in their language, don´t you think?

Which “international” song do you know?



Let´s have fun!!!

Why do we smile every time a foreigner tries to speak our native language?

We smile because his/her pronunciation sounds funny to us, or am I wrong?

But today I propose to you a few italian tongue-twisters read by some foreigners who live in Oslo, because I would like you to listen to their different accents and underline the beauty of each. That means I laugh because every accent sounds incredible to me and I don´t laugh at them, to be clear ;D!

Here we have: Me (native italian), Cassandra (Spain), Javier (Venezuela), Alexander (England), Pam (North Carolina, USA), João (Madeira, Portugal), Gabriela (Brasil) and Gaurav (Norway). I chose the 5 languages I speak and I wanted to distinguish the spanish from the latin american accent, as well as the portuguese from the brasilian accent, to end with the english from the american accent.


Are you ready? Let´s have some fun:

Tongue-twister: “Una rara rana nera sull´arena erró una sera, una rara rana bianca

sull´arena erró un pó stanca”



Spanish from Spain-Cassandra

Cassandra pronounces a very strong “r” in “rana” and “rara” because  of the spanish tonic syllable but she doesn´t  in “erró“, while in italian when there is “double r” (/rr/) in a word, the sound is stronger. You can also notice that Cassandra “sings” when she reads, more than me ;D!

Spanish from Venezuela-Javier

Javier does the same thing as Cassandra but he also doesn´t distinguish the “b” from the “v“, because we know that both letters in spanish have the same sound and he adds the “e” to the word “stanca“, because all the words which start with “s” in italian, start with “es” in spanish, so for him it is hard to pronounce the unvoiced “s“+ “c” (/sk/).


English from England-Alexander 

Alexander has difficulties to read the first “sull´arena” because he can´t distinguish the “l” from the “r” but he doesn´t in the second one. He also doesn´t read the word “erró” with the accent on the “ó“,  and he has a light english accent.

For Pam I have another tongue-twister which underlines that in each language we have different sounds, here we go: “Tre trecce intrecciate tracciarono un tracciato intrecciando le tre trecce intrecciate”



English from USA-Pam

It is very hard for her to read the consonant cluster “tr-“, as we know in english the letter “r” has a completely different phonetic than in italian, she also reads the double “c“, in this case “-cce” (/tʃɛ/) “-ccia“(/tʃia/) in a lighter way. To end it is curious to notice that Pam reads “tracciato” following the english phonetic for the first vocal “a” (/ei/), so she says “treicciato“.

Portuguese from Portugal-João

We go back to the first tongue-twister:

João reads the words “rana“, “rara” and “erró” with the French r and his pronunciation is pretty nasal.

Portuguese from Brasil-Gabriela

She has a very soft “r” and as João she also has a nasal pronunciation.

For Gaurav I have a third tongue-twister: “Sessantasei sassolini assetati e sassosi si assetarono ad Assisi”




He reads like Gabriela with a nasal pronunciation and with a soft “s“; if you notice his “a” in each word, which contains this vocal, is closed. In fact in norwegian the “a” is closed. He also has difficulty to read the word “assetarono“, because in this case and according to the norwegian grammar, the “a” should be long.

I hope you had fun reading and listening to this article and of course I hope you liked it! 

I thank all my friends who helped me working with this post and gave me the permission to publish his/her voice. Isn´t it cool?




Five different pangrams

The word pangram comes from the Greek language (pan gramma) and means “every letter”; so a pangram is known as a short sentence which contains every letter of a given alphabet.

I decided to search for five pangrams according to the five languages I know, just because I was curious on the kind of sentence that could be constructed using every letter of a specific alphabet:


Pranzo d´acqua fa volti sghembi


El veloz murciélago hindú comía feliz cardillo y kiwi


The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog


Jane quer LP, fax, CD, giz, TV e bom whisky


Jeg begynte å fortære en sandwich mens jeg kjørte taxi på vei til quiz

Do you know pangrams in another language?

Be curious to learn!