I highly recommend blog friends visiting each other whenever possible. To have time to yack about writing in detail or anything else that comes to mind, to not be constrained by the brevity and insecurity of emails.
Had a truly wonderful visit from Writtenwyrdd last week, and am so grateful that she tolerated the dust and doghair and my semi-invalid status. The dogs thought she was wonderful too.
Since then I've been reading a low-brow genre series, the kind replete with meticulous descriptions of eighty-five types of hardware--not the kind on kitchen cabinets--detailed hardsite penetration, and gun battles so sizzling with testosterone that balls bounce off every page and I have to kick them away to get up from my chair.
Very relaxing. And sometimes useful.
Noticed a couple of interesting ways to illustrate and underline that a character's first language was not English without the usual application of native tongue exclamations and maledictions, such as "mon Dieu" or "perro" etc., or the ubiquitous " how you say in America..."
One secondary character used present tense all the time, even when obviously describing past incidents. From my own experience in languages foreign this rang true, as present tense is usually the easiest to get right.
Another, less common than a scatter of non-English words of endearment or curse, is the use of what in English we sometimes call malapropisms-- the use of a noun or verb closely related in sound but with a wildly inappropriate meaning-- the misue of "pneumatics" for "pneumonia" is a lame example.
Other "infelicities of verbal diction" such as the reversal of intitial letters or syllables are often used , mostly for comedic effect, for English speaking characters. One of my favourites , incidentally, is "The Canadian Broadcorping Castration." And I'm sure you are all familiar with Spoonerisms such as Cinderella and her two sistyuglers.
If pure comedy is your ambition, the possibilities are endless. A book suitable for the bathroom called Nothing Risque, Nothing Gained by Richard Lederer provides such springboard examples as "The Screwing of the Tern, French the Lieutenant's Woman, Even Blowgirls get the Cues, A Sale of Two Titties..."
All comedy aside, one way to individualize a character is to have them misuse the language--tips of the slung--as long as one doesn't get carried away with one's own cleverness and overdo it.