A task in a test was to write an “email” (that is, with pen and paper) to a friend about a recent holiday. One student wrote about his holiday inNewz Island.

He visited Christ Church and Queen’s Town, and seemed genuinely perplexed when I told him that those two places are spelled Christchurch and Queenstown. (The original spellings make perfect sense, of course.)

Another student, from a country notorious for mixing English l and r, wrote about her holiday in Balcelona, where she visited a winely. (She also wrote friend and not fliend as might be expected. I guess that students learn the correct spelling of higher-frequency words and suffer from interference when spelling lower-frequency words.)

(I totally stress that these two students speak and write far better in English than I do in their languages. Apart from random words and a few formulaic utterances, I can’t speak them, and can’t write them at all.)

[PS 15 May – in another writing task, another student wrote about volunteering ‘in some pool countries’.]


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