I spend a lot of time on IRC channels and discussion forums where many of the users are not native speakers of English. Recently one of these expressed surprise when I observed: “You type with a foreign accent. What is your birth language?” He knew, of course, about speaking English with an accent, but he hadn’t encountered before the possibility that the same cues could be observable in written English.
Herewith , some instructions on how to type with an accent. All the examples I will give are utterances I have observed in the wild.
To sound generally foreign, omit elisions and contractions normally used by native speakers. Type “I do not think I have the time” rather than “I don’t think I have time”.
To sound German, put commas in places that do not correspond to speech pauses in English. “I do not know, how he could have believed that.”
To sound Russian, omit definite or indefinite articles. “No, you cannot have cheeseburger.”
To sound like a speaker of Hindi or Urdu or one of the related languages, emit wordy run-on sentences that begin with “Esteemed sir”, like: “Esteemed sir, I would be grateful if you could direct me towards a good book on Python because I am attempting to learn programming.”
Understand, none of these errors actually interferes with comprehension. I’ve found that these second-language speakers are often more worried about the quality of their English than they need to be.