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Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?  
User currently offlineJafa39 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2100 times:

I have never had an answer to this one, do you always think in your mother-tongue or do you use other languages? Do you think in a different language if you are temporarily in another country and speaking that langauge?

If speaking fluent French when your first langauge is (for example) English, do you "process" what you want to say in English or are you so totally in the zone that it is spontaneous?

[Edited 2005-09-10 07:14:09]

46 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26785 posts, RR: 75
Reply 1, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2090 times:

I think in English most of the time, though if I am speaking a lot of French or German, I may think a bit in those as well. I have dreamt in all three


Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineLOT767-300ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2089 times:

Polish 95% of the time. Only sometimes in English.

-Piotrek


User currently offlineArmitageShanks From UK - England, joined Dec 2003, 3645 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2089 times:

I always ask this to multi-lingual people and they most always say mother tongue. However, some of them develop their "second tongue thought" after they become comfortable.

Second tongue - thought in mother tongue - second tongue.


User currently offlineLFutia From Netherlands, joined Dec 2002, 3356 posts, RR: 31
Reply 4, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2081 times:
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English and Dutch... occasionally Hindi... and thats only to swear.


Leo/ORD -- Groetjes uit de VS! -- Heeft u laatst nog met KLM gevlogen?
User currently offlineCentrair From Japan, joined Jan 2005, 3599 posts, RR: 20
Reply 5, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2074 times:

Quoting ArmitageShanks (Reply 3):
second tongue thought

That is me. When I speak at work I just think in Japanese. But when I work with my partners in Quebec, I think in French. But when I am home, I think in English (mother tongue). Dreams are in all three languages.

When I was in High school and College and my Chinese was still being used extensively. Commonly I thought in Chinese as well.

On really good days I can do translations between Japanese and French without going to English. It is hard to keep my brain straight most of the time but I would say that I am very used to it.



Yes...I am not a KIX fan. Let's Japanese Aviation!
User currently offlineJasepl From India, joined Jul 2004, 3582 posts, RR: 39
Reply 6, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2074 times:

If speaking in Engligh, I think in English.
If speaking in French, I think (mostly) in French.
If speaking in Gujarati, I think in Gujarati.
If speaking in Marathi, I think (mostly) in Marathi.
If attempting (and usually failing) to speak in Hindi, I think in English/Gujarati.


User currently offlineLY7E7 From Israel, joined Jun 2004, 2262 posts, RR: 19
Reply 7, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2063 times:

Mostly in Hebrew, which is actually my second language, but when talking English I think in English, as I do after spending more then a few days abroad.


2 things are endless: ignorance and space
User currently offlineMD11junkie From Argentina, joined May 2005, 3149 posts, RR: 57
Reply 8, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2056 times:

I live in an 'all-english' environment, around 12hrs/day, 5 days a week.

I'd dare to say it's 50% English, 50% Spanish.

I happen to love English as a language, and sometimes I find myself thinking in english, while talking in spanish... sheesh, I'm really screwed up.  Smile.


Cheers! wave 
Gastón - The MD-11 Junkie



There is no such thing as Boeing vs Airbus as the queen of the skies has three engines, winglets and the sweetest nose!
User currently offlineAirxLiban From Lebanon, joined Oct 2003, 4518 posts, RR: 53
Reply 9, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2044 times:

For regular thoughts, I think in English.
For cursing people, I think in Arabic.



PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
User currently offlineDoona From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 3772 posts, RR: 13
Reply 10, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2042 times:

Even split between English and Swedish. Funny thing is though, when I think in Swedish, it's in a different accent when I speak. I have no idea why.

Cheers
Mats



Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
User currently offlineJafa39 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2026 times:

Quoting Doona (Reply 10):
it's in a different accent when I speak. I have no idea why.

I know what you mean, at certain times I think in a Northern English accent (usually when under stress and usually on a rock-climb or up a mountain) which is odd as I was born on the east coast and assimilated a London accent during the 15 years I lived there.

The answers to this thread have been more diverse and interesting than I'd hoped, some of you have got some strange wiring going on in there!!

Thanks for the insights.

Jafa


User currently offlineAirdolomiti From Germany, joined May 2003, 694 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2025 times:

I'd say it's 50% Italian (mothertongue) and 50% English. Even though I do not live in an English-speaking environment (nor is anyone in my immediate family a native English speaker), I very often find myself thinking in that language. I guess I just really like it. Like Gastón, sometimes I think in English while speaking Italian, and at times I also forget some Italian expressions while knowing exactly what I would say if I were speaking English in the same situation. Weird, huh?

Curiously enough, despite German being my other mothertongue, I only think in it when I am speaking German with my mom or while travelling in Germany.

I never think in Italian when speaking languages I'm fluent/reasonably fluent in (German, English or French).

Federico


User currently offlineAviationMaster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2020 times:

I'd say its about 50% English, 30% Spanish and 20% German Big grin but it all really depends on what I'm doing or who I'm talking to.

User currently offlineHKGKaiTak From Australia, joined Jun 2005, 1050 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 1998 times:

Quoting Jafa39 (Thread starter):
do you always think in your mother-tongue or do you use other languages?

As a native speaker of Chinese and English (Or'strayan) as my second language ... I find I think in both languages, and I don't have to mentally switch over, just happens automatically ...

And yes I do curse in both languages equally well ...

I also use both languages together quite often, been known to read a Chinese newspaper and be singing along to an English song ...

Quoting Jafa39 (Thread starter):
Do you think in a different language if you are temporarily in another country and speaking that langauge?

When I was in Hong Kong I still thought in English rather often, even though I went for days without actually speaking a single sentence of it ... same as overseas, I still thought in Chinese even though it was a week since I had spoken to anyone in Chinese ...



