"Is often seen -- you know -- these foreign players, they forget to say "it" -- I mean, while speaking in English... is odd to hear, you know... is peculiar, is that how you say? Even I forget to say, some time... I LIKE TO LEARN English, but is difficult. Often times I don't get. Is very nice language, yes, but -- I don't know to say these -- is very different! But I like," the WTA star said.

Why do foreigners from a variety of different native languages forget to say "it" in particular while speaking (as yet grammatically undeveloped) English? Is it related to the way sentences are constructed in their native tongue(s)?

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    I'm guessing it would depend on their native language. Many languages have only one word for "it is." – RaceYouAnytime Apr 25 '17 at 10:34
  • Oh right, that makes a great deal of sense! Europeans are most often (not) guilty of saying is for it is. – English Student Apr 25 '17 at 10:37
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    Right, for instance in Spanish, if I'm not mistaken, to say "It is a table" you could just say "Es una mesa." So people who speak a language that doesn't require "it" would be more likely to omit it in English. – RaceYouAnytime Apr 25 '17 at 10:38
  • Thanks a lot for the quick answer. Is however an earnest and endearing effort from these foreign person -- you know -- to get it right! – English Student Apr 25 '17 at 10:44
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    Many languages are pro-drop and allow the omission of the subject when it's clear from context (often aided by verbs that have multiple forms indicating whether that omitted subject was 1st/2nd/3rd person and singular or plural) – user0721090601 Apr 25 '17 at 10:46

English is as SVO (subject, verb, object) language (mostly). A sentence generally needs a subject.

Which can be illogical. Palmer (Grammar, Penguin, 1984) notes a Spanish friend who says how absurd it is to say "He put his hand in his pocket" instead of "put hand in pocket". The "he" and "his" are meaningless. Would anyone imagine he was putting someone else's hand in someone else's pocket?

Other languages solve the problem in other ways. In Latin "Amo" is "I love", "amas" is "You love", "amat" is "S/he loves", so you do not need to say I or you or s/he.

So someone with that pattern in their mind finds it unnecessary to have a subject in a sentence. On the other hand, English is in some ways simpler. "Love" has only three forms: love, loves, loved (and sometimes, loving). But the price for that simplicity is that you have to put the subject in to make sense, to say I/you/they love.

It's just a different way of doing things. And different ways are hard to learn.

As the immortal Manuel said in Fawlty Towers, "Is difficult!"

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    Is difficult indeed, and we who have learnt English from earliest childhood (though Tamil, not English, is my "mother tongue") cannot imagine how difficult! Try learning a foreign tongue and we will get to know the struggle -- I have too much respect for languages to make a casual attempt! Instead I am happy to focus on developing the nuances of Malayalam (the native language of Kerala where I was born and have always lived) and English, the 2 languages that I had the good luck to study comprehensively at English medium school, and can therefore read, write and speak with authority. – English Student Apr 25 '17 at 11:19
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    "Put hand in pocket"(is good enough)(...)the "he" and "his" are meaningless -- when all meaningless words are dropped, the sentence can "disappear," as in the following joke: "A fish vendor put up the sign Fresh Fish Sold Here, but somebody said, "I sure hope the fish is fresh!" -- so it became "Fish Sold Here"; but somebody else said, "you're certainly not giving it for free!" -- so he cut it down to just "Fish", but yet another busybody commented, "I can smell it from here" -- so he removed the sign! (Punch line: now somebody else says, why no signboard!) – English Student Apr 25 '17 at 11:49
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    @Albert The forms are given as Latin, not Spanish, and in Latin ‘he loves’ is indeed amat, not ama. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 25 '17 at 14:40

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