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 PostPost subject: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:02 pm 
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Hello all,

Something really odd appealed to me earlier... Those of you who speak more than one language, which language do you 'think' in? I mean people who speak one language obviously think in that language, but if you speak, for example, French and English, which language do you find yourself 'thinking' in? Its a very odd question I know but its bugged me before and I finally decided to ask everyone! If you think in your second (or third etc) language rather than your mother tongue why do you think you do it?

:P

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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:06 pm 
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Hmmm, that's hard to say, I never thought about the language I think in, but I think, I think in both languages,
Geman and English, depends on the current situation and to which person / on which language I am talking / writing... :P

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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:15 pm 
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Depends on what language I need to express myself in, I vary between Norwegian and English. Reading something in English and then processing it in Norwegian doesn't make sense unless I'm trying to translate it. Earlier today when I was writing a paper on power-supplies for audio amplifiers I was writing in Norwegian, but the information I had on actually designing them I had read in an English text-book. So I thought in Norwegian when I was writing in the paper, but I though in English when making the circuit-boards.

I think for the most part thoughts are abstract concepts, when I'm writing this I'm thinking in English because I need to write English, but this is just a representation of an abstract idea I had in my head, how it's converted to specific words depends on what I'm doing, sometimes it's random.

To properly understand a language I think you need to be able to think in it, otherwise you'd need to convert what you what to say from whatever language you think in to the target language, which is slow and prone to creating some very odd sentence structures. This is especially obvious when I hear Norwegians who are only so so at English, they speak English with mostly Norwegian sentence structure and phrasing.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:32 pm 
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I think in both Arabic and English, actually it matters what im thinkin about, like right now while writing this I thought about what I just wrote. :p LOL


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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:37 pm 
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saeedsaf wrote:
I think in both Arabic and English, actually it matters what im thinkin about, like right now while writing this I thought about what I just wrote. :p LOL

Would you say Arabic is a more complicated language than English or is it the other way around?

Norwegian is a fairly simple language, most people who learn it who are immigrants (i.e. have Arabic as their native tounge) say it's a very easy language to pick up.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:49 pm 
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Well, my language is dutch, but for explaining things about something, I can better explain it in english then in dutch.
So for me, I mostly speak dutch, but the thinking way is english.

EDIT:
And they say that dutch is the difficults language to learn, If we got a rule to write something or say something there is always 3 other rules about it that say it must be done is different ways.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:04 pm 
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longview wrote:
saeedsaf wrote:
I think in both Arabic and English, actually it matters what im thinkin about, like right now while writing this I thought about what I just wrote. :p LOL

Would you say Arabic is a more complicated language than English or is it the other way around?

Norwegian is a fairly simple language, most people who learn it who are immigrants (i.e. have Arabic as their native tounge) say it's a very easy language to pick up.


Well I only speak arabic with my parents or my arab friends, but all of my surroundings use english as a main language (i.e school, computer, phone, movies, songs, and a large percentage of my friends, add to that the country I live in depends greatly on english, so I guess thats one big factor, but I never tried to learn any other language.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:05 pm 
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My knowledge of English is poor (yet :)). It's not even FCE level, though, I'm going to pass CAE within ~3-4 years, so I mostly think in Polish, but sometimes I happen to think in English :)


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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:46 pm 
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Well, unlike most of you, I think in English most of the time. It has become something normal to me, and sometimes when I do it in Spanish, I feel wierd lol.
8)

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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:47 pm 
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Another quite interesting thing is to dream in a foreign language. My native language is German but I am fluent in (American) English, too. When I was in the US for some time I could never remember what I dreamt and it wouldn't be anything too surprising since I was thinking in English all the time but when I came home I dreamt of buying a 24" LCD (I had seen one at a friends house) and I talked to the salesperson in English! I had a good laugh when I woke up. :D