4 Engines 4 LongHaul
User currently offlineFlyAUA From Austria, joined May 2005, 4604 posts, RR: 56
Reply 15, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 1993 times:

Most of the time I think in English, but I am told that in my sleep I dream and talk in the other 3 languages too, and apparently a 4th uncomprehendable alien-like language too! Spooky  scared 


Not drinking, also isn't a solution!
User currently offlineLevent From France, joined Sep 2004, 1718 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1991 times:

Quoting FlyAUA (Reply 15):
and apparently a 4th uncomprehendable alien-like language too! Spooky

Yeah, me too! According to my partner. I asked her to tape such a moment, but she hasn't done that yet...

Anyway, I'd say now most of the time I think in English, but change to Dutch automatically whenever needed. I'm working on my Thai, but that might take another year or two, three... During my almost three years in Spain I thought in Spanish most of the times. So I guess I adapt to the conditions of where I am.


User currently offlineMatt27 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1990 times:

I think in Swedish most of the time, but if I am in an English speaking country or when I speak English I tent to think in English as well.

//Mattias


User currently offlineEddieGunsmoke From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1976 times:

I usually think in swedish, but sometimes when I speak I can't remember certain words in swedish, only the english word.

User currently offlineSalso From Slovenia, joined Dec 2004, 205 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1954 times:

I was born in Germany, but have lived in Slovenia for 17 years now. However, when I'm thinking about something, I usually do it in German, which I have not managed to get rid of in 17 years speaking Slovenian mostly (at least in my everyday live).

Now, I study English and spend a lot of time in Canada, the States or UK and very often my thoughts briefly switch into English. So I think in a rather bizarre mixture of three languages.


User currently offlineMKEdude From South Korea, joined May 2005, 1011 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1946 times:

I always think in English, but when I lived in Japan I used to have dreams that were in English but subtitled in Japanese!


"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline." Frank Zappa
User currently offlineEddieGunsmoke From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1940 times:

Quoting MKEdude (Reply 20):
I always think in English, but when I lived in Japan I used to have dreams that were in English but subtitled in Japanese!

Now that is weird! Big grin


User currently offlineLH423 From Canada, joined Jul 1999, 6501 posts, RR: 54
Reply 22, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1936 times:

I think in English and French about a 60/40 split. And if I'm speaking in French, I only think in French.

LH423



« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
User currently offlineCorey07850 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2528 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1931 times:

A related question... How do deaf people think? When thinking, you can essentially "hear" yourself in your mind. For people that cannot hear, what sensations do they experience? I assume the answer would vary to those who were born deaf vs. those who became deaf at some later point.

User currently offlineManuCH From Switzerland, joined Jun 2005, 3012 posts, RR: 46
Reply 24, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1927 times:
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When I speak Italian, I think in Italian.
When I speak German, I think in German.
When I speak English, I (mostly) think in English, sometimes in Italian.
When I speak French, I think in ... Italian only  Smile

I guess it depends on how well I speak the foreign language.

Call me weird Big grin
-Manuel



Never trust a statistic you didn't fake yourself
25 Post contains images Mexicana757 : I think in both English and Spanish.Sometimes doing Spanglish when I think.
26 DesertJets : I've always thought thinking in another language other than your mother tongue is pretty interesting. I had this professor in college, his specialty w
27 Post contains images Marambio : When I speak Spanish, I think in Spanish When I speak French, I think in French When I speak in English, I think in English/Spanish (depends on the si
28 Sabena332 : Same here. Patrick
29 Avianca : when I speak german / I think german when I speak spanish / I think spanish and german mixed... when I speak english / I think mostly in german somtim
30 Seb146 : Funny you should post this. When I am sober, I think in English. When I am sober and trying to speak Spanish, I think about how to say what I want to
31 RNOcommctr : My first language is English, but I have been working on Spanish for several years, mostly because my wife is from Mexico. I still have a long way to
32 Post contains images EZEIZA : For me it depends on who I am talking to. Also, in what languaje I am reading or what languaje is being used on the TV. Very rarely am I wathcing a T
33 Post contains images Jafa39 : OK..you're weird!
34 Post contains images FLY2HMO : I know english and spanish, and been speaking and writing both since such a young age that I don't need think at all for either language   Therefore,
35 SFOMEX : During my years living in California, I used to think in English even when I was speaking Spanish. Now that I'm back in Mexico, I think in Spanish 70%
36 Post contains images NoUFO : Since I learn a new insult ever week here on a.net, most of my insulting thoughts are in English.
37 CurtisMan : 99.99% of my thinking is in english. Sometimes I struggle with a word or phrase or think in french if I learned something in french and not in english
38 AR1300 : Depends what lenguage I'm currently speaking.Right now is English, for example... Mike
39 FlyingNanook : I started learning French in high school and now when speaking French (which is not very often now), I think in French. The odd thing is that now when
40 ME AVN FAN : I try to slip into whatever language I am speaking, German, English, French, Arabic, Italian, with differing success. But to think in the language req
41 Jacobin777 : I was born in Chicago, but my parents never spoke to me in english (even though they are fluent in it)... kind of strange.depends who I talk to..if I
42 Post contains images Beowulf : German is my mother tongue and I mostly think in German. However, when I am in an English speaking environment, I flip a switch, and start thinking in
43 Post contains images HAWK21M : Mostly English.At times Hindi & Marathi.[of course Bombaya too]. regds MEL
44 Klaus : I'm thinking about 85% in german, 10% in english and 5% in the programming language I use at the time...
45 Aeroflot777 : When I speak Russian, I think in Russian. And when I speak English, I think in English.... Aeroflot777
46 B747_A340 : My mother tongue is Spanish, but I find myself thinking in English most of the time when speaking Spanish or English. When I speak French I think eith
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