Why is it that people seem to spell better and use better grammar when using their second language than their first?

I know that for example when I was in school, I noticed that most of the people could speak their second language better than their first. Also on this site, many people who have English as second language seem to be better at it than those who have it as their first language. do you think this is the case and if so does anyone have any clues as to why?

Answer #1

I think its because you actually have to think when it isnt your first language. Most people type and talk without thinking about it when its their first language, when its a language you arent native in you have to think more and you also try and spell things right.

Answer #2

English being my first language…i know that most of what i say will make sence without any punctuation and if i miss a letter or spell it wrong then,hopefully,people will still be able to know what im trying to say.and nowadays people write most words short like u-you tho-though ect. but i think people who have it as a second language have been taught the proper way and havn’t been brought up around all the slang ect as for german i try put all my punctuation and letters in the right places because otherwise i think it might say another word,as ive done in the past,ive actually said “you have a tail” instead of “you have blonde hair” in german so i think more carefully than i do with my English. i hope ive help you :]

Answer #3

hmmm… i try to spell both english and tagalog words correctly. I dont like making spelling or grammar mistakes on either language. Even on text, i use the complete form of the word and i dont usually truncate.

But i think mandyloo has a point, when its your 2nd language, you think more about the grammar rules and stuff whereas when its your native language this is generally based on your instincts already.

Answer #4

I’m the same, I’m very particular about how I spell in either of my two languages, but I noticed that that doesn’t apply for the general population.

Answer #5

Because you actually learn your second language (spelling, grammar, the proper way to phrase things). People tend to just write the way they speak. And generally most people are not speaking correctly.

Answer #6

I think it depends on what age you learn that second language. If you learn it when you’re very young, it’s not even a “second” language, just another first language. The process of learning language, forming words, and eventually absorbing the proper way of speaking is something we do much better when we’re children. Later in life when our speaking habits are more developed, changing them becomes harder.

My parents continued to speak German to me as a child even after we moved to the United States and I grew up speaking English. When I moved to Germany a few years ago for my job, it was much easier to speak the language than if I had to relearn it from the beginning.

Answer #7

Well, since I’m currently in High School, I’ve had the choice of taking German, Spanish, and French, and I wound up taking them all. :D I love language. I definitely think my grammar and syntax is better in my language classes, but the development of these aspects in my native language, English of course, has improved quite a bit. Once I had to start learning about dative, nominative, and accusative cases in German, I began to understand sentence components and structure in English better. So, it think its a major part of enrichment for learning your own language, not just another. C:

Answer #8

See I think in my second language it doesn’t feel like a different language and I confuse it with my first often, yet I don’t spell worse in it.

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