Currently where I live there are almost ZERO English native speakers.

I love that though. Not because I seek the attention of being the only native speaker around but because it gives me the perfect opportunity to learn the other language with a native perspective.

I hear more and more people trying to offer the phrase, I am angry on you or other flavours of this such as I am surprised on you etc.

My question is, could this be considered good English as opposed to grammar (which normally go hand in hand)? I understand the meaning behind it of course and I like the mental imagery of how someone can feel the possibility to place a weight on top of you based on their disappointment and so on.

Should I correct them or keep enjoying their broken English for my own personal entertainment ?

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    I visit Malaysia reasonably often where the non-indigenous population of Chinese and Indian settlers from the 19th and early 20th century have evolved their own way of speaking English. They use many of their own idioms and significantly alter some of ours. Just one example, where we use the expression 'take your sweet time' sarcastically, they will use it with sincerity to say'you just take as much time as you like and I will wait for you' - 'take your sweet time'. It is so refreshing.
    – WS2
    Aug 30, 2014 at 7:33
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    The preposition itself is not so strange—clearly not something a native speaker of English would ever say, but perfectly understandable. There are quite a few other languages (many of them closely related to English, even) where you are indeed mad or angry on, rather than at, someone. But why the double pronouns? That is just confusing and strange to me. Why “I am angry [at] you you”? Also: what is the local language spoken where you live? (Your profile, via links, only mentions Tallaght, which does not really fit with the virtually-no-native-English-speakers bit.) Aug 30, 2014 at 9:41
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Thanks for the notification on the typo! :) I forget the question here will be scrutinized for grammatical correctness by definition!! :D Also while Dublin is where I was born and raised, im currently abroad which is where this chain of though arose! :)
    – Pogrindis
    Aug 30, 2014 at 9:46
  • That’s rather why I asked—‘abroad’ is a big place. Knowing what language the locals who are making these constructions speak natively is a vital key to understanding why they do it. Aug 30, 2014 at 9:55
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Lithuania, I am proficient in Lithuanian and its a certainly not a direct translation!
    – Pogrindis
    Aug 30, 2014 at 9:56

1 Answer 1


If there is no real need for them to be able to speak English perfectly, let them use these interesting titbits from other languages. As you said they are in a community where no one else speaks it - there is no reason for them to have perfect English, as long as they are understood by the people they are communicating with.

For example (I forget which language) there is a phrase that means "Thank you", but literally translate as "I will sacrifice my life for you". No of course they don't mean it literally, but it is interesting to hear phrases like that used.

  • I get what you mean and you're right, if you understand it then its ok. Do you think its grammatically correct though ? From a logical analysis of it, i see angry ON someone as the same to be angry AT someone, suggesting forward facing and directed toward, whereas andgry ON is the same just different direction.
    – Pogrindis
    Aug 30, 2014 at 9:50
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    It isn't technically correct, no.
    – Tim
    Aug 30, 2014 at 9:56

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