We all pepper our speech with those little not-quite-words such as ‘umm’ and ‘errr’, don’t we? Had it ever occurred to you that you were speaking English when you made those sounds [called fillers in Linguistics, should you want to know]?
Picture from: https://drawception.com/game/9hZ3EsCfbM/ummm-hi/
Apparently, one of the most common ways of showing you are not a native speaker of a language – no matter how proficient you may be – is to forget to use that language’s own fillers during speech.
In Polish, for instance, the sound equivalent to ‘Umm’ is yyy or eee.
Japanese has ええと [pronounced eto I am informed] and Welsh has iawn.
So, should you be chatting away in Polish and you state – with perfect grammar and pronunciation – that ‘I think I might, ummm, try a new hairdo’ [Myślę, że mogę, ummm, spróbować nowej fryzury], that ‘ummm’ has just betrayed your non-Polish nativity. *
Say Myślę, że mogę, yyy, spróbować nowej fryzury, on the other hand, and nobody would suspect a thing [unless they spot your penchant for watching Coronation Street without Polish subtitles]. Novice spies – take note!
By the way – she waffles, off topic, isn’t fryzury a lovely word to describe a hairdo. Mine is definitely quite fryzurish every morning!
For more on this subject, [fillers not fryzury-style hair], try these links to get you started.
* Nativity – lovely word we don’t use often enough, except at Christmas. And it IS darned near Christmas [there’s virtual snow on this site and real snow on the streets outside], so I feel justified in using it. Happy Christmas everybody and a blessed New Year