I would like to share a couple of examples of such pull of mother tongue while using English.

1.what is your GOOD name? (May I know your name?)

2.Would you like to attend my cousin's MARRIAGE?(for wedding)

3.He didn't LIFT my call (answer call).

  1. Tea has come. (for.. Tea has been served)

5.The parcel came today morning (for.. The parcel was delivered this morning.

6.My paper went well (for.. I fared better in exams)

friends please let me know what is your take on such usages and your reactions.

  • 2
    You should try to ask only one question. We can comment on each of those phrases, but not all of them. If your question is, "Is it acceptable to directly translate idioms from another language into English?" there still isn't one simple answer. Some work (e.g. "The tea has come" is OK, though a little strange) and some do not (e.g. "He didn't lift my call" would stump me completely)
    – Juhasz
    Oct 31, 2018 at 14:27
  • Many thanks Juhasz . Infact I'm curious to know how do native speakers react over such usage. Secondly has any research been conducted on pull of mother tongue while using English. Oct 31, 2018 at 14:39
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    Some work, yes, but this makes no sense: of such pull of mother tongue while using English.
    – Lambie
    Oct 31, 2018 at 14:45
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    The first question might be better asked in the Interpersonal Skills forum. My brief answer is that people will react differently: some will find such uses exotic and interesting, some close-minded people will become annoyed. The second question might do better on the English Language and Usage forum. I'm sure the answer is yes, people have done such research, but I wouldn't be able to summarize it for you.
    – Juhasz
    Oct 31, 2018 at 14:46
  • 1
    I understood what you meant by "pull of mother tongue while using English", so let that be a lesson to you: native speakers will not be uniform in their reactions. :) Oct 31, 2018 at 14:55

1 Answer 1


My feeling is that these are perfectly understandable, and in some cases unavoidable as students learn to speak English.

The biggest problem with the "pulls" you describe is when they are difficult to understand. For example, we would not say "pull of mother tongue" to describe this kind of thing. I might instead say:

words or phrases which have been pulled from the speaker's native language.


artifacts from the speaker's native language which show up in their English.

I suspect your use of "pull" is one example of these artifacts. The first time I read your question, I didn't know what you meant, and had to read it again more carefully before I grasped the underlying concept.

Any language has many non-intuitive idiomatic expressions which you slowly learn by reading about them, or hearing a native speaker use them in casual conversation. For example, we still say "dial"a phone call, even decades after phones stopped having actual dials. We often "pick up" a call on our cell phones, even though in this case there is no receiver to pick up.

In Japanese (my second language) for example, a common expression when interrupting or bumping into someone is, "I am being rude," or, "This is unforgivable". The equivalent in English is "Pardon me". Note the cultural difference. In Japanese we admit fault. In English we ask the other person to excuse our action. Direct translations of these expressions from one language to the other would invariably be awkward, as in Japanese "pardon me" might feel arrogant, while in English "I am unforgivable" might feel servile.

The point is that speaking a second language often requires thinking of the structure of the sentence in a different way, either by using different words, or sometimes by completely reordering the concepts in the sentence. Sometimes this is easy, but other times it requires a lot of familiarity with both languages to get right.

And, of course, in some cases there is no direct translation from one language to the other, and you just have to try your best to explain what you mean.

In order to become proficient in English I imagine you have to start thinking like an native speaker, and imagine concepts like answering a phone call with different visual metaphors.

That being said, many of your examples can be expressed in English

  1. "Good name" is an expression of politeness. In English you could say "Might I ask your name?"
  2. While the more common word is "wedding", "marriage ceremony" or "nuptials" are possibly synonyms. This is more a case of using the right word for the context.
  3. Just use "pick up" instead of "lift". Same concept, different words
  4. "The tea has arrived.
  5. Just add the recipient and it's fine: "A parcel came for you this morning"
  6. I suspect this is a confusion of verbs, more than adjectives. Papers don't "go" because they don't take time. Things like Exams and presentations do "go". Similarly "fare" is normally used for people who can actually benefit. I can "fare well" on an exam, but the exam itself doesn't care either way.
  • Thanks all for your reflections, Andrew your comparative study of the way apology is expressed in Japanese n English is very updating. Nov 1, 2018 at 3:02

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