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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:55 pm 
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Tilka wrote:
Another quite interesting thing is to dream in a foreign language. My native language is German but I am fluent in (American) English, too. When I was in the US for some time I could never remember what I dreamt and it wouldn't be anything too surprising since I was thinking in English all the time but when I came home I dreamt of buying a 24" LCD (I had seen one at a friends house) and I talked to the salesperson in English! I had a good laugh when I woke up. :D

Yeah!!
that happens sometimes!!
I've dreamt eventually in english. Not all the time, but whole dreams eventually.
:)

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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:14 pm 
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For me it is all English if not a tiny bit of French.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:26 pm 
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In 'French' indeed! (H)

I am French but I prefer speaking 'English' really... :P


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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:41 pm 
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At times when I'm understress or in an intense argument, I will start thinking in Russian (My father is Russian, brought up in a Russian speaking household when I was young), and at times German (language I learnt while in Highschool and College).

Some languages people don't even know they actually "know" that they can speak, especially if you've been around that environment when you were younger, it's only really under times of extreme stress an etc that it starts to come up and you start thinking it (sometimes talking it to your Boss/Supervisor with an :| on their faces).

I still remember when my Mom would speak in her sleep, during her young years at home, her Parents came from Slovenia to Australia so she "knew" the Slovenian language then, but never spoke it, during her adult years she would speak it fluently during her sleep, but when she woke up I'd ask about it and she would just shake her head not understanding the words I would say back from what I heard her say.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:04 pm 
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I`m thinking in Danish and English. Very few people speak Danish at my job, so i`m thinking in English there.
I haven`t really thought about what language i think in before now, it is indeed very strange to think about.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:16 pm 
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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:46 pm 
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One question to those who know English better than me: is often thinking in english instead of national language more effective in learning english? I must pass FCE as soon as possible, so if it's that effective, I'll try it.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:05 pm 
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I speak english, I think english.

However, the other month I had my first thought in Spanish. It creeped me out at first, then I ran downstairs and proclaimed "I've thought in SPANISH OMG LOLOLOL". Exactly like that.

You can tell i've used the internet too much.

If I remember rightly, I was thinking "I need to get milk from the store" but in spanish. I don't think I even know the words I thought but I knew the meaning and how they sounded in there.

(I'm trying to learn spanish, btw.)


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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:59 pm 
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pkubaj wrote:
Is often thinking in english instead of national language more effective in learning english?

It certainly is. By thinking in the language you want to learn you don't have to mentally translate everything you want to say/write. This also applies to programming languages :D
I started by thinking "WTF" or "Damnit" every time something went wrong. I guess that's been happening quite often... :oops:

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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:18 am 
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The majority of the time I think in English, but I occasionally find myself drifting into Spanish, which I took 4 years of in High School.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:52 pm 
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I sometimes think in Anglo-Saxon and others in Middle English.

Most of the time I think in Lancashire Dialect.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:56 pm 
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I think Dutch, even when I am writing. Dunno know why, actually..


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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:14 pm 
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Well actually I dream in German as it is my mother tongue. But as I speak English almost as long as I can talk as well (my mother was in Canada for 3 years when she was a teenager) I also have an "instant translator" für English which means I don't have to think about it and I know what the person is talking about. Spanish is different, I always have to think before I can talk or understand.
Sometimes my thoughts get mixed up and I mix the words from English, German, Spanish, Latin etc. :D Gets really funny, especially when I realise what [censored] I started to thing and mix together :D
If I am on vacation in Canada I often begin dreaming and thinking in English because the environment is english only (in Ontario of course, not Quebec ;) ). This year I'm going to go to Canada for another 6 weeks. I think I'll start thinking in English after one or two weeks :D


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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:18 pm 
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Ensign Joe wrote:
Sometimes my thoughts get mixed up and I mix the words from English, German, Spanish, Latin etc.

:D
Ensign Joe wrote:
I also have an "instant translator" für English

("Für" is "for" in German)

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 PostPost subject: Re: Which language do you 'think' in?        Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:28 pm 
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Ensign Joe wrote:
... I mix the words from English, German, Spanish, Latin etc. ...

I'm learning Latin, sometimes I speak it without really thinking.

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