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  1. #1
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    Default "his" and "her" mix up

    I had a conversation class yesterday with a Spanish guy whose English was pretty good, and conversation flowed very freely. The main mistake that he kept making (very common in Spain) was to mix up "he" and "she", and "his" and "her", so that it was sometimes difficult to know who he was talking about.

    The problem is that he knew about the gender difference (and wouldn't have made the mistake had he been writing) -- but because he was talking at a normal pace, not stopping to think, he often chose the wrong word.

    Is there any trick a language student can use to lessen the frequency of such mistakes while maintaining a good conversational speed?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: "his" and "her" mix up

    more reading,more speaking will be enough ,I think.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: "his" and "her" mix up

    Get him to use names a bit more instead of just using pronouns?

  4. #4
    pandemonium is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: "his" and "her" mix up

    There is no 'trick' to using gendered pronouns correctly. The speaker should be stopped and corrected, as it seems 'speed' is not currently an issue. While this might slow the conversational pace, it will assist in integrating gendered pronouns into the conversation. The pace or rate of speech will eventually increase again, but with the corrected pronoun genders.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: "his" and "her" mix up

    This is interesting. My grandmother is from the Caribbean and grew up using English, but she mostly spoke a French-based creole language. When she speaks to me in English she ALWAYS mixes up the pronouns. Sometimes she catches the mistake and corrects herself, sometimes she doesn't. It's in interesting phenomenon though.

    I agree with simply stopping to to correct the person or have them clarify what they mean....I think eventually it will become easier for the person and he won't make as many mistakes with this in conversation.

  6. #6
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: "his" and "her" mix up

    One of the problems with grasping this point is that his/her relates to the owner, while many languages mark the possessive for the gender of the thing owned. I attach a slide I produced for a Portuguese class. (Most Windows users will be able to open the WMF file; users of Visio are welcome to play with the source - VSD).

    b
    Attached Files Attached Files

  7. #7
    teacherjuli is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: "his" and "her" mix up

    If you don't want to interrupt the flow while this person is speaking, you may want to write the words "his" and "her" very big on a piece of paper. Every time they make a mistake, you can simply point to the appropriate word, rather then interrupt.

  8. #8
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    curmudgeon is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: "his" and "her" mix up

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I attach a slide I produced for a Portuguese class. (Most Windows users will be able to open the WMF file; users of Visio are welcome to play with the source - VSD).

    b

    very Good Bob, so you're an artist as well.

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: "his" and "her" mix up

    Nice faces.

  10. #10
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: "his" and "her" mix up

    Quote Originally Posted by curmudgeon View Post
    very Good Bob, so you're an artist as well.
    Do I detect a hint of irony?

    b

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