jafa39
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Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 2:13 pm

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]
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N1120A
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 2:27 pm

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
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LOT767-300ER
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 2:27 pm

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

-Piotrek
 
ArmitageShanks
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 2:27 pm

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.
 
LFutia
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 2:38 pm

English and Dutch... occasionally Hindi... and thats only to swear.
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centrair
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 3:08 pm

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.
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jasepl
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 3:13 pm

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.
 
ly7e7
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 4:12 pm

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.
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MD11junkie
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 4:30 pm

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.


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airxliban
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:07 pm

For regular thoughts, I think in English.
For cursing people, I think in Arabic.
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Doona
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:09 pm

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
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jafa39
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 6:39 pm

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
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Airdolomiti
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 6:51 pm

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
 
aviationmaster
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 7:03 pm

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.
 
HKGKaiTak
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 9:57 pm

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 ...
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flyAUA
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 10:30 pm

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 
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levent
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 10:43 pm

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.
 
Matt27
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 10:47 pm

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
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EddieGunsmoke
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 11:02 pm

I usually think in swedish, but sometimes when I speak I can't remember certain words in swedish, only the english word.
 
salso
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:26 am

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.
 
MKEdude
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:36 am

I always think in English, but when I lived in Japan I used to have dreams that were in English but subtitled in Japanese!
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EddieGunsmoke
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:41 am

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
 
LH423
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:44 am

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

LH423
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corey07850
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:52 am

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.
 
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ManuCH
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:55 am

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
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Mexicana757
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 1:44 am

I think in both English and Spanish.Sometimes doing Spanglish when I think.  bouncy 
 
desertjets
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 1:59 am

I've always thought thinking in another language other than your mother tongue is pretty interesting.

I had this professor in college, his specialty was Brazilian history. He was/is native born American, English as his first language. But fairly regularly in class he would blurt out something in Portuguese and ask what that meant in English. I always thought it was pretty amusing, afterall he was an odd little guy. But I can understand why he would do that, as a lot of the scholarship in that field isn't in English.
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Marambio
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 2:36 am

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 situation)
When I speak Portuguese, I think in Spanish
When I speak Italian, I think in Lunfardo (the Argentine Spanish dialect  Smile)

Saludos,
Marambio
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Sabena332
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 2:41 am

Quoting ManuCH (Reply 24):
When I speak German, I think in German.
When I speak English, I (mostly) think in English

Same here.

Patrick
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Avianca
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 3:38 am

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 somtimes in english...
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seb146
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 4:07 am

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 say. When I am drunk, I speak Spanish. Very very poorly.

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RNOcommctr
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 4:12 am

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 go in learning Spanish, but I knew I was finally making some progress when a couple of years ago, I was behind a trailer on a highway, and the brand name was "LEER". I thought to myself, now why would someone write "to read" in Spanish on their motor home? Of course, I had seen this trailer brand name many times in the past, but now I was starting to think at least a little bit in Spanish.

Saludos a todos!
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EZEIZA
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 4:17 am

Quoting Marambio (Reply 27):
When I speak Italian, I think in Lunfardo (the Argentine Spanish dialect )

 rotfl 

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 TV show in English and think in Spanih, the same with Italian. I am native from italy but I only think in Italian when talking with my family or watching Italian TV.
As far as I can remember, when I dream, it is in Spanish mostly, but even there, it's not always the case
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jafa39
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 6:12 am

Quoting ManuCH (Reply 24):
Call me weird

OK..you're weird!  Wink
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Fly2HMO
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 8:13 am

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, both are my native languages.

Several people in my case would agree with me in that I don't have the need to switch the language I think with when I talk, I just talk and that's it. My mouth just spits out words in whichever language needed.

As for dreams, well, I quickly forget my dreams Big grin

I have my own theory on this:

People I know that just started learning a foreign language say they have to think in their native language first and do the translation in their heads.

People I know that are very fluent in a second language have told me they need to "pick" the language they're going to think in as needed, which seems to be the case with most people here in a.net.

Then there's a few oddballs like me that don't think Big grin

[Edited 2005-09-11 01:25:56]
 
SFOMEX
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 8:23 am

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% of the time; nonetheless, I dream in English! LOL
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NoUFO
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 9:01 am

Since I learn a new insult ever week here on a.net, most of my insulting thoughts are in English.  Wink
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Curtisman
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 9:02 am

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. Rarely happens but there is .01% thinking in french.

Len
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AR1300
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 9:44 am

Depends what lenguage I'm currently speaking.Right now is English, for example...

Mike
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flyingnanook
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 2:11 pm

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 I speak English, certain phrases come into my head in French, such as "a quelle heure" instead of "what time", or "qu'est-ce que c'est" instead of "what is". Even stranger is that even though I only had one year of Spanish (in 8th grade) I have a tendency to think "como se dice" (I think that's right) instead of "how do you say" even though we never learned that phrase in my class. One final thing is that whenever I see a name or English word that I'm not familiar with the pronunciation, I pronounce it as if it were French.
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ME AVN FAN
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 11:36 pm

I try to slip into whatever language I am speaking, German, English, French, Arabic, Italian, with differing success. But to think in the language required is the basis for whatever success in the language in question.
 
jacobin777
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Mon Sep 12, 2005 12:14 am

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 speak/spoken to in Urdu, then I think in Urdu, if I speak/spoken to in English, then I think in English...

every once in a blue moon, I'll think in French!
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beowulf
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:51 am

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 English.  Wink As I re-train my French language skills, I am beginning to think in French again.

The weirdest thing is that a lot of times I I think and writ a list in English when I do my grocery shopping. Don't know why this is, but it helps me through this ordeal (I *hate* grocery shopping!). Big grin

Nick
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Mon Sep 12, 2005 3:04 am

Mostly English.At times Hindi & Marathi.[of course Bombaya  Smile too].
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MEL
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Klaus
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Mon Sep 12, 2005 3:11 am

I'm thinking about 85% in german, 10% in english and 5% in the programming language I use at the time...
 
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Aeroflot777
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Mon Sep 12, 2005 3:54 am

When I speak Russian, I think in Russian. And when I speak English, I think in English....


Aeroflot777
 
B747_A340
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RE: Multi Linguals..what Language Do You Think In?

Mon Sep 12, 2005 4:04 am

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 either in Spanish or French and when I speak in German I think in French or English... it can get quite messy... to the point where I use all four languages in a sentence. It doesnt make my friends too happy
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