Do you think in different languages

I was reading a thread on dreaming in a different language on here and I was wondering if once you start learning a language, do you use it when you think?

Probably not in the beginning, but certainly at a later stage. Especially while communicating with others in that language. It’s much more economical, as you don’t have to spend time on translating your thoughts.

I find it useful to think in target language, from the beginning you have to do it with intent, and then it is getting more and more quasi-automatically. It is a kind of self- tuition without additional spending of time for me.

Absolutely. I try to think in French and German every day, and this is a large part I think of what keeps them alive actively for me, besides the passive activities of listening and reading. In fact, it’s only when I can start thinking in a language, ie. when it has become active, that I would begin speaking it. I’m feeling close to achieving this with Spanish and Swedish and I think the main factor is listening a lot. What would really improve my studies is trying to find a way to speed the process up and internalize the language sooner, though I don’t think are really any shortcuts, at least not with much more unfamiliar languages.

This is how it works for me: At the beginning the best way to “think” in a language is to flood myself with it, ie listening, listening and listening, as well as reading, reading and, you guessed it, reading. I then find all of a sudden that “I am being thought” by that language. “Foreign” sentences just pop up in my head. Once they are no longer a surprise, I can direct my thinking into the other language.

Maybe I am slow, but my thinking (as I see thinking) occurs outside of my conscious control 50-75% of the time. It is quite tied to what is going on outside of of my head as well as the inside. It is pretty hard to pin down the “moment of thinking”.

However, if, by thinking, you mean intentionally trying to put completed thoughts into the target language in the middle of carrying out my daily routine, no.

I automatically started thinking in english and french when being esposed to the language very intensively. For example, when I passed some months in France, I started thinking French, without having to force myself to… Right now I’m starting to think in portuguese, because I’m studying really intensively…

I am thinking more and more in English and sometimes I have to be careful not to speak English with the person I be in contact with.
He or she will be astonished and perhaps is thinking that Iren is a little confusing :-).

But I think it helps to learn if we try to bring our sentences in the language that we are learning.

Yes. I even find it easier to express myself in English instead of my native tongue. Especially in subjects i have only studied in English. The jargon is like a native language for me.

After living in Spain for 4 months and becoming quite fluent in it, I finally got to the point where thoughts in Spanish would just pop up in my head. For instance, I would be trying to tell someone something in English, and I would think of the Spanish word instead. Sometimes I think full sentences/ideas in Spanish but I still find that is more forced, because as someone said most of my thinking is unconscious. The only time my brain has just started rambling on in Spanish is when I have been sleeping or at the point of almost being asleep.

What’s weird is that the same night that I started using LingQ to learn Portuguese, I had a dream in Portuguese. I am guessing that most of it was not correct but Portuguese sentences were just floating through my mind while I was sleeping. Maybe my mind was repeating the dialogues in the exercise I had just done to process them? It seems weird that this happened to me so soon after starting the language where it took years and years for it to happen with Spanish. Has this happened to anyone else?

When I study a language very intensively I start thinking in that language, but for me the problem is that I cannot be studying a language very intensively all the time. So far, I have been able to stay more or less in closer contact with English while reading books in English and being really taken away by their plot. It helps. Otherwise I’m drawn back to my native language.

While living in Germany, I was fluent in the language. One day I was telling an American friend directions to a house where we were going to meet later on. He gave me a funny look, and said that he did not understand me. I suddenly realized that I was speaking to him in German rather than English.

For me, I don’t need a language for my thoughts. I suppose that we all think in some kind of high-level language, or “thought language”, before we actually translate it into a voice in our minds. Think about it. Try to recall these moments where you “feel” the concept of the thought in your head while you speaking (or monologuing in your head), and only after you have this feeling you can translate it into words of whatever language. This feeling is the language that I’m talking about.

Nevertheless, in my dreams I use my both native languages interchangeably, and usually remember what language relates to what dream. Although I didn’t dreamed an English dream yet :stuck_out_tongue